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Action Plan for the OEODM Division of Diversity Policy, Planning and Evaluation (DDPPE)

This Action Plan details steps that the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management (OEODM) will undertake to ensure we are meeting our responsibilities under the various disability laws. It is designed to ensure that all staff and visitors have full access to NIH’s programs and activities. Priority areas include items such as:


Develop a policy/procedure to ensure that all ICs are aware that services and events need to be accessible, including electronic and information technology (E&IT) in accordance with Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended.

Monitor inclusion of a statement concerning accessibility and requests for reasonable accommodation on announcements of events and services. (model statement currently in use to be provided by OEODM to all relevant offices/staff).


Provide training on disability rights laws to procurement, equal employment opportunity, and human resources personnel, managers, and employees.

Identify personnel with positive experience with reasonable accommodation requests for use as training examples and create means for these personnel to provide information to others facing reasonable accommodation issues.

Ensure that advertisements for training include language concerning the provision of reasonable accommodation.

Provide training on Section 508 implications to procurement, equal employment opportunity, and human resources personnel, managers, and employees.

Establish formal mentoring/training programs for people with disabilities modeled on, or in conjunction with, other mentoring programs.

Reasonable Accommodation

Each IC will establish a tracking system for all reasonable accommodation requests from employees and applicants.

Clearly identify NIH, not the ICs, as the “agency” responsible for establishing a set of consistent policies and uniform procedures on reasonable accommodation and facilities accessibility.

Establish an office within the Office of Research Services (ORS) to serve as the focal point for issues—excluding discrimination and affirmative action—that are related to reasonable accommodation. In essence, this office would serve as an administrative service center for reasonable accommodation, much like ORS’ highly successful management of interpreting services. ORS will continue to serve as the focal point for assuring facilities accessibility.

The new office should serve as a centralized locus for activities such as procedures for requesting reasonable accommodation and standards for responding to requests. The office will also disseminate appropriate information; provide specialized consultation; coordinate the activities of the Advisory Committee on Disabilities; and maintain inventories of assistive devices and other inventories. The head of the office will report to the Associate Director for Research Services, NIH.

The Director of NIH should reinforce the fact that recruitment and placement of qualified individuals with disabilities are pivotal functions of the soon to be created centralized human resources office.

Establish an Advisory Committee on Disability Issues in which at least 50 percent of the members are employees with a range of disabilities or supervisors of employees with disabilities. This could be a component of the existing ORS Advisory Committee, a modification of the Facilities Accessibility Advisory Committee, or a separate Advisory Committee.

Provide, through a contract, the necessary skills to independently assess individuals with disabilities for reasonable accommodation determinations including the need for assistive technologies.

Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act - Section 501 of this act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in Federal employment and requires Federal agencies to establish affirmative action plans for the hiring, placement, and advancement of people with disabilities in Federal employment. Additional information and definitions related to Section 501 can be found at the EEOC Web site.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act - Section 504 prohibits discrimination based on disability in federally funded and federally conducted programs or activities in the United States, including employment programs. Additional information and definitions related to Section 504 can be found at the Department of Labor Web site.

Section 505 of the Rehabilitation Act - Section 505 establishes the enforcement procedures for title V of the Rehabilitation Act. Section 505 (a) (1) provides that the procedures and rights set forth in Section 717 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 shall be available with respect to any complaint under Section 501. Section 505 (a)(2) provides that the remedies, rights and procedures set forth in title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 shall be available to any person alleging a violation of Section 504. Section 508 is also enforced through the procedures established in Section 505 (a)(2).

Assistive Technology Act of 1998 - The Assistive Technology Act establishes a grant program, administered by the U.S. Department of Education, to provide Federal funds to support state programs that address the assistive technology needs of individuals with disabilities.

Section 508 - Requires Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. Inaccessible technology interferes with an individual's ability to obtain and use information quickly and easily. Section 508 was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, to make available new opportunities for people with disabilities, and to encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these goals. The law applies to all Federal agencies when they develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology. Under Section 508 (29 U.S.C. 794d), agencies must give disabled employees and members of the public access to information that is comparable to the access available to others. It is recommended that you review the laws and regulations listed below to further your understanding about Section 508 and how you can support implementation.

The DDPPE is responsible for the overall planning and monitoring of the NIH annual affirmative action plan for individuals with disabilities. The DDPPE staff is charged with providing technical and programmatic assistance to the Director, Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management (OEODM), Office of the Director senior staff, and Institute and Center (IC) senior managers in all aspects of the agency's efforts toward initiation, development, implementation, and evaluation of programs designed to ensure disabled persons are employed in the work force in all NIH occupations.