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July 26, 2007

UPMC establishes Disabilities Resource Center

A specialist with extensive expertise in coordinating resources for people with disabilities has joined UPMC as part of a program to enrich health care services for disabled patients, their families and caregivers.

Susan V. Schaeffer, director of UPMC’s new Disabilities Resource Center, formerly directed a similar program at Washington State University.

Schaeffer’s goals include helping to build robust resources at UPMC for people with disabilities, as well as developing and implementing an interpersonal-relations training program for professional and support staff focusing on the challenges that face this population.

Through the new center, UPMC is working with an advisory council that includes members of the disability community.

UPMC’s new program will:

• Develop and implement an internal educational program designed to promote sensitivity and awareness toward issues that people with disabilities face in dealing with the health care system.

• Identify and certify a larger network of clinical services within the existing UPMC footprint that have the capability and training to accommodate people with disabilities and be fully accessible.

• Expand clinical services to improve options for accessing care.

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