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2014 Fall

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Message From the CEO

Carl Josehart Photo

Carl E. Josehart
Chief Executive Officer
TIRR Memorial Hermann
System Executive for Rehabilitation Services
Memorial Hermann Health System

In Lex Frieden’s interview with President George H. W. Bush about the long-ranging influence of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the two longtime colleagues and friends discuss the progress we’ve made as a nation in increasing physical accessibility for people with disabilities. In today’s more accessible physical environment, we become even more aware of other barriers to full participation in life, including obstacles to employment.

In June 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that only 17.6 percent of persons with a disability were employed. In contrast, the employment-to-population ratio for those without a disability was 64.0 percent. The jobless rate for persons with a disability was little changed from 2012 to 2013, while the rate for those without a disability declined. We’ve come a great distance since 1990 but still have work to do to break down barriers that restrict people from leading active, productive lives.

As we look forward to celebrating the achievements of the past 25 years next July, we have recommitted ourselves to our advocacy work in the community. In February, TIRR Memorial Hermann will once again be the lead sponsor of ReelAbilities, Houston’s citywide film festival promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of individuals living with disabilities. In the next two issues of the journal, we’ll include stories of former patients who have refused to let disability interfere with personal fulfillment. They are tough, resilient and resourceful, and we applaud them.