October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, a time to celebrate America’s workers with disabilities and remind employers of the importance of inclusive hiring practices. In honor of #NDEAM check out some #WheelNewYorkers jobs
GG started working in public health in 2008 as an undergraduate student. She worked at a nearby university as an Evaluation Assistant for a longitudinal study of a program intended to improve children's mental health care services.
After she was diagnosed with transverse myelitis in 2009, she graduated from New College of Florida in 2010 with a Bachelor’s Degree. She was immediately forced into dealing with the United States’ dysfunctional health care system after her diagnosis. She knew this system had problems, but this experience made her think about how much more difficult her diagnosis would have been if she had been uninsured at the time. This experience led her to pursue a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree at Hunter College.
After her MPH, she worked on reproductive health research projects involving increasing access to reproductive health care in primary care at the Reproductive Health Access Project and the Institute for Family Health. She has also worked as a teaching assistant and adjunct lecturer at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy.
Currently, GG works as the Associate Director of Research and Education at the Siegel Rare Neuroimmune Association, a patient advocacy organization that advocates for individuals diagnosed with rare neuroimmune disorders of the central nervous system, including transverse myelitis.
She is also a PhD student in Community Health and Health Policy at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. While this is her 6th year in the program, she is done with coursework and is currently working on her dissertation! She hopes to be “Dr. Geeg” by May 2021.
Hillary @hilla_rose lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their Boston Terrier Stevie. She has been a wheelchair user for less than a year, and has diagnoses of Ankylosing Spondylitis and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.
Hillary tells WNY: "I’m a Project Leader at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) @bcg_life. In my role, I manage teams of consultants to help organizations navigate some of their biggest strategic challenges. Being able to guide our clients through major periods of change is super rewarding, and I’m grateful for the relationships I’ve developed with my client and BCG teams.
I work mainly within our health care practice, and think it’s so important for people with disabilities to be represented in that space. This #NDEAM, I’m proud to be a co-leader of our AccessAbility @BCG staff network, and to be #DisabledAndABoss!"
Hillary's life motto is 'Our backs tell stories no books have the spine to carry' (Rupi Kaur). She wishes more people realized that wheelchairs and other mobility aids are fun! Also that part-time and ambulatory chair users (like Hillary) exist.
Ismael @wheelchairtravels_nyc is one of NYC's essential workers! He is supervisor at NYC Police Department 911 center. He chose this work in order to help the people of NYC. He is proud that a lot of times a life is saved, but finds it hard missing time with family members or friends sometimes due to shifts.
Ismael uses a wheelchair due to an SCI, and is proud to be someone with a disability who has kept a steady job for many years. His life motto is to never let anyone tell you we cannot do things, and what he wishes people knew about wheelchair users is that we can do the job, sometimes even better than other people!
Ismael's suggestion for improving NYC is to have more accessible parking in neighborhoods or public streets - bike lanes are created all the time, how about on the street parking for vans and other vehicles that disable people use!
Jessica @jessicahayon is a Fabric Developer. She attended the Fashion Institute of Technology where she got an AAS in fashion merchandising and a BS in fabric styling. Jessica graduated in 2012 and went straight into her work!
Outside of her work, Jessica enjoys hand cycling, working out, and knitting. She is a wheelchair user due to Spastic Paraplegia and her life motto is "Just roll with it!"
Kaycee @kayceecouture is Assistant Designer and Content Contributor for Juniper Unlimited @juniperunlimited. She is working towards the inclusion of people with disabilities in the fashion industry. Kaycee loves creating clothing that empowers people with disabilities by giving them confidence and their independence.
Kaycee is a lifelong wheelchair user due to Sacral Agenesis, and she wants the world to know that disabled people are beautiful, capable, and deserve a more prominent place in the fashion industry. Her life motto is - Live your life unapologetically and take up space!!
Kaycee's hobbies include makeup and exploring the city, and if she could change anything about NYC, it would be more affordable accessible housing and more accessible public transportation.
Sonia @themusicalchairschampion lives in Queens and works in Washington Heights. She became paralyzed at the age of 2 due to an intraspinal tumor. Around the age of 11 she became interested in neuroscience and wanted to be a neurosurgeon or psychiatrist. Sonia explains her career path since:
"On my journey to medical school I started volunteering at Columbia University Medical Center’s Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain, on a community-based longitudinal study of aging and dementia among the elderly living in/around the Washington Heights area.
For the last few years I’ve been working as a research assistant in a study looking at the underlying factors of cognitive function within the offspring of the previously mentioned study. I administer neuropsychological tests on our participants and help with synthesizing data for our team to analyze and use in publications and presentations.
While working, I obtained a Master’s in human nutrition from Columbia University Medical Center, and realized I’d like to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology and incorporate my knowledge of nutrition. This way I have the flexibility of meeting with patients one-on-one, and conducting research which will have an impact at the population level."
With more time at home this year, Sonia has been enjoying reading, cooking, painting and moodboarding for new jewelry designs for her website soniaseehra.com