Neubacher Award nominations sought by July 24 – Michigan … – Michigan Medicine Headlines

The U-M Council for Disability Concerns established the James T. Neubacher Award in October 1990 as a memorial to Jim Neubacher, an alumnus of the U-M. At Michigan, Jim became involved with the Michigan Daily and soon developed what would become a lifelong love for journalism. He was a summer apprentice at the Detroit Free Press and after graduation was hired.

After several years of working for successful news outlets across the U.S. and Canada, in 1979 Neubacher was hit with a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis and returned to Detroit, still determined to remain a journalist. Three years later, he would go on to announce the column “Disabled in Detroit” that was launched in the Free Press. Not soon after, he acquired national recognition as a voice for those with disabilities; many of the columns went in the Knight-Ridder wire for a national readership. The column became a model for a number of similar efforts around the country.

In his column, Jim spoke out for equal rights and opportunities for people with disabilities; housing, child care, access to transportation and facilities, and education – these were just a few topics he tackled. Countless individuals and organizations told of the inspiration and encouragement they received from having a public voice for their concerns. Neubacher received dozens of Awards and citations, including his 1991 induction into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame.

Each year within U-M and U-M Health, one recipient is awarded the Neubacher Award for disability advocacy. In 2022, the honor was awarded to Jill Sklar for her immeasurable impact of disabled communities around the country. Based on her own experiences, Sklar was a key player in initiating and ensuring the passing of the Restrooms Access Act, showing her commitment to empowerment, advocacy and accessibility for those who struggle with disabilities. 

The award is presented annually in October during Disability Community Month, a series of programs and activities focused on disability inclusion, disability awareness, and disability-related issues. Nominations for 2023 are now being accepted through July 31. 

Nomination criteria

Nominees for the James T. Neubacher Award must be affiliated with the university (faculty, staff, student, alum) and will be considered according to significant achievements in one or more of the following areas:

  • Increasing the accessibility of programs and services to promote full inclusion and participation by people with disabilities
  • Empowering, affirming and celebrating people with disabilities in all aspects of community life
  • Advocating for or advancing the rights of people with disabilities; and/or advocating for or advancing disability justice
  • Attempting to eradicate systemic ableism through community organizing and coalition building
  • Contributing above and beyond normal job requirements, accomplishing  achievements not likely to be recognized by other organizations or awards

Nominees are eligible whether they identify as having a disability or not. For more info on award criteria, common FAQs, past winners and honorable mentions, visit here.

Make a nomination by July 31.

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