May 16, 2000
KALAMAZOO -- The WMU Center for Disability Services, a program of the College of Health and Human Services, received strong praise in its recent re-accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities.
The center received a three-year re-accreditation of its community services--the most allowed. In addition, the center secured a three-year accreditation for its new Oakland Drive clinic in the category of medical rehabilitation-outpatient medical rehabilitation, making it WMU's first CARF accreditation for an outpatient medical rehabilitation clinic for persons with disabilities.
In a summary of its findings, CARF noted several of the center's strengths. Among those were:
CARF also commended the center's "exemplary conformance" to high standards. In particular, the commission cited the center's leadership "in creating a most successful collaborative partnership" with other human service agencies; its outcomes and values-based orientation "backed up by outstanding results" in clients' lives; "an outstanding quality improvement initiative for the total organization" that moved the organization away from a top-down model of administration; and "staff member's extraordinary commitment to the maximum integration of the consumer into community life."
Other attributes CARF noted included the center's "superlative commitment and adherence to consumer-centered medical treatment and planning" and its "exemplary sensitivity to individuals' cultural diversity."
"Needless to say, we are very proud," says Carol Sundberg, center director. "We received two pages of compliments and five exemplary performance ratings, which are rare and signify national excellence for best practice."
Formerly the Center for Developmentally Disabled Adults, the center was founded in 1981 and for many years operated as a center-based day program for people with complex disabilities. Since 1991, it has promoted community alternatives to traditional segregated services.
"We believe people who experience a disability have a valuable contribution to make to the community they live in," Sundberg says.
Starting last fall, the center began offering new services through a contract with Kalamazoo Community Mental Health Services, increasing options for people with disabilities and their families. Those include respite services, home-based services and professional services, including occupational and physical therapy.
Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 616 387-8400, firstname.lastname@example.org
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