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Articles by Megan McDonnell

Blog December 12, 2011

Hire Gauge Reveals ROI Around Inclusive Hiring

If you’re running a business – small, medium-sized or large – you should check out Think Beyond the Label’s Hire Gauge. I would argue it’s a must. Hire Gauge is the first-ever online tool to calculate the return on the investment (ROI) your organization can generate from hiring qualified workers with disabilities. For a typical large business, this can mean nearly $32,000 in tax credits, deductions and hiring cost savings – not to mention the additional benefits of diversity in the workplace, from employee morale and loyalty to the opportunity to tap new markets. All you need is two minutes (literally) to answer a short series of questions. Right before your eyes, Hire Gauge does the math on the results you can expect from your inclusive hiring initiatives. Right down to the dollar. More and more business are using Hire Gauge Think Beyond the Label says they built this interactive ... keep reading »
Life August 21, 2011

New Hope For Babies With Heart Defects

When babies are born in a hospital, they are routinely tested for conditions such as cystic fibrosis and hearing loss. Yet less than two percent of newborns nationwide are screened for congenital heart defects, or CHDs, which can be deadly if left undetected. According to a new report by Little Hearts, a national organization that offers education and support to families of CHDs, only 1.8 percent of newborn babies are tested for CHDs, the most common birth defect and leading killer of infants and newborns. Nearly 60 percent of babies in the U.S. who are ultimately diagnosed with CHDs were not screened at birth. A simple test The hospitals that do screen for the condition use a pulse-oximetry test, or pulse-ox, to measure oxygen levels in a baby’s blood. A tiny sensor is placed on an infant’s foot, with low oxygen levels indicating a potential CHD within minutes. “Early detection enables us to quickly identify ... keep reading »
Life April 30, 2011

At Ronald McDonald House, Home Is Where Your Child Is

Grand openings rarely move me. Sure, they may be festive, even lucrative (read: a retail grand opening with blockbuster sales). But never moving. Until now. Today, the Ronald McDonald House of the Greater Hudson Valley in Valhalla, N.Y., opens its doors for the first time to families whose children are in the hospital due to serious illness or injury. A different, quieter kind of opening. But far more life-changing. Here’s how I know. Our first home When our son, Andrew Busenbark, was born with multiple congenital heart defects a little more than five years ago, he underwent a life-saving procedure at 24 hours old. Open-heart surgery at three days old. And a three-week recovery in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). Parents everywhere – with or without a child who has an illness, injury or disability – can imagine how nearly a lifetime of stress crammed itself into those few, short weeks. But I ... keep reading »
Life February 1, 2011

Girl Power: Inclusion a Priority for Girl Scouts

Sometimes, the best way to move forward is to embrace the past. This seems to be working well for the Girl Scouts of the USA – especially when it comes to inclusion practices. On March 12, 1912, Juliette Gordon Low, who was partially deaf, formed this world-renowned organization with just 18 girls. At that time, Low had said, “Girl Scouts should be for all girls, regardless of their ability.” Today, as the organization closes in on its 100th anniversary, it helps 3.2 million American girls build confidence, courage and character – and continues to advance its inclusion programs to ensure that Girl Scout activities are accessible to ALL girls…regardless of their ability. Just like Low wanted. Including ALL Girls For decades, Brownie and Girl Scout troops have welcomed girls with developmental disabilities, chronic health conditions or other special needs. Today, Girl Scout troops across the country have formal, effective inclusion programs in place. ... keep reading »
Life November 10, 2010

Running on Inspiration

We all need a little inspiration now and then. Check that. Sometimes, we need more than a little. We may need it to get up the courage to face a health problem, deal with a disability – or just plain get out of bed in the morning. We may get it from within, from our children (which I often do) – or from someone we don’t even know. Someone who turns tragedy into triumph, giving us goose bumps that remind us we can do anything if we just set our minds to it. I had such a moment just yesterday. I was getting my local morning news fix when I heard the story of Nick Roumonada – a 32-year-old man who just ran the New York City Marathon in 3 hours, 45 minutes and 25 seconds. On one leg. Roumonada, who grew up in Seattle, had contracted bacterial meningitis when he was 13 ... keep reading »
Life September 30, 2010

Weighing a New Pill that Treats MS

Lenore Cameron has her rituals. Up before the sun, she’s at her desk by 6:00 every morning. She toggles between her job and her two teenage sons. And she gives herself regular injections to treat multiple sclerosis, a chronic nervous system disease that sometimes cripples her ability to juggle home and work. “I couldn’t get myself wrapped around it,” Cameron says of her 2007 diagnosis. “But now, it’s all about figuring out how to best handle it.” So far, Cameron has handled her MS with weekly injections. Along the way, she has struggled with some severe side effects -– from fever and hives to anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction that requires emergency medical treatment. She has also had to face her fear of never knowing which batch of medication would hit her hard. “I may have an allergic reaction to all the injections in a particular batch –- or I may have no ... keep reading »
Life September 24, 2010

Medicare Strands Disabled More than Elderly, Study Says

Some things just get better with age – and it seems Medicare may be one of them. A recent report by the Kaiser Family Foundation says Medicare is not working as well for its eight million disabled beneficiaries under age 65 as it is for its elderly beneficiaries. The study found that younger Medicare recipients with disabilities are much more likely than seniors in the program to report problems accessing and paying for medical services. In fact, half of nonelderly disabled beneficiaries surveyed report having trouble paying for health care –- nearly three times the rate reported by seniors (50 percent vs. 18 percent). One in three of the younger, disabled respondents say they actually have spent less money on basic needs like food and heat, so they would have enough to pay for health care. By contrast, only one in 11 elderly respondents had to resort to such measures. The study, ... keep reading »