Persons with Disabilities

As a public institution that receives federal funding, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center is required to comply with the Americans’ with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The Health Science Center is committed to providing a campus which is accessible to everyone. The information found below is intended to introduce your rights under these laws as well as present the UTHSC’s responsibilities.

What Is Prohibited Under Section 504 and the ADA?

Both Section 504 and the ADA prohibit covered entities from discriminating against persons with disabilities in the provision of benefits or services or the conduct of programs or activities on the basis of their disability.

Section 504 applies to programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance. Title II of the ADA covers all of the services, programs, and activities conducted by public entities (state and local governments, departments, agencies, etc.), including licensing.

Who Is Protected Under Section 504 and the ADA?

Section 504 and the ADA protect qualified individuals with disabilities. An individual with a disability is a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such an impairment; or is regarded as having such an impairment.

Major life activities means functions such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working.

Under Section 504 and the ADA, a person is a qualified individual with a disability if he or she meets the essential requirements for receipt of services or benefits, or participation in the programs or activities of a covered entity. The question of whether a particular condition is a disability within the meaning of Section 504 and the ADA is determined on a case-by-case basis.

What Is a "Physical or Mental Impairment"?

Physical or mental impairments include, but are not limited to: visual, speech, and hearing impairments; mental retardation, emotional illness, and specific learning disabilities; cerebral palsy; epilepsy; muscular dystrophy; multiple sclerosis; orthopedic conditions; cancer; heart disease; diabetes; and contagious and noncontagious diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV disease (whether symptomatic or asymptomatic).

Specific Requirements of UT Health Science Center

UTHSC must not:

  • Establish eligibility criteria for receipt of services or participation in programs or activities that screen out or tend to screen out individuals with disabilities, unless such criteria are necessary to meet the objectives of the program.
  • Provide separate or different benefits, services, or programs to individuals with disabilities, unless it is necessary to ensure that the benefits and services are equally effective.

UTHSC must:

  • Provide services and programs in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of qualified individuals with disabilities.
  • Make reasonable modifications in their policies, practices, and procedures to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability, unless it would result in a fundamental alteration in their program or activity.
  • Ensure that buildings are accessible.
  • Provide auxiliary aids to individuals with disabilities, at no additional cost, where necessary to ensure effective communication with individuals with hearing, vision, or speech impairments. (Auxiliary aids include such services or devices as: qualified interpreters, assistive listening headsets, television captioning and decoders, telecommunications devices for the deaf [TDDs], videotext displays, readers, taped texts, brailled materials, and large print materials.)

Who to contact for information related to accommodations for students with disabilities?

Students seeking accommodations based on the impact of a disability must self-disclose, register and officially request accommodations with Student Academic Support Services. All requests for accommodations must be submitted with supporting documentation, which is then reviewed for reasonableness. Please refer to the SASS webpage for information regarding the documentation guidelines and procedures for officially requesting services. To set up an appointment to discuss specific needs, please contact Laurie Brooks, the Disability Coordinator in SASS at (901) 448-5056. All conversations regarding requests for accommodations are confidential.

Who to contact for accommodations for any other program, event or service outside of the classroom?

The Office of Equity and Diversity is responsible for the campus’ compliance with the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. We also have an ADA Advisory Committee committed to providing equal access on our campus. Please read more about the ADA Advisory Committee in our OED Newsletter. If you have any concerns, requests, or complaint in these areas of the law, please contact the Office of Equity and Diversity by calling (901) 448-2112.

Contact Us

Michael Alston, Director
Office of Equity and Diversity
910 Madison Avenue
Suite 826
Memphis, TN 38163
Phone: 901-448-2112
Fax: 901-448-1120