Advocate Receives Mayor's Disability Council Beacon Award

Upon receiving an award for outstanding leadership on behalf of people with disabilities at City Hall, Alice Wong, a staff research associate at UCSF, enjoys the moment with her sister, Emily Wong; mother, Bobby Wong; and father, Henry Wong.

Alice Wong, MS, a staff research associate at the UCSF National Center for Personal Assistance Services in the School of Nursing, recently won an award from the City of San Francisco for her advocacy efforts for people with disabilities. 

Wong received the Mayor’s Disability Council Beacon Award at the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act celebration on July 29. The Beacon Award is presented to a person who exhibits “outstanding leadership and is a guiding light in the community.

Wong, who has been instrumental improving access for disabled persons at UCSF, is recognized for her work as the president of the San Francisco In-Home Supportive Services Public (IHSS) Authority Governing Body.

IHSS is a statewide publicly funded program providing personal assistance services to low-income people with chronic and disabling conditions who need such assistance to remain safely in their homes and engaged in their communities. In San Francisco, most consumers served by IHSS are over 65 years of age.

UCSF’s Alice Wong receives applause at a celebration to present the Mayor’s Disability Council awards for furthering disability rights on July 29.

At UCSF, Wong works at the Center for Personal Assistance, which conducts research and training activities related to personal care services provided to people with disabilities. The emphasis of center’s work is on providing support so that people with disabilities can live and work independently in their community, as opposed to being institutionalized in a nursing home.

Wong received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award at UCSF in 2006 for her strong leadership on behalf of the disability community. Wong literally and figuratively opened doors for the disabled community at UCSF, according to a nominator. “In so doing, she has not only encouraged, but enabled greater participation for the disabled in all aspects of campus life.”

At UCSF, Wong led the development of UCSF Access, a website that describes the accessible features of the major buildings at Parnassus, Laurel Heights and Mission Center, pushed for more text telephones for the hearing-impaired on the Parnassus campus and lobbied for the installation of low, horizontal, wheelchair-accessible buttons inside elevators on campus, as well as the posting of signs to allow those with special needs to enter elevators first.

Wong, who led the Disability Interest Group as chair from its inception for six years until 2002, also was a longtime member of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Disability Issues (CACDI). While CACDI, Wong brought notable speakers to UCSF for lunchtime presentations on a variety of disability issues. She also served on the inaugural discussion panel on culturally competent care of patients with disabilities for third-year medical students organized by then CACDI member Nat Gleason, who is now a resident at UCSF Medical Center.

While vice chair of the CACDI, Wong also advocated for UCSF’s professional schools to include a disability-related curriculum in their cultural competency courses. 

“We want to encourage schools to learn more about the disability community, especially since we are a health sciences campus,” Wong said at the time. “Disability is part of the greater continuum of diversity, and we need to allow for variation and not get so focused on what is the norm.”

Related Links:

Disability Resources at UCSF

Center for Personal Assistance

UCSF to Honor Three with MLK Awards
UCSF Today, December 18, 2006

San Francisco In-Home Supportive Services Public Authority