I Am HHS: David Rice (NIH)

For me, being deaf has been a blessing. I’m David Rice and it has made me who I am
today. At the age of four I became deaf. My Mom noticed I wasn’t jumping at the sound
of the ice cream truck. It never stopped me from pursuing my dreams. Whether that was playing high school sports
or coming to work at the National Institutes of Health. I first set foot on the NIH campus in High
School. From a small town in Ohio
I was sent on a week long program to Washington. It made a big impact on me. Even as a teenager; I knew then there was
something special about NIH. The colleges I applied to were all in D.C.
and I attended Catholic University. After graduation, I was offered positions
at several Federal agencies but chose NIH. My job title is Management Analyst at the
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders,
which is one of the 27 Institutes and centers at the NIH. A big part of my time at NIH and personally,
revolves around the Disability Community. I am President of the Deaf in Government Group,
chairperson of the Disability Engagement Committee and am always looking to connect the community
with mentors, offer career advice and spread the word about the abilities of the
disabled. And reinforce that we are not a burden, but
an asset. In fact, the word burden, led to one of my
biggest accomplishments, changing the official NIH mission statement. It used to read in part — reduce the burdens
of illness and disability. I have never felt like a burden, and most
disabled people don’t either. Dr. Francis Collins, the NIH Director, agreed
with me and the phrase ‘reduce the burdens of’ was removed,
lessening the stigma of being disabled. I am David Rice, I am HHS.

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