Honoring 31 years of the ADA by ensuring health care is accessible

A man with a seeing disability stands to grin at the camera while wearing a cap, red sunglasses, and a blazer.

As we celebrate 31 years of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 2021, we’d like to introduce you to a key CVS Health colleague who is making a positive impact on the health care of those with disabilities.

The ADA protects people with disabilities from discrimination in certain areas of public life, including employment, state and local government services (e.g., education, health, transportation) public accommodations, and more. Similar to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, the ADA ensures that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else in these areas.

CVS Health’s own Cory Joseph, director, digital engineering, was named an Employee of the Year in CAREERS & the disABLED magazine’s annual awards. Cory, along with nine other individuals from various industries and companies, were recognized for their contributions at work and in the community at large, in advocating for the disabled community. For almost 30 years the magazine has celebrated and acknowledged the achievements of individuals with disabilities via the annual award.

Creating best-in-class accessible digital products and services

Cory, who was born blind with Septo-optic dysplasia, leads digital accessibility engineering for CVS Pharmacy, Retail, Caremark and Specialty. Cory’s 20-person team is made up of specialists who make sure that customers of all abilities have equitable access to our online and mobile pharmacy applications.

His disability never held him back.

“I rely on a screen reader and Braille to do my work,” says Cory. “I use a guide dog for mobility. Currently, I’m on dog number three. Her name is Wiley.”

“Cory uses his experiences to inform and educate teams to have a deeper understanding of the experiences of people with disabilities in order to learn, understand, empathize and all together be better informed to build products for use by all, no matter the ability or disability,” says Cory’s manager Monica Goel, Senior Director, Digital Engineering Accessibility at CVS Health.

Monica adds, “Cory is a prolific advocate for people with disabilities, and for accessibility, and understands the need, importance of building partnerships and alliances that will help further the understanding of and drive support for accessibility across the enterprise.”

Prior to coming to CVS Health, Cory spent six years as a digital marketing manager for one of the world’s leading microchip makers. After taking on freelance work for front-end web development, Cory began to take on a focus for accessibility and inclusive design. He then shifted his career completely to UX engineering, working for Microsoft — across consumer and enterprise products.

Championing accessibility both in and out of the office

Today Cory is recognized as invaluable member of the CVS Health digital team, a leader who is always present in helping drive change, promote a better understanding of people with disabilities, and educate others as to why accessibility is important as a means to serve and support people with disabilities via the use of CVS Health’s digital products and services.

Cory has been an accessibility champion outside of work, as well. While active in the startup community in Portland, OR, Cory led the first Startup Weekend fully dedicated to accessibility and helped revamp the Startup Weekend experience for inclusion.

During the global COVID-19 pandemic, “I’ve kept myself busy by re-learning to play a five-piece drum kit, playing tabletop role-playing-games -like Dungeons & Dragons - twice a week, and rowing on an indoor rower while gyms have been closed,” he says. Outside of that, “I like to travel, to explore new cities, to find life-changing coffee and good beer,” he adds.

It’s an absolute honor to have Cory’s commitment in helping us shape and transform our culture, positioning CVS Health to become an even bigger part of consumers’ everyday health, and achieve our evolved purpose.

Read Cory’s full profile in the latest edition of CAREERS & the disAbled.