201175 Improving Health Information Access for the Deaf

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Shira A. Schlesinger, MPH , School of Medicine, UCSD, School of Medicine, San Diego, CA
While American Sign Language (ASL) is the third most frequently used language in the United States, few Americans are cognizant of the linguistic minority constituted by Deaf users of ASL. Clinical and public health communication between hearing health educators and practitioners and profoundly Deaf populations largely accepts the premise that ASL is an accommodation to a hearing/speech disability in persons who would otherwise be English speakers. Thus, while assistive communication processes have been advocated for face-to-face health interactions, development of written and mass media health information materials for ASL users has significantly lagged. Until recent years, such development had been further limited by the availability of technology for communicating in visual-manual, non-written languages. This presentation describes the potential costs and benefits of a paradigm shift in which health communication to the Deaf is removed from under the umbrella of disability, and instead placed within the rubric of communicating with non-English-speaking U.S. subcultures. Practical implications of such a shift, including changes in health education and increased technological demands of such communication, are compared with the potential outcomes of decreasing current inequities in health knowledge and improving current health status of Deaf populations.

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the possibility of shifting communication with the Deaf from "disability" to "foreign language". Compare practical implications, costs, and benefits of such a shift.

Keywords: Communication Technology, Deaf

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: ASL, Deaf Culture, & Cancer Prevention Fellowship, UCSD School of Medicine 2004-2009 MScPH: Health Promotion. London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, 2008
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: Disability and Access to Care II
See more of: Disability