217821 Challenges in implementing newborn hearing detection and intervention in the Isolated, rural islands of the Pacific

Monday, November 8, 2010

Jean L. Johnson, DrPH , Center on Disability Studies, University of Hawai`i at Manoa, Honolulu, HI
Velma Sablan, PhD , Department of Special Education, University of Guam, Guam, Guam
Jean Anderson-Asuega, PsyD , Department of Health, Helping Hands Part C Program, Pago Pago, American Samoa
The challenges, strategies, failures, and successes in implementing newborn hearing detection and intervention programs in the remote and rural Pacific Islands that are politically aligned with the United States will be presented. In spite of the challenges, social justice requires that the infants born with a significant hearing loss be given the same opportunities to develop language and communication skills as children born in more resource-rich communities. The presentation will provide a description of the geographical, cultural, socio-economic, and political challenges that confront efforts to provide state-of-the-art services in communities which lack the services of audiologists, otolaryngologists, speech-language personnel, and well-qualified educators of the deaf. Challenges exist at every point in the continuum of developing a comprehensive program--securing equipment, training screeners, ensuring diagnostic services, and providing early intervention services. Parent organizations are generally not available which complicates efforts to provide parent-to-parent support services. The audience will gain an appreciation of the commitment required by professionals to successfully collaborate in developing a system of "audiological justice" to enable families to learn to communicate with their deaf babies. The strategies and successes can hopefully be helpful to others seeking to implement similar services under challenging conditions.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the status of newborn hearing screening activities in the Pacific entities politically aligned with the United States. 2. Explain the challenges encountered in implementing newborn hearing detection and intervention programs among remote and rural island populations. 3. Analyze why social justice for Pacific Islanders compels health care professionals to overcome the challenges. 4. Describe how the information gained from the presentation could assist in addressing similar challenges elsewhere in the world.

Keywords: Neonatal Screening, Deaf

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I have been involved in the program since its inception more than twenty years ago.
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.