CfDC Minutes — December 4, 2008

Attending: Jack Bernard, Chair; Alida Silverman (welcome, Alida!), Mary Reilly, Christa Moran (welcome, Christa!), Michelle Escobar, Jay Sennett, Alex Kazerooni (welcome, Alex!), Tom Bayer (welcome, Tom!), Carole Dubritsky; Anna Ercoli Schnitzer (minutes).

Before the meeting had officially started, Alex, who had to leave early, brought us up to date on his academic background and personal disability history. Alex will represent the Council as judge at the MSA DISC Disability Challenge on Friday (12/5) afternoon from 5 to 8 pm at the Shapiro Library.

Jack brought the meeting to order and narrated his wish-fulfilling adventure as a balloon handler of the "Hello, Kitty" giant balloon at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.

Introductions were made. Anna distributed new flyers (attached) to give a brief introduction of the Council at outside events. Jack stated that perhaps we should make an announcement about the Council at the beginning of each term, acknowledging our efforts and encouraging folks to attend our meetings.

PRESENTATION:
Christa Moran, advocate sign language interpreter at UMHS for the Deaf Access Program, presented a history of the program, an explanation of the videophones (locations: Hospital lobby, ER, 3 mobile units, some clinics, 2 elsewhere on campus) now installed , as well as a description of the ADA kits for deaf and hard of hearing patients at UMHS (including door knocker, TTY, fire-alarm, patient’s rights, white board, appropriate signage; interpreter hours, etc.). There is also an on-call program for sign language interpreters from 8 pm to 8 am, so all hours are covered. Interpreters are trained and very committed to what they do. Other topics: diabetes education with a class specifically intended for the deaf; Oct Health Fair that had 400 deaf/hard of hearing visitors who attended workshops; goal of promoting these types of programs to other hospitals, so that patients do not have to travel to UMHS from afar. Advice: one should ask for special accommodations for deaf/hard of hearing at UMHS; they are open and willing to comply, so “just ask!”.

DISCUSSION:
Skype webcam may be a way to have distance sign language if system speed is sufficient. New Mott Hospital will have Internet access in each room Clinics profit from having pagers (now in ENT and Outpatient Surgery), have for deaf/hard of hearing, but everyone could use them for HIPAA reasons and if one has to leave the waiting area for a few minutes. Dental School has access to sign interpreters but University Health Service does not. Could we talk to Dr. Winfield about this? We often promote our innovations but forget our own people, i.e., door knockers should be available in other venues as needed. Housing does provide these accommodations. Turnover makes training everyone difficult. We are making progress but should have easily-available “1 stop shopping” for these accommodations. Discussion of suing as motivator re: doing the right thing in the first place. With electronic patient file, the instructions for communicating with patients with special needs could be built right in. Tom praised “Feel the Music” event. UM campus and hospital communication is informal via Carole and Jill. Faculty getting older, cannot retire early because of economy, so universal accommodations good for all, e.g., large font, wider seating. Pushback because of tighter funding can lend to creativity, happier personnel. Adjustable examination tables now available in outpatient clinics but should be available throughout UMHS.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:
Carole said that the round of Web of Technology Coordinator position finalists will be in January. The salary for this much-needed position is being provided by the Provost.

Michelle announced that she is graduating and that Teddy Dorsette is the new MSA DISC chair but that she will be in touch by e-mail. A smart pen is being promoted by SSW, which records while taking notes. Also an advisor is being sought for Delta Alpha Pi, the honor society for those who happen to have disabilities (10 person minimum for forming this).

Respectfully submitted with explanation: Since I was forced to miss the past three meetings due to circumstances beyond my control, I was not available to take minutes, thus the gap in the continuity of Council minutes.