400+ deaf healthcare professionals and VR counselors at ADARA/AMPHL conference

Last week over 400 Deaf, hard of hearing, and DeafBlind healthcare and medical professionals, VR counselors, and advocates attended an ADARA/AMPHL conference in Baltimore, Maryland.

AMPHL is an abbreviation for the Association of Medical Professionals with Hearing Loss, while ADARA is short for the American Deafness and Rehabilitation Association.

The conference topic was “Embracing Cross-Disciplinary Partnership.”

Here are video clips of the conference from Def Lens Media.

[Video clips by Def Lens Media]

Nice, thank you Def Lens Media for the clips.

The Daily Moth did an interview with the outgoing AMPHL President, Dr. Jaime Wilson.


My name is Jaime Wilson. I’m a board-certified neuropsychologist from the state of Washington, or more specifically, from Tacoma, Washington.

DR. WILSON One of the purposes of AMPHL, the Association of Medical Professionals with Hearing Loss, is to provide workshops on how we can be effective in different types of healthcare scenarios. Maybe it’s a Code Blue where it’s an emergency situation, how do we communicate effectively? How do we work with the interpreters? Or other accommodation providers? Or how do we interact with the hearing health care staff? Can they effectively communicate, understand and be an ally? With this, we can give them the support they need as well. Our wide range of workshops that we’ve provided here has a lot of learning benefits.

ALEX: Can you share any of your stories, your experiences in Washington state?

DR. WILSON: Sure. This is a personal experience I had in Washington state. We are fortunate that we have a PCP (Primary Care Physician) who can use sign language. This PCP had this deaf patient who was in their 20s. This patient, up until then, had no diagnosis for several things.

For example, the patient was exhibiting high blood pressure, or hypertension. The PCP had given the patient medication to manage the condition. Secondly, he had a high count of A1C. It means he has diabetes. We started to work on managing this as well. Three, he had COPD which causes breathing problems including coughing. We also took action with this. These are three diagnoses I recall.

Now, that patient was also homeless. So that PCP referred him to a social worker, one who was culturally, linguistically appropriate and could effectively communicate with this patient. The social worker would then start looking for a home for this patient.

Another thing, he also had this drug addiction issue. The list goes on and it complicates the situation. This PCP could not handle this case alone. It’s crucial to have a network of professionals to refer to. He was referred to a deaf drug counselor. The PCP also referred this patient to me for a neuropsychological evaluation. So I proceeded with this evaluation that involved using diagnostic areas that could help clarify what diagnosis this patient may have. After we completed the evaluation, the results and the report was passed onto the PCP who reviewed them. With the report, the diagnosis was identified, and medication was given to the patient.

Now, the deaf person has shown improvements with his health. He feels like there’s stability and he’s happy now. That’s one success story.

DR. WILSON: This particular conference is interesting because we’re collaborating with the ADARA, an organization has many VR counselors, social workers and behavioral health providers. With them, we were able to provide a wide variety of workshops. And it’s really interesting too because many of these things are focused on medical conditions. For example, with diabetes, a high percentage of the obstacles associated with it is psychological. So, we also had to address psychological barriers with the diabetes first before we could proceed with managing and treating his diabetes.

So, we’ve really worked closely together, and it seems that by having this kind of relationship is partly the reason why we have over 400 in attendance here. Because of how these organizations have worked together.

Alex: Thank you, Dr. Wilson, for your time. It is very interesting to learn about the variety of medical, psychological, and social approaches that are needed to treat an individual.

He explained that there were some new technological concepts and gadgets at the conference that included a special eyewear device where you could watch an ASL interpreter or read CART captioning while working with patients.

He announced that the next conference is in San Francisco on June 4-6, 2021.