February 3, 2016 Meeting Minutes





DHHCAN Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Gallaudet Alumni House

(Thanks to GUAA for their generous support of the DHHCAN meeting space.)


Meeting called to order at 12:03 PM.


Roll Call


Voting Members quorum achieved

  • Claude Stout, TDI
    • Don Cullen, TDI
  • Tom Dowling, DSA
  • Zainab Alkebsi, NAD
  • Bernie Palmer, ALDA
  • Art Roehrig, AADB
  • Mary Lynn Lally, GUAA


Organizational Partners

  • Julie Schafer, RID
  • Neal Tucker, RID
  • Ron Sutcliffe, CSD
  • David Bahar, CSD
  • Barbara Raimondo, CEASD



Gallaudet President Bobbi Cordano

Bridgetta Bourne-Firl (ASDC)

Samuel Jones (citizen)



  • Jayne Tubergen Magneson
  • Jan Nishimura
  • Pat Richey


Approval of Minutes

  • The minutes for the January 6, 2015 meeting were approved as read (motion made by Mary Lynn Lally, seconded by Art Roehrig).



Special Visit from President Bobbi Cordano

President Cordano gave brief remarks about why it is so important to have advocacy organizations together in the same room, working on the same issues together instead of in silos.


Officers’ Reports:


Chair’s Report (Claude)

  • Official welcome and congratulations to Bernie Palmer, new Vice Chair.
  • We will not be meeting next month (see New Business section) so we will discuss the presidential recommendation document in April.
    • Last month, I said we didn’t really follow up on a lot of the recommendations but upon re-reviewing, it was actually more mixed results.
    • We can beef up the content from before and make it more relevant.
    • Each of us can help figure out where we are with progress in our respective expert areas.
    • We need to make a checklist of the recommendations.
  • I sent an email to NAD and RID that conveyed official consent to turn over the draft DHHCAN VRI position paper to NAD and DSA for its VRI Task Force. In that email, in addition to thanking Julie for her hard work in authoring the draft, I mentioned a few points for consideration:

1.)     VRI is not offered only in medical settings, we have serious concerns on how sometimes it is used in other community-based situations.

2.)     We would appreciate a progress report on the work of the VRI Task Force in upcoming DHHCAN monthly meetings.

3.)     We like to ask that special needs of some deaf and hard of hearing Americans in VRI are addressed well, especially those who are deaf-blind or have a mobile disability.

4.)     We would appreciate if some mention was made of the initial work of DHHCAN for this position paper, when it is officially released to the general public.


Vice Chair’s Report (Bernie)

  • Catherine Murphy is no longer with the University.
  • Bob Daniels is now interim contractor.
  • I was impressed with such a great experience and transparency of the documents that need to be disseminated.


Secretary’s Report (Zainab)

  • Minutes were approved. No edits suggested.


Treasurer’s Report (Tom)

  • Current Balance in BB&T Checking Account (1/6/16): $25,825.04
  • Balance is decreasing because of interpreting fees and the farewell dinner in December.


Committee Reports


Technology/ Relay Services (Zainab)

  • On January 13, the Consumer Groups filed comments on the FCC’s NPRM in regards to WEA and took the following positions:

1.)     Supported the proposal to increase the number of characters for any future WEA messages from the current ninety to a maximum of 360. 

2.)     Supported the addition of a fourth class of alerts to encompass “Emergency Government Information.” 

3.)     Supported rules that enable more, not less information (re:  URLs and telephone numbers) in WEA messages to enhance the quality and utility of WEA messages as an essential means of distributing emergency information to the deaf and hard of hearing community. 

4.)     Acknowledged that if the alerts are strictly sent via text, English will need to be the primary language used for the effort but proposed such messages include ASL in order to ensure the widest reach to the deaf and hard of hearing community.

5.)     Supported testing and training for future alerts at all levels – federal, state, and local — and the adoption of technical standards and processes that would be necessary to facilitate such testing.  With respect to what bodies would best be able to develop the appropriate standards and processes, we requested that those responsible for testing and training be directed to include sample representation from the deaf and hard of hearing community in these efforts. 

6.)     Recommended that the Commission adopt a centralized reporting system to allow deaf and hard of hearing individuals to provide appropriate information to federal, state and local agencies on accessibility concerns.

  • On January 14 and January 21, Zainab, Lise and Claude took part with others in ex parte meetings with the five Commissioner offices at the FCC on captioning responsibility/certification. Consumer Groups made the following points:
    • Consumer Groups reiterated several concerns they have expressed throughout this proceeding regarding the proposed shift from the long-standing video programming distributor (“VPD”)-centric responsibility model to one that apportions the responsibility for the provision, delivery, rendering, and quality of closed captions between VPDs and video programmers.
    • Consumer Groups also reiterated the need for requiring VPDs to provide better customer service training, which would ensure swifter resolution of reported captioning problems, as well as reduce the number of complaints that need to make their way to the FCC.
    • In addition, VPDs should be required to provide better compliance processes, to provide phone and e-mail contact information dedicated to handling captioning complaints on consumer-facing web portals and on paper bills, and to provide appropriate staffing during evening and weekends—when many viewers watch programming.
    • Once some responsibilities for compliance with captioning rules are shifted to programmers, Consumer Groups expressed support for requiring these programmers to certify that they are meeting those responsibilities, and for requiring that these certifications be made available on the FCC’s website. These certification practices are important because they notify programmers of their compliance responsibilities, and because they alert VPDs and the Commission that problems may be afoot if a programmer fails to provide a certificate.
    • Consumer Groups also pointed out that because consumers have a direct relationship with VPDs and will continue to rely on them to solve many captioning problems regardless of where the ultimate responsibility falls, the Commission should ensure that VPDs remain fully engaged with the provision and quality of the captions they deliver. Therefore, the Commission should require VPDs to alert programmers of their need to certify, verify that the programmers have indeed certified, and identify to the Commission and the public any programmer who fails to provide a certification.
  • On January 27, NAD, TDI, HLAA, and CSD launched a joint survey on the current state of Internet captioning. The survey will close on March 4 and we encourage everyone to fill out the survey before then.
  • On February 12, the Consumer Groups will meet with the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) the electronic newsroom technique (ENT) issue that we explained at the last two meetings and will keep everyone posted at the next meeting.



  • No report (Alfred Sonnenstrahl was absent).


Hearing Health

  • No report (Lise Hamlin was absent).


Education   (Barbara Raimondo)

  • On March 2, CEASD will be hosting Capitol Hill Advocacy Day where we can ask our legislators for their sponsorship or co-sponsorship for H.R. 3535, the Alice Cogswell and Anne Sullivan Macy Act.
  • The Act proposes to amend IDEA to address the unique needs of deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, and deafblind students:
    • Every child who is deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, or deaf-blind, regardless of whether they have additional disabilities, will be properly counted and served;
    • Each of a child’s unique learning needs will be properly evaluated;
    • States will engage in strategic planning to be sure that they can in fact meet each child’s specialized needs;
    • The U.S. Department of Education will do its part to hold states and schools accountable;
    • Students who are deaf will be served by qualified personnel;
    • Students who are blind will receive state-of-the-art services and skills supported through a new major National collaborative initiative addressing their unique learning needs; and
    • Students who are deaf-blind will have access to trained and qualified interveners. 
  • The Act has 18 sponsors so far in the House and we hope to be able to introduce the bill in the Senate if we get Republican support.
  • People will be coming from all over the U.S. for this event. We have more than 60 people signed up!
  • The day will kick-off with a two-hour briefing from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. After that briefing ends, attendees will meet with their Congressional representatives.


Old Business

  • Art could not read the attachment that Claude sent and requests that any documents be sent to him in the body of the email for accessibility. Claude acknowledged this request.


New Business

  • ASDC is just visiting to see whether they would like to become members again. The other members gave reasons why ASDC should re-join. Bridgetta will present these points to the Board for them to consider and decide:
    • ASDC is an important component of the cradle-to-grave vision.
    • Many parents do not understand nor exercise their Individual Education Plan (IEP) rights and responsibilities.
    • ASDC can provide policy perspectives on behalf of deaf children across a myriad of groups and it is critical to have dialogue that incorporates all the perspectives, such as that of ASDC, CEASD, and AG Bell, in order to allow parents to make informed decisions.
    • Through our relationships, we can give additional support to parents of deaf children, such as writing articles for each other’s newsletters. For example, Barbara Raimondo (CEASD) and Jim House, formerly with TDI, co-authored a resource article for parents on an array of products and services in telecommunications and technology for their deaf and hard of hearing children.
    • As long as ASDC is with DHHCAN, its members will be more informed on issues and challenges that we face as adults who are deaf and hard of hearing.
  • Claude proposed that we cancel the March meeting in order to support the CEASD Capitol Hill Advocacy Day event. This proposal was met with no objections.
    • DHHCAN will cover Art’s tactile interpreters and transportation costs as our way of providing support for the event.



  • None.



Next Meeting Date

  • Wednesday, April 6 at Gallaudet Alumni House.


The Chair adjourned the meeting at 2:14 pm.


Submitted by

Zainab Alkebsi, Secretary