May 3, 2017 Meeting Minutes

DHHCAN Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Gallaudet Alumni House

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


Meeting called to order at 12:43 PM.


Roll Call


Voting Membersquorum achieved

  • Claude Stout, TDI
    • Tayler Mayer, TDI
  • Zainab Alkebsi, NAD
  • Bernie Palmer, ALDA
  • Tom Dowling, DSA
  • Donalda Ammons, GUAA
  • Lise Hamlin, HLAA
  • Art Roehrig, AADB


Organizational Partners

  • Julie Schafer, RID
    • Neal Tucker, RID
  • David Bahar, CSD
  • Barbara Raimondo, CEASD
  • Al Sonnenstrahl, ADARA



Michele Mulligan

Bill Mulligan

Ashod Derandonyan

Boris Bandev

Sam Jones

Ashley Pigvalento



  • Jayne Tubergen Magneson
  • Jan Nishimura
  • Pat Richey


Approval of Minutes

  • The minutes for the April 2017 meeting stands as read.


Officers’ Reports:


Chair’s Report (Claude)

  • Claude welcomed Michele back and gave her the floor for five minutes to talk about her unfortunate experiences in the hospital in West Palm Beach, Florida.
    • Michele greeted everyone and explained it was the right decision to move back here. She had requested interpreters a week in advance  but the hospital refused to provide on-site interpreters for surgery. She felt ignored and cried while dealing with this in Florida.
    • Donalda, a Florida resident, also shared with us her experiences advocating for her partner, Diane, when she had a massive heart attack in 2010. Diane is hearing but the hospital did not provide interpreters for Donalda as Diane’s companion. She did not even know it was a heart attack until the fourth day. It was quite traumatic. It is a serious issue in Florida in general.
    • Bill, Michele’s father, added the hospital’s waiver form  was quite misleading. It mentions the option to select interpreters as your accommodation option but does not specify VRI. The waiver form also does not list CDIs as an option.
    • Tom added his own story as well. His wife was in accident in Virginia and taken to the ER. They expected an on-site interpreter and waited quite a while but to no avail. His wife ended up lipreading the rest of the time.
    • Zainab added that the NAD has litigated against hospitals on the VRI issue and worked last year with DSA to develop VRI policy guidelines for hospitals to follow. The NAD has a meeting with the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO or “Joint Commission”) on Monday the 15th to advocate that these VRI policy guidelines become part of the Joint Commission’s accreditation criteria. The NAD is also working with Steve Gordon at the DOJ on VRI cases and also filed comments on the VRI issue with the DOJ.
    • Art also added that he has been asked to use VRI which shows no common sense as he is DeafBlind.
  • Claude explained that he, Zainab, David, Tom, and Barbara have a meeting the next day with the Office of Representative Kevin Yoder (R-KS) regarding our “cradle-to-grave” policy document. We need to strategize for that meeting later this afternoon.
  • Claude also reminded everyone that we need to elect a new Treasurer later in the New Business portion of the meeting.


Vice Chair’s Report (Bernie)

  • He first apologized for being late due to bad allergies. There has been a lot of angst on campus recently. People have been taking down LGBTQ signs, Black Lives Matter signs, ColorFest signs, and so forth. University leaders met to strategize how to address this issue.


Secretary’s Report (Zainab)

  • The minutes have been approved.
  • Zainab has posted all approved 2017 meeting minutes thus far to the DHHCAN website.


Treasurer’s Report (Tom)

  • Tom began his remarks by saying it has been a pleasure serving as Treasurer and being on the council. He looks forward to moving on to new, exciting things.
  • The current balance as of April 28, 2017 is $23,686.55.
  • Tom will assist with the transition to the new Treasurer.


Special Guests: Ashod Derandonyan and Boris Bendev from Bulgaria

  • Ashod is an oral Deaf representative from Bulgaria who is currently participating in the U.S. Department of State Professional Fellows Program. Boris Bendev is a Bulgarian Sign Language interpreter and handles Storytelling & Communications for Ashod’s foundation.
  • Ashod is the only Deaf graduate from the American University in Bulgaria. In 2014, he established the Listen Up Foundation and is its CEO. He leads a very enthusiastic and devoted team of young people, both Deaf and hearing, at the Foundation.
  • In Bulgaria, deaf people are not provided access to sign language and education. There are about 25,000 deaf people and only 20 interpreters. Out of those 20, only 5 are decent.
  • Their main objectives are: 1) to develop innovative technological solutions to facilitate equal access for deaf people in Bulgaria, 2) to encourage a new generation of Deaf leaders, 3) improve deaf education, and 4) establish an interpreting training program.
  • Donalda added that she has been to Bulgaria and can attest to the issues that Ashod and Boris described.
  • Ashod encouraged everyone at the meeting to share contact information and keep in touch with him.

Committee Reports

  • Education (Barbara Raimondo):
    • We are still working on the Cogswell/Macy Act and will be setting up a website so that it will be easier to get information about the bill.
    • The Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Act of 2017 (EHDI) is up for reauthorization and discussion. Bills to reauthorize this law have been presented in both the House and the Senate. Barbara mentioned that the NAD has shared its concerns about the bills regarding the lack of input from the deaf and hard of hearing community and has recommended amendments.
  • Civil Rights Protection and Enforcement (Zainab Alkebsi):
    • Every month, the NAD’s CEO, Howard Rosenblum, posts a vlog called “Ask Howard Anything (AHA).” In the April 2017 AHA video, Howard urged our community to advocate to our Congresspeople not to pass H.R. 620 and H.R. 1493, which will affect the ADA in that people with disabilities cannot file a lawsuit right away and must give businesses time to make changes. With the video, we included a letter template for consumers to use and shared the hashtag #protectADA.
    • Although the bills focus on physical barriers and do not mention communication, we are still concerned. It is a slippery slope and a dangerous precedent. We never know what form the final bills will be so we should defeat it  now before more things are added.  It is also possible that a court will apply even a physical restriction law too broadly. We must do what we can now before it is too late.
  • Employment (David Bahar):
    • Our legislative efforts are still on hold in regard to the 3% goal for disability-owned businesses and accessible resources since David is still waiting to hear back from Mark Richert and needs Barbara and/or Zainab to nudge Mark again.
  • Health Care (Lise Hamlin):
    • We continue to work on our initiative to see cheaper over-the-counter hearing aids and are working with Senator Warren and Senator Grassley on this initiative. It addresses one of our biggest issues right now and will benefit many with light to moderate hearing loss.
  • Transportation (Lise Hamlin):
    • On May 17th, Lise and Zainab will tour a 3D-printed vehicle and give input on accessibility design.
    • Zainab has also been working on accessibility input for autonomous vehicles and there is an upcoming roundtable on that issue on May 16th.
  • Telecommunications (Claude Stout):
    • Claude reminded everyone of the recent action the FCC took on VRS improvements:
      • Report and Order:
        • Trials for skills-based routing, CDIs, and at-home interpreters.
        • Comparison Shopping – The FCC will publish VRS providers’ speed-of- response data on its website to help consumers make informed choices.
        • Direct Calling with Hearing Signers – Videophone (VP) numbers will be made available to hearing people who use ASL so that we can communicate directly with loved ones who sign.
      • Notice of Inquiry:
        • Establishment of performance metrics for quality of service
    • Claude added the VRS metrics issue is being addressed by the VRS Metrics Working Group under the Relay/Equipment Distribution subcommittee of the DAC.

There was no report for Housing.

Special Session to Strategize on Plan for Meeting with Rep. Yoder

  • Due to time constraints, Claude, Tom, David, Barbara, and Zainab agreed to stay after the meeting to discuss strategy.


Old Business

  • None


New Business

  •  Election for New Treasurer:
    • Donalda nominated Sonny, seconded by Zainab.
    • 5 votes in favor, none opposed. Passed.
    • Sonny is now our new Treasurer and will work on the transition with Tom.



  • Julie announced that her last day at RID will be May 12th. She joined RID four years ago and it has been the best experience of her career. She will still be around due to contracting with RID for some FCC-related work. Like Andrew Phillips, she will be becoming a teacher this Fall.


Next Meeting Date

  • Wednesday, June 7 at Gallaudet Alumni House.


The Chair adjourned the meeting at 2:03 pm.


Submitted by

Zainab Alkebsi, Secretary