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NAD President Chris Wagner shares an update regarding the five priorities and upcoming events in this month's segment.


Video description and transcript:

Video fades to a gradient background with dark blue to light blue, a grey National Association of the Deaf (NAD) logo is centered. Video fades to NAD President Chris Wagner. The NAD logo appears as a light watermark in the bottom right corner.

CHRIS: Hi everyone! I'm thrilled to be here at the NAD Headquarters. Its great to see the staff working hard on many issues. The Board continues to support the staff by finding new opportunities and strategies for the NAD to meet the needs of deaf and hard of hearing Americans. That leads me to share updates on the five priorities.

The first one I'd like to discuss is the Preservation and Advocacy of Relay Services (PARS). As you may know, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has dropped its plans for a neutral platform. The NAD wrote a position statement regarding our goals for relay services, and this position statement is available online. We're also thrilled that our own Public Policy attorney Andrew Phillips was selected as chair for the newly formed Disability Advisory Committee (DAC) for the FCC. These efforts show just how important the NAD's role is when decisions are being made with respect to relay services.

Now, the next priority is FEMA. The committee [led by Neil McDevitt] has pulled in different experts together to discuss strategies to address emergency planning on a national level.

Next is the Mental Health priority. Under the leadership of Steve Hamerdinger of Alabama, a group of mental health experts have been gathered to discuss how mental health services for deaf and hard of hearing people can be best served under the rules of the Affordable Care Act. Their work will help us address health insurance and other human services to ensure services are appropriate for deaf and hard of hearing people seeking mental health services.
Next, the Education Strategy Team (EST), led by Tawny Holmes, has addressed many issues that schools for the deaf face. Our efforts include what has been happening in Arizona, Vermont, Texas, and other states. We are also monitoring superintendent and board member vacancies at those schools. It is important for us to address those issues with the hard work of EST.

Now, the priority on outreach for youth is being handled by Lissette Molina and Martin Price. That committee will focus on developing the concept of Metro Jr. NAD, which enables deaf students from various schools to participate as a Jr. NAD chapter; and establishing a nationwide Youth Day for deaf and hard of hearing students. This idea came from Pennsylvania, which already has such an event. We are looking at strategies for a Youth Day across America.

I also wanted to mention about Video Relay Interpreting (VRI) – we are continuing to establish a VRI task-force. The task-force will address our community’s concerns over the appropriate use of VRI by developing standards and requirements. The NAD is also pursuing lawsuits against hospitals for improper use of VRI. The NAD seeks through these efforts to establish appropriate access to medical services for deaf and hard of hearing people.

Aside from priorities, the NAD Board is busy! The NAD Board will be meeting in Chicago soon, on April 15-19, 2015. You can check the schedule and further information from NAD.org.

I don't know about you but I'm excited about this summer and fall because that’s when many things are happening! State Associations will be hosting their statewide conferences. The NAD Board will keep their sleeves rolled up and send representatives to participate in such conferences. Contact us if you want the NAD to attend your State Association's conference.

We're also preparing for our upcoming NAD Leadership Training Conference (NLTC) in Birmingham, Alabama on September 24-26, 2015. Join us at this important conference to learn many skills including improving advocacy skills.

Also, the NAD is thrilled to represent the USA at the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) Congress in Turkey this July. We will make sure that the USA is well represented at this important international conference.

Thank you for all your continued support as the NAD continues to fight for equality and equal access. Again, thank you!

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