Health care career website unveiled

New resource for deaf and hard-of-hearing students contemplating health care careers

Mark Benjamin

Abbey Moreland, of Crystal, Mich., graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology from Rochester Institute of Technology. Her plan is to work with animals.

A new website dedicated to providing centralized information for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals interested in health care careers is now online to help them explore the possibilities of a health care career, advocacy and the law, job outlooks and access technology available to help them succeed.

Health Care Careers for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Community” was developed in collaboration with the National Technical Institute for the Deaf/Rochester Institute of Technology, Gallaudet University, University of Rochester/National Center on Deaf Health Research, and Rochester General Health System.

The website came as a result of the Task Force on Health Care Careers for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Community, formed in 2012. The group met regularly to help identify barriers that may prevent deaf and hard-of-hearing students from considering careers in the health care field. Proportionately fewer deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals are employed in the health care professions than hearing workers, and when they are employed, they are in positions that require less education.

The health care industry is expected to increase 22 percent and generate 3.2 million new jobs through 2018, more than any other employment sector, said James DeCaro, who helped establish the task force when he was interim president of NTID. He remains actively involved as co-chair of the NTID Health Care Implementation Commission.

“One of the major gaps identified by the task force was that there was little centralized information that could be used by parents, educators and other professionals working with deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals, educational institutions, health care employers as well as students themselves, about the possibilities that exist for them in health care,” said task force co-chair Rose Marie Toscano. “There was also a need to highlight what deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals are doing within the health care field and how successful they have been.”

The website includes profiles of successful deaf and hard-of-hearing doctors, nurses, professors, lab technicians and researchers to help inform others about deaf and hard-of-hearing people who have already paved the road in health care.

It also includes information about the range of career options available in the health care field and how interested deaf and hard-of-hearing students might be able to prepare for these potential careers. Information about access technology is provided to help people understand how deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals are able to use various technologies such as a graphic auscultation stethoscope to be able to succeed at their health care jobs.

Examples of various degree programs being offered by institutions that are dedicated to educating deaf and hard-of-hearing students are included to help interested students identify potential degrees that they might be interested in pursuing. And information about anti-discriminatory policies remind everyone that qualified deaf and hard-of-hearing people are entitled to reasonable accommodations that would allow them to find and keep jobs in the health care field.

“The website collects all this valuable information in one easily accessible location to make it easier for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals to begin and continue on their paths to successful careers in the health care field,” said Dr. Scott Smith, an NTID Health Care Commission member, developmental pediatrician and assistant professor at the University of Rochester.

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