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Terms and Abbreviations

Below are a variety of terms and abbreviations that relate to health care, deafness and other topics shared on this website.

Access Services: Services that allow for access to the environment. In this report, the term “access services” refers to communication and information access services, including assistive technology, notetaking, or forms of interpreting.

ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act

AMA: American Medical Association

AMPHL: Association of Medical Professionals with Hearing Losses

Amplified Stethoscope: A medical device designed to compensate for hearing differences that allows physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals to detect and analyze heart, lung, and/or bowel sounds for purposes of differential diagnosis.

ASL: American Sign Language, a visual/gestural language that has its own grammar and syntax. It is distinct from English and is not simply a manual version of English.

ASL-STEM Forum: The American Sign Language-Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Forum is an open-source online collaborative effort that works similar to Wikipedia, where participants can add video content or rate signs for science terms (; Bigham et al., 2008; Cavender et al., 2010). It is based on a research project led by the University of Washington to standardize ASL vocabulary for terms used in STEM fields.

Assistive Technology: Technology used by individuals with disabilities to perform functions that might otherwise be difficult or impossible. Examples include, but are not limited to, visual, auditory, and/or tactile notifier devices such as light signalers and bed shakers, as well as hardware, software, and peripherals that facilitate access as needed.

ATE: Advanced Technological Education National Centers of Excellence

CapTel: A telephone device with captioning capability that displays spoken words articulated by individuals in a conversation.

CART: Communication Access Realtime Translation

CCOE: Consortium Center of Excellence in Health Care Careers for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students

Closed Captioning: The process of displaying text on a television, video screen, or other visual display to provide additional or interpretive information to individuals who wish to access it. Closed captions typically show a transcription of the audio portion of a program as it occurs live or in edited form, sometimes including non-speech elements.

COE: Center of Excellence

Communication Barriers: Obstacles that restrict the ability of individuals to communicate with each other. In particular, communication barriers refer to obstacles D/HH people have in articulating, understanding, or accessing spoken language and obstacles hearing people have in articulating, understanding, or accessing sign language.

Cued Speech:  A manual communication system whereby visual information from speechreading is represented by different hand shapes on the face.

Cultural Competence: Effective functioning within the context of cultural parameters.

Culturally Deaf: Refers to individuals who rely primarily on American Sign Language for communication and share norms, values, art, experiences, and other characteristics parallel to that of other cultural/ethnic groups.

Designated Interpreter: Specialized interpreters who have received training in medical content and vocabulary, and are attuned to the social role of the medical professional for whom they are interpreting, as well as their own role in specific settings such as the classroom and meetings between medical colleagues.

D/HH: Deaf/Hard of Hearing

DWC: Deaf Wellness Center at the University of Rochester

Electronic Stethoscope: A broad term that refers to high tech clinical medical instruments, such as visual and/or amplified stethoscopes.

Explore Your Future: A summer career awareness program at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (at Rochester Institute of Technology) where sophomore and junior D/HH high school students experience college life, engage in hands-on activities, and acquire a taste of real-world careers in the fields of business, computing, engineering, science, and art.

FCC: Federal Communications Commission

FRS: Federal Relay Service

GPA: Grade Point Average

Hard of Hearing: Reflects a permanent or fluctuating hearing level which is sufficient to allow the individual to use audition for some amount of receptive communication with or without the use of auditory aids.

HBCU: Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Health Care Interpreting: A broad term that refers to interpreting in health care settings, including settings providing medical, dental, and mental health services.

Hearing Impaired: A broad term that refers to anyone with hearing differences. While some individuals may say they are hearing impaired, this is not a term favored by many D/HH individuals.

HIPAA: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act

HLAA: Hearing Loss Association of America

JAN: Job Accommodation Network

Late Deafened: Individuals who lose their hearing after acquiring language.

Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center: A K-12 pre-college educational program at Gallaudet University for D/HH students that also provides information related to D/HH children from birth through age 21 in the United States.

Linguistic Barriers: The restricted ability to read, speak, write, or understand languages. Within the context of this report, linguistic barriers refer to limited access to spoken English.

MCC: Monroe Community College

Medical Interpreter: Aninterpreter with specialized training in medical interpreting who provides interpreting services in medical settings. At present, there is no certification for medical interpreting.

MMEP: Minority Medical Education Program

NAGHCC: National Advisory Group on Health Care Careers for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Individuals

NAD: National Association of the Deaf. The nation’s premier civil rights organization of, by and for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals in the United States.

NCAS: National Center on Access Services Innovation and Consultation for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Health Care Students and Professionals

NCDHR: National Center on Deaf Health Research at the University of Rochester Medical Center

NIC: National Interpreter Certification

NIDCD: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

NLTS: National Longitudinal Transition Study

Noise Filtering: A system that removes background noise from sound. For example, phone amplifiers clarify sounds a deaf or hard-of-hearing user hears by filtering background noise and boosting the sound volume ( Other examples are acoustical curtains and other sound absorbing surfaces such as drapes or walls that filter out background noises and enhance sound quality.

NPSAS: National Postsecondary Student Aid Study

NSF: National Science Foundation

ODEP: Office of Disability Employment Policy (part of the U.S. Department of Labor)

Oral Deaf: A group of people who are born deaf or become deaf early in life and rely primarily on spoken language.

OVR: Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

Personal Digital Assistant (PDA): A mobile device that has the ability to connect to the Internet, such as a mobile phone.

PHC: Premedical Honors College of Baylor College

PHSA: Public Health Service Act

RGHS: Rochester General Health System

RID: Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf

RIT/NTID: Rochester Institute of Technology/National Technical Institute for the Deaf

Sam-Go Products:  Manufacturer of a see-through surgical mask that provides access to speechreading.

Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP): A program for economically disadvantaged high school students who come from underrepresented backgrounds, funded by New York State.

SMDEP: Summer Medical and Dental Education Program

Specialized Interpreting: Content areas within the interpreting field that require specialized in-depth training to work effectively.

STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

Student Response System: A technological approach, also labeled as an audience response system, to assess students in an interactive learning environment by providing quantitative tools through a computer to influence the processing of questions and formulation of answers by the student in a non-threatening and positive manner.

Summer Research Fellowship Program (SURF): A program at the University of Rochester that exposes participants to medically related research and career options in academic medicine where students work with faculty researchers from varied disciplines such as pharmacology, neurobiology, and cardiology. The long-range goal of the program is to enhance participants’ competitiveness for admission to graduate or health professions schools.

Technical Standards: Standard criteria used by medical schools to ensure that candidates can accomplish required curricular tasks, including caring for patients in a safe and effective manner.

Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS): An operator service that allows people who are deaf, hard of hearing, speech-disabled, or deaf-blind to place and receive calls via assistive devices such as videophones, smartphones, Webcams, and tablets.

Telemedicine Technology: The use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve patients’ health status.

TTYs: Text telephone

UCSD: University of California, San Diego

UKHPHL: United Kingdom Health Professionals with Hearing Losses

Universal Design: A broad spectrum of ideas meant to produce buildings, products, and environments that are inherently visual, auditory and tactile accessible to both people with and without disabilities. Smartphone is an example of technology that incorporates visual, tactile, and auditory signals.

UR: University of Rochester

URM: Underrepresented minority students

URMC: University of Rochester Medical Center

UTPA: University of Texas-Pan American

Video Relay Services (VRS): A video telecommunication service that allows deaf, hard-of-hearing, and speech-impaired individuals to communicate via video telephones and similar technologies in real-time, via a sign language interpreter.

Video Remote Interpreting (VRI): The use of video devices or Web cameras to provide sign language or spoken language interpreting services through a remote or off-site interpreter, in order to communicate face-to-face with persons with whom there is a communication barrier.

Videophone: A telephone with a video screen that is capable of full bi-directional video and audio transmissions for communication between people in real-time.

Visual Stethoscope: A high-tech clinical medical instrument that allows visual display of ECG (electrocardiogram) waveform, heart rate, pulse oxygen meter, and digital watch functions.

Woodcock-Johnson III Tests: A co-normed set of tests for measuring general intellectual ability, specific cognitive abilities, oral language, and academic achievement.

Young Scholars Program: A summer program at Gallaudet University with three areas of study in environmental science, visual arts, and performing arts for talented and gifted deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing teenagers between the ages of 14 and 17.

Youth Apprenticeship Program: A program at Rochester General Health System designed to give city school students the chance to succeed and achieve a career in health care. A Certificate of Completion is awarded to the student who completes youth employment competency training.

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