AMPHL Conference Testimonials

By Ian DeAndrea-Lazarus, MPH

It was such an honour to attend the 2017 AMPHL conference. I can’t begin to describe in words, what this conference meant to me.  When I was in growing up in Indonesia, I was told that deaf and hard of hearing people could not be scientists or work in health care.  Sadly, my family thought the same too.  Determined, I went online and read about these amazing deaf and hard of hearing scientists and doctors from Canada and USA.  I was so excited to tell my family about their stories and believed I could do the same.  Because of this, I applied to go to school in the US to pursue my dreams of better opportunities. Here in Rochester, I met so many role models from all over the world, some of whom I’ve always wanted to meet since high school.  AMPHL and their members literally saved my life, by inspiring me to believe deaf and hard of hearing people can achieve their dreams.  Because of them, I am here.  Please continue to inspire all of us and continue to be role models for deaf and hard of hearing people around the world.  I am so glad I came to this conference and encourage everyone to go to the AMPHL conferences.
— Cristophorus Budidharma

While at Gallaudet University, I majored in Biology. I was the only student in my class that wanted to be a Nurse. Knowing that I was the only one with that goal I thought there must not be many deaf nurses out there.
My first job in the medical field was in college during my senior year (2014) when I was working at a family practice/urgent care office as a Medical Assistant. I noticed more and more Deaf patients started to come in. Each one of them wished that there were more of me (Deaf people working in a medical office.) After graduating from Gallaudet, I decided to go back to school to become a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant. I landed a job at a family practice in August 2016. After thinking deeper and harder about the lack of Deaf medical professionals, I founded DeafMed. I wanted to inspire others; I wanted others know that they could become whatever they wanted and to let them know that they are not alone in their quest.
Because of my DeafMed page on Facebook, a medical interpreter contacted me and told me about AMPHL. I can’t believe I had never heard of it! I have to say that I am extremely blessed she did. It was one greatest experience.
The conference, WOW! It opened my eyes because I never knew there were so many of “us” out there. I met Deaf NPs, MDs, PAs, RNs, and nursing students. It was the best to get to chat with them, mostly because it helps knowing that there are others who have similar backgrounds and experiences.
One thing I really loved about the conference was the different sessions. Attending a variety of sessions, even ones that I didn’t think really applied to me, was very eye opening. I really enjoyed how the medical interpreters were there, especially during the Code Blue Triage Role Play. I never knew how it really worked and I am grateful that I attended that session to get a feel of what it’s like. It’s almost like I am already prepared for my future if a Code Blue or some similar event happens. I would also know what to do with the interpreters which is new since I never had interpreters in the field with me before, only as a patient.
Thank you so much for this opportunity and I am already looking forward to June 2019 in Baltimore, MD.
I highly recommend this conference to anyone who is in the medical field or wants to be in the medical field. Every session has a lot of information even the ones that may not be directly related your future career. By attending this conference you will learn a lot, but not only that, you will meet people who are in or will be in your field. Another advantage is that you will network with people and some of them may be an inspiration for you or a connection that you might use later. This conference is one of a kind and trust me… it will motivate you!
— Britny Latham, BA, CCMA

It’s been three months since the epic 2017 AMPHL conference in Rochester concluded and not a day has gone by when I haven’t reflected on my experience there. Every minute of conference, while I watched presentations, met outstanding individuals and socialized, every molecule within my body reverberated with elation and gratitude. I was elated to be finally here and was extremely grateful for the generous AMPHL scholarship to allow my attendance. For those that question the value of AMPHL conference, please allow me to expound on the remarkable effect it has on many of us, especially me.
It was the year of 2008 when a medical career entered my radar, but the palpable question remained as I flirted with the idea—were there any other Deaf physicians or clinicians out there? Fortunately, I lived in Salt Lake City, Utah, where Dr. Wendy Eastman was doing her Pediatric-Neurology residency at the time. After meeting her, she strongly encouraged me to attend the upcoming conference in that very same city, but I declined because, and I quote Dr. Eastman’s incredulous recollection, “Sorry, I have plans.”
The next nine years were the most trying years of my life, fraught with obstacles such as: requesting letters of recommendation from professors who discouraged me from pursuing a medical career, the agonizing decision of whether I should reveal my deafness or not in my medical school application, embroiling in legal battles while attending medical school, amongst countless other experiences. I had tried to attend AMPHL conferences during those years, but other commitments kept me from attending. I felt alone.
Perceptibly, it was foolish of me to not attend the 2008 AMPHL conference. Had I gone, it may not have changed the path I journeyed on, but I know for a fact the road I travelled would have been much more tolerable and easier. I wouldn’t be as battle-scarred as I am now. This is because there is strength in numbers.
Truthfully, I don’t recall much of the particulars of the many valuable presentations given during the conference. What I do vividly remember are the many wonderful, extraordinary Deaf/HoH clinicians I had the privilege of meeting and befriending. They strengthen me. They reinforce my will. They fuel my desire. They open my eyes to greater worlds. They heal my bitter heart. They instill kindness within me. Before conference, I was alone. After conference, along with a long overdue epiphany, I realized I was never alone. I have a legion behind me, all united in a common goal and cause. This is why I go—they help me surpass the physician I originally envisioned myself to be.
— Zach Featherstone, MS4