By Jaime A.B. Wilson, PhD
Last week, my five-year-old son started kindergarten, and my seven-year-old daughter began 2nd grade. As might be expected for a young child making the transition from summer vacation, the first few days of school were not without hiccups. My kids missed their school bus the first couple of days, forcing us to buckle my other baby girl – a screaming two-year-old toddler – into her car seat as my wife whisked off in the minivan to drop off the first two.
One not-so-auspicious morning entailed both kids forgetting their backpacks but remembering to bring their stick horses. Gasp. Although my toddler was thrilled to roam the school’s hallways with her stick horse as she herded her big sister and brother to their respective classrooms, my wife was not overjoyed at having to return home, fetch their bags, and return to the school-turned-rodeo-grounds.
As the pleasant summer days fade into the fresh crispness of fall air, some of us are pursuing studies, clinical rounds, research, or serving patients in our respective healthcare facilities. Whatever your routine, I hope this note finds each of you making a smooth transition into your fall schedules (without the hoopla of stick horses and fighting, screaming toddlers).
It has been an eventful summer for the AMPHL board. Although we worked hard on several projects, we also played hard. Here’s a summary of some of the board’s accomplishments and fun times over the Summer of 2017:
AMPHL and Deaf Health Initiative, Inc. (DHI) merger.
Although the legalities of an AMPHL-DHI merger are still being worked out, this is probably the biggest news of the summer. DHI (which is owned by current AMPHL board member, Kyle DeCarlo) could potentially provide AMPHL with much-needed financial revenue as well as open up heretofore unavailable avenues for grant opportunities. Stay tuned!
2019 Baltimore AMPHL & ADARA Conference Planner hired.
Welcome to Mr. Steve Roldan as the official 2019 Baltimore Conference Planner! Steve brings with him a wealth of experience planning wildly successful conferences that cater to Deaf health care themes. We’re excited for Steve to help us usher in another great AMPHL conference!
Preparing for an AMPHL financial donation campaign launch.
A great organization like AMPHL needs to be able to maintain its resources to continue to serve. As such, the AMPHL board has been brainstorming ways to raise much-needed funds for our ever-dwindling AMPHL bank account. Past contributions have allowed AMPHL to continue its networking and public education efforts regarding healthcare careers for deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Be on the lookout for an AMPHL donation campaign during the upcoming holidays and encourage your loved ones to contribute!
AMPHL board member presents at TEDGlobal.
In August of 2017, our very own Kyle DeCarlo presented in Africa. Always looking for ways to shine a spotlight on AMPHL, Kyle was able to mention AMPHL in his publicity materials at TEDGlobal. We’re all excited to see his presentation which should be available online soon!
The fun stuff.
In addition to working our hands to the bone on AMPHL-related endeavors, our board members found time to have fun. (On an AMPHL-wide scale, the highlight, of course, was the Rochester Conference at the beginning of the summer.) Here’s a sampling of the adventures that were had:
- Skydiving over the plains of North Dakota! Our board member lived to tell the tale of this “no guts, no glory” experience!
- Long bicycle road trip through the hills of British Columbia. I envy this experience!
- Was that really her!? Yes! It was Marlee Matlin that one of us passed by in a random mall near Portland, OR. (Unfortunately, no personal conversation or even a flippin’ autograph!)
- A trip to Montenegro! Who wouldn’t like some respite in this “hidden gem” of an area down on the Adriatic Sea!?
- Don’t forget to take a dip in the water while the sun shines! Swimming in the great waters of Lake Michigan!
- Getting accepted to Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) school! The cat is out of the bag on this one… Congrats to AMPHL secretary, Sarah Hein!
Last but not least, let’s take a second to remember one of the purposes of our unique AMPHL organization. The AMPHL mission statement reads:
We provide information, promote advocacy and mentorship, and create a network for individuals with hearing loss interested in or working in healthcare fields.
Embedded within our mission statement is the idea of creating a more level playing field in a labor system that has a history of leaving minority groups behind. We exist, in part, to engender conversations about what it actually means to “move the needle” on creating diversity and equality in the workplace, especially in the healthcare fields. Indeed, as our immediate past president, Mike McKee, stated in his State of AMPHL address last June, “Diversity makes us smarter.”
Conversations about diversity can make many people uncomfortable, as demonstrated most recently in a high-profile way by the rubbish written by the Google Bro. We exist to invite conversations on matters that may be in that ambiguous ethical gray area. We exist to say that diversity needs to be much more than a checkbox for the HR department or the technical standards of medical/professional school websites (if you can find them).
After all, we know that the answer to moving the needle is not only a call for greater attention to a more equitable workforce but to have more students, colleagues, and mentors who identify within that very minority group. We are the ones who understand what the barriers are and what it takes to address these barriers. We also exist to help our patients receive appropriate care by challenging pre-existing negative biases in the minds of the mainstream.
It is with all of the ideas above that the AMPHL board will churn out a vision statement in the coming weeks. In the meantime, a heartfelt “Thank You!” to each of you for your perseverance, hard work, and optimism in the face of adversity. Your examples mean much more than you know!
Please keep me apprised of your accomplishments so that I may include them in the next AMPHL President’s newsletter! Recognition of individual accomplishments is how we show the world who we are and make AMPHL shine!
Dr. Jaime Wilson is AMPHL’s 2017-2019 President. Jaime A.B. Wilson, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist/neuropsychologist. As part of the work in his private practice (Wilson Clinical Services, PLLC), Dr. Wilson conducts comprehensive neuropsychological evaluations. The field of neuropsychology is dedicated to learning about and diagnosing conditions related to the brain and nervous system.