Board of Directors
Michael McKee, MD, MPH
IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT
Michael McKee is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Michigan, and board-certified in Family Medicine. Dr. McKee has personal, clinical, and research expertise in Deaf populations, including American Sign Language users, in Florida, South Carolina, New York, and Michigan. He is a Deaf physician who has provided medical care for more than a thousand Deaf patients in a variety of health care settings over the past 13 years.
Due to existing health disparities, he has conducted research and published on health care access, health literacy, health communication and health disparities in the Deaf community. He is also very active in medical and community health education involving Deaf populations, including the ongoing Deaf Health Talks. During his spare time, he enjoys outdoor activities, including kayaking and hiking. He has a bilateral profound sensorineural hearing loss and uses a combination of a behind the ear hearing aid and a cochlear implant.
MARKETING & OUTREACH CO-CHAIR
During her 15 plus years as an interpreter, Alicia has emphasized the humanization of the interpreter process by customizing services to each deaf individual’s distinct needs. Her clients’ accommodations are tailored by style preferences, career goals, and environmental norms surrounding the unique world of deaf healthcare professionals. By focusing on these singular elements, Alicia has replaced traditional ideologies with a more progressive approach to the field of medical interpretation.
Alicia works alongside Deaf Professionals in their medical training and provides consultation, accommodation supervision, and advocacy support for Deaf healthcare professionals and their service providers. She regularly presents at national and local conferences like Associated Medical Professionals with Hearing Loss (AMPHL), CATIE’S National Symposium on Healthcare Interpreting, and the University of Southern Maine, on issues pertaining to best accommodations practices in high stakes environments. Topics have included “FUSION – An integrative approach with CART and Interpreters,” “Designing Designated Interpreters,” “Taboo Team Topics,” and co-presented “The Evolution of Designated Interpreters,” and multiple DP and DI forums. For more up-to-date information, click here.
Marissa Clopper, PA-C
MARKETING & OUTREACH CO-CHAIR
Marissa Clopper, a Maryland native, is a Deaf Physician Assistant who works at the Maryland School for the Deaf (MSD) Student Health Center. Born prematurely with a profound hearing loss, she attended MSD from Family Education to 12th grade with American Sign Language (ASL) as her primary mode of communication while wearing bilateral hearing aids. Marissa then attended Rochester Institute of Technology to receive her B.S. in Biotechnology in 2005 and during her undergraduate years, received a cochlear implant. Shortly after graduation, she wondered if she could go into the medical health field as it was a lifelong dream; she first learned about AMPHL, and attended her first conference in 2005. This gave her confidence to reach her goals and Marissa graduated in 2010 with a M.S. in Physician Assistant Studies from Philadelphia University. In both her undergraduate and graduate years, she utilized ASL interpreters and class note-takers. She communicates with others using ASL, spoken English, and written communication.
Marissa volunteers with DeafHealth.org (formerly DeafMD.org) and has done some ASL health education filming. She also presents annually to the MSD HS Medical Technology class about her profession, the various assistive technology devices currently available (i.e. Marissa utilizes a visual stethoscope), and about AMPHL. Marissa is eager to continue being a health advocate for all patients including those who are Deaf, and encourages Deaf/HOH individuals interested in the medical health field to pursue their dreams!
T. Alan Hurwitz, MS, EdD
Dr. T. Alan Hurwitz became the tenth president of Gallaudet University on January 1, 2010. Before coming to Gallaudet, Dr. Hurwitz was president of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), one of eight colleges within the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester, NY. Dr. Hurwitz also served as dean of NTID from 1998 to 2009, and as vice president and dean of RIT from 2003 to 2009. Following a six-year stint as President of Gallaudet University, Dr. Hurwitz retired on December 31, 2015. He has been named as President Emeritus of Gallaudet University.
Dr. Hurwitz’s career at RIT/NTID began in 1970 when he was hired as an educational specialist in RIT’s College of Engineering after working five years for McDonnell Douglas Corporation as an associate electronics engineer and senior numerical control programmer. Subsequent positions at RIT/NTID include support department chair for Engineering and Computer Science Programs, director for NTID Support Services, associate dean for Educational Support Services Programs, associate vice president for NTID Outreach and External Affairs, and associate dean for Student Affairs, and project director for the Northeast Technical Assistance Center, one of the four federally funded regional centers within the PEPNet (Postsecondary Education Programs Network). He was promoted to the rank of a full professor at NTID in 1987, and was named as President and Dean Emeritus of NTID upon his retirement from RIT in December 2009 when he was appointed as President of Gallaudet University.
During the course of his career, Dr. Hurwitz has been involved in a variety of professional and deafness-related organizations. He has served on the boards of several of these organizations. He is a past member of the board of directors of the National Captioning Institute. He is a past president of the National Association of the Deaf and the Empire State Association of the Deaf as well as a past president of the World Organization of Jewish Deaf. Presently, Dr. Hurwitz serves as Chair of the External Advisory Committee for the National Deaf Health Research at the University of Rochester Medical Center. He also serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Rochester School for the Deaf of which he is the past board president.
Dr. Hurwitz earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Washington University at St. Louis, Missouri, a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering from St. Louis (MO) University, and a doctor of education, curriculum and teaching, from the University of Rochester (NY). He also participated in the Management and Leadership in Education program at Harvard University.
Dr. Hurwitz continues to lecture extensively and has been widely published.
Dr. Hurwitz is married to Vicki Terrell for over 50 years. They have two grown children and two adorable grandchildren.
Jessica Dunkley, MD
Jessica Dunkley is from Vancouver, Canada where she is a family doctor and is completing a dermatology residency at the University of British Columbia. She originally trained as a physiotherapist, with a Bachelors in Physical Therapy from the University of British Columbia, volunteered for various international sporting events while obtaining her M.D from the University of Ottawa. She received her Masters in Health Sciences from the University of British Columbia in clinical epidemiology, followed by a family medicine residency in the Public Health and Preventive Medicine program at the University of Alberta. Her interests include delivering workshops to the deaf community and interpreters on health topics and increasing accessibility to health related information in signed language.
Jessica used multiple modes of accommodations throughout her training, and primarily works with ASL interpreters in the clinical setting. She remains faithful to her ViScope, but has accessorized with the durable E-Scope, ThinkLabs One and Vscan.
As an avid cyclist, Jessica commutes year-round on her bicycle and enjoys exploring the backcountry in her free time.
Amber Kimball Hsu, BSN, RN
Amber Kimball Hsu, BSN, RN, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholar, is pursuing her PhD in nursing research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Hsu’s research focus is on health disparities in individuals with hearing loss in the elderly. Hsu is well aware of the challenges endured by hard of hearing patients related to obtaining and consolidating health information in acute care settings. She was diagnosed profoundly deaf at 3 years old and received a unilateral cochlear implant in the summer of 1994 at UNC. Hsu’s access to spoken language and perspective on communication is unique as she is an avid Cued Speech user and advocate. For example, Cued Speech allows Hsu to access spoken English via auditory, visual, and kinetic means. Understanding the daily challenges individuals with hearing loss face, as patients and as health care professionals, prompted Hsu to pursue her career goals as a novice researcher.
Hsu earned her Associates Degree in Nursing from Guilford Technical Community College in 2014 and her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Winston Salem State University in 2015.
Hsu also has two years of acute care experience in research and in medical/surgical/telemetry.
Hsu lives in Winston Salem, North Carolina, with her husband and their family.
Scott R. Smith, MD, MPH
Scott R. Smith is a board-certified Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician, who hails from North Carolina, where he obtained his M.D. from the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University in 1996. He remained in Greenville, North Carolina to complete a residency in General Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern North Carolina. In 1999, Scott relocated to Boston to complete a postdoctoral fellowship in General Academic Pediatrics at the Massachusetts General Hospital for Children. He obtained a Master’s degree in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health in 2001. Subsequently, he completed a clinical fellowship in Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics at the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts-New England Medical Center.
Scott then relocated to Rochester, New York, in 2004 and became an Attending Pediatrician at the Behavioral Pediatrics Program at the Rochester General Hospital, where he engaged in full-time clinical practice using visual stethoscopes and sign language interpreters to care for children with ADHD and other problems. After 4.5 years of clinical practice, Scott moved to the University of Rochester to join the National Center for Deaf Health Research (NCDHR) where he obtained an early career mentored research development grant to study health literacy of deaf adolescents. In 2010, he became an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at University of Rochester Medical Center. Scott is profoundly deaf from birth and relies on sign language and written English to communicate with others. Scott is looking forward to working with AMPHL to strengthen and disseminate resources for visual access technologies and sign language interpreters in the medical and life science fields, including research and funding opportunities as well as teaching, training, mentoring, consulting, and future conference planning.
Mel Whalen, PhD, LP
Mel Whalen is a fully-licensed clinical psychologist offering both therapy and psychological testing services. “I work with many very bright, high-functioning adults who have recently been diagnosed with either ADHD or autism spectrum disorder and who are struggling to integrate this new information into their lives.
As a feminist therapist, I enjoy supporting women, particularly those who are often marginalized in multiple ways.” A large percentage of her clients identify as gender-queer, non-binary or asexual; she welcomes transgender adults seeking letters of referral for hormone treatment. Aside from her work with the LGBTQ+ population, Dr. Whalen also specializes in issues of cultural oppression, identity formation, and multiculturalism. Mel is fluent in American Sign Language. She attended Smith College for her undergraduate degree and Eastern Michigan University for her doctorate.