HLAA has a seat at many tables, and now that includes the prestigious National Institutes of Health (NIH) Council of Councils. Executive Director Barbara Kelley takes a look at what her exciting new appointment means, and how this behind-the-scenes work at HLAA is where we are breaking down barriers and bringing hearing health into the mainstream.HLAA represents all people with hearing loss in the United States. Much of the influence we have is behind the scenes. Some of our work is likened to running a marathon rather than an explosive short sprint with a well-marked finish line. Making transformational change is indeed a marathon requiring sustained energy, patience and passion.
My new appointment to NIH’s Council of Councils signals something important for people with hearing loss. It means at the world’s foremost medical research center, hearing loss and hearing health has a seat at the table. Since this is an eight-year appointment, there’s plenty of time to contribute and gauge how hearing loss is considered.
In addition, one of the 27 NIH institutes is the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, established in 1989 with the work of advocates, including HLAA, who pushed for this new institute. I just completed a three-year term on the NIDCD advisory council, where I established meaningful relationships and learned about ongoing research in the field of hearing loss. There’s so much hope on the horizon.
Both appointments came through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, carrying the weight and prestige that implies. This is good news for HLAA and for people who care about hearing health
Table Set with Alphabet Soup
HLAA is also represented at various agencies and regulatory boards at the federal level. Our busy advocacy department is headed by Lise Hamlin, director of public policy, assisted by Brian Meyer, public policy associate. Collectively, we are sitting at important tables representing all people with hearing loss who need communication access and advancements in hearing health. Add to that many of our members who represent HLAA in state and local governments.
Here’s a sampling of the work going on behind the scenes, but very much in the forefront of strategy at HLAA:
Federal Agency Advisory Committees
- Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Disability Advisory Committee
- Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Disability and Multicultural Coalition
- TSA Aviation Security Advisory Committee (ASAC) Passengers with Disabilities Working Group
- U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Working Group dedicated to implementing the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) Advisory Committee’s recommendation regarding developing a public awareness campaign for Air Passengers with Disabilities Passenger Bill of Rights
- Friends of the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus (FCHHC)
- Hearing Health Collaborative
- World Health Organization’s World Hearing Forum (WHO/WHF)
- Cochlear Implant International Community of Action (CIICA)
- Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consumer Advocacy Network (DHHCAN)
- Teach Access
- International Federation of Hard of Hearing People (IFHOH)
- Telephone Caption Quality Measures and Metrics Working Group
- The University of Pittsburgh’s CLEARdashboard Advisory Panel
- Disability Organizations Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) Working Group
- LG’s Accessibility Advisory Board
- AT&T’s Advisory Panel on Access and Aging
- Microsoft’s Hard of Hearing Advisory Board
- Verizon’s Disability Advisory Board
- Consumer Technology Association (CTA), hearing health advocates to CES technology trade show
The work HLAA does is meaningful. The results at times are long awaited. But as long as there are people like you counting on us, we’ll sustain our energy, patience and most of all, passion!
For questions, contact HLAA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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