From left to right: Sara Weiner-Collier, Carol Mauser and Chad A. Ludwig
The Oregon Deaf and Hard of Hearing Advisory Committee (ODHHAC) was officially restarted on March 14, 2014 at DHS. The purpose of ODHHAC is to represent the interests of deaf and hard of hearing Oregonians and to provide feedback and recommendations and to ensure that state agencies make programs available and accessible to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Members of the advisory committee are appointed by DHS Director Erinn Kelley-Siel. All Committee members have experience and/or knowledge about deaf and hard of hearing services, including four people who are deaf, four people who are hard of hearing and four who are hearing.
The new Committee is off to a strong start, and they encourage the public to attend their future meetings with comments and/or concerns. At their first meeting, the Committee discussed and identified future strategies for bringing their work to the public and how to best involve the community. At their second meeting on April 18th, members selected two Co-Chairs, Chad A. Ludwig, who is Deaf, Carol Mauser, who is late stage hard of hearing, and a Secretary, Sara Weiner-Collier, who is deaf.
Chad A. Ludwig said serving on this committee is important to him because, “I’ve lived in five different states before coming to Oregon. This is the state where I see the most significant disparity in having resources and services for the Deaf, deaf, deaf plus, Deaf Blind, Hard of Hearing and late deafness community. I want to see a significant change in that.”
Carol Mauser said “One of the things that has been really important to me is educating the community about resources and services that are out there and available for everyone to use.”
After the last ODHHAC meeting on April 18th, members voted to support a statewide community-based needs assessment to identify the needs for services or programs to better support Deaf, deaf, deaf plus, Deaf Blind, Hard of Hearing and late deafness individuals. The areas of assessment will include, but are not limited to education, employment, early intervention strategies, mental health, housing, alcohol and substance abuse. Currently, there is a significant lack of direct services available in Oregon in which this population can acquire the knowledge and skills to self-advocate or obtain equal access to program and services offered by non-profit, business and government agencies.
Theresa Powell, an Operations and Policy Analyst on the committee, encourages people to attend their future meetings and get involved. “We have a full commitment to our members but welcome and encourage the community to attend our meeting to receive information, provide personal stories and public comments.”
Future meetings are scheduled for:
- May 16th 10:00a.m.-12:00p.m. @ HSB room 473, 500 Summer St NE Salem
- June 20th 10:00a.m-12:00p.m @ HSB room 160, 500 Summer St NE Salem
For more information about ODHHAC, please contact Theresa Powell at: firstname.lastname@example.org.