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Health Issues

Page history last edited by Elizabeth Cordero 10 years, 5 months ago
Women and Deafness Home  Contemporary Gender Issues and Deafness   Famous Deaf Women   Organizations of Deaf Women  

Health Issues

This page is devoted to exploring health issues related to Deaf women.





Healthcare Settings


Picture courtesy of Britannica 

The Interpreting in Healthcare Setting website is sponsored by the CATIE Center at St. Catherine University in collaboration with the National Consortium of Interpreter Education Centers. This resource provides valuable information about interpreting in healthcare settings.  It includes healthcare resources and information about the Americans with Disabilities Act. Steinberg, Wiggins, Barmada, & Sullivan in 2002, interviewed 45 Deaf women about their, “understanding of women’s health issues, knowledge of health vocabulary in both English and American Sign Language, common health concerns among Deaf women, and issues of access to information, including pathways and barriers” (p. 729).  The Deaf women lacked health knowledge and in addition lacked common language knowledge with healthcare providers. However, when these women who were interviewed had a qualified interpreter their experience within the healthcare system changed.  Their experiences were more positive and they gained more access into the information and knowledge that was being expressed by the healthcare provider.  This study indicated that need for interpreting within the healthcare settings and the need for Deaf women to advocate for an interpreter when attending a healthcare setting.  Both Deaf women and interpreters can gain information and insight through this website. 


Interpreting in Healthcare Setting. Retrieved from http://healthcareinterpreting.org


Steinberg, A. G., Wiggins, E. A., Barmada, C. H., & Sullivan, V. J. (2002). Deaf women: Experiences and perceptions of healthcare system access. Journal of Women’s Health, 11(8), 729-741.

Posted By  B. Foster











The National Center for Deaf Health Research (NCDHR)


The National Center for Deaf Health Research (NCDHR) is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). NCDHR promotes health in the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.  It is strongly stressed that the NCDHR is not an organization that is researching hearing loss, but promotes health problems that occur throughout the American population.  This organization acknowledges the Deaf culture and distributes health videos in American Sign Language “…such as heart disease, obesity, depression and other chronic health concerns…” that occur in many people ("National center for," 2010).  Many research and educational opportunities are available for any age, sex, and people of different lifestyles.  Surveys and presentations are available for people in college and specifically for mothers. These topics may include weight management, mental health, and coping with depression.  NCDHR hosts events which members get together and participate in community service projects while getting to know one another. NCDHR is working to unite the deaf and hard-of-hearing community by hosting seminars educating both communities with the help of health videos that cover several topics that are necessary for everyone to be aware of.




National center for deaf health research ncdhr. (2010). Retrieved from


Posted By  S. Covert








Deaf Wellness Center (DWC) 

Deaf Wellness Center, DWC, program of the Rochester Medical Center focus on providing resources that help ensure and easier way to communicate and help provide and equal opportunity for evaluations and consultations. The DWC program is stemmed from the Department of Psychology.  They are able to conduct psychiatric evaluations and consolations which can include court settings if needed.  They psychiatric evaluations can be for a person at any age. Since DWC in interconnected with Rochester medical center, they are able to incorporate graduate level students getting into interpreting, psychiatrics, and social work.  The clinic helps provide research information, interpreting services for those who would feel More comfortable during and evaluation and or consultation.


Deaf Wellness Center (DWC) - University of Rochester Medical Center. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/deaf-wellness-center/


Posted By  Alexis S.




Health Care Delivery

Health care is an area that is important to know exactly what is being said. Due to lack of communication capabilities, deaf people often get inadequate, inappropriate, or unethical care from their physicians and other people in the health care field. Due to the amount of personal information shared during a doctors visit, many deaf people do not like taking an interpreter with them to the doctor, thus they must try and communicate for themselves.

Due to a multitude of individual and personal factors, communication or understanding will often happen between the practitioner and the patient. If a deaf patient doesn't understand what the practitioner is saying, they can not agree on an appropriate course of action.   

Resources  Harmer, L. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://jdsde.oxfordjournals.org/content/4/2/73.full.pdf html
Posted By  Jessica Whipple









Health and social care in the community


The Cheshire Deaf Woman’s Health project: Published in an article in a health magazine was a project on the experiences of Deaf women and access to health care. The group took several different types of surveys and found some common issues faced with Health care for deaf women in America. The women in the study said they could usually understand every word the doctor said but were not able to communicate because the doctor did not understand. They also felt strongly that if they had easier asses to health care by taking simple measures it would reduce the inequalities in health care.



Resources  Ubido, J. & Huntington, J. (2002, June 27). Inequalities in access to healthcare faced by women who are deaf.Health & Social Care in the Community10(4), 247–253. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-2524.2002.00365.x/abstract 
Posted By  Diana Cruz 









Deaf Women Fighting Breast Cancer

Breast cancer patient becomes mentor to other deaf women

Lorraine Stoltz is a woman who was born deaf in 1955. She is one of very few women who is slightly educated about health care and health care services. There are virtually no organizations for deaf women to become educated about their bodies and specifically breast cancer. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 and although she states that her mentors and doctors were all amazing, she felt limited because they did not know sign language. She was declared cancer free after her surgery, until 2012 when it returned. “Communication is essential”, says Stoltz. She got a double mastectomy in 2012 and was declared cancer free once again. Stoltz knows better than anyone how it feels to be deaf and confused by all the medical mumbo-jumbo. She is now a mentor for deaf women fighting cancer and helps them understand what is happening and providing support for them.



Guynn , Susan . "Breast Cancer Patient Becomes Mentor to Other Deaf Women ." Fredrick News-Post . 29 October 2013 : n. page. Web. 12 Nov. 2013. http://www.fredericknewspost.com/news/health/diseases/article_a33f343f-3507-53f2-a691-d3aa6d10e226.html.

Photo by: Travis Pratt

Posted By  Jessica Welter









Domestic Violence in the Deaf Community



-“Within the deaf community, there is ‘double code of silence’ related to domestic violence because services are typically not culturally sensitive or accessible for deaf survivors and because the deaf community has historically misunderstood or minimized the issue.”

-“Deaf women have increased barriers to services and are likely at greater risk for fatalities.”


Mental Health Services for Abused, Deaf Women


-“Many deaf and hard of hearing women seek assistance at local mainstream organizations where service providers are likely unfamiliar with ASL and deaf cultural norms and are therefore at a disadvantage when trying to establish healing relationships and effectively serve deaf individuals.  

- One organization G.R.E.A.T. D.A.Y., Inc. provides outpatient mental health services to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.


(n.d.). Retrieved from http://psychiatry.emory.edu/niaproject/Resources/Deaf.html

Picture from: http://www.greatdayinc.net/

Posted By  Mary Stegall 








North East Deaf Women's Health Group (DWHO)

DWHO was founded by and for women who use British Sign Language in 1988 as a project but transformed into a national organization in 2000. These women have monthly meetings in the Northeast where professional visitors are invited to educate them about health-related issues, and also help their members if they have questions on personal health issues they are dealing with.

Apart from learning about health risks, the organization gives charity to other women groups/organizations (Regional Deaf Women Initiatives Network in Kenya) who need help buying tools they might need. They also formulate yearly events that focus on specific services such as Breast screening, fire safety, and a Christmas meal on December 7,2013.

Resources  Retrieved from http://www.dwho.org.uk/
Posted By  Jacqueline Najera









Deaf Women: experiences and perceptions of healthcare systems and access 


Deaf Women: experiences and perceptions of healthcare systems and access is an article done by doctors from the University of Pennsylvania under the department of Psychiatry, about 45 interviews done to deaf women and their experience with healthcare systems.   A lack of health knowledge was evident, including little understanding of the meaning or value of cancer screening, mammography, or Pap smears; purposes of prescribed medications, such as hormone replacement therapy (HRT); or necessity for other medical or surgical interventions. Negative experiences and avoidance or nonuse of health services were reported, largely due to the lack of a common language with healthcare providers. Insensitive behaviors were also described. Positive experiences and increased access to health information were reported with practitioners who used qualified interpreters. Providers who demonstrated minimal signing skills, a willingness to use paper and pen, and sensitivity to improving communication were appreciated. Deaf women have unique cultural and linguistic issues that affect healthcare experiences. Improved access to health information may be achieved with specialized resource materials, improved prevention and targeted intervention strategies, and self-advocacy skills development. Healthcare providers must be trained to become more effective communicators with Deaf patients and to use qualified interpreters to assure access to healthcare for Deaf women.


Steinberg, AG., Wiggins, EA., Barmada, Ch., Sullivan, VJ. (2002 October, 11). Deaf Women: experiences and perceptions of healthcare systems and access.

retrieved from:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12570039

Posted By  Beena Thomas








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