Welcome to the Deaf Wellness Center


If you are contacting us to volunteer for our Informed Consent Study that link will take you to further information in both American Sign Language and English.

Many people contact us for copies of our publications our growing number of film and book products or for information about out workshops. Among our most popular offerings are:

For further information, contact Robert Pollard.

DWC Overview

The Deaf Wellness Center (DWC) is a program of the University of Rochester Medical Center, based in its Department of Psychiatry. The DWC staff engage in clinical services, teaching, and research activities that pertain to mental health, healthcare, sign language interpreting, and other topics that affect the lives of people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

The DWC was first "named" in 1999 but the staff and interns there have been providing mental health services and doing research and teaching since 1990. The DWC staff consists of psychologist Dr. Robert Pollard, who directs the DWC, psychologists Dr. Amanda O'Hearn and Dr. Denise Thew, faculty sign language interpreter and researcher Robyn Dean, social worker Sharon Haynes, mental health counselor Lori DeWindt, and every year, several interns from a variety of professional disciplines. All DWC staff members are fluent in sign language.

The DWC provides evaluation and psychotherapy services to individuals of any age, couples, and families. We also conduct psychiatric evaluations and provide consultation and forensic evaluation services to courts, governments, etc., on topics related to deafness, mental health, and healthcare. Several psychotherapy groups are also conducted at the DWC. Our psychotherapy groups are all-deaf and are conducted in sign language by our sign-fluent therapists. While most of our clients are deaf and use sign language, some are hard-of-hearing, oral deaf, or hearing people with family members. The DWC accepts all forms of health insurance and there is a sliding fee scale for persons with limited income. To schedule an appointment or discuss our services telephone the number above.

Because the DWC is part of the University of Rochester Medical Center, teaching and research are important activities. We teach our own DWC interns, who are becoming psychologists or interpreters and social workers. Our "Program for Deaf Trainees" is well-known throughout the US and in other countries, too, not only because we recruit deaf interns but also because our deaf interns work frequently with hearing patients (in partnership with sign language interpreters as necessary) at Strong Behavioral Health and Rochester Psychiatric Center. When our deaf interns graduate, they have skills and experience in providing mental health services to deaf and hearing people. The DWC faculty also teach medical students, psychiatry residents, sign language interpreters, and many other types of professionals and staff. We frequently travel throughout the US, and sometimes Europe, teaching and sharing our research findings.

The DWC has managed over $6 million in research and other project grants. We are one of the leading research sites in the US on the topics of deaf people and mental health, sign language interpreting and public health issues affecting the Deaf community.. Our largest grants to date have been from the US Department of Education and the Centers for Disease Control. Read about our various research projects in the research section of this website.

Research at the DWC has resulted in over 90 professional publications, the development of our "Strong Connections" videoconference-based interpretering service for healthcare settings, a book and video titled "Mental Health Interpreting: A Mentored Curriculum," the Demand Control Schema textbook, our "Applications of Demand Control Schema in Interpreter Education" proceedings book, and an increasing number of films. My Body, My Responsibility: A Health Education Video for Deaf Women" features information about puberty, pregnancy, pregnancy prevention, sexually transmitted diseases, and the procedures used during a typical OB-GYN examination. We also have produced two Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills training films which address important DBT skills taught through this effective approach to psychotherapy. We have produced eight films for the Centers for Disease Control on a variety of public health topics. We also have produced several films in support of a public education campaign regarding depression and suicide. Many DWC films can be viewed on YouTube. (Search for "Deaf Wellness Center.") To learn more about these products or place an order, contact DWC Director Robert Pollard.

DWC News

Be sure to visit the news area of our website. There, you'll find the latest announcements regarding our clinical, research, and training activities, including new grants, upcoming lectures, and more. The news section is updated at least monthy so bookmark that page and visit often!

Contact Information

Videophone (for voice callers or VP users)

  • 585-286-5041


  • 585-275-6785 (voice or TTY)
  • 585-273-1117 (fax)


300 Crittenden Blvd.
Rochester, NY 14642