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News from the Deaf Wellness Center

Informed Consent Study

Documents that explain medical procedures or how to participate in research can be difficult to understand. The DWC, along with colleagues from the National Center for Deaf Health Research, have begun a project to evaluate informed-consent procedures for people who primarily use American Sign Language (ASL). Researchers will compare the effectiveness of three informed-consent options: typical English-language forms, a filmed ASL interpretation of the informed-consent documents, and a filmed, scripted scenario in which two deaf people have a conversation about the information contained in the source documents.

Research ethics mandate that study subjects fully understand the potential risks and benefits of participating in studies. Language and cultural minority groups may not sufficiently understand written English research consent forms. Deaf sign language users are the focus of this study but the results could apply to any minority language group.

149 individuals participated in the study. Each volunteer experienced all three consent modalities as they consider hypothetical participation in three "low risk" or "high risk" health research studies. Post-consent interviews examined actual comprehension of the key study consent elements, perceived comprehension of those elements, willingness to participate in the studies presented, and perceptions of trust in the researchers' regard for their protection from harm (based on each consent experience).The impact of subject demographics such as age, gender, race, ethnicity, English and ASL fluency, education, and IQ also are being examined. Funding for the four-year project was provided by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences and the National Institute for Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

Demand Control Schema Textbook Published

The long-awaited textbook, "The Demand Control Schema: Interpreting as a Practice Profession" by Robyn Dean and Robert Pollard is available via the website: Dean and Pollard have been developing the demand control schema (DC-S) and their practice-profession approach to community interpreting since 1995. This textbook is the culmination of nearly two decades of work, as it evolved over the course of 22 articles and book chapters and nine DC-S research and training grants. Designed primarily for classroom use in interpreter education programs (IEPs), interpreting supervisors, mentors, and practitioners also will find this book highly rewarding. IEPs could readily use this text in introductory courses, ethics courses, and in practicum seminars. Each of its ten chapters guides the reader through increasingly sophisticated descriptions and applications of all the key elements of DC-S, including its theoretical constructs, the purpose and method of dialogic work analysis, the schema’s teleological approach to interpreting ethics, and the importance of engaging in reflective practice, especially supervision of the type that is common in other practice professions. Each chapter concludes with a class activity, homework exercises, a check for understanding (quiz), discussion questions, and an advanced activity for practicing interpreters. The first page of each chapter presents a list of the chapter’s key concepts, preparing the reader for an efficient and effective learning experience. Numerous full-color photos, tables, and figures help make DC-S come alive for the reader and assist in learning and retaining the concepts presented. Formal endorsements from an international panel of renown interpreter educators and scholars describe this text as “aesthetically pleasing,” praising its “lively, accessible style,” its “logic and organization,” and referring to it as an “invaluable resource” with international appeal to “scholars and teachers.” Spoken language interpreters also are proponents of DC-S and will find the material in this text applicable to their education and practice, as well.

ASL FLU Films Produced for the CDC

Under contract from the CDC, the Deaf Wellness Center completed two films about flu prevention and treatment, one geared toward deaf adults, the other geared toward deaf parents (regarding their children). Both films can be viewed on YouTube (search for "Deaf Wellness Center") as well as on the CDC's website. Both films feature deaf characters conversing in ASL and both films have English voice-over and captions. You can view the YouTube versions here: