UR medical students spend the day in the shoes of deaf hospital patients


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC-TV) — For those with hearing, it can be hard to imagine some of the challenges in Rochester’s deaf community. That’s why medical students from the University of Rochester spent the day in a “no voice zone.”

First-year students were tasked with seeking advice from staff and doctors who only used American sign language. All the staff and doctors were deaf volunteers.

Each student was given the ASL alphabet prior to the event as a base. The idea is for students to experience the same barriers many deaf people have navigating the complex healthcare system.

“So it really shows them what deaf people experience, and other people from other countries who don’t speak English as their primary language, what their experience is. So when they graduate school and move to other places, hopefully, they can take this experience with them and work with these patients better,” said Kelly Matthews, senior research coordinator for the National Center for Deaf Health Research.

The program is conducted early on in every fall semester.

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