Health Education Curriculum Home Page
This health education curriculum represents the culmination of a three-year effort by a team of professionals to address a very real and serious need brought to our attention by Audrey McCrimon, Director of the Illinois Department of Rehabilitation Services. Ms. McCrimon's experiences in the inner city Chicago deaf community had caused her to develop great concern about the lack of awareness of the basic principles of taking care of oneself among lower-functioning deaf individuals. We could not ignore the sense of urgency that Ms. McCrimon communicated to us about this crisis. As researchers, we felt strongly that we had a responsibility to address this identified problem and began to search diligently for some method by which to address the issue. Our search led to an application for a Field-Initiated Research Grant with the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Deafness and Communicative Disorders and to subsequent three year funding under grant #H133G30101.
A team from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, was assembled to work on a three part process that would include identifying components of developing and field testing a health care education curriculum for lower-functioning deaf individuals, also termed traditionally underserved persons who are deaf. The initial research team consisted of Stephen Larew as project coordinator, Dr. Constance Goode of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction as the curriculum consultant, and Dr. Wendy Burgess as the technical consultant on medical issues. When Dr. Goode left Northern Illinois University early in the project's development phase, Dr. Carla Shaw, also of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, assumed responsibility for designing the curriculum with Dr. Burgess. Dr. Nancy Long, then Director of Research at the Northern Illinois University Research and Training Center on Traditionally Underserved persons who are Deaf, lent to the project her expertise in managing research.
Throughout the three year project, the development of the curriculum was assisted tremendously by an extremely talented and dedicated group of research assistants including Trisha Sullivan, Noreen Hughes, and Jan Vander Meer. Ms. Vander Meer was also responsible for the final edit of the project. This project could not have been completed without the substantial and significant contributions of these individuals.
The project staff is also indebted to Alan Vest and the staff of the Program for the Hearing Impaired at Northern Illinois University for providing a site where the curriculum could be pilot tested and for providing helpful insight and constructive feedback. Also instrumental to the project were six regional affiliates to the Northern Illinois University Research and Training Center on Traditionally Underserved Persons who are Deaf. These programs included Lexington Center in New York City; the Georgia Sensory Rehabilitation Center in Atlanta; the Southwest Center for the Hearing Impaired in San Antonio, Texas; the Community Outreach Program for the Deaf in Tucson, Arizona; the Seattle Speech, Hearing, and Deafness Center in Seattle, Washington; and the Illinois Department of Rehabilitation Services, represented in the field test phase by the Illinois School for the Deaf. Personnel from these six programs assisted the project staff in setting up and conducting focus groups of medical and rehabilitation personnel who provided their input regarding the health care needs of low-functioning or traditionally underserved persons who are deaf and who described specific barriers this population experiences in accessing quality health care. Individuals from these six sites also conducted individual consumer and family interviews that resulted in determining the content of the curriculum. They then conducted field tests of the curriculum and provided crucial feedback that enabled project staff to make revisions leading to the final product.
Finally, the project staff wishes to thank Marsh for her exceptional illustrations, which are critical to our effort to convey complex concepts to individuals who lack strong verbal skills. we also appreciate the consent of the Southwest Center for the Hearing Impaired for use of their drawings on AIDS prevention.
It is our hope that this curriculum will make it easier for various professionals to teach low-functioning or traditionally underserved deaf persons about heir bodies and about taking care of them. If a single unwanted pregnancy, incidence of sexually transmitted disease, or effect of poor nutrition can be prevented through the use of this curriculum, the goal of this project will have been fully realized.