Rosabel Agbayani was hired as the Hands & Voices Consultant for Underserved Populations.
If you have any suggestions, comments, resources that touch on outreach to our Underserved Populations (referring to race, ethnicity, disability, gender, sexual orientation, family structure, and socioeconomic status) or would like to be involved please reach out to Hands & Voices directly.
Click Link to September 21, 2020 Press Release from Hands & Voices Headquarters
I am humbled by this opportunity to serve Hands & Voices as the Consultant for Underserved Populations. I am so excited to have this opportunity to blend my life’s experience with my career in helping others. As I have been preparing for the important work to be done, I’ve spent some time reflecting on why I am here and what I hope to accomplish in my role as the Consultant for Underserved populations.
We are in a period of time right now where things are moving and paused at the same time. This is forcing all of us to look at things from a different perspective. We are all witnessing how institutions like healthcare and education have been severely impacted by COVID-19 and it has forced both systems to react to the circumstance and rebuild the way services are delivered. Hands & Voices as an organization are also called to look at the families we serve and find opportunities for us to strengthen our capacity to support our chapters, give families meaningful resources, and seek out ways that we can show that we understand how difficult this time is for everyone especially our Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community.
As a public health professional, I look at the community in terms of Health Equity. Equity should not be confused with Equality. Equality emphasizes everyone gets their equal share, however EQUITY breaks down those silos that divide ourselves within a community and makes sure that everyone gets what they need. Fairness and Equity requires us to look closely at those social determinants of health and make a conscious effort to include those in underrepresented populations (e.g. rural, urban, race, ethnicity, disability, gender, sexual orientation, family structure, and socioeconomic status) that can influence a community’s ability to access the necessary resources and support for successful and healthy human development. Health equity is more than one intervention; it’s a lens through which all of our work in human services should be viewed.
Over the next 4 years, Hands & Voices will be taking a closer look at our organization and in our leadership to focus on opportunities to infuse Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the work we already do. Hands & Voices has established the Gold Standard for supporting families with children who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing. We want to expand our outreach and continue to support our local chapter leaders to find those opportunities to reach out to our Underrepresented Populations. Everyone deserves an opportunity to find the gift of being connected to Hands & Voices. Here at Hands & Voices we want every family of a Deaf or Hard of Hearing child, at all stages of their journey, in all walks of life, to know that they BELONG in our community and we are here to support, encourage, and empower them the best way we know how!