NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Partners in Vision Health Highlight Accessibility in Summit

Chiang and Hà, smiling in conversation
NEI Director Dr. Michael Chiang greets speaker Christine Hà.

In a conference on NIH’s Bethesda campus, a rapt audience listened as Christine Hà, winner of the third season of the reality TV program MasterChef, discussed the challenges of competing in a cooking show as a person with a visual impairment.

The gathering was the 2023 Partnership Summit for the NEI’s National Eye Health Education Program (NEHEP). Since it was authorized by Congress in 1988, NEHEP has performed public health education and outreach about eye health for health care practitioners and consumers.

Attendees sit in groups talking animatedly to each other.
During a speed networking activity, attendees found opportunities to collaborate on eye health education.

With more than 60 attendees representing 35 organizations, participants were challenged to work together to achieve shared goals in eye health education, including moving the needle on meeting the HHS Healthy People 2030 vision objectives. The summit also highlighted the importance of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA)—with a special focus on accessibility.

NEHEP Director Devina Fan discussed the creation of more than 130 Spanish-language pages for consumers in the past year, as well as NEI’s commitment to making materials and digital products accessible to people with visual impairment. 

Devina Fan speaks into mic at podium as Ochiai looks on.
NEHEP Director Devina Fan introduces HHS ODPHP Senior Advisor Emmeline Ochiai.

Representatives from the NEHEP Partnership described the results of educational collaborations with NEHEP. And staff from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) at the Department of Health and Human Services discussed progress on Healthy People (HP) 2030 and opportunities for technical support and networking for organizations interested in becoming HP2030 Champions. Attendees also connected with each other through a speed networking activity. 

Several attendees with visual impairments appreciated the ways the summit was made welcoming to them. Audience members took inspiration from Hà, who, at the time of the event was about to open her third restaurant. She shared her experiences living with vision loss, including working as a chef and restaurateur, and her perspectives on how societal attitudes, accessible environments and assistive technology can help people with disabilities.

The NIH Record

The NIH Record, founded in 1949, is the biweekly newsletter for employees of the National Institutes of Health.

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