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Professor Michael Schwartz Publishes Article on Health Care for Deaf People in Northern Ireland

Posted on Wednesday 7/17/2019
Michael Schwartz

Schwartz, Michael. "What’s the CRAIC? Health Care for Deaf People in Northern Ireland." Touro Law Review, 35:1 (Symposium Issue on Disability Rights Law, 2019)

Northern Ireland, one of the four political entities constituting the United Kingdom (UK), is subject to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) because the UK ratified the UNCRPD on June 8, 2009, writes Professor Michael Schwartz in the Touro Law Review. Article 25 of the UNCRPD requires access to health care for people with disabilities, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing. 

A Fulbright scholar at Queen’s University Belfast in 2015, Schwartz conducted a study of deaf people’s access to Northern Ireland’s health care system. His study, confirmed over several subsequent visits to Northern Ireland, suggests that work needs to be done to fully effectuate Northern Ireland’s compliance with the UNCRPD.

Interviews with deaf people, sign language interpreters, and health care personnel underscore three key themes, observes Schwartz: the need for cultural awareness on the part of health care providers, the shortage of sign language interpreters, and the impact of the interpreter on the dynamic between the deaf patient and the hearing health care provider. 

"The overarching theme of the research demonstrates that there is an urgent need for training for all of the key stakeholders," writes Schwartz. "The article suggests several steps to address these themes."