History / Mission / Objectives
The Office on Deaf and Hard of Hearing grew out of a desire to have an agency that would focus on the needs of the deaf and hard of hearing community. In 1997 the Mississippi Legislature passed the bill establishing ODHH with the following mandates:
- To improve interpreter services in Mississippi by:
- Increasing the number and certification level of interpreters.
- Maintaining a list of qualified interpreters.
To provide community outreach, training and education on issues that relate to deaf and hard of hearing people.
To encourage and conduct research on issues related to deaf and hard of hearing people.
To provide information and advice to the Mississippi Legislature on issues that relate to the deaf.
To work with public and private organizations, including our colleges to accomplish ODHH's responsibilities.
To collect and maintain information that relate to deafness.
An Advisory Council was created to give the deaf and hard of hearing community involvement in the work of the office. The Council meets quarterly to advise the director on issues important to the deaf and hard of hearing community. Each member of the Council is appointed by the Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services and serves for a specific period of time. The council is made up of deaf and hard of hearing individuals.
The Office on Deaf and Hard of Hearing shall function as an agency of the state to advocate public policies, regulations, and programs to improve the quality and coordination of existing services for individuals with hearing loss, and to promote new services whenever necessary. To these ends, the Office on Deaf and Hard of Hearing will work with individuals, service providers, organizations, and state agencies as an active force, to better the lives and opportunities of all Mississippians with hearing loss.
To encourage, participate in, and conduct studies and research on issues related to the deaf and hard of hearing.
To provide community outreach, training and education to the public and private sectors, including businesses, schools, and governmental entities on issues related to the deaf and hard of hearing.
To work with public and private entities, including community and four-year colleges and universities.
To work to make interpreter services available to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
To maintain a registry of available and qualified interpreters in State.
To increase the number of qualified interpreters in the State.
To serve as a collection point and clearinghouse for information and data related to deafness and hard of hearing, including program and service options available to adults and children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
To provide advice and information to the State Legislature.
To discharge such other duties, responsibilities, and powers as are necessary to implement the provisions