Last May, I got a response from the CDC regarding my two letters requesting the information. I originally was going to take the CDC’s responses to Huffington Post, and ask them for their assistance in this matter, but I unfortunately got side-tracked with other things. So, see below for the CDC’s responses.
For those who are unable to view the images for whatever reason, the CDC in their May 7 response, stated the following why my request was mainly denied:
- “Program staff inform me that CDC does not pay to advertise the EHDI meetings, but that web links to the meeting were provided on CDC web pages. These documents are enclosed.”
- “Program staff also inform me that CDC does not maintain the abstracts of rejected proposals for the EHDI annual meeting.
- “Under authority of the Freedom of Information Act at 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(6) and the Department’s implementing regulation at 45 CFR 5.67, the titles of rejected abstracts, which could lead to the identification of unsuccessful submitters and would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, were deleted from these documents.”
In the May 22 response from the CDC, they again denied most of my request and stated the following:
“Enclosed please find a document pertaining to your request (1 page).
Program staff inform me that CDC did not place notices about a call for papers (abstracts) for the 2012 EHDI Annual Meeting.
Under the authority of the Freedom of Information Act at 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(6) and the Department’s implementing regulations at 45 CFR 5.67, the names of Abstract Review Committee members, the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy, have been deleted from these records.
Pursuant to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act at 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(7)(F), which protects against endangerment of the safety or life of any individual, and the Department’s implementing regulation at 45 CFR 5.67, the names of the Abstract Review Committee members have been deleted form these records.
You can view both letters in the image gallery above, and I have also shown the 1 document enclosed in the May 22 letter. In the May 7 letter, aside from the printed web pages, they also enclosed a document that is also shown in the image gallery.
Ultimately, in my opinion, the message from NCHAM and the CDC is very clear. And that is:
You and the ASL Deaf Community can shove it.
I claim this is their message based on several things:
- The CDC admits that they did not issue a call for papers, nor really advertise about the EHDI Annual Meetings. So the question arises: how could a fair and transparent abstract selection process take place?
- You have to contend with their coded documents listing which presentations and posters to be exhibited at the 2012 EHDI Annual Meeting. What’s the purpose of sending me a coded document?
- And the most damning of all, the government destroyed records because they apparently believe those on the 2012 Abstract Review Committee, would be physically endangered. It’s almost laughable when you think about it.
In my opinion, NCHAM and CDC has clearly demonstrated that they do not truly want the Deaf Community to become involved or be even aware about EHDI and its process. These responses, in my opinion, lends tremendous credence to the notion that many of the Deaf Community’s concerns with EHDI are quite justified, and there is more to this than what meets the eye here.
The years of lack of transparency and answers to our questions; the overflow of irrelevant and confusing information that has nothing to do with our questions; the coded documents; the destruction of records so we can no longer ask for them… all point to something very disturbing within NCHAM and the CDC when it comes to the Deaf Community.
Unfortunately, the deadline for appealing these absurd responses has passed. And as a friend pointed out to me last spring, this is really far too big for one person to take on. I do not have the financial means or the resources to fight this, really.
I strongly believe that we, as a community, cannot allow this insult and dismissal to abide. For the sake of future generations of us Deaf, I hope things will change for the better within EHDI. But that will only happen if enough of us take a stand for what’s right. I now share this information with all of you in hopes for that happening. After all… like someone once said:
We are governed not by armies, but by ideas. – Mona Caird