Real Talk, Good Action | Health Care System: the Bad and the Ugly

Working with Deaf Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) within the healthcare system requires a thoughtful and culturally sensitive approach. It’s essential to recognize and address the unique challenges and barriers they may face due to their identity and communication needs. This webinar will share important considerations when working with Deaf BIPOC individuals in the healthcare context.

Please consider a donation to the BIPOC membership section so we can continue our advocacy efforts and plan important events like this series.

NOTE: There are no RID CEUs for this webinar.


 Ivy Vélez

Ivy Vélez is a grassroot Latina Deaf Community Advocate and was born the oldest daughter of Deaf parents who are both from Puerto Rico. Ivy works as a Statewide Coordinator for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Supports at the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She has a BA degree in Human Services and MS in Organizational, Management and Leadership. She has worked in human services for over 35 years and developed specialized consultations, staff training and program/process evaluations focusing on intercultural competences and on issues related to valuing diversity within culturally, racially and linguistically diverse school settings, workplaces and organizations locally, statewide and nationwide. Ivy also conducted and chaired effective cultural sensitivity workshops, numerous presentations, seminars and panels addressing issues affecting Deaf and Hard of Hearing consumers. Ivy lives in Marlborough, Massachusetts where she and her partner of 25 years have raised five precious cats. She is active in the Deaf community and has served as a board member of several organizations. During her personal time, Ivy enjoys doing The Velez Deaf Sisters Show, deaf community theatre, and attending different deaf events.

Elisa Valles

Elisa Valles has worked in the field of mental health for 5+ years and is experienced in dealing with healthcare as a licensed therapist. Before becoming a therapist, she was a teacher of the Deaf, teaching students when she realized her passion was in helping people, not teaching. As a director of a community service agency, Elisa gained experience from working on a community-level outreach, connecting with different state agencies and insurance. In this work, she gained wisdom and knowledge of how to work with Medicaid, Medicare, and commercial plans. She also learned how to navigate the system and used this knowledge to teach families how to navigate the system. When Elisa is not advocating, therapizing, or supporting families, she spends time with her two teenage CODAs at home as well as participate in various boards in her state. She is a strong believer in giving back to the community and not sitting back. For downtime, Elisa enjoys different hobbies and traveling with her family as well as snuggling with her furbabies.

Previous webinars in this series