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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

AFB eNews

May 2012

AFB Is Working to Make Drug Labels Safer

Would you feel safe taking a dose of medication if you were not fully confident you were taking the correct amount? What would you do if you couldn't read important drug information on prescription bottles or package inserts? For the 25 million Americans living with vision loss, not being able to read drug container labels and package inserts is a frightening reality and a significant public health challenge.

Staff at AFB's Public Policy Center have been working hard to advance legislation for safer and more effective use of prescription medication by people who are blind or visually impaired.

Recently, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pentions (HELP) Committee considered the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act. Through a bipartisan agreement, provisions have been added to the act that would establish national best practices for pharmacies to use in providing accessible prescription drug labeling to customers with vision loss. Once enacted, these provisions would serve as a valuable supplement to existing laws that require pharmacies to ensure effective communication and barrier removal for people with disabilities.

In February, Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) introduced H.R 4087, the Prescription Drug Labeling Promotion Act of 2012, to ensure that people who are blind or visually impaired have full access to the information included on their prescription drug labels.

News and Announcements

AFB Honored for Outstanding Tech Program

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) received the prestigious New York Society of Association Executives' (NYSAE) Outstanding Information Technology Leadership Award, given to organizations that demonstrate excellence in the field of technology and contribute to the benefits that information technology offers to humankind. AFB received the award for its dedication to helping people with vision loss use technology, including smart phones, office equipment and life-saving diabetes monitoring devices.

Duane Geruschat, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, Wins 2012 Corinne Kirchner Research Award

Duane Geruschat, Ph.D., editor-in-chief of the Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness (JVIB), was presented with the 2012 Corinne Kirchner Research Award on May 4 at the AFB Leadership Conference.

The Corinne Kirchner Research Award honors individuals whose leadership and dedication illuminate the most pressing needs of people with vision loss through timely, innovative, and authoritative research. Dr. Geruschat was honored for his role as an internationally renowned expert in orientation and mobility and low vision. He is also a skilled researcher, prolific author, and celebrated educator.

Dr. Geruschat will be retiring from JVIB's editorship, a position he has held since 2005, in the fall. During his tenure, submissions have soared, articles of the highest quality have been published, and the journal’s international presence in terms of authorship and readership has expanded dramatically.

Dr. Diane Wormsley has been appointed as JVIB's new editor-in-chief. She is the Brenda Brodie Endowed Chair and Professor of Special Education in Visual Impairment at North Carolina Central University in Durham.

New Webinars Coming in June

On June 20, Bryan Gerritsen, a certified low-vision therapist, will present a 60-minute webinar titled "Lighting and the Visually Impaired, with Special Emphasis on LED Lighting." This webinar will be offered free to licensed agreement users; all others will pay $25. It will offer ACVREP and CRCC credits. The webinar will cover key terminology associated with lighting; review standards for lighting needs for various tasks, areas/rooms, and conditions; and the major options for lighting, including some of their advantages and disadvantages. Unique concepts associated with LED lighting will also be discussed.

On June 27, Ike Presley, AFB project manager, will present a 90-minute webinar titled "Overview of Technology for People with Low Vision." This webinar will be free to all registered AFB eLearners and will offer ACVREP and CRCC credits. The webinar will cover iDevices, electronic video magnifiers, hardware and software screen magnification technologies, e-book readers, cell phones, and more.

You can keep up to date with AFB webinar offerings at

AFB Leadership Conference Presentations to Be Offered Online

For the first time, AFB has audiorecorded several presentations at the AFB Leadership Conference and preconference and will offer them for purchase (and CEU credit) at a later date to individuals who were unable to attend. For a list of offerings, please visit our website. Additional information on the recordings will be made available at

What Reviewers Are Saying About New Titles from AFB Press

Two recent AFB Press publications have received glowing reviews from the field.

Teacher and braille literacy expert Anna Swenson noted about Learning to Listen/Listening to Learn: Teaching Listening Skills to Students with Visual Impairments, edited by Liz Barclay: "To my knowledge, no other single publication incorporates so much useful information about listening skills to students with visual impairments."

A book review published in the March 2012 issue of JVIB describes the book's usefulness as a reference and guide to classroom activities: "For busy teachers who may not have time to consult multiple sources, the in-depth presentation of each topic—including background information, research summaries, and practical strategies—means that the information necessary to identify a need, write a goal or objective, and implement instruction is all in one place."

In the April 2012 issue of JVIB, Julie Bernas-Pierce, executive director of the Blind Babies Foundation, reviewed Reach Out and Teach: Helping Your Child Who Is Visually Impaired Learn and Grow, written by Kay Alicyn Ferrell, with Dr. Susan J. Spungin as consulting editor. The review spotlights the value of the book for parents and professionals alike." Reach Out and Teach is a guidebook on which parents can rely when questions arise, or when preparation and reassurance are required…. I believe the book will claim a special place on the nightstands of families who endeavor to understand their child's development and support joyful learning in their first few years of life."

Both books are available in the AFB Bookstore at and by calling 1-800-232-3044.

AFB Welcomes Four New Trustees to Its Board

Four new, distinguished trustees have been elected to AFB’s national board: Melanie Lockwood Herman, Kenneth B. Miller, Barbara Rifkind, and Paul Sullivan.

Melanie Lockwood Herman serves as executive director of the Nonprofit Risk Management Center, a widely recognized nonprofit resource center serving nonprofits in the U.S. and internationally.

Kenneth B. Miller has spent 37 years as an agent for change in organizations that involve intellectual enterprise and intellectual property, for educational and consumer products and services, with experience at all levels—elementary, middle school, high school, college, professional, and consumer.

Barbara Rifkind is a publishing leader with 25 years' experience. She is the principal of Barbara Rifkind, LLC, a boutique advisory firm in the digital education space.

Paul Sullivan is the author of Clutch: Why Some People Excel Under Pressure and Others Don't. He writes the Wealth Matters column for The New York Times and has previously written for Fortune, Conde Nast Portfolio, The International Herald Tribune, Barron's, The Boston Globe, and Food & Wine.

Calling All Conference Attendees

Were you able to join us for the 2012 AFB Leadership Conference in beautiful St. Pete Beach? If so, please take a moment to fill out our survey and let us know how we can improve. The 2013 conference will be here before you know it, so mark your calendars today and plan to join us in Chicago, April 18-20, at the Renaissance Chicago Downtown.

From the Blogs

Be Kind, Rewind: How Your First Job Affects Your Entire Career

Joe Strechay, CareerConnect project associate, lays out his tips for success on the job.

Wanted: Your Input for an Upcoming AccessWorld Article

Deborah Kendrick, senior features editor for AccessWorld, wants to hear your customer service horror stories—and we all have a few of those.

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