NAMI and MedRespond Apply American Sign Language to Conversational Engagement



NAMI San Diego Brings Innovative Technology to the Deaf Community

November 28, 2016 San Diego, CA –  NAMI San Diego (National Alliance of Mental Illness San Diego), MedRespond LLC and ASL Conversations LLC are pleased to announce the launch of “ASL Answers” for mental health, an interactive conversational technology for the deaf community.  Through a combination of streaming video and natural language processing that mimics an actual conversation, users interact with the web-based technology provided through MedRespond’s Conversational℠ Patient Engagement platform to receive answers to their questions in American Sign Language (ASL).

“It is challenging enough to reach the hearing population with expert information about mental illnesses and mental health resources,” said Shannon Jaccard, CEO of NAMI San Diego. “The deaf community is significantly underserved due to lack of ASL resources and the lack of a culturally competent service delivery system. By combining MedRespond’s innovative technology with our vast amount of behavioral health expertise and resources, we believe this solution represents a significant breakthrough to reach such an important population.”

Charlie Hearn, founder of ASL Conversations and Board member of NAMI San Diego, is the father of an adult son who is profoundly deaf from birth. He has also been an active advocate for those with a mental illness and their families for the last 16 years. Hearn said, “Although this technology does not break down all the barriers the deaf have to face in navigating mental health issues, it is a major step forward. This shows that there are people who care about finding new solutions.  Where organizations have struggled to reach the deaf – and therefore may ignore them or do less than they should – they now have a way to leverage limited resources with expert information in a very personal manner.”

Jaccard added that they intend to deepen their relationship with ASL Conversations and MedRespond to not only bring this technology to the deaf community here in San Diego, but to also partner with other organizations, including private and public companies, government agencies, and non-profits who seek to serve the deaf community on par with the hearing. “We are excited to partner with like-minded innovators to serve the deaf community in new ways,” she said.

NAMI San Diego is a grassroots non-profit organization that offers free support, education and advocacy programs and services for people who experience mental illness, as well as their family members and friends. For more information, call the NAMI San Diego Family and Peer Support Helpline at (800)523-5933 or visit www.namisandiego.org.

ASL Conversations, LLC is devoted to serving the Deaf community by delivering a range of life enhancing information in a personal and culturally appropriate manner using innovative video technology. ASL Conversations is located in San Juan Capistrano, Ca.

MedRespond, LLC is an online healthcare Conversational℠ Engagement company that combines artificial intelligence, search and streaming media to simulate a one-on-one dialog with a healthcare expert.  Its technology enables healthcare enterprises to provide personalized, relevant and scalable engagement solutions for patients, clients and their family members to help them navigate their healthcare journey.


For more information contact Virginia Pribanic at (412) 488-7000 or visit www.medrespond.com.

Virginia F. Pribanic

President & CEO, MedRespond, LLC

2425 Sidney St.

Pittsburgh, PA  15203

412-488-7000 (office)

412-443-6776 (cell)