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Eric Raff, ’90, newly hired as deputy director of the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH) in July 2016, brings twelve years of directing experience from the Washington State Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

As deputy director, Eric helps oversee all VDDHH technology and outreach programs, including Virginia Relay and the Technology Assistance Program (TAP). Virginia Relay is a free public service that enables people in Virginia who are deaf, hard of hearing, DeafBlind or who have difficulty speaking to communicate with standard telephone users. TAP provides no-cost telecommunication equipment to qualified applicants who are unable to use a standard telephone.

Raff’s immediate goal is to connect Virginia’s deaf community. His plans include hosting a series of public meetings throughout Virginia, encouraging VDDHH staff members to improve their sign language proficiency, creating more videos and/or vlogs in ASL, and developing and maintaining good relations with everyone in the community, including deaf, DeafBlind, hard of hearing, and late-deafened community members.

“I came to the realization that VDDHH needed to build bridges with the deaf community,” said Raff. “Change over time cannot happen without conversations, supportive and willing participants, and patience and persistency.”

Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, Raff is married to Lauren Good, ’93, and have two children. He enjoys playing Frisbee with his Australian shepherd, exercising, collecting postcards, watching movies, traveling, and spending time with friends and family. In addition to his bachelor’s degree from Gallaudet, he earned his master’s degree in public affairs from Indiana University. He has nearly twenty years of experience providing services to people who are deaf, hard of hearing and DeafBlind.

VDDHH, a state government agency, acts as a resource center for deaf and hard of hearing Virginians, offering information on hearing loss, training for accommodation services, assistance with interpretive services, and providing information on emergency preparedness.

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