Welcome to AER Division 17




Join us at the AZ AER Fall Conference on November 2 - 3, 2017 at Poco Diablo Resort in Sedona, AZ.




The AZ AER Fall Conference is quickly approaching!

Please click here for the participant registration link.  

Please click here for the presenter registration link.  

8.25 CEUs will be available. Registration by October 26th is $150 for AER Members and $250 for non-members. After October 26th, the rates increase by $50.

Please click here for the updated conference program.

Hotel reservations must be made by 10/2 for the conference room rate of $109 (Traditional), $129 (Poco Deluxe), $149 (Poco King) and $159 (Elite Spa). There is an additional reduced resort fee of $10 per room per night. Rates are for single/double occupancy. Above that add $20 per person.

Please click here to reserve your room online or by calling 928-203-5923 between 8:00am – 6:00pm daily or emailing reservations@pocodiablo.com, and letting them know you will be attending the AZ AER Fall Conference.

The conference will have multiple concurrent sessions on a variety of topics, such as O&M, braille, MH, assistive technology, STEM, and so on.  Please check out the conference program for all of the sessions.

Below is information about our two keynote speakers.

Our keynote speaker on Thursday is Dr. Joshua Miele

Dr. Miele is a scientist with over 25 years of experience in developing innovative, information-accessibility solutions for blind people. He has a bachelor's degree in physics and a Ph.D. in psychoacoustics from the University of California at Berkeley. As Associate Director of the Smith-Kettlewell Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Blindness and Low Vision, he leads a team of engineers and scientists dedicated to addressing a wide variety of accessible information challenges in education, employment, and entertainment. His work integrates universal design, accessibility engineering, education research, psychophysics, disability studies, and other disciplines, applying emerging technologies and trends to a wide range of information accessibility challenges.

Outside of his professional work at Smith-Kettlewell, Dr. Miele is an active member of the Bay Area's vibrant disability community. He is a former board member of both the Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program (BORP), and the Ed Roberts Campus (ERC). He is currently the President of the board of the San Francisco LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and is co-founder and Creative Director of LightHouse Labs — a Bay Area think tank which promotes tightening ties between technology innovators and the blind community.

Dr. Miele is the inventor of the Descriptive Video Exchange (DVX), YouDescribe, WearaBraille, Tactile Maps Automated Production (TMAP), the Talking Tactile Pen (TTP), Sonification tools for MATLAB, Virtual Talking Signs, Simulated Sighted Stranger (SSS), and a number of other tools and diversions for blind consumers. He has also made contributions to screen reader technology, computer-vision applications for the blind, haptic exploration research, and disability humor. Dr. Miele lives in Berkeley with his wonderful wife and two irreverent children.

Our keynote speaker on Friday is Dr. Benjamin Bakall

Dr. Benjamin Bakall originates from Uppsala, Sweden where he completed his medical degree and earned a PhD focused on identifying the gene for the inherited retinal disease best macular dystrophy. He continued his research at the University of Arizona in Tucson where he also performed an internship in general surgery and a residency in ophthalmology. He completed a two-year medical retina fellowship at the University of Iowa that included research on inherited retinal diseases and age-related macular degeneration. Dr. Bakall has a special interest in research and monitoring inherited retinal diseases such as Stargardt disease, Best macular dystrophy, retinitis pigmentosa and Usher syndrome. He has published several research papers in prestigious scientific journals and presented his findings at international research conferences.

Dr. Bakall has received several awards for his research in inherited retinal dystrophies including the Anders Wall Award for the best young scientist in Sweden, the Swedish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship Award and the Foundation Fighting Blindness Alan Laties Career Development Award. He has been an invited speaker at the National Eye Institute - National Institutes of Health, the University of Arizona, the Foundation Fighting Blindness VISIONS conference and the American Society of Retina Specialists conference. He has been the medical director for the Arizona Vision Walk.

He is a board certified ophthalmologist and a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Society of Retina Specialists, the International Society of Genetic Eye Diseases & Retinoblastoma and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.

Dr. Bakall is currently dedicated to treating and monitoring medical retinal diseases from more common conditions including age-related macular and diabetic retinopathy to rare inherited retinal dystrophies. He is skilled in using specialized testing methods including full field electroretinogram, multifocal electroretinogram, visual evoked potentials for both cooperative and sedated patients. Genetic testing and genetic counseling is offered in his clinic. Dr. Bakall is a medical advisor for retinal gene therapy companies including Spark therapeutics, NightStaRx and Allergan.

If you have any questions please contact Tamara Bishop-Amavilah at tbishop-amavilah@seeitourway.org or Becky Hole at rebecca.hole@asdb.az.gov


Your AZ AER Board



The winner of the $50 Amazon gift card drawn for completing the March 31, 2017 spring workshop online session evaluations is Cecilia Onaiyekan!




Margaret Bluhm and Mary Jo Martinez Awards


t's time to start thinking about the 2016 Margaret Bluhm and Mary Jo Martinez Awards!

Let all the members of AZ-AER know who the dedicated movers and shakers are in the field here in Arizona!

Get those nominations submitted and recognize someone special whose contributions to the field of visual impairment have been outstanding! Fill out the attached form and send your nominations by the appropriate date listed below!

The Mary Jo Martinez Outstanding Professional Award 2016 form -

accepting nominations until October 1, 2016

The Margaret Bluhm Worker of the Year Award 2016 form -

accepting nominations until September 30, 2016




September 19-24, 2015

Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students (SCIVIS)

Huntsville, Alabama

Space Camp for Interested Visually Impaired Students (SCIVIS) will be held September 19-24, 2015 at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.


Increase your knowledge about science, space, and astronauts!  All materials and equipment for the week will be adapted for those who are blind or visually impaired.


Letters to school personnel are available for approved absences and school credit.





Past Meetings/Events



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