Awarded to one audiologist and one non-audiologist for their exceptional support of the field of audiology and/or the patients we serve by focusing on issues that directly affect the profession and/or consumers with hearing loss and balance disorders. The recipient shall have made notable contributions in one or more of the following areas: outstanding clinical practice and/or patient care, teaching or mentoring; advocacy; research; and/or exceptional service to the profession of audiology.
A role model of integrity and leadership, the Academy is pleased to bestow its 2021 Honors of the Academy to Erin Miller in recognition of her significant contributions to the field of audiology.
Dr. Miller has maintained an unbroken record of professional service and leadership, working tirelessly in the public eye and behind the scenes. She has served on over 60 committees and councils.
Nationally, she served on the Academy Board of Directors, is a past president of the Academy, and chaired the 2019 AAA Annual Conference. She also served as president of the Ohio Academy of Audiology and as the representative for the Ohio Speech and Hearing Governmental Affairs Coalition for 15 years. Through her work, Dr. Miller brings a consistent and unruffled approach to leadership.
As coordinator of the Northeast Ohio AuD Consortium, Dr. Miller ensures The University of Akron, Kent State University, and Cleveland Clinic act as one entity to benefit their students. She teaches multiple courses, deftly weaving theory and practice from classroom to clinic, and precepts in the clinic.
Dr. Miller also teaches beyond the university, including multiple presentations and publications. She is especially renowned on the complex topic of professional ethics, advancing this issue as a mainstream value shaping our professional identity.
Paul Pessis, AuD, is the owner and founder of North Shore Audio-Vestibular Lab. He is also an instructor at Rush University and is a sought-after speaker on private practice and coding and reimbursement issues. Dr. Pessis has additionally served on the Academy Board of Directors and as president of the Academy.
Dr. Pessis’ wisdom and foresight assisted in the creation of the Academy’s Coding and Reimbursement Committee, the Coding and Practice Management Committee, the Academy’s Practice Policy Advisory Council, the Academy’s involvement in Audiology code development and valuation via participation in the CPT Editorial Panel and RUC processes, and the representation of the profession with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Always, at the forefront of his efforts is his belief in Audiology as an autonomous profession deserving of professional reimbursement. Dr. Pessis’ leadership and persistence ensured a successful petition to garner Audiology seats at both the AMA CPT and RUC Health Care Professionals Advisory Committees, for which he serves as the Academy’s RUC HCPAC representative.
Additionally, he is the sole audiology representative to the Hearing Instrument Manufacturer’s Software Association (HIMSA) Board, an international board comprised of the six hearing aid company leaders, and has served on the Board of Directors for the Accreditation Commission for Audiology Education (ACAE).
From creating standards for new professionals to his role in maintaining appropriate valuation of the diagnostic services we provide, Dr. Pessis’ leadership spans all realms of the profession. The Academy is pleased to bestow its 2020 Honors of the Academy to Dr. Paul Pessis, in recognition of his significant contributions to the field audiology.
Angela Loavenbruck is an illustrious leader in the field of audiology, whose high standards, innovations, and commitment have crafted positive and lasting changes in hearing-care services. Throughout her career, her efforts at the local, state, and national levels spurred audiology to an autonomous profession. As a clinician, Dr. Loavenbruck has dedicated her career to delivery of high-quality, patient-centered services. She is among the first audiologists in the nation to start her own independent practice, generating new delivery models for comprehensive, evidenced-based audiology services directly from audiologists.
At a time when audiologists were prohibited from dispensing hearing aids, Dr. Loavenbruck coauthored the first textbook on Hearing Aid Dispensing for Audiologists in 1978. She was among early advocates of the AuD degree and was a principal developer of rigorous educational standards for academic programs. As the first chair of the Accreditation Commission for Audiology Education, her dialogues spurred the separation of university program accreditation from simple certification. She served on the Board of the Audiology Foundation of America, helping to raise millions of dollars to support the transition to the AuD. During her term as president of the American Academy of Audiology, she focused on assuring that ethical standards for audiologists were unsurpassed in health care.
Dr. Loavenbruck has fruitfully applied her unique ability to resolve complex challenges with reasonable and clear solutions (for the benefit of the audiology profession and the patients we serve), in locations ranging from the halls of Congress to individual audiology clinics.
Dr. Zapala is an associate professor of audiology in the College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic Foundation. He is also a senior consultant in otorhinolaryngology and the chair of the audiology division at the Mayo Clinic Florida. He is active in direct patient care; resident, fellow, and post-doctoral mentorship; clinical research; and clinical information management. From a research perspective, he has focused on mathematical modeling methods to improve audiological and vestibular diagnostics and to quantify the functional consequences of hearing impairment. He also studies the perceptual and functional consequences of vestibular and balance disorders.
Dr. Zapala received a Master of Science degree from Utah State University in 1983 and a PhD from University of Memphis in 1993. Early in his career, he developed the Mid-South Lions Infant Hearing Center and the Methodist/University of Tennessee Hearing and Balance Center at Methodist Healthcare in Memphis. He also served as a clinical professor in otolaryngology at the University of Tennessee. He continues to publish, teach, and present in the areas of vestibular assessment and diagnostic audiology. Dr. Zapala has served on the American Board of Audiology, the American Academy of Audiology Board of Directors, and the American Balance Society Board of Directors. He is also a past president of the Tennessee Academy of Audiology.
More recently, he served on the National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine Committee on the Accessibility and Affordability of Hearing Healthcare.
He is the recipient of the Edward Dalstrom Distinguished Service Award by the Mid-South Lions Sight and Hearing Service (2001); Distinguished Service Award from the American Board of Audiology (2007); Jerger Mentor Award in Clinical Research (2009); Outstanding Alumnus of the Year by School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Memphis (2013); and the Arnold D. Tuttle Award in Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine (2013). He was recognized as Clinician of the Year for Mayo Clinic Florida (2016). His research is supported by the Mayo Clinic, the Knowles Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health. He is currently funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders to study ways of decreasing the cost of hearing health care associated with hearing aid use.