Awarded to an individual who has made significant voluntary and/or philanthropic contributions to under-resourced communities through the provision of audiology or ear and hearing services, philanthropic development of educational programs, and/or other service-oriented activities. Work that is done in conjunction with the nominee’s employment is usually not considered as being relevant for this award.
How to Nominate
The Academy Honors and Awards Committee encourages all Academy members to identify those colleagues they believe have made significant contributions to the audiology profession. If you know someone who should be recognized for his or her efforts, please take the time to submit a nomination packet to the committee for review. Read more about the nomination requirements and committee policies here.
Michael Mallahan, AuD, ABA Certified, is this year’s recipient of the 2023 Humanitarian Award.
Dr. Mallahan learned early in life to be of service to others through his parents’ example. Every Friday dinner was a mission meal. The family only ate white rice, and the savings were donated to the missions. From that early foundation he learned to serve those in need around the corner and around the world.
In 1998, he was part of a team that started a newborn hearing screening program in Snohomish County, Washington. He helped secure a federal grant to provide training and equipment for that program, which has assured its growth and continuation. He has been a strong advocate for the EHDI (Early Hearing Detection and Intervention) in Washington state.
Dr. Mallahan is now in is his 20th year of service to children in Guatemala helping to provide access to the ear and hearing care they need. More than 5,000 children have received hearing aids in addition to ear, nose and throat surgeries. Mike has traveled to Guatemala with colleagues and students to educate and train local volunteers to take over caring for the children fit with hearing aids. These Guatemalans are now able to identify, fit, and provide follow up care to children with hearing loss throughout the country. In coordination with the only Guatemalan audiologist, newborn hearing screening has been expanding over the last five years due to generous Rotary International global grants.
He continues to be involved locally, assisting with St. Vincent de Paul, leading Irish Soccer Club, refereeing games in the community, and as a Rotarian with the Mill Creek Rotary Club.
Dr. Mallahan has been in both formal and informal leadership positions within the American Academy of Audiology as well as the Washington State Academy. He has mentored many audiologists during his career, focusing on teaching the importance of providing support to those needing audiology services regardless of their circumstances.
Overall, Dr. Mallahan is being recognized with the Humanitarian Award for the notable example he sets for the profession in raising the standard for hearing care in his community and globally, reminding us of the importance of giving back.
King Chung, PhD, uses her expertise and her passion for teaching to tackle different needs in humanitarian audiology. As a professor and audiology program director at Northern Illinois University, she has led students onto 11 humanitarian trips and provided hearing services to more than 4,000 underserved children and adults in seven countries/governing regions in the past 10 years.
Dr. Chung’s research instincts shine in her collaborations with international colleagues to disseminate the testing results, to increase the awareness of hearing health, and to advocate for better hearing services around the world. Their clinical findings provided key evidence for the high hearing service demand in many communities. Her advocacy also extends her to be a founding coeditor of the column, Audiology Without Borders, and the director of Best Practices of Coalition for Global Hearing Health.
Additionally, Dr. Chung’s entrepreneurial spirit and her creativity in R&D have resulted in the development of a low-cost calibration system and automatic hearing test applications for children and adults. With the success of pilot testing in the United States, she received a 2019 Fulbright Scholar Award to verify the applications’ efficacy and accuracy in Brazil. These programs will be released for public use at a nominal cost soon.
Debra Fried began traveling to Nicaragua more than 15 years ago to participate with Mayflower Medical Outreach in an audiologic/otologic medical mission. Since her first trip, she has worked tirelessly on behalf of the hearing-impaired community in the rural, coffee-producing town of Jinotega. She carved time out of her busy career as an audiologist and coordinator of audiology services at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York to make multiple trips per year, providing comprehensive and on-going services to the people of Nicaragua. Her relentless servitude earned her the positions as the director of audiology and a member of the board of directors for Mayflower Medical Outreach, Inc.
Despite her clinical and managerial responsibilities at Mount Sinai, Debra Fried knew she wanted to expand her footprint and bring her services to those in need. However, she was not content in simply bringing her services to overlooked populations, but rather she wanted to change the landscape of a community by creating opportunities for sustainable health-care access. Her achievements with the Mayflower Medical Outreach team cross the boundaries of audiology, medicine, and education.
Debra’s accomplishments in Nicaragua over the past 15 years are impressive. She designed and implemented an audiometric technician training program for the Nicaraguan Ministry of Health (MINSA) with grant support from the Hearing the World Foundation. This program now has more than a dozen Nicaraguan graduates who provide hearing care in their own country. She doesn’t stop there. With a grant from the Oticon Foundation, she designed and implemented an early hearing loss detection program in Jinotega. She cofounded the International Humanitarian Hearing Aid Purchasing Program (IHHAPP), which is designed to provide low-cost, high-quality hearing aids to low-resource environments. Each of her actions and accomplishments indicates she is the epitome of a servant leader. Her service is not just for a moment, not just for two weeks out of a year, but rather for a lifetime committed to lift and lead the hearing-impaired people of Jinotega on a path to self-sufficiency and access to sustainable hearing health care.
Nora Stewart received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1994 and went on to obtain her Master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1996. After working in the hearing health-care industry for four years, she and her husband built a successful private practice in Fort Wayne, Indiana. While Nora and her husband enjoyed their success, they felt a need to do more to give back to their community. In 2011, they founded HearCare Connection: a not-for-profit clinic providing hearing assessment and hearing aids for under-served individuals in their community. The HearCare Connection is an organization unlike any other. HearCare Connection is supported through grants, donations, corporate sponsorship, and volunteerism to provide services on a sliding-scale and reduced-fee basis. The program empowers recipients of its services to give back to their community through volunteer work in a model referred to as the “circle of giving.” Since its inception, HearCare Connection has helped nearly 400 individuals and has inspired more than 4,000 hours of volunteerism which has directly, positively impacted their local community.
The “circle of giving” model implemented through HearCare Connections worked so well that Nora and her husband decided to found Entheos Audiology Cooperative in order to empower audiologists seeking opportunities to give back to their local communities -and to the world. Entheos helps private-practice audiologists to conceptualize and implement local hearing health projects, found their own not-for-profit organization, and develop community partnerships. Entheos also provides opportunities to serve on international hearing health humanitarian missions to locations such as the Middle East, Mozambique, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Zambia. The Entheos Audiology Cooperative International Hearing Smiles program has helped thousands of people around the world to enjoy the gift of hearing. Nora serves the Entheos Audiology Cooperative as the chief vision officer.
Nora Stewart is a model of generosity and embodies the ripple effect of giving and empowering others to give. Her own words summarize her practical approach to giving, “There was such a direct need and it was a need that I could fill because of my experience in the industry. People were not receiving the help they needed simply because of finances. I could do something about that.” Nora serves as an exemplar and a model of giving. Few are more deserving of the American Academy of Audiology’s Humanitarian Award than Nora Stewart.
Throughout Mr. Jensen’s career, he has worn many hats. He has been a private practice audiologist, a health program manager for the Arizona Department of Health Services, a consultant to the Arizona Department of Health Services, a consultant to the Bureau of Maternal and Child, and a consulting audiologist for Arizona Affiliated Tribes and Migrant Head Start Programs Health. His most rewarding hat, and the primary reason we are recognizing him for the 2016 Humanitarian Award, is for the Ayudame a Escuchar (Help Me to Hear) program.
Mr. Jensen began the program in 1992, when he went on a fact-find mission to Mexico to assess the hearing needs of the local population. The following spring he returned to Guaymas with a small group of volunteers who set up a hearing help program and analyzed the need. Since that time he has single-handedly coordinated the program known as “Ayudame a Escuchar” or in English, “Help Me to Hear.” The program, which receives support from the Mesa Baseline Rotary Club, The Rotary Club of Guaymas, and other fundraising events all coordinated by Mr. Jensen, has provided hearing services to thousands of underserved children and adults. Under Mr. Jensen’s guidance and direction, a team of approximately 30-40 volunteer professionals including audiologists, ENT physicians, and audiology students travel annually to Guaymas, Mexico, where they see as many as 400 children and adults. This intensive two-day event provides hearing screenings, audiological diagnostic testing, ENT medical examinations, and hearing aid fittings.
Mr. Jensen’s rationale for his selfless work is that “We need to give back a little to society.” He has never asked for recognition of his work, which, is perhaps, the most wide-ranging, on-going humanitarian mission in audiology. Indeed it is notable that he does not even mention the program in his CV! It is for this work that Mr. Jensen is being recognized by the American Academy of Audiology Honors Committee as recipient of the 2016 Humanitarian Award.
Ms. Stringer is the founder and executive director of the Global Foundation for Children with Hearing Loss. Her humanitarian efforts have served over 1,000 children with hearing loss and their families living in Vietnam.
Paige was born with bilateral profound hearing loss and has worn hearing aids throughout her life. Early identification and intervention enabled her listening and spoken language development. She was educated in mainstream classes throughout her academic years. She earned a tennis scholarship to the University of Washington. As a member of the U.S. Deaf Olympic tennis team, she competed in the World Games for the Deaf in Bulgaria in 1993 and in Denmark in 1997. She earned a BSc degree in environmental management at University of Washington and an MA degree in marketing at University of San Francisco. She held management positions at the Clorox Company and Amazon.com. She served as vice president of the board, and later as communications director, at Listen and Talk, a program for children with hearing loss in Seattle. Paige currently serves on the board of Rotarians for Hearing and is cochair of the Education Committee of the Coalition for Global Hearing Health.
During a volunteer placement in Southeast Asia, Ms. Stringer noted the universal shortage of resources for children with hearing loss. Accordingly, she stepped aside from her successful business career to establish the nonprofit Global Foundation for Children with Hearing Loss in 2009. The charitable organization provides leadership and vision in core focus areas of professional and family training, hearing aid distribution, outreach, and strategic planning in the provision of hearing services to children with hearing impairment in developing countries.
Paige has developed a unique model in Vietnam that spans audiology, early intervention, speech language pathology, and auditory-verbal deaf education for audiology technicians, medical professionals, teachers, therapists, and families. The objective is to help the Vietnamese identify and address gaps in the system of support for children with hearing loss. The effort involves 38 schools and two hospitals across 22 Vietnam provinces. Vietnamese professionals are enrolled in a comprehensive, multiyear curriculum to develop expertise and then are prepared to train others, making the effort exponential and sustainable. Paige has recruited a team of 40 audiologists, speech pathologists, and teachers of the deaf from Canada, Hong Kong, and the United States who contribute to the curricula development and travel to Vietnam throughout the year to teach the material. The Global Foundation has trained over 300 professionals and 220 families since 2010. Hundreds of hearing aids have been provided to young children. Ms. Stringer has developed relationships with the educational and medical communities across Vietnam that have garnered shared accountability to improve services to children with hearing loss.
Over 1,000 children who, like Paige Stringer, have severe hearing loss have benefited from her unswerving efforts to bring education, assistive technologies, and professional support into their lives. Further, her efforts have helped ensure that future children with hearing loss in Vietnam will benefit from services established through the Global Foundation. Her programs serve as a model for integrated support across audiology, education, and health care for hearing impaired children in developing countries. Her numerous contributions to improve the welfare of children with hearing loss make her an ideal recipient of this award.
Cathy Henderson Jones has been impacting industry and serving persons with hearing impairment for over 30 years. She has leveraged her positions of influence to implement strategies and programs to help those in need, having the heart of a servant to the underprivileged. Her giving attitude has extended beyond the hearing impaired and reached programs that serve the hungry, homeless and less-resourced of the world.
Jones served as president /CEO of Phonak US until 2009. In 2009, she stepped aside from her position to pursue her passion for humanitarian outreachand joined Hear the World, the socially responsible arm of Sonova. While executive director of Hear the World US, Jones implemented the mission of the foundation to help improve the quality of life for people with hearing impairment.
One focus of her work with Hear the World has been the Red Bird Mission in Beverly, Kentucky, a region of Appalachia considered one of the poorest in the nation. She has spearheaded this program that provides hearing conservation, hearing testing, and amplification, along with ancillary and follow-up services to the residents of the community. This program has provided the gift of hearing, through hearing aids, to over 300 poverty stricken adults. In her efforts to not only give, but to also encourage others to give, this program has led more than 150 audiologists and doctoral students to volunteer at the Red Bird Mission. Through her leadership skills she has been able to establish a sustainable volunteer program. Her efforts were probably best summarized in Dr. Carrie Spanglers letter of support, where she stated, she teaches her volunteers through actions that we need to embrace a great cause and how amazing changes take place when no one is concerned about who gets credit.
Jones is also privileged to be involved with Healthy Athletes of Special Olympics. Her vision is to further engage more of her peers in the continual giving of their time and abilities to meet the hearing health needs of this population.
Jones was active in her support of needs in her local Illinois community as welltwo recipients were Hesed House, a shelter providing meals and care to the homeless, and Feed My Starving Children packing food with teams for around the globe. She has also focused on providing support to the people of Haiti through multiples projects as needed. Early on, Jones was involved with her local team on a project for an orphanage, church, and school that were demolished in the 2010 earthquake. Her most recent challenge is serving as an advisor, as well as on-site volunteer with the Cite Soleil Opportunity Council and Haiti Clinic for the implementation of programs designed to serve street orphans in the slums of Port Au Prince. Jones is further committed to investigating the challenge of ongoing humanitarian visits in to establish sustainable hearing health-care servicesan attempt to bring her hearing health-care skillset to Haiti where she loves to serve.
Cathy Henderson Jones has shown that the heart of a humanitarian is broad-reaching and engaged. Her passion for people has led her to commit the most recent years of her professional life to helping those in need, and providing an inspiration for many. We congratulate her on being selected as the Academys 2013 Humanitarian Award recipient.
Devangi Dalal, an Indian trained audiologist and speech therapist, has dedicated her career to improving the quality of life of hearing impaired children in India. She has 20 years of experience in pediatric hearing aid consultation and rehabilitation and has spent endless hours promoting hearing awareness in India. Her primary mission is to make Indian people realize that “a hearing handicap is no longer a handicap.”
She has provided free hearing services (and new digital hearing aids) to children in special schools for the deaf, mobilized the press and media to highlight the capabilities of hearing impaired children, and lobbied bureaucrats, politicians and nongovernment organizations (NGOs) to provide hearing-impaired children in India with the same privileges as hearing impaired children in Europe and the United States.
In 2004, Mrs. Dalal established the Juvenile Organization of Speech and Hearing (JOSH), an NGO whose purpose is to create awareness, educate, and empower hearing-impaired children. The organization began with 50 members and now has over 400 members and supporters. JOSH offers counseling and guidance to the student members and shares success stories of all the student members on their Web site.
In 2006, Mrs. Dalal adopted a special (deaf) school in Mumbai, which at the time lacked knowledge of hearing and hearing aids. She introduced the school to celebrities and NGOs to convince them to donate hearing aids. Working on behalf of one child at a time, Mrs. Dalal successfully obtained new binaural hearing aids for all 80 children in the school. She personally fit all the children gratis and encouraged each child to reach for their best through various innovative activities. As a result many of these children have been mainstreamed into normal schools and are getting involved in dance, singing and music activities.
Over the last decade, Mrs. Dalal has provided 550 new digitals hearing aids to low-income children in the Mumbai region of India. To highlight awareness of hearing and hearing loss in her country she has authored books in regional languages (e.g., Gujarati and Hindi) and distributed them free of charge to all the students and teachers in the special schools. She published the article, “Success Stories of Hearing-Impaired Children” in 2010, and continues to write articles in local and regional newspapers. She also gives lectures/seminars to various NGOs in an effort to raise awareness of the technological solutions that are available to overcome the limitations of hearing loss and to emphasize the importance of early identification and proper amplification.
Mrs. Dalal worked with the Chief Minister of Gujarat to persuade the Indian government to improve the conditions of government run special schools, which will impact over 5,000 children. Mrs. Dalal’s enthusiasm and passion for her work is inspiring and is why she has been so successful in securing funds to benefit hearing impaired children in India. Mrs. Dalal’s exceptional humanitarian work with the hearing-impaired children has been life changing for many children and is clearly deserving of the Academy’s Humanitarian Award.
Dr. Briseida De Leon Northrup is a bilingual audiologist and faculty associate at Callier Center for Communicative Disorders at the University of Texas in Dallas. Dr. Northrup has spent over 30 years bridging cultural and educational audiology opportunities within the Americas, focusing much of her career on meeting the audiological needs of the underserved Spanish language population in the United States and Americas. In Texas, she fought for decades to obtain special funding and resources for children who have hearing loss, but cannot afford amplification. She has led numerous trips to her native Panama to fit hearing aids on children, and recruited American otolaryngologists to travel with her on a some cochlear implant missions. Many hearing-impaired children in Panama have benefitted from her unfailing commitment to bring audioloigical services to Panama.
In addition, she has shared her audiology knowledge to educate local service providers. Her work has made a major impact on hearing health care practices in Panama. Dr. Northrup was the first chair of the American Academy of Audiology Diversity and International Exchange Committee and during her tenure initiated and coordinated the “Global Village,” a program developed to translate audiological terms from English to both Spanish and Portuguese; material that is still in use today. In 2008-2009, Dr. Northrup’s efforts in the Spanish language community earned her the honor of being elected president of the Pan American Society of Audiology (PASA). As president of PASA, she has connected colleagues from Central and South America with leaders in audiology from North America and Europe. Dr. Northrup has visited numerous universities and professional organizations in many countries, and has been instrumental in their development and production of exchange materials.
Dr. Northrup’s Humanitarian effort emphasizes education and global citizenship to make audiology and audiologists to strive for excellence and to do so in countries where resources are limited. She has consistently promoted global outreach training programs to better serve the needs of those with hearing loss. Her goal has not only been to provide direct service to individuals in need but to also coordinate an infrastructure of local professionals who remain prepared to diagnose and rehabilitate people with hearing loss. Dr. Northrup has devoted her life to underserved hearing impaired children around the world, dedicating countless hours toward the international development of audiology. Clearly, she is deserving of the Academy’s Humanitarian Award.
Aysen Erdil, chief of audiology at the American Hospital in Istanbul, is the epitome of humanitarian good deeds. Recognizing unmet health-care needs in underdeveloped regions of her native Turkey and its neighboring countries, she created a non-governmental organization (NGO), Symbiosis, in 1999 to address those needs. Erdil organized teams of physicians from the hospital, who volunteered their vacation time to provide basic health-care services. These NGO’s teams, led by Erdil, have provided much needed care over the past 10 years in the rural areas of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Afghanistan and Nepal. Soon after the Symbiosis teams began delivering services, Erdil added audiological testing as another dimension of the Symbiosis delivery system; a hearing care service much appreciated by villagers who would not otherwise have it available to them. Always pushing out the envelope of meeting needs, Erdil introduced OAE newborn hearing screening five years ago in the areas served by the Symbiosis teams. Her most recent humanitarian endeavor, started in 2008, is the development of the Special Olympics Healthy Hearing Program in Turkey for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Aysen Erdil certainly exemplifies the spirit of the Academy’s Humanitarian Award.
Though Howard Weinstein is not an Audiologist, he has spent many years seeking to serve the disenfranchised and hearing impaired people in developing countries through creative “social entrepreneurship”. When looking at Mr. Weinstein’s resume listing an educational background of Bachelor of Commerce and an MBA with honors in International Business, and vast business experience as an owner of two international plumbing distributorships in Canada, one would be hard pressed to see how a humanitarian with an interest in the hearing impaired and deaf has evolved. However, on closer examination, one can see that Mr. Weinstein has continued to stay actively involved in volunteer work that likely began even before he was enrolled full-time in college.
His volunteer work over the years has included assisting in the establishment of a cancer research organization and a debt-counseling program. For nearly two decades, he has given his time to a pregnancy hotline and shelter, transforming it from a simple help line into an award-winning organization that offers short-term shelter for mothers and infants. Upon “retiring” in 2001 from a business he co-founded, Mr. Weinstein relocated to Otse, Botswana, as a development worker for a non-governmental organization, Camphill Community Trust – Godisa Technologies Trust. His objective with this NGO was to train a local counterpart to run an international business. Godisa has become well known as an ISO certified non-profit social enterprise that designs, manufactures and distributes the first affordable solar powered behind-the-ear hearing aids, solar powered battery charger and rechargeable hearing aid battery for use in developing countries. During Mr. Weinstein’s tenure in Botswana, Godisa opened distributorships in 24 developing countries across the world, and their products have been adopted in many philanthropic outreach programs. It is estimated that more than 4000 affordable hearing aids have been provided to hearing impaired individuals within developing countries.
Mr. Weinstein’s more recent activities have included founding “LSS Consultoria” based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, which will set up an affordable hearing aid project in cooperation with the University of Sao Paulo and a number of Brazilian NGOs. Much like the Godisa model, the LSS Consultoria aims to partner with local resources to provide deaf education, affordable earmolds, and rechargeable batteries for cochlear implants, as well as offering empowerment programs and affordable hearing aids. Many not for profit and NGO groups in developing countries are looking to develop their own versions of the affordable solar powered hearing aids much like Godisa products. Though Mr. Weinstein recognizes that he is facilitating others to compete with Godisa or LSS Consultoria, he says, “Each project will ultimately help the less advantaged children in its region and enable them to be integrated into local schools.” With his keen business eye on lowering product costs, securing funding, and enhancing product features, Howard Weinstein remains relentless in creating opportunities for people with hearing disabilities to access the hearing world through affordable and high quality hearing aids while improving overall health and education in the community.
Howard Weinstein is the subject of an article in the May 12, 2008, issue of Newsweek. Click here to read the article.
As an active member of the University of Texas at Dallas faculty, Dr. Jackie Clark has been the consummate professional. Yet, her activities are not confined to the university or to Texas. Since 1998, Dr. Clark has planned, overseen, and led teams of volunteers to Mozambique, bringing audiologic programs to underdeveloped areas. She and her team have tested hearing, provided donated hearing aids and supplies to those in need, and trained local physicians, nurses, medical technicians, and social workers in the areas of hearing disorders, otoscopy, and testing. Every year she returns, not only does she provide more hearing aids and supplies as well as audiologic test equipment, she provides additional training and knowledge to the staff—empowering the community to become more self-sufficient in the area of hearing healthcare. Last year, she and her team directed the first large scale hearing screening in Mozambique. Dr. Clark’s humanitarian work is an example to the world of why audiology should be a part of the healthcare team and how audiologists should function as a vital member of that team. Closer to home, Dr. Clark has been an active member of the Healthy Hearing Program of the Special Olympics in Texas. Her efforts for individuals with hearing loss nationally and internationally make her most deserving of this honor.
It is not surprising that after dedicating his professional life to establishing and providing hearing health care programs to children, Gil Herer has established a hearing program as part of the Special Olympics. The Healthy Hearing Program became part of the Healthy Athlete Program of the Special Olympics through the tireless efforts of Herer. As Global Clinical Coordinator, he has been on the front line at every stage of this program from inception to implementation. Since its beginning in 1999, over 10,000 Special Olympics athletes have had their hearing screened. His dedication and efforts have translated to an important recognition of the influence of hearing status on the lives of athletes who have and will participate in the Special Olympics program throughout the world. Herer’s contributions truly reflect someone who has placed the interest of others before his own. Throughout his life he has been dedicated to improving the lives of others, and he is most deserving of this recognition for his humanitarian efforts.