Awarded to an audiologist for exceptional contributions in pediatric audiology either as an educator or mentor, clinician, advocate, or scientist.
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.
Marlene Bagatto, AuD, PhD, of the University of Western Ontario and the National Centre for Audiology is the recipient of the 2023 Marion Downs Pediatric Audiology Award. As noted by one of her nominators, Dr. Bagatto is one of the “world’s foremost experts in the provision of early hearing detection and intervention (EHDI) services and research in children with hearing loss.”
Her contributions to pediatric audiology are exceptional and include serving on a team that has developed and refined the desired sensation level (DSL) method, including the widely used real-ear-to-ear-coupler difference (RECD) measure for fitting hearing aids in children, the development of a pediatric outcome measurement protocol, participating in the implementation of the world’s first universal screening of congenital cytomegalovirus and genetics for hearing loss in Ontario, and recently providing fitting guidance for bone-conduction hearing devices.
She has been the author or co-author of nearly 100 professional publications, with 43 of these articles appearing in peer-reviewed journals. In addition to her research and clinical work, Dr. Bagatto has a significant history of leading the profession and being an advocate for those we serve, including being the chair of the Canadian Infant Hearing Task Force, a past president of the Canadian Academy of Audiology, and co-chairing the Sound Foundation International Pediatric Conferences. Dr. Bagatto is known among her colleagues as being humble and kind, and her impact has touched the lives of children globally.
The career of Dr. Moats superbly personifies characteristics that merit the Marion Downs Pediatric Audiology Award, due to her significant contributions as an educator, clinician, mentor, and advocate for children with hearing loss and their families.
Dr. Moats’ passion for providing audiological services and support for children with hearing loss and their families prompted her to found and direct the nonprofit, Little Ears Hearing Center in Louisville, Kentucky. She has subsequently expanded her pediatric audiology practice to productive interdisciplinary partnerships with Open Arms Children’s Health, and most recently, with an acquisition by Norton Children’s ENT and Audiology in Louisville.
Her passion for helping children and desire to share her expertise with others prompted her to develop a series of highly acclaimed Hear It Here conferences, which integrate science and technology with family support. Professionals, parents, and educators came together at these conferences to learn from each other how to best support young patients.
Dr. Moats serves as the co-chair of Kentucky’s Advisory Board for Early Hearing Detection and Intervention, and is an American Cochlear Implant Alliance State Champion for Kentucky. She served on the Board of Governors of the American Board of Audiology, earned the Pediatric Audiology Specialty Certification (PASC), and tirelessly promotes this certification and best practices within the audiology community. For over 25 years, her clinical expertise and contributions have raised the bar for audiologists and positively impacted the lives of many fortunate children.
The Academy is pleased to bestow its 2022 Marion Downs Pediatric Audiology Award to Dr. Shelley Moats in recognition of her significant contributions to audiology.
During her impressive 33-year career in audiology, Eileen Rall has served as an exceptional educator, clinician, and leader in pediatric audiology.
Most recently, Dr. Rall served as the clinical coordinator at the Center for Childhood Communication of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In this role, she successfully improved multidisciplinary services for children and their families by creating a distinctive program with ongoing services for comprehensive coordinated assessment and intervention for infants and toddlers with hearing loss.
Dr. Rall is a highly sought presenter on a variety of pediatric topics, including the assessment of infants and children and how to support teens and families. She has published widely about the psychosocial development of children with hearing loss, pediatric amplification, and counseling. She also has taught courses in pediatric topics at Salus University for nine years.
Dr. Rall has been a productive volunteer for countless organizations and committees, including the Society for Ear, Nose, Throat Advances in Children; Knowledge Implementation in Pediatric Audiology; the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing, the Pennsylvania Department of Health Infant Hearing Screening Advisory Committee; and many others. Most recently, she was the 2018-2020 Chair of the Taskforce for Audiologic Guidelines for the Assessment of Hearing in Infants and Young Children Revision.
Jessica Messersmith, PhD, has been award the Marion Downs Pediatric Audiology Award which is given to those who demonstrate a commitment to improving the quality of care of pediatric patients. Dr. Messersmith started her career in Nebraska where she earned her PhD at the University of Nebraska and worked as a research assistant at Boys Town National Hospital. She then moved to the University of South Dakota (USD), where she has been faculty and now department chair. Her research and clinical area of interest are in cochlear implants, particularly pediatric cochlear implants.
Dr. Messersmith has the desire to ensure that those children getting implants are receiving consistent care no matter where their care is housed which is why she also has worked on documents such as the Academy’s Cochlear Implant Guidelines.
At USD she instructs AuD students in both the pediatrics class and the cochlear implants class, stressing evidenced-based assessment and treatment for children with hearing loss. Clinically, she sees cochlear implant patients, particularly children, regularly as part of her academic duties. In addition, she also takes students to serve children who use cochlear implants in the rural and underserved areas of South Dakota, including tribal lands within the state. In addition, she has worked to improve outcomes of the early hearing detection and intervention program in South Dakota.
Alison M.Grimes has served the profession of audiology and the Academy with distinction over the course of her 40-year career. She has been a leader in the field, specifically in the practice area of pediatric audiology, and has served the profession through service at the national, state, and local levels. Dr. Grimes has been a tireless advocate for pediatric patients through her service on professional committees, advocacy, and through task force service. Among her numerous achievements, Dr. Grimes was instrumental in the development of standards for the American Board of Audiology specialty certification in pediatrics. Dr. Grimes has served as the Academy’s representative to the Joint Commission on Infant Hearing since 2005; in this capacity, she participated in the formulation of two iterations of the Principles and Guidelines for Early Hearing Detection and Intervention, as well as acting as chair of the commission.
In addition to her participation in the critical mission of establishing these guidelines for newborn hearing screening, she ensured the dissemination of the guidelines to the audiology community with countless presentations at national and state-level meetings. Dr. Grimes has been an instructor for the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (LEND) programs in California since 2008. She is also chair of the Academy’s Guidelines and Strategic Documents Committee.
Dr. Susan Scollie is recognized as a global leader in developing a personalized and prescriptive method for fitting and verifying hearing aids for infants and young children. With her colleagues at the National Centre for Audiology at the University of Western Ontario (aka Western University), Dr. Scollie has refined the Desired Sensation Level Version 5.0 (DSL 5.0), originally developed by Dr. Richard Seewald, with multiple applications that are now used throughout the world on a daily basis by clinicians to improve the auditory, speech, language, academic, and social development of thousands of children. Dr. Scollie’s unique expertise in translating evidence-based science behind the DSL 5.0 method to clinical applications, and her personal collaborations with hearing aid manufacturers and manufacturers of diagnostic hearing aid analyzers, have brought DSL 5.0 into routine clinical practice.
As an associate professor at Western University, she leads the child amplification laboratory team, which works closely with Ontario’s Ministry of Children and Youth Services to develop, implement, and evaluate evidence-based protocols for the Ontario Infant Hearing Program, which is recognized as a global leader and authority in the determination of evidence-based, gold standard clinical practice for pediatric hearing healthcare.
In less than two decades, Dr. Scollie’s research and professional productivity have accomplished more than most others have accomplished in a full career. Additionally, Dr. Scollie has served as the mentor for many doctoral students who have sought the opportunity to study under this unique researcher and clinician, and are now contributing to the field of audiology. Nine of her articles have been recognized by the Hearing Journal for “Best in Audiology Literature,” which identifies outstanding articles from audiology, hearing science, and related fields that can be used by researchers and clinicians to provide better service to consumers. She was a co-author of a paper that earned the 2015 “Ear and Hearing Editors’ Award” for “Evaluation of Speech-Evoked Envelope Following Responses as an Objective Aided Outcome Measure.”
In 2005, she received the Kenneth J. Rooney Memorial Award from the Hearing Foundation of Canada, and in 2015, she was awarded the 2015 Innovator of the Year title by WORLDiscoveries, for her technology transfer work with the DSL fitting method in clinical practice.
Dr. Scollie’s contributions in applied research, professional advocacy, and clinical management have unquestionably made lasting and far-reaching impact on the lives of millions of infants and children. It is only fitting that the Academy’s 2018 Award in pediatric audiology, named in honor of Dr. Marion Downs for her own quest to made a difference in the lives of children, be awarded to Dr. Susan Scollie. The American Academy of Audiology is pleased to bestow its 2018 Marion Downs Award in Pediatrics to Dr. Susan Scollie, in recognition of her significant contributions to the field of pediatric audiology, and to children with hearing loss.
Dr. Jane R. Madell is a clinician, researcher, and educator. As a clinician, she is a certified audiologist, speech-language pathologist, a listening and spoken language specialist, and an auditory verbal therapist. For about 50 years, she has single-mindedly dedicated her career to helping children with hearing impairment and other auditory disorders (including auditory processing, auditory attention disorders, and sound hypersensitivity). She was the director of audiology at the New York League for the Hard of Hearing (now the Center for Hearing and Communication) and the director of the Hearing and Learning Center and co-director of the Cochlear Implant Center at Beth Israel Medical Center/New York Eye and Ear Infirmary. Under her leadership, these world-renowned centers for pediatric audiology became models for family-centered integrated care providing support, rehabilitation, and education services for families and children alike. As an educator, Jane Madell has held faculty positions at University of Tennessee, Teachers College Columbia University, and State University of New York Health Sciences, and is presently a professor at New York Medical College and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. As a researcher, she has published five books, authored or co-authored numerous chapters, peer-reviewed papers, and developed online and magazine articles.
Recently Jane has ventured into new territory: she is in the process of finalizing a documentary film titled, “”The Listening Project.”” In it, she explores the value of hearing technology in the lives of some of her previous patients, now in their 20s and 30s, whose hearing loss she identified when they were infants or young children.
On her website (www.janemadell.com), Jane shares her philosophy. She says, “”I believe children with hearing loss have the ability to learn to use hearing to develop a spoken language. I also believe that every child is testable – no matter the age or degree of other disabilities. With proper management, most children with hearing loss can be educated in the mainstream along with their typical-hearing peers.””
Jane Madell has clearly lived by these words through her dedicated practice in the evaluation and management of hearing in infants and young children with hearing loss and auditory disorders, and by providing them with the most appropriate form of amplification, assistive technologies, and supportive family-centered auditory rehabilitation and therapies.
The Marion Downs Award for Excellence in Pediatric Audiology is awarded to an audiologist for his or her exceptional contributions to pediatric audiology; contributions that have made an impact on the profession of audiology as a whole. Jane Madell, without a doubt, meets these criteria and is a truly worthy recipient of this award.
For the past 35 years, Dr. Tharpe has made a significant and lasting impact on pediatric audiology through her research, educational contributions, and service to the profession. Her contributions have altered and accelerated the course of treatment and improved the quality of care to young children with hearing loss. Her research, which is significantly federal funding, is timely, innovative, clinically relevant, and possesses far-reaching clinical innovations. Her research interests cover topics such as unilateral hearing loss, minimal bilateral hearing loss, auditory characteristics of children with autism, home-based versus center-based intervention for infants and toddlers with hearing loss, and the importance of evidence-based practices.
Dr. Tharpe’s book Comprehensive Handbook of Pediatric Audiology has become the seminal text on hearing loss in children. She has contributed to more than 80 publications and most of those publications are required in audiology training programs throughout the United States.
Dr. Tharpe has also influenced clinical practice in pediatric audiology through her teaching and mentoring. She has supported scores of graduate students in pediatric audiology through her training grants and has garnered several million dollars in scholarships to fund Vanderbilt trainees interested in serving infants and toddlers with hearing loss.
Dr. Tharpe is in great demand for speaking engagements and has made hundreds of presentations and short courses at local, state, regional, national, and international meetings. She is actively involved in the development of innovative approaches to teaching as well as the delivery of health-related services including distance-learning programs, intelligent tutoring systems for audiology students, and tele-audiology.
Through her landmark contributions to the profession and to children with hearing loss and their families her tireless efforts have made ground-breaking moves in the profession. She has served on numerous national task forces, working groups, and committees that focus on improving the quality of health-care services to children with hearing loss and supporting their families.