The AAA Foundation’s mission is to support public awareness, education, and research, and the AAA 2019 conference successfully demonstrated this mission! Overall, Columbus, Ohio, was a great place for a conference and for the Foundation. There were many events and activities throughout the week, beginning with the Foundation Board of Trustees meeting on March 26 to focus on the activities of the second half of the year and to gear up for the conference excitement. 

Happy Hour Benefit and Handbag Auction

Foundation events started off with the annual Happy Hour Benefit Wednesday evening. This fundraising event is a favorite among many. Phonak provided philanthropic support to host this event. After Celebrate Audiology, attendees came to the happy hour to enjoy cocktails and to socialize with their colleagues and friends. 

There was the opportunity to bid on fantastic designer handbags that were donated as part of the silent auction for the second year—it was a great success! Forty-three purses from brands such as Kate Spade and Coach were up for auction. This year, the auction raised $3,222, and lucky auction winners are going to be quite fashionable post conference. A Tory Burch handbag was raffled off on Saturday afternoon. Raffle ticket sales raised more than $1,000, and the beautiful purse was won by Margaret McCabe.

Coffee for a Cause and the Marion Downs Lecture

Friday was a busy day. For those who needed a little more pep in their step after the Thursday night fun, they could find coffee, sponsored by the Oticon Hearing Foundation, near the Marion Downs Lecture in Pediatric Audiology. This caffeine shot also helped to boost Foundation efforts. Money donated from the coffee is used to help fund projects such as grants, scholarships, educational seminars, and other Foundation activities.

If you were lucky to get a seat at the 15th Marion Downs Lecture, you saw an impressive presentation on Autism Spectrum Disorder: Considerations for Clinical Care in Pediatric Audiology, sponsored by the Oticon Foundation. The featured session included a three-expert panel, who discussed different aspects of clinical management of hearing loss and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This included the science behind ASD, adapting clinical practices to test this population, and how children with hearing loss and ASD may present in the clinic. 

The panel included Jolanta McCall, MA, MS, an educational audiologist and CEO/president of the Seashell Trust. The Seashell Trust is a U.K. charity focused on creating a safe and happy environment for complex and severe learning disabilities. Glenn Rall, PhD, is a virologist at Fox Chase Cancer Center. His research examined the measles virus, which is a current hot topic related to vaccines and autism. Dr. Rall also served on the Autism Speaks Scientific Advisory Board. Christen A. Szymanski, PhD, is a clinical psychologist at the Kendall Demonstration Elementary School of the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center, located on the campus of Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. She provides direct behavioral intervention services to students and ongoing consultations to teachers, as well as works with families to provide wrap around support to foster student success at home, school, and in the community. 

AAAF Cookbook ImageIf you missed the Marion Downs Lecture, watch the video through eAudiology.


The talk of the conference was the Foundation fundraiser, How to Eat Like an Audiologist: “Say the Word…Cookbook.” This cookbook contains recipes by audiologists from across the country. Recipes include breakfast, appetizers and beverages, soups and salads, main dishes, side dishes, and desserts as well as slices of life and insights into their cooking styles. The book is available with a donation of $25 to AAAF. To get your copy,  visit, search “Academy Store.”