Gary P. Jacobson, PhD, completed his doctorate at Kent State University and has spent his career in several prestigious audiology settings. He is currently a professor and division director at Vanderbilt University. In earlier years, he served as division head of audiology at Henry Ford Hospital, chief of audiology and speech pathology at the Cincinnati Veteran’s Administration Medical Center, and director of the Intraoperative Evoked Potential Program and the Evoked Potentials Laboratory at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. As a leader, he has been described as having “the ability to empower and motivate his colleagues to make a difference.”
Several supporters point out that, while many audiologists manage to develop one area of expertise, Dr. Jacobson has left his impressive mark on three distinct clinical areas of audiology: tinnitus, electrophysiology, and vestibular/balance (dys)function. In all three areas, he has contributed seminal and ground-breaking research, resulting in more than 100 peer-reviewed articles. He has also translated his bench science into clinically relevant tools used around the world, perhaps most notably the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory. The depth and breadth of his work in each area has inspired colleagues to describe him as a renaissance audiologist.
The “renaissance audiologist” sobriquet also reflects a widespread appreciation of his commitment to his profession as a clinician, mentor, and innovative program developer (e.g., the Tinnitus Clinic at Henry Ford). He is also an esteemed teacher (or as one colleague states, “one of the best presenters you will EVER hear”). His teaching-by-writing talents are highlighted as coauthor of the premier textbook on balance (Balance Function: Assessment and Management), now in its second edition.
In 2012, James Jerger announced his retirement from his role as inaugural editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology. Soon after, the Academy reported that Dr. Jacobson had been named to succeed Dr. Jerger, and the profession breathed a sigh of relief: the journal would continue to be steered by highly capable hands. Dr. Jacobson’s reputation for integrity, sustained scientific productivity, generosity, and overall professionalism has garnered the respect of his peers and is formally recognized this year with the Distinguished Achievement Award.