In the last 30 years, the profession of audiology has expanded its scope of practice to include the diagnosis and treatment of vestibular problems. This evolution is due in very large part to the leadership of Richard Gans, PhD. As a clinician, researcher, and educator, Dr. Gans’ contributions to vestibular care has enhanced audiology’s status in the health care arena, and has improved outcomes for thousands of patients around the world.
Dr. Gans was awarded a doctorate at The Ohio State University, specializing in auditory vestibular physiology and electrophysiology. In 1992, he founded the American Institute of Balance (ABI) in Largo, FL. He has since expanded his practice to include seven facilities as well as long-standing partnerships with the region’s leading physicians and other health care/rehabilitation providers. Due to his vision and energetic management, the ABI is now considered among the largest multi-specialty dizziness and balance centers in the country. The ABI also includes an Educational Foundation, which has provided workshops and online education to over 6000 physicians, audiologists, and physical and occupational therapists.
While providing direct patient care, Dr. Gans has also consistently sought out more effective clinical methods. His commitment to “better” has driven him to develop, with colleagues, several globally-recognized diagnostic and treatment protocols, including the ABI Dynamic Visual Acuity Test, the Gans Sensory Organization Test, and the Gans Repositioning Maneuver. He is skilled at teaching these protocols (as well as the overall vestibular system and associated disorders) in several modalities—as a writer, his textbook on vestibular rehabilitation is highly regarded by audiology doctorate students and faculty, and he has contributed chapters for several important textbooks. As a presenter, he is recognized as an engaging and effective speaker, and has been invited to teach throughout the United States and Canada, Central and South America, the United Kingdom, Europe, Russia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Saudi Arabia. And his classroom instruction of audiology doctoral students is considered nothing less than inspired.
Dr. Gans is passionate about our profession, and has contributed countless hours of service to the American Academy of Audiology, including four years on the Academy Board of Directors and president of the Academy in 2004-2005. He also represents audiology in related organizations such as the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society, while he continues to advance audiology with his current work in pediatric vestibular care and concussion.
One nominator describes Dr. Gans’ professional impact this way: “I am counted among many audiologists who wouldn’t be doing what I am doing every day without Dr. Gans’ influence. His clinical pathways approach to managing patients with dizziness was revolutionary…and always with an eye on patient outcomes.” Another describes him as a visionary, innovator, and ultimately a tireless advocate for audiology: “If I were going to have one audiologist go to bat for our profession, I would without hesitation choose Dr. Gans.”
The Distinguished Achievement Award recognizes colleagues who contribute significantly to education, research, clinical work, or the profession. The Honors Committee wholeheartedly agrees that Dr. Richard Gans does the profession proud in each of these areas.