2025 Early Hearing Detection & Intervention Conference

March 9-11, 2025 • Pittsburgh, PA

Award Winners 2010

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2010 Award Winners

The 2010 winners of the Antonia Brancia Maxon Award for EHDI Excellence are Beth Benedict, Albert Mehl and Vickie Thomson

Beth Benedict
Beth's passion is to ensure that all families with deaf and hard of hearing children are informed and empowered and that deaf and hard of hearing children have access to quality services and programs that promote success in language, literacy, and life. Beth exemplifies the best in collaboration and partnerships through her work with deaf and hearing communities.

For more than twenty years she has been a mentor to families with newly identified children. She currently serves as the president of the American Society for Deaf Children, founded in 1967 by parents, educators, and deaf individuals. She is a professor at Gallaudet University.

Beth has participated in many projects that move EHDI systems forward. She has been a key figure on EHDI conference planning and proposal review committees. She regularly presents at the EHDI conference and has successfully advocated for the inclusion of a more diverse agenda that includes the perspectives of deaf and hard of hearing adults. She has influenced EHDI systems to recognize and acknowledge the range of communication opportunities available to children and families.

She has served as a Council on Education of the Deaf (CED) representative to the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing, contributing to the 2007 Position Statement. She currently participates on the JCIH committee developing an Early Intervention Position Statement. She has been a member of the Maryland Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Advisory Council and a consultant on early intervention and family involvement.

She has authored a book based on her dissertation on family involvement, and numerous book chapters and articles. She has presented widely nationally and internationally. Beth is a popular keynote presenter at many statewide early intervention professional development workshops.

Beth has co-developed and taught courses in early education for professionals working with deaf and hard of hearing children and their families through the Gallaudet Leadership Institute (GLI), including:

  • Socio-Cultural and Political Contexts of Early Education for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children
  • A System Approach to Language and Communication Planning for Young Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children and their Families
  • Leadership Perspectives on Families with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children their Cultures and Communities
  • A Systematic Approach to Assessment, Planning and Outcomes in Early Education

These courses have been taken by more than 20 professionals over the past three years. They are particularly noteworthy in light of the dearth of professional training focusing on deaf and hard of hearing children and their families.

Beth's involvement in EHDI systems improvement spans topic areas, type of audience, and venue. Her respect for and sensitivity to various points of view has earned her the esteem of colleagues across the field. As the parent of two deaf children, a member of the deaf community, and a professional in academia, her experience is broad and deep. Beth is unique in her contributions to EHDI and is highly deserving of the recognition this award will bring.

Albert Mehl
This is a letter of nomination for Albert Mehl, M.D. for the Antonia Brancia Maxon award. Dr. Mehl has been a pioneer in newborn hearing screening since 1992. He refers to himself as the 'accidental tourist'. When I approached him about starting a newborn screening program at Boulder Community Hospital he said 'This sounds like a wonderful idea. I know I can't tell if a baby has a hearing loss.' Little did he know that this would become his second career. As the state EHDI coordinator I traveled to every hospital preaching the gospel on the importance of newborn hearing screening. Needless to say as a health department employee and audiologist, I did not have great support from primary care physicians. When Al traveled with me and preached the same gospel it was met with resounding support from the physicians.

Al was crucial to the passing of our newborn hearing legislation in 1997. Representing the physician's role and the importance of early identification helped convince legislators that newborn hearing screening was the right thing to do for all children. As a result of the legislation a formal advisory committee was developed, with Al selected as the chair. Twelve years later he continues to lead the advisory providing insight, support and practical wisdom to the ever changing guidelines. He serves as the American Academy of Pediatrics representative on the JCIH. He has written several articles that have been published in the AAP Journal and quoted frequently. All of this while still maintaining a full time pediatric practice with Kaiser Permanente.

As a PCP, Al has been instrumental in supporting the medical home as a team approach with the audiologist, Hands & Voice parent guide and early interventionist working together for the benefit of the child and the family. Without Al Mehl I am convinced newborn hearing screening would not have happened in Colorado for another decade. I know I speak for all my colleagues when I say we are proud to nominate Al Mehl for this prestigious award! We love his cowboy poetry too!

Vickie Thomson
I am pleased to nominate Vickie Thomson, PhD for the 2010 Antonia Brancia Maxon Award for EHDI Excellence on behalf of her colleagues at the Marion Downs Hearing Center and the Colorado Infant Hearing Advisory Board. Vickie has been the EHDI coordinator in Colorado before the official job existed. In 1991 she initiated one of the first universal screening programs in the US at Boulder Community Hospital and became the consultant for the Colorado Department of Health to promote and support Newborn Hearing Screening programs statewide shortly thereafter. She was the Newborn Screening Coordinator at the Marion Downs Hearing Center (MDHC) and has been on the Professional Advisory of the MDHC since 1996.

Vickie's noteworthy accomplishment, which led to the improvement of EHDI programs in Colorado, is her creation of and leadership on the Colorado Infant Hearing Advisory Board. The Board was created under Vickie's leadership in 1998 to implement and sustain effective EHDI systems. At that time the concept of an advisory board was unique and Vickie's creativity and vision led to an advisory board concept, which became the model for other states. The members of the Colorado Infant Hearing Advisory Board, including Christine Yoshinaga-Itano, PhD, Al Mehl, MD, myself, and Marion Downs herself credit Vickie's tireless pursuit of excellence, collaboration, and scholarship as the driving force behind Colorado's world-renowned EHDI systems. Colorado consistently meets the EHDI goals set by the Joint Committee for Infant Hearing under Vickie's leadership.

When Vickie began at the Colorado Department of Health in the early 1990's, Colorado did not have universal hearing screening systems and pursuing collaboration, legislation, the development and implementation of state guidelines, a state data system and tracking mechanism have recognized Colorado recognized as a model program for many years.

We hope you will join us in recognizing the remarkable accomplishments our EHDI leader Dr. Vickie Thomson.

2010 Nominees

Beth Benedict
Terrell Clark
John Egbert
Guide By Your Side (IL)
Gayla Hutsell Guignard
JTC Baby Sound Check Program
Albert Mehl
Hallie Morrow
Nancy Pajak
Vickie Thomson
Jack Zenteno