March 3-5, 2019 • Chicago, IL


Nominations are invited for the Antonia Brancia Maxon Award for EHDI Excellence to be presented at the 2019 National EHDI Meeting in Chicago, Illinois. This award honors the life and work of Dr. Antonia Brancia Maxon to promote effective Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) programs for all newborns, infants, and young children. Dr. Maxon was a pioneer in EHDI programs, beginning with her leadership in the Rhode Island Hearing Assessment Project in the late 1980's. She was one of the first to recognize the feasibility and value of universal newborn hearing screening and was a tireless advocate for connecting screening programs with timely and appropriate diagnosis and early intervention.

Her extensive contributions to creating excellent EHDI programs were abruptly ended by a tragic automobile accident in May of 2007. In memory of her contributions, an Award for EHDI Excellence is presented each year at the National EHDI Meeting to honor an individual who has made outstanding contributions to achieving excellence in EHDI programs nationally or in a particular state or region.

Nominations for the Antonia Brancia Maxon Award for EHDI Excellence should be emailed to Karl White at karl.white@usu.edu, or mailed to:

National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management
Utah State University
2615 Old Main Hill
Logan, Utah 84322-2615
Attention: Antonia Brancia Maxon Award for EHDI Excellence

Nominations must be received by Friday, December 21, 2018 and MUST BE LIMITED to 500 words. The nomination should describe:
  • The outstanding accomplishment(s) that contributed to improvement of EHDI programs.
  • How the accomplishment(s) demonstrate(s) significant creativity or initiative.
  • The specific ways in which the nominee has contributed to EHDI excellence.

Presentation of the 2019 Antonia Brancia Maxon Award for EHDI Excellence will be made on Monday March 4, 2019 at the National EHDI Meeting in Chicago, Illinois. More about the National EHDI Meeting, including past nominees and recipients can be found below.

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Irene Schmalz

I would like to recognize Irene Schmalz as an individual who has been a positive influence in Virginia, through her commitment, advocacy and excellent leadership in the EHDI system. Hearing impaired herself, she works tirelessly to provide emotional and informational support to ensure that families are aware of the services offered by Virginia's early intervention system. She is the Project Coordinator for the 1-3-6 Family Educators at the Center for Family Involvement at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Through a collaborative agreement with the Virginia Department of Health's Early Hearing Detection & Intervention Program (called EHDI), the Center for Family Involvement with Irene as it's coordinator, trained parents as 1-3-6 Family Educators. Family Educators visit birthing hospital newborn screening teams and audiology clinics across Virginia to talk about their hearing screening practices and how to get infants back for another test of their hearing. Prior to working in this position, she was actively involved in Guide By Your Side (GBYS), a program that was offered through VCU. It is a program that supports families with children who have a hearing loss. She served as their Program Coordinator. Irene has been instrumental in major efforts, most recently redesigning Virginia's Resource Guide for Families of Children with Hearing Loss.


Additionally, she recruited parents to serve as Family Guides for GBYS and as 1-3-6 Family Educators for CFI. She has represented families at meetings and advisory councils as well as organizing Meet & Greets for families. She has devoted her expertise and knowledge to many other organizations, including the Virginia Network of Consultants, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Maryland, the National Summit of Deaf Education and Hands & Voices.

I met Irene approximately 25 years ago when she created a support group for parents with hard of hearing and deaf children in the Northern Virginia area. It gave parents the opportunity to meet other families and the children enjoyed socializing with one another. I have always been impressed with Irene's leadership and dedication to all whose lives she has touched. She maintains an excellent working relationship with the groups she has been involved with through her pleasant demeanor and professionalism. Her work ethic, and consistent results all epitomize the word "professional" regarding her important contributions to EHDI-related policies, procedures and improved services.