MARCH 2-5, 2021

(Virtually the same conference, without elevators, airplane tickets, or hotel room keys)


The 2021 Antonia Brancia Maxon Award for EHDI Excellence will be presented at the 2021 National EHDI Conference in Cincinnati, OH. 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 Conference to honor an individual who has made outstanding contributions to achieving excellence in EHDI programs nationally or in a particular state or region.

Presentation of the 2021 Antonia Brancia Maxon Award for EHDI Excellence will be made on Monday March 1, 2021 at the National EHDI Conference in Cincinnati, OH. More about the National EHDI Conference, including past nominees and recipients can be found below.

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Eleni Boston

It is with great appreciation, respect and admiration that we nominate Eleni Boston for the 2020 Antonia Brancia Maxon Award for EHDI Excellence.

Eleni has been an integral part of Oregon's educational system to support children with hearing loss for over 40 years. Eleni has served as a Teacher of the Deaf at the Oregon School for the Deaf, as an early interventionist and school age itinerant in the early version of Oregon's Regional Programs, and is now in her current role as the coordinator for the entire D/HH department, and other disability areas in a three-county region in Oregon.

Eleni has served on the Oregon EHDI Advisory Committee since 2010 and has been Chair of the Committee since 2016. During that time, she has been an effective advocate for children and families, lending her voice, leadership, skillful navigation of complex political and cultural systems and can-do attitude to improve the system from the inside out through legislative and administrative actions, innovative approaches, and collaborative bridge-building.

Eleni was instrumental in expanding the eligibility criteria for children with hearing loss in Oregon so that more children will benefit from the services and supports to succeed. Her team was the only public program in a national pilot project to demonstrate use of tele-intervention for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. More recently, Eleni invested in LENAs to help staff and families measure and improve children's exposure to language. She participated on a legislatively appointed task force to study and recommend changes to early intervention assessments and services, and provided legislative testimony to support critical bills to expand health insurance coverage for hearing technologies and services. Eleni has ably served as a convener and cultural broker in system level conversations between the various sectors, disciplines, and communities that make up the EHDI system.

Eleni exemplifies the power of passion to make change. Her hard work, devotion to kids, dedication to providing excellent services throughout Oregon, humor, and gentle nature give her the ability to connect with children and their families, community members and decision makers. Eleni invites people in and leads by example. In addition to her national, state and regional contributions, she shows her heart through other service activities, such as serving as Chairperson of the Board for Adaptive Horse Therapy and coordinating her agency's holiday drive to support families in her local community.

Eleni has been described as a "living legend." Her quiet, yet faithful and diligent leadership and respect for others, together with her strength and drive to improve systems, programs and services for children make her a formidable force for good in the lives of Oregon's children with hearing loss. For many of us, Eleni has been a mentor, guide, and inspiration. We give thanks for her continued passion, investment and drive to make Oregon the best state for a baby with hearing loss to be born.