18th ANNUAL EARLY HEARING DETECTION & INTERVENTION MEETING
March 3-5, 2019 • Chicago, IL

THE ANTONIA BRANCIA MAXON AWARD FOR EHDI EXCELLENCE

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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Heather Morrow-Almeida

I am writing to nominate Heather Morrow-Almeida for the 2018 Antonia Brancia Maxon Award for EHDI Excellence. As the EHDI Coordinator since 2012, Heather has demonstrated exceptional leadership and dedication to improving the Oregon EHDI program and promoting the healthy development of children across Oregon.

Heather has taken significant initiative in understanding all aspects of partner roles in the Oregon EHDI program. When she first started with the EHDI program, she reached out to the various individual partners including early intervention programs, audiologists, hospital nurse managers, birth clerks, midwives, other healthcare providers, the deaf or hard of hearing (DHH) community, and families. She expanded the EHDI Advisory Committee membership through these connections. Heather makes people feel welcomed and engaged. She truly believes in providing opportunities for all potential partners and community members to share their input to achieve EHDI goals. She continues to conduct outreach to ensure there is fair representation from different stakeholder groups.

Heather is dedicated to improving the EHDI program through open communication and robust data collection efforts. Oregon's lost to follow up rate has drastically decreased from 48% for the 2012 birth cohort, to 13% for the 2015 and 2016 birth cohorts. To achieve this, she has pioneered innovative methods for following-up on newborns that have referred on their newborn hearing screening as well as those that have not been screened and still need testing. She is committed to improving the EHDI data system, data collection, and data quality. The Oregon EHDI team has undergone multiple data system modifications and process improvements to increase efficiency and improve documentation and data collection. She collaborated with the Oregon EHDI staff audiologist to create webinars for training hospital staff and audiologists in reporting data, and additionally has incorporated texting to otherwise unresponsive families. She has steadily increased EHDI awareness, educating partners and communities about the importance of early screening, diagnostic, and early intervention and the impact on development of language, communication, social-emotional skills among children, which contribute to learning and academic success.

Heather thinks out of the box and is not hesitant to explore new ideas. She partnered with the Early Learning Division to promote Vroom, a program for parents to track developmental milestones and put science into interactions with their child. Heather engaged the Oregon Center for Children & Youth with Special Health Needs to foster coordinated systems of care. She initiated contact with the Oregon Department of Education to explore potential collaboration using the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment data for more in-depth analysis of the EHDI program outcomes. She has also reached out to partners in remote communities in southern Oregon and hosted in-person meetings to bring different stakeholders in that region together to identify challenges and opportunities in serving every child.

In observance of Heather's leadership, hard work, and dedication in constantly improving Oregon EHDI program, I nominate Heather for the Antonia Brancia Maxon Award for EHDI Excellence.