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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Jessica Messersmith

We are writing to nominate Dr. Jessica Messersmith for the 2018 Antonia Brancia Maxon Award for EHDI Excellence. Dr. Messersmith is an Associate Professor of audiology at the University of South Dakota. Since moving to South Dakota in 2009, Dr. Messersmith has been instrumental in improving the South Dakota EHDI program. From 2010 to 2016, the SD EHDI program has observed a reduction in loss to follow-up from 84.6% to 62.2%; this was achieved as part of her work with the SD EDHI Collaborative. Dr. Messersmith has been an influential voice for action in our state and continues to work towards better outcomes for children with hearing loss and their families.

Dr. Messersmith's most recent contribution to the improvement of the SD EHDI program is what led to this nomination. In 2015, Dr. Messersmith, along with Haifa AbouSamra (University of South Dakota, Chair of Nursing), obtained a HRSA grant. Through this grant, Dr. Messersmith has gathered information from parents of children who are deaf or hard of hearing via parent focus groups across the state. The desire to sit down and listen to the needs and desires of parents demonstrates her creativity, initiative, and level of care. Dr. Messersmith has also reached many physicians and nurses across the state to spread awareness and increase identification rates and follow-up rates.

Dr. Messersmith is always thinking outside the box, unafraid to sail uncharted territory if it means helping a child or family. Therefore, it is not surprising her current initiative is providing pediatric audiology services via telecommunication in our state. To do this, Dr. Messersmith continues to listen to families' needs by conducting focus groups to dscover family perspectives on improving access to pediatric audiologist. Armed with this information, Dr. Messersmith is doing what no one else has done in SD by initiating diagnostic pediatric audiology telecommunication services. Having access to specialist, such as a pediatric audiologist is incredibly difficult in a large, rural state that has geographic barriers. The hope is that access to care will help improve follow-up rates in our state.

Dr. Messersmith also teaches the pediatric audiology course at the University of South Dakota. Her teaching has a strong focus on the need for EHDI services and the absolute necessity for children to meet the 1, 3, 6 guidelines. Her passion creates future clinicians that understand the need for EHDI programs and will continue to work towards helping families meet the 1, 3, 6 guidelines. Dr. Messersmith not only shows her passion for EHDI through her work across the state and in the classroom, but also shows the importance of networking to gain more viewpoints and solutions for our state, by attending the EHDI conference each year. Each year, Dr. Messersmith takes both audiology and speech language pathology students to the EHDI conference.