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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Johnnie Sexton

It is my pleasure to nominate Dr. John E. (Johnnie) Sexton of North Carolina to be the recipient of the Antonia Brancia Maxon Award for EHDI Excellence. Johnnie has practiced as a pediatric audiologist for 40 years. In that time, Johnnie saw a need for parents of children who are Deaf or Hard-of- hearing (DHH) to have a greater amount of both emotional and educational support as they begin their journeys caring for these precious children. To this end, nearly 15 years ago, Johnnie began The CARE Project - a non-profit organization whose primary aim is to provide retreats for families of children who are DHH ages birth to 3 years. During these retreats, parents are given the unique opportunity to meet and develop relationships with other parents of children who are DHH, share their emotional journeys, and receive quality education related to a variety of important topics, including amplification technology, strategies for enhancing listening and spoken language skills, and disability rights for children as they become school age.

What started as a small project in North Carolina is a now a national campaign, with EHDI programs across the country inviting The CARE Project to come and hold retreats for their families. Most recently, The CARE Project ventured, for the first time, off the mainland of the United States to Guam, where audiologic services for children who are DHH are somewhat limited, and most children do not have the opportunity to obtain cochlear implants. With literally hundreds of families served by The CARE Project, a large network of supportive parent relationships has developed.

Through Johnnie Sexton's innovation, The CARE Project has extended its scope of services and has now hosted two parent-professional collaborative conferences in North Carolina and Arkansas, with a second such conference upcoming again in North Carolina in February 2020. The conferences provide a platform for both parents and professionals who serve them to come together and learn with and from each other.

The CARE Project is totally funded by grants (Johnnie receives no payment for the work he does with The CARE Project) and data have shown the beneficial impact these family retreats have for participants, I have no hesitancy nominating Dr. Johnnie Sexton for this prestigious award. He is a man committed to the families of children who are DHH and finds compensation in seeing the emotional and educational needs of these families met.