March 8-10, 2020 • Kansas City, MO


The 2020 Antonia Brancia Maxon Award for EHDI Excellence will be presented at the 2020 National EHDI Meeting in Kansas City, MO. 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.

Presentation of the 2020 Antonia Brancia Maxon Award for EHDI Excellence will be made on Monday March 9, 2020 at the National EHDI Meeting in Kansas City, MO. More about the National EHDI Meeting, including past nominees and recipients can be found below.

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Karen Hopkins

For her outstanding work on behalf of families and many years of dedicated service to improving services for children who are deaf or hard of hearing, I am nominating Karen Hopkins for the Antonia Brancia Maxon Award for EHDI Excellence.

In her home state of Maine, Karen's work touches nearly every child with reduced hearing. She oversees the educational programming at the Maine Educational Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MECDHH), which serves children from preschool through high school. Karen has been instrumental in ensuring that appropriate professionals are "at the table" in deciding the kinds of support that children identified with reduced hearing will receive through Early Intervention. Her outstanding grant writing skills have benefited the state enormously, as she has secured funding to support a Deaf Mentoring program and to train individuals to participate in the Guide by Your Side program. She serves, with distinction, on the Maine Hands & Voices Board and the Maine EHDI Advisory Board.

At the national level, Karen has also had an enormous impact. As a Hands & Voices Headquarters Board member, she plays a role in shaping how this important organization is engaging parents and family members. Her work on the FL3 National Deaf/Hard of Hearing Infusion committee has been influential in considering how to bring the perspectives of individuals who are hard of hearing or Deaf to the fore in organizations working on behalf of children with reduced hearing. In this regard, her work has also had international impact, such as her role as a part of a panel at the Family-Centered Early Intervention (FCEI) conference in Austria in the spring of 2018.

Karen's expertise is informed by and reflective of vast training experiences. Karen obtained degrees from Gallaudet University, the University of Maine and the University of New England. She has earned educational certificates in Early Intervention, Deaf Education, Special Education and Educational Leadership (Principal and Superintendent). Her knowledge about the needs of deaf and hard of hearing infants, toddlers, and children and their families is vast and deep. Her commitment to supporting families and children is exceptionally strong. The combination of Karen's extensive knowledge, her dedication to this work, and the connections that she has fostered have rendered her a "force to be reckoned with" in this field. Fortunate are the families who have had Karen in their corner, and the many other families whose lives are impacted by the work that she has done over her career.

While the selection of just one outstanding awardee among a group of deserving nominees is undoubtedly challenging, I strongly urge the selection committee to carefully consider Karen Hopkins for this award. Given her local, regional, national and even international impact, Karen is highly deserving of this recognition.