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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Kathleen Watts

It is with great pleasure that I nominate Ms. Kathleen Watts for the Antonia Brancia Maxon Award for EHDI Excellence. Kathleen has spent over 20 years dedicated to improving systems and outcomes for children diagnosed with hearing loss. Her dedication and passion for this community is represented by her exceptional support and service to the Early Hearing Detection and Intervention community.

As the Project Officer and Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Grant Reviewer, Kathleen reviewed HRSA grants submitted by States and territories. Kathleen evaluated many submissions to ensure the best quality of care for families.

For 7 years, Kathleen worked as the Director of Training and Technical Assistance with the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management (NCHAM). She developed, organized and evaluated training for audiologists, parents and stakeholders. Additionally, Kathleen assisted with the coordination of National EHDI conferences to cover relevant topics and subjects affecting the EHDI community.

Kathleen served as the EHDI Program Manager for North Carolina from 2007-2014, where she developed unique programming to provide audiology services for infants via telemedicine in rural areas of the state. In an effort to increase knowledge regarding newborn hearing screening and promote awareness of the EHDI program, Kathleen developed brochures, educational materials, and presentations. Additionally, Kathleen facilitated workshops for families dealing with the emotional aspects of having a child with hearing loss.

In 2014, Kathleen selflessly moved to Virginia to help with the care of her grandson. Even in her move to a new state, she found her way into the Virginia EHDI family where she most recently worked as the Project Coordinator and Quality Improvement Coordinator. During her time with Virginia EHDI, Kathleen assisted in implementing the 1-3-6 Family Educator project to ensure every family of a child with hearing loss has access to social-emotional support. Due to her passion for families, she worked hard to bring the first CARE project family retreat to Virginia and helped organize parent professional collaborative meetings on Continuity of Care and Trauma Informed Care.

Additionally, Kathleen utilized her strong leadership and networking skills to implement the Virginia EHDI learning communities. In the EHDI Learning Communities, Kathleen was instrumental in facilitating the creation of the Shared Plan of Care (SPoC) to encourage communication between parents and stakeholders involved in the care of deaf and hard-of-hearing children to ensure optimal outcomes.

Over the years, Kathleen has been a pleasure to work with professionally and personally. Kathleen's passion and dedication flow into her personal life with her love and commitment to her family. Kathleen dedicates all her free time to caring for her dogs (one who is hard of hearing) and her grandchildren. I highly believe Kathleen is deserving of this award for her continued contributions in ensuring families of children with hearing loss have access to necessary resources to achieve optimal outcomes.