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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Lisa Kovacs

We are nominating Lisa Kovacs for the 2019 Antonia Brancia Maxon Award for EHDI Excellence. It is our great honor and privilege to do so.

Lisa has been dedicated to the widespread growth of family leaders within the EHDI system. Beginning as one of the Indiana H&V chapter founders, to working as the Director of Programs for Hands & Voices, her passion and belief in family leaders has been a catalyst for the Guide By Your Side (GBYS) Program. She has transformed GBYS from 8 to 25 programs in the past nine years as its director. She has trained thousands of parents and professionals on parent leadership; how to incorporate parental and deaf and hard of hearing perspectives; and embedding parent/professional collaboration into EHDI, educational, and family support systems. GBYS has brought a comprehensive approach to the states within which it operates to strengthen and increase the effectiveness of state's systems of care and their capacity to serve families.

Lisa is never one to shy away from a task that needs to be completed. She brings her philosophy of collaboration to the several committees she is involved in, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) EHDI Leadership team over the last 6 years.

Dr. Robert Cicco, a chapter champion of the AAP said this about Lisa: "I have had the honor of working with Lisa Kovacs in a number of capacities. This has included serving on the AAP EHDI Leadership Team and also on the Expert Group overseeing a pediatric practice-based quality improvement project with the objectives of improving identification of newborns at risk for hearing problems and assuring their referral for diagnostic testing. One of the main objectives on this QI project was to encourage practices to develop parent partnerships that would enable them to better implement practices to improve compliance and outcomes. Lisa worked diligently with these physicians and office staff to educate them about the importance of valuing family input. It is so difficult to foster a change in practice culture, but I have seen firsthand how Lisa is able to accomplish this through an organized approach that fosters collaboration and win-win scenarios for both families and healthcare providers. Her knowledge of resources that are vital to families and providers allows both to understand how partnering is the best course to assure positive outcomes. The Maxon award honors the life of one who advocated for connecting screening programs with timely diagnosis and intervention. Lisa's work over the years, with both families and healthcare teams, has carried on those advocacy efforts in a way that assures not only prompt diagnosis and intervention, but also promotes partnerships that improve overall quality of care."

We know of no one more deserving of this high EHDI award.