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Marion Downs' Longtime Colleague, Christine Yoshinaga-Itano, to Present the 2015 Pediatric Lecture

Christine Yoshinaga ItanoIn 2004, the AAA Foundation established the Marion Downs Lecture in Pediatric Audiology in honor of Dr. Marion Downs’ and her many contributions to the hearing health community. Marion’s legacies to the audiology community were many in number and international in scope, and the Foundation has been privileged to sponsor this annual session that has, for the last 10 years, offered an array of luminaries in audiology presenting the most current and fascinating developments in pediatric hearing and balance research. As the audiology community mourned the loss of the remarkable Marion Downs last November, the Foundation received word that continued generous funding from the Oticon Foundation will insure that the Marion Downs Lecture will continue for years to come.  Moreover, it is especially fitting that Marion’s longtime friend and collaborator, Christine Yoshinaga-Itano, PhD, had been selected to present the 2015 Marion Downs Lecture at AudiologyNOW!.

Dr. Yoshinaga-Itano will present “ The Past, Present and Future: Developmental Outcomes for Children who are deaf or hard of hearing” on Friday, March 27 in San Antonio. She will discuss how the vision for identifying newborns with hearing loss began in the 1960s when Marion Downs established the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing, and how Marion’s work in Colorado laid the foundation for the widespread adoption of universal newborn hearing screening.  Dr. Yoshinaga-Itano will reflect on how children were initially identified at 4 and 5 years of age as compared to 29 days of age in 2014, and how in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, only about 20-25% of the population of children who were deaf or hard of hearing achieved language development within the average range of typically developing children. Today, over 80% of the population of Colorado children who are deaf or hard of hearing are achieving language development within the average range; however, optimal outcomes are not guaranteed simply because of early identification. Dr. Yoshinaga-Itano will present variables in early intervention services that must be addressed to assure attainment of optimal outcomes for infants and children in the future.

“We are so fortunate that Dr. Yoshinaga-Itano has agreed to present the Marion Downs Lecture in March, especially given her long history working with Marion,” stated Dr. Angela Shoup, chair of the Foundation Board.  “Marion’s work was inspirational to many, but having one of her actual protégés as our 2015 speaker is an especially meaningful way to honor Marion’s memory and her remarkable work with hearing-impaired children and their families.” 




Dr. Yoshinaga-Itano is a Professor of Audiology in the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, faculty of the Institute of Cognitive Science, Center for Neurosciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Department of Otolaryngology and Audiology at the University of Colorado, Denver and the Marion Downs Center, which she developed in 1996.  She has received funding from the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control, Maternal & Child Health, the Office of Special Education, and the Office of Education since the early 1980s. Dr. Yoshinaga-Itano has assisted many state departments of education and public health agencies, schools for the deaf and blind, and early intervention programs throughout the United States and its territories. She has received three of the American Academy of Audiology’s highest recognitions:  the Jerger Career Award for Research in Audiology (2013), the Research Achievement Award (2001) , and the President’s Distinguished Service Award (2008).  She is also the recipient of the Robert Ruben Award for Research from the Society for Ear Nose and Throat Advances for Children in 2010, the Antonio Brancia Maxon Award for Early Detection and Intervention Excellence in 2014, and the Council for Exceptional Children, Division of Communicative Disabilities and Deafness Award in2010.  The Foundation is honored to add Dr. Yoshinaga-Itano to the list of exceptional speakers who have addressed the audiology community on cutting-edge topics at the annual Marion Downs Lecture in Pediatric Audiology.

“The best part of planning the Marion Downs Lectures over the past ten years has been the time I was able to spend with Marion and the many wonderful speakers who share her visionary and innovative thinking,” Kathleen Devlin Culver, AAA Foundation director of operations and development, said recently.  “I thank all those who, in ways small and large, have celebrated Marion’s spirit by speaking at and attending the Marion Downs Lectures.  I also thank the Oticon Foundation, whose past and future generosity, will insure that innovative developments in pediatric audiology, Marion’s passion, continue to reach audiences around the world.”

The annual Marion Downs Lecture in Pediatric Audiology will be available at no charge in both live and on demand formats at eAudiology

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