Phonak U has historically provided attendees a unique experience as they contemplate real-world careers, giving them the opportunity to receive advice from a wide range of industry opinion leaders about how to leverage their clinical training to create successful, satisfying, and rewarding careers.
According to Phonak, it is investing in the future of audiology through these initiatives and helping to shape the market by providing and sharing expertise among these students. For this year’s Phonak U event, guest faculty from around the country joined Phonak management to take attendees through a full 3-day agenda of lecture topics, hands-on clinical workshops, and evidence-based case studies.
Phonak balanced each day with welcome receptions and dinner events where students could mingle and get acquainted with faculty, Phonak staff, and each other. “We’re very proud of this annual offering,” said Bill Dickinson, AuD, vice president of Audiology at Phonak LLC, and the Phonak U Program Chair. “Every element of the itinerary is intentionally developed to reinforce our commitment to creating a quality educational experience, with an appropriate mix of social activity so students can have some meaningful dialogue with some of their mentors and share their experiences with each other.”
There were several new aspects to this year’s program, including speakers Jace Wolfe, PhD, and Shilipi Banerjee, PhD, who discussed maximizing patient outcomes with technology and the future of audiology respectively; Cathy Jones, who presented on current humanitarian activities; and Shelley Borgia, AuD, founder of NYC Hearing Associates, New York, NY, who represented private practice and discussed her approach to implementing Family-centered Care.
Students also conducted a new student-led presentation and facilitated an offsite community service activity where they volunteered their time to assemble food care packages for Save My Starving Children. Perennial Phonak U favorites Kris English, PhD, and Jacob Johnson, MD, wrapped up the busy academic program.
“The entire faculty and Phonak staff made such a strong contribution to the success of this year’s program,” said Dickinson. “At the end of the event, students were able to engage with so many audiologists, all of whom introduced them to a range of current business and clinical trends that audiology as a field is facing.
The Phonak Audiology Research Center team presented an overview of a career in clinical research and hosted a grand tour of the impressive PARC facility. Throughout the three days, the excitement level of the students was easily observed by their engagement in social media activities. As a result, Phonak reports that Phonak U attendees “blew up Twitter.”
On the final day, a number of students delivered eloquent and moving testimonials to the group, acknowledging program attributes that directly align with Phonak culture and core values. After touring the Aurora Operations and Distribution Center (AODC), one student remarked, “It was so cool to see that behind every product, there was a person. Everything has a very personal touch.” Another commented, ““Everyone (at AODC) acted like they were making each hearing aid for their favorite grandmother!”
Students warmly acknowledged the entire Phonak staff involved and thanked everyone for creating such a rich, meaningful agenda. One student said, “This was my first experience going to a manufacturer event for students, and the Phonak team exceeded my expectations. I learned from a group of amazing people how to be a better audiologist. Thank you for putting on such an amazing event.”
Another student described how helpful it was beyond his professional aspirations, “Thank you so much for the experience and opportunities you have given me and all the other students over the past few days. Phonak University taught me so many things I can utilize not only in my future career, but in so many other aspects of life. This experience has far exceeded my expectations.”
In addition to Bill Dickinson, the Phonak LLC team responsible for developing and executing this year’s event included Shannon Basham-Price, AuD, director of Clinical Training; Elizabeth Thompson, AuD, director of Business Development, VA and Audiology; and Susan Whichard, MS, vice president of Industry Relations.