October 3, 2007

SOMERSET, NJ—Since its inception, the Oticon Focus on People Awards has honored outstanding people with hearing loss who prove that hearing loss does not limit a person’s ability to live a full, productive and even, inspiring life. In 2007, the national awards competition, sponsored by Oticon Inc, celebrates a decade of honoring people who defy the stigma of hearing loss. This year, 15 new honorees bring to 150 the number of individuals honored by the program for their accomplishments and contributions.

The 2007 first place winners include: J. Anne Greenwald of Bend, Ore; Michael Goldbeck of Edmond, Okla; and Ronnie Adler of Chesterbrook, Pa.

Practitioners C. Rex Scott, MS, of Audiology Associates of Salt Lake City, and Jodi Creighton, MS, Cert. AVT of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital were also honored at the awards ceremony for their contributions to improving the world of hearing impaired people.

The Oticon Focus on People Awards program is designed to focus attention on common misconceptions about hearing loss, correct negative stereotypes, and motivate people with hearing loss to take advantage of the help that is available to them.

“We are gratified that for 10 years, practitioners, educators, families, and friends have nominated outstanding people with hearing loss and dedicated professionals for the Focus on People Awards,” says Oticon President Peer Lauritsen. “Each year, hundreds of nominations representing people from all walks of life are reviewed by our judging panel. Each has a unique story and has made a unique contribution to changing negative perceptions of hearing loss. We are both humbled by their accomplishments and inspired by their ability to make a meaningful difference for people with hearing loss.”

Selected from over 200 nominees, this year’s 15 winners earned first, second, or third place honors in one of the program’s five categories: Student (full-time students with hearing loss, ages 6-21), Adult (people with hearing loss, ages 21 and beyond), Advocacy (individuals of all ages involved in advocacy for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community) and Practitioner and Pediatric Practitioner (for hearing care professionals currently in practice).

Blue Ribbon Judging Panel
The winners were selected by an independent judging committee composed of leading hearing care professionals. This year’s program judges included: Mary M. Cody, AuD, of All Ears Hearing Center, Plymouth, Mass; Terence Russell, MA, of Physicians Hearing Aid Center, Santa Cruz, Calif; Paula Schwartz, AuD, of Audiology Concepts Inc, Minneapolis; Louis R. Sieminski, PhD, of Kingston, Pa; and Connie Stephens, MS, of West Texas Rehab Center, Abilene, Texas.



J. Anne Greenwald, RN, Bend, Ore
Diagnosed at birth with a hearing loss, Anne Greenwald has never allowed her hearing loss to stand in the way of her desire to serve those in need. As a registered nurse, Anne’s skill and caring have helped to change the attitudes of many doctors and nurses who expected “less” from a person with hearing loss. In fact, she has become a valuable advocate for patients with hearing loss, serving as a compassionate and capable guide to them throughout their hospital stay. Attuned to individuals who might benefit from professional hearing care, Greenwald has helped overcome fears and reluctance about seeking a hearing solution and has truly made a difference for both patients and other professionals. She has designated Bend Oregon Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of Oregon as the recipient of a $1,000 donation from Oticon Inc.


Michael Goldbeck, Edmond, Okla
Michael Goldbeck, who was diagnosed with a profound hearing loss at 18 months, is a boy on a mission. The 11-year-old fifth grader at Clegern Elementary School has participated in state and national meetings to share his story and inform others of the benefits of early intervention, advanced hearing technology, and the amazing possibilities that exist for people with hearing loss. His speech before over 2,000 students at a local high school rallied the entire student body and raised more than $150,000 for Hearts for Hearing, a nonprofit organization that provides hearing aids and services to children in need. An academic standout, Michael is a compassionate and concerned friend to others who struggle academically or in other ways. By his shining example, he helps other students see how they can overcome their own challenges. Goldbeck has designated the Hearts for Hearing Foundation as the recipient of a $1,000 donation from Oticon Inc.


Ronnie Adler, Chesterbrook, Pa
Ronnie Adler, diagnosed with a severe hearing loss at birth, is someone who has always looked beyond her own needs to help others. From her early volunteering efforts with the Manhattan, Westchester, and New York State Association of SHHH, Adler went on to found the Hearing Loss Association of America’s GenX Chapter of Delaware Valley, Pa, in 2001. She has worked tirelessly, organizing conferences in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania and raising funds including national walkathons that enlisted hundreds of people with hearing loss and their families and friends to raise awareness of hearing loss in communities across the country. Perhaps Adler’s greatest contribution is as a role model for other volunteers. She has been called energetic, empathetic, kind, resourceful, giving and inspirational—all the best qualities of someone who can truly make a difference for people with hearing loss. As part of her award, Adler has designated the Hearing Loss Association of America as the recipient of a $1,000 donation from Oticon Inc.


C. Rex Scott, MS, Salt Lake City
In his over 40 years as a dedicated professional, Rex Scott has raised audiology to the level of art. As a person with hearing loss himself, his technical skills, combined with the comfortable, caring and professional rapport he establishes with patients and co-workers, has earned him the respect of colleagues around the world. A dedicated humanitarian, Scott has created a foundation to serve the Navaho people in the Four Corners area of Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado, fitted orphans in Romania, and traveled to Africa as part of a humanitarian service mission. At home, he has been equally unselfish with this time and talents in a variety of service programs including his work with a homeless shelter clinic in Salt Lake City. In his role as an educator, Scott has mentored countless numbers of students, quietly providing support, guidance and genuine concern for their success. As part of his award, Scott has designated the Hearing Help Foundation as the recipient of a $1,000 donation from Oticon Inc.

Pediatric Practitioner

Jodi Creighton, MS, Cert. AVT, Cincinnati
When Jodi Creighton started the Aural Rehabilitation program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, she took to heart the hospital’s credo, “Change the outcome.” Her innovative collaborative approach involved speech pathologists, otolaryngologists, developmental pediatricians, nurses, and social workers in evaluating the needs of each child and designing a therapy approach based on those needs. While her first love is spending time with hearing impaired children and their families in one-on-one therapy, Creighton recognizes that to truly make a difference she needs to share what she knows and teach others. She readily opens her door to students, professionals from other disciplines and visiting audiologists who want to learn. She regularly participates in workshops and visits other centers that are trying to incorporate aural rehab therapy in their programs. As part of her award, Creighton has designated the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center as the recipient of a $1,000 donation from Oticon Inc.


ADULT: Antoine Hunter, Oakland, Calif;

STUDENT: Joshua Curhan, Lincoln, Mass;

ADVOCACY: Paula Rosenthal, Old Westbury, NY;

PRACTITIONER: Sol Marghzar, AuD, Beverly Hills, Calif; 

PEDIATRIC PRACTITIONER: Bethaney Tessitore, AuD, Decatur, Ala.


ADULT: Michael Daignault, Ware, Mass;

STUDENT: Matthew Wolff, Ardsley, NY;

ADVOCACY: Nancy Stanley-Maso, State College, Pa;

PRACTITIONER: Bill Diles, MA, Santa Rosa, Calif;

PEDIATRIC PRACTITIONER: Lori Wiorek, AuD, Milwaukee, Wis.

SOURCE: Oticon Inc