March 7, 2008
WASHINGTON, DC— Representative Jim Walsh (R-NY), a champion of newborn hearing screening, announced that he will be retiring from Congress at the end of his term in January 2009 after 20 years in the House of Representatives. Rep Walsh authored and shepherded through Congress legislation creating the federal government’s Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program within the US Department of Health and Human Services. The legislation was passed in 1999.
When Walsh began working on this issue, only about 3% of US babies were being screened at birth, and fewer than a dozen universal newborn hearing screening programs were in existence. Today, 93% of all infants in America are screened within one month of birth, and EHDI programs have been established in every state.
In 2001, Walsh was a founding co-chair of the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus, a bipartisan effort dedicated to hearing health issues, and he has remained the group’s co-chair.