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Christine "Christie" Yoshinaga-Itano

With deep gratitude for her decades of research on the importance of early identification of hearing loss in infants, I nominate Christine "Christie" Yoshinaga-Itano for the 2014 Antonia Brancia Maxon Award for EHDI Excellence. She is part of the elite few who have made newborn hearing screening the standard of practice for newborns, world-wide.

The final recommendation by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which affirmed that newborns be screened for congenital hearing loss at birth, recognized the wisdom of those early pioneers who overcame obstacles to make a reality the earliest possible identification of hearing loss. I believe the Task Force recommendation was highly influenced by the research of Dr. Yoshinaga-Itano. Her landmark article, "Language of Early and Later-identified Children with Hearing Loss," published in Pediatrics in 1998, removed any lingering doubts by pediatricians and other professionals that early identification truly makes a critical difference in outcomes for children.

Dr. Yoshinaga-Itano continues to expand her work on developmental outcomes by collecting outcome data on children from birth to three. The data demonstrate that high-quality early intervention services produce improved developmental outcomes in children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. She is leading an effort to produce national data to document these findings.

As a recipient of the Antonia Brancia Maxon Award for EHDI Excellence, I acknowledge that, without the seminal research by Dr. Yoshinaga-Itano and her subsequent publications, my own efforts in establishing newborn hearing screening programs would have been far less successful.

She was instrumental in creating the International Conference on Family-Centered Early Intervention Services for Children Who Are Deaf or Hard-Of-Hearing, held every two years in Austria. This venue provides an opportunity for families and professionals from around the world to affirm that families be central in the provision of high-quality early intervention services.

"Christie," an audiologist and deaf educator, was honored by the Academy of Audiology with their Research Award in 2001 and the President’s Special Recognition Award in 2008. The entire EHDI community should now applaud and honor Dr. Christine "Christie" Yoshinaga-Itano for her lifetime contributions to early identification of children with hearing loss and support for parents as they begin their journey parenting a deaf or hard-of-hearing child.