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Ginger Mullin

During 2010, Ginger was the driving force behind creation of regular conference calls known as EHDI Chats. EHDI coordinators from all states are invited to share ideas, ask for help, and serve as a system of social support for their peers. I believe this effort has made a significant contribution to EHDI programs nationally. The overarching theme of these calls is "It’s all good when you’re with EHDI friends" and the idea is frequently communicated that the calls are a "safe place." Most state EHDI coordinators have experienced a variety of frustrations in the course of their work such as budget cuts, short deadlines for grants, or antagonistic relationships with stakeholders (EI coordinators, vital statistics managers, pediatricians, etc.). Having a place to both vent those frustrations to other sympathetic ears, and also to often receive constructive suggestions to manage those frustrations has been of great benefit to me and to other participants. In addition to the phone calls, Ginger created and monitors an email account for the EHDI Chats group which allows EHDI coordinators to easily post a question and find out how a particular situation is handled in other states.

Most recently, through Ginger’s encouragement, a series of "mini-chats" were held to discuss the different improvement strategies mentioned in the HRSA grant renewal guidance. The goal was for states to share strategies that had been both successful and unsuccessful with respect to the specific strategies and to identify some specific goals, objectives, and measures of success that others might wish to include in their grant application. Many praises were given to Ginger during these calls to thank her for her organization of the calls, as many people found them very helpful in guiding their grant application development.

I’m sure that other nominees may be singled out for specific projects that improve direct services to families and children with hearing loss, so that the idea of a nomination for a project that supports the EHDI coordinators, instead of children and families, may seem less deserving. However, I know that I have implemented multiple changes in my state’s EHDI program as a result of ideas tossed out on EHDI Chats and know from conversations with other coordinators that the calls have given them ideas to implement as well. So, this effort has allowed successful ideas to spread throughout many state EHDI programs. The calls have created a real sense of "we are all in this together" and a collegiality that makes me want to help other state’s EHDI programs be successful and not just my own. EHDI Chat discussions have also been the motivation behind abstract submissions for several EHDI conference presentations. I would like to recognize the work that Ginger Mullin has done to facilitate the EHDI Chats group and the resulting impact of improving outcomes for children and families across the United States and territories.