March 13-15, 2016 • San Diego, CA


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Stephanie Browning McVicar

Stephanie Browning McVicar has made noteworthy contributions to EHDI, both nationally and locally, serving as the Director of Utah EHDI, as well as the Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Public Health Initiative, the Children's Hearing Aid Program (CHAP), and the Tele-Audiology Program at the Utah Department of Health's (UDOH) Children with Special Health Care Needs Bureau. Her innovative and tireless efforts in these programs have all served to enhance the effectiveness of EHDI.

Utah was the first state to pass cytomegalovirus legislation, of importance since congenital CMV (cCMV) is the leading non-genetic cause of hearing loss in children. This law mandates educating the public about CMV. Stephanie was instrumental in developing public and professional educational efforts including creation and circulation of nearly 44,000 CMV brochures in English and Spanish, a bus ad campaign, public service announcements, and use of social media. Targeting both parents and professionals, she directed creation of an extensive website health.utah.gov/cmv.

The law also directed medical practitioners to test infants for CMV who fail two newborn hearing screens. Partnering with NBHS programs, audiologists, medical practitioners, and local laboratories, she orchestrated the initiation of CMV testing. To date, 535 infants have been tested with over 30 infants being identified with cCMV, leading to more timely diagnosis and frequent monitoring of hearing loss. Some infants have received antiviral therapy with promising results mitigating the virus' effect of cochlear damage. Due to the necessity of testing for CMV by 21 days of life, meeting EHDI's goals of hearing screening before 1 month as well as having diagnostics completed before 3 months of age have improved. Stephanie has presented widely on CMV at National EHDI Conferences, Utah Private Child Care Association, American Public Health and Policy Conference and the International cCMV Conference. She has assisted other states as they begin their own CMV public health and screening programs. Her pioneering efforts will continue to positively affect the early detection of hearing loss and timely intervention for infants with this common virus.

As the Vice-Chair of the Advisory Committee for CHAP, Stephanie played a key role in its development. Currently, she oversees this program that provides hearing devices to financially eligible children. Thus far, 56 children have been fit with aids, allowing more children to begin earlier amplification in the intervention process. Utah has a large rural area making it difficult for some babies to have diagnostic hearing evaluations. Stephanie created and has provided ABR testing for the UDOH Tele-Audiology Program. This program has not only helped reduce loss to follow-up but has helped babies meet the important EHDI goals of completing diagnostics before 3 month of age and initiation of intervention before 6 months.

In 2013, Stephanie was recognized for her innovative contributions by the UDOH, receiving the Outstanding Employee for the Division of Family Health and Preparedness. Her pioneering work has made significant contributions to the identification, diagnosis, and intervention for childhood hearing loss. It is befitting that she now receive the Antonia Brancia Maxon Award for EHDI Excellence for 2016.