16th ANNUAL EARLY HEARING DETECTION & INTERVENTION MEETING
February 26-28, 2017 • Atlanta, GA
EHDI FAMILY LEADERSHIP AWARD
On behalf of my colleagues at Boston Children's Hospital and the families of children who are deaf or hard of hearing in Massachusetts, I nominate Lisa Adams for the EHDI Family Leadership Award. In my 35 years of working in pediatric audiology in Massachusetts, I have been privileged to become acquainted with the efforts of many extraordinary parents of children with hearing loss who help other families both individually and through organizations. Lisa Adams truly stands out in every dimension. She not only spearheaded a major legislative accomplishment but also engages other parents and charges their batteries so that they can participate and grow new skills in ways they never thought they would be capable. In all her activities, she remains humble, empathetic, and positive, always ready to receive and give useful information and to share credit for accomplishments.
Lisa Adams is an attorney who has practiced labor and employment law and works as an attorney/writer for the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. She and her husband are the parents of three boys, two of them being twins who are hard of hearing and who are in the seventh grade. From the time she realized that her infant twins' hearing aid dispensing practice was asking for her credit card rather than her insurance card when they asked for her "card", Lisa began advocating for health insurance coverage for children in. In 2009 she co-founded the Massachusetts Hearing Aids for Children Coalition (Mass HAFCC). She formed an effective relationship with the staff of the primary legislative sponsor of the bill, engage other parents to be relentless in their efforts, and succeeded. On August 6, 2012, I had the great privilege of being present when Governor Patrick signed Chapter 233 of the Acts of 2012 into law, mandating hearing aid coverage by health insurance. The roomful of cheering patients, including the mother of a tiny babe in her arms only weeks old and tearful with relief that the baby's hearing aids would be covered, eased years of pain for me from giving difficult news twice in short succession: that their child need hearing aids, and that they cost far more than many young families with stretched credit cards could afford.
Lisa did not rest after the bill was signed into law. She learned the eccentricities of deductibles, co-pays, ERISA plans, bundled fees, etc. and turned them into understandable language on the Mass HAFCC site. She was elected to the Board of Directors for the Mass. AG Bell Association to run the Bell's Kids program. I see her at nearly every activity that I attend for the support of individuals with hearing loss, actively helping, networking, and sharing her remarkable positive energy.
I was delighted to learn recently that Lisa Adams has been appointed to one of the two coveted "public" seats on the 18-member Advisory council to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). She has a four-year appointment and will attend her first meeting next week. I can think of no better person for this role, because of the way she uses her unique combination of legal skills, persistence, and understanding of the needs of children and families. I have no doubt that she will educate herself about research grant procedures beyond baseline before she even begins this new role, and she will bring the family perspective to the NIDCD table.