and Two Conferences

 Speaking from the Volta Bureau Autumn banner

Emilio Alonso-Mendoza summerDear Alexander Graham Bell Community,

In Philadelphia at the first World's Fair in the United States a number of world-changing inventions debuted at the 1876 Centennial Exposition, but probably the most anticipated was the first public showing of the telephone. Dr. Alexander Graham Bell had just patented the device, and startled attendees with how well it worked. It was the talk of the fair, and revolutionized communications as we know them. After the World's Fair, the telephone became important to our culture. This approach to communication, revealed and discussed through word-of-mouth and print, resulted in multiple collaborations that revolutionized how human beings interacted.

Partnerships are exercises in trust. The parties must step outside their doors and combine intellect and action to advance their common goals. In the field of listening and spoken language this is not a new concept. AG Bell's progress relies on the strength of our membership and collaborations. Our conventions and symposiums are only as good as allied professionals and vendors helps us make it. Also, AG Bell's ability to offer scholarships and financial aid awards can only be accomplished because supporters agree that what AG Bell stands for is to the benefit of the common good.

Hearing First logoAG Bell believes it is critical to know the status of a baby's hearing as soon as possible so that parents can access the services they need to achieve their goals for their child. We find a common goal with organizations that support newborn hearing screening and this is one of the reasons why I am so excited about a new endeavor, Hearing First. Hearing First emphasizes the need for all children to receive newborn hearing screening so that parents may learn the status of their baby's hearing as soon as possible. This website is an online tool for parents and professionals to access listening and spoken language resources to ensure that children in their lives succeed. 

EAM with Karl White
With Karl White, NCHAM director

AG Bell and the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management (NCHAM), the national technical assistance center for Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) programs, are mission partners with the Oberkotter Foundation and its Hearing First. All three organizations agree that for parents to know their child's hearing status quickly is extremely important.

The three organizations work together to advance early communication, and by combining our intellect and action we mirror the collaborations of Dr. Bell. We are helping to revolutionize how human beings who are deaf and hard of hearing interact. AG Bell expresses its wholehearted congratulations to Hearing First on this new and innovative project and we look forward to collaborating with them to improve outcomes for children.

In other news, AG Bell attended the 6th Annual Conference of the Coalition for Global Hearing Health in Washington, D.C. at Gallaudet University last week. The purpose of the coalition is to advocate for hearing health services and policies particularly in low-resource communities. AG Bell had the opportunity to interact with attendees and representatives of a number of countries and organizations.

EAM with SLP from Mexico
At the Volta Bureau I'm in the back with
Irene Garcia-Benavides, M.Ed., CCC-SLP,
from Peru, and on the right is
Dr. Saomi Santiago Snyder,
the clinical director of the Advanced Audiology
Clinic in Puerto Rico. In the front is
Dr. Wanda Lugo from the University of
Puerto Rico. They were in D.C. attending the
6th Annual Conference of the Coalition for
Global Hearing Health.

During the conference AG Bell's Chief Strategy Officer, Gayla H. Guignard, M.A., CCC-A/SLP, LSLS Cert AVT, attended a session, "Introduction to Public Health Planning for Hearing Impairment," presented by Andrew Smith and Daksha Patel. Andrew mentioned that 5.3 percent, or 1 in 19 of the world's population has hearing loss, but he also referenced that action needs data to move forward in order to raise awareness, select strategies for prevention and see how disability affects a community.

EAM with Chris Switzer and Gilbert Herer
At the Volta Bureau with
Chris Switzer and Gilbert Herer

Later this week, the ACI Alliance will host the CI 2015 Symposium and bring together clinicians, faculty, surgeons and many other professionals on cochlear implant teams from around the world for some of the latest research in the rapidly advancing field of cochlear implantation. Longtime AG Bell supporter Gilbert Herer, Ph.D., CCC-A/SLP, visited the Volta Bureau with Chris Switzer, M.A., CCC-SLP, both of whom are faculty in the Communication Sciences and Disorders program at Chapman University in California. After a long career in establishing and providing hearing health care programs for children, Gil turned his efforts to establish a Healthy Hearing Program as part of the Special Olympics. Chris has had a longtime passion for serving children who are deaf and hard of hearing in her private practice.

What excites me about attending conferences is that I can hear about new developments from the people that create them, and sustain collaborations in a non-office environment. As I continue to travel and work with other associations to help children with hearing loss, I will notify you of any new inventions or initiatives which support our mission.

Until next week,


Emilio Alonso-Mendoza
[email protected]


Alliances and partnerships produce stability when they reflect realities and interests.
- Stephen Kinzer