Autumn Wedding

 Speaking from the Volta Bureau Autumn banner

Emilio Alonso-Mendoza summerDear Alexander Graham Bell Community,

And the conferences continue...These days, we at AG Bell find ourselves attending a series of great professional gatherings. In a few weeks, AG Bell will be in Denver at the ASHA Convention, and this past week I attended the 2015 ACI Alliance Conference in Washington, D.C., with Gayla Guignard, AG Bell's Chief Strategy Officer. The theme of the conference was, "Emerging Issues in Cochlear Implantation," and included such topics as auditory brainstem implants in children, literacy, quality of life and cost utility of cochlear implantation.

Conference attendees included parents of children with cochlear implants, otolaryngologists and otologists, audiologists, speech-language pathologists, educators, psychologists and program administrators.

Gayla told me she enjoyed a spirited conversation over lunch with Donna Sorkin, ACI Alliance Executive Director, as well as Joanne Travers who leads Partners for a Greater Voice and Naama Tsach of Tel Aviv University. Each of these remarkable women is moving our field forward and making a difference in the lives of people who are deaf and hard of hearing. 

Naama Tsach, Gayla Guignard, Donna Sorkin and Joanne Travers at the conference
Naama Tsach, Gayla Guignard, Donna Sorkin and
Joanne Travers at the conference.
The mission of the ACI Alliance is to focus on eliminating barriers to cochlear implantation through research, advocacy and awareness for people of all ages throughout the United States. Too often, parents don't receive information about their child's potential candidacy and how a cochlear implant would facilitate the development of spoken language. In fact, only about 50 percent of children who are eligible for cochlear implants receive them. Among some of the dedicated professionals I saw at the conference were AG Bell President-elect Ted Meyer, AG Bell past president Don Goldberg, Kathryn Ritter, and Amy McConkey Robbins.  
Dr. Hector Ruiz at the conference
I'm with Dr. Hector Ruiz at the conference.

It was a pleasure to speak with Jean Sachar Moog; she and Anne Geers were the recipients of the 2014 Volta Award. As a focused researcher, Anne has used her candor, positive attitude and pleasant disposition to help countless children learn to hear and talk.

The ACI Alliance is an international draw, and I enjoyed discussing advances in the field with Dr. Hector Ruiz, otolaryngologist, a member of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Dr. Ruiz is also a member of the Pan-American Association of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, and serves as that association's Web Editor of News and Bulletins. His site is read all over Latin America and helps to advance listening and spoken language throughout the region and beyond.

View from EAM window at the Volta Bureau.
View from my window at the Volta Bureau.

I've mentioned before how conferences are a great way to network, to learn, to share and to reaffirm our commitment to the work we do. The network of professionals who provide and support cochlear implantation reminds me that we all need a network. Please support us as we continue our work to build and sustain a broad range of support for listening and spoken language around the world. 

Other Volta Bureau News
AG Bell will be commemorating the 125th anniversary of our headquarters, the Volta Bureau. Dr. Alexander Graham Bell was certainly thinking forward when he built the Volta Bureau and situated it in a truly beautiful location. It is a pleasure for all of our staff to share its beauty with visitors, including event attendees and tourists. During this time of year the trees are ablaze with color, giving us a last glimpse of summer. 

The wedding of  Natalie Applewhite and James Masland.
The wedding of Natalie Applewhite
and James Masland.
That beauty served as the background for a lovely wedding ceremony last weekend, as Natalie Applewhite and James Masland exchanged vows in our courtyard under an arch of wild orchids and butterflies before 85 of their friends and family members. Looking down from our rooftop terrace on the beautiful scene, I envisioned many celebrations in the future. I encourage you to consider the Volta Bureau as an event destination, and invite you to contact Gary Yates for more information at [email protected] 

Until next week,


Emilio Alonso-Mendoza
[email protected]


You can achieve all the things you want to do, but it's much better to do it with loved ones around you; family and friends, people that you care about that can help you on the way and can celebrate you, and you can enjoy the journey.
- John Lasseter