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NIDCD Welcomes Five New Members to Its Advisory Council - Updated 09/18/2009

Photo of new members
Top row, left to right: Dr. James Battey, Dr. Rickie Davis, Dr. William Brownell, Dr. John Niparko. Bottom row, left to right: Dr. Karen Friderici, Brenda Battat.

NIDCD Director James F. Battey, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., welcomed five new members to the National Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Advisory Council during the Council's regular meeting on June 5, 2009, at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Council advises the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the director of the NIH, and the director of the NIDCD on matters relating to the conduct and support of research and research training, health information dissemination, and other programs with respect to disorders of hearing and other communication processes. The term for Council members is four years.

Brenda Battat, M.A., is executive director of the Hearing Loss Association of America, in Bethesda, Md. In her current position, Ms. Battat is responsible for leading the largest national consumer organization of people with hearing loss in the United States. She has significant experience in teaching, advising, fundraising, management, and public policy. In 2002, she received the Self Help for Hard of Hearing People National Access Award. Ms. Battat received her master’s degree in counseling from Indiana University. 

William Brownell, Ph.D., is the Jake and Nina Kamin Chair in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Communicative Science at Baylor College of Medicine, in Houston. His research interests include sensory neurophysiology, auditory neural networks, and cochlear biophysics. He is a member of several professional organizations, including the Society for Neuroscience and the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, for which he served as president in 2004. Dr. Brownell has received numerous honors, including a Claude Pepper Award from the NIH and NIDCD and the Michael E. DeBakey Excellence in Research Award. He received his doctoral degree in physiology from the University of Chicago. 

Karen Friderici, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Michigan State University in East Lansing. Her research interests include hearing loss, genetics of hearing, and molecular pathology of genetic diseases. Dr. Friderici has received several awards and honors and is a member of various professional organizations, including the American Society of Human Genetics and the American Society for Cell Biology. She received her doctoral degree in biochemistry from Michigan State University.

John Niparko, M.D., is the George T. Nager professor and director of the Division of Otology, Neurotology, and Skull Base Surgery in the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore. His research interests include language development, communicative disorders, hearing restoration, and audiology. Dr. Niparko is a member of various professional organizations, including the A.G. Bell Society for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children and the American Board of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. Dr. Niparko has received several awards, including the Distinguished Service Award from the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. He received his medical degree with distinction from the University of Michigan. 


Rickie Davis, Ph.D., leads the Hearing Loss Prevention Team at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He also serves as an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Davis received his doctoral degree in medical psychology from Oregon Health Sciences University. 

Photo of new members
Richard Ellenson (r) and Dr. Craig A. Jordan (l), Director of the NIDCD Division of Extramural Activities and Secretary of the NDCD Advisory Council.

UPDATE (9/17/2009)

NIDCD welcomed a sixth new Council member at its fall meeting, September 11, 2009. Richard Ellenson, M.B.A., is the chief vision officer at DynaVox in New York, and an advocate for individuals with disabilities. Mr. Ellenson received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from NIDCD for his company Blink Twice, which developed the Tango, a speech-generating device that helps children with cerebral palsy, autism, and other conditions to communicate by pre-recording a variety of colorful pictures and symbols depicting commonly used actions, questions, and emotions. He has received national recognition for his entrepreneurial and advocacy work. Mr. Ellenson and his wife were named "2006 Caregivers of the Year" by United Cerebral Palsy of New York. That same year, Mr. Ellenson and his son were recognized as "Persons of the Year" by ABC World News Tonight. Mr. Ellenson received an undergrad degree from Cornell University and an M.B.A from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.