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NIDCD Announces Outstanding Scientist and Clinician to Head Extramural Research Programs

August 6, 1999


Photo: Dr. Robert A. Dobie
Robert A. Dobie, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Robert A. Dobie, M.D., F.A.C.S., will head the Division of Extramural Research of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), one of the institutes of the National Institutes of Health, according to an announcement made by NIDCD Director James F. Battey, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., on July 15, 1999.

"Bob Dobie is an energetic, experienced leader who will bring stellar scientific and medical expertise to our extramural research programs. I am delighted that he will be leading a professional team in serving a scientific community that is experiencing a revolution of opportunity in human communication research," Battey said. Dr. Dobie is currently the "Thomas Walthall Folbre M.D. Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery" at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio, Texas, where he has served as Professor and Department Chair since 1990.

Dr. Dobie responded to the appointment by saying, "I am honored to have been selected to join the NIDCD leadership team. This is indeed a time of rare opportunity in research in communication sciences and disorders. I look forward to working with Jim Battey, with a dedicated and talented NIDCD extramural staff, and with the scientists and clinicians who receive NIDCD funding for research and training, toward our ultimate goal of improving the quality of life for millions of Americans who have diseases or disorders of human communication."

Dr. Dobie's undergraduate degree is from Stanford and his medical degree is from Stanford University School of Medicine where he completed a surgical internship and a surgical residency. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa at Stanford in 1967. He held a Research Fellowship at Louisiana State University Medical Center at the Kresge Research Laboratory of the South in Auditory Physiology. He held a clinical fellowship in otoneurosurgery at the University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland, under Professor Ugo Fisch from 1983-1984. Dr. Dobie moved to the University of Washington School of Medicine in 1975 as an assistant professor, was named Associate Professor to the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery in 1980. Dr. Dobie was named Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology/ Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Washington School of Medicine in 1985.

He was Director of the Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle from 1988-1990. At that time he was also a research affiliate at the Child Development and Mental Retardation Center at the University of Washington. From 1984-1990 Dr. Dobie was the Medical Director of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Clinic, UWMC where he also served as Director of the Resident Teaching Program from 1975-1977 and from 1979-1990. From 1987-1990 he was the Consultant in Otology at the Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma Washington. He had also served as the Chief of Otolaryngology Service at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Seattle. He was Director of the Vestibular Function Laboratory in the Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Clinic at UWMC. He served as a corporate consultant for Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corporation from 1976-1986. Dr. Dobie was Attending Otolaryngologist from 1975-1990 at the University of Washington Medical Center, the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Harborview Medical Center, Children's Hospital and Medical Center, and Pacific Medical Center all in Seattle Washington. Since 1990, Dr. Dobie has been and is currently Attending Otolaryngologist at University Hospital and South Texas Veterans Health Care System in San Antonio, Texas.

Dr. Dobie has already made significant contributions to NIDCD’s scientific community both as a principal investigator and in service to NIDCD scientists. He was a charter member of the Advisory Board of NIDCD, a member of the task force on the NIDCD's first National Strategic Research Plan and has served on NIDCD’s Programs Advisory Committee for extramural research. He was a member of the Executive Committee for the NIDCD/VA Hearing Aid Clinical Trial and on the Executive Policy Board and as co-principal investigator for the Otolaryngology Clinical Trials Cooperative Group (American Academy of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS)). Among the many positions of responsibility within AAO/HNS, he served for seven years on the Otolaryngology Examination Committee. Dr. Dobie was a member of scientific review committees for both NIDCD and NINCDS.

Dr. Dobie serves on the editorial boards for the American Journal of Otology, Laryngoscope and the Journal of Occupational Hearing Loss and the Journal of Noise and Health. He is a member of the Executive Editorial Board for Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

His research support from NIH began with an NINCDS Teacher Investigator Award in 1980 and he has been funded with a series of grants related to Tinnitus, Auditory Responses, Tinnitus and Depression in the Elderly, Hearing Development, Analysis of Auditory Evoked Potentials and Analysis of Auditory Evoked Potentials and Emissions consistently since that time.

He is the author of Medical-Legal Evaluation of Hearing Loss and is co-author of six books and monographs. Among his nineteen book chapters are many related to tinnitus and quality of life and on noise-induced hearing loss. Dr. Dobie is the author of some one hundred papers related to hearing research and otolaryngology.

Dr. Dobie was elected to the presidency of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology in 1991 and has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Deafness Research Foundation since 1991. He has been a member of the Scientific Review Committee for the National Organization for Hearing Research since 1994 and has also been a member of Scientific Advisory Committee for the American Tinnitus Association since the same year. He served as a member of the Task Force on Hearing Protector Effectiveness for the National Hearing Conservation Association. He has also served two terms as a member of the Science Advisory Council for the House Ear Institute.

Dr. Dobie has been active within his communities as a member of the Conflict of Interest Committee at the University of Texas Health Science Center-San Antonio (UTHSC-SA), Chairman of the Emergency Center Support Committee, Member of the Ad-Hoc Group for the House Committee on Public Health, member of the Delineation of Clinical Privileges Task Force at UTHSC-SA and currently as a member of the Steering Committee for the Medical School Strategic Planning at UTHSC-SA. These are among some 30 significant committee chairmanships or memberships over the past three decades.

Among his many awards and honors, Dr. Dobie received The Driftwood Award five times. This award is given by the residents at the University of Washington, Department of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery, to the faculty member who contributed most to resident training. He has been listed in The Best Doctors in America in all four editions.

Dr. Dobie is an active member of the American Academy Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the American College of Surgeons, the American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society (The Triological Society), the American Otological Society, American Neurotology Society, Collegium Oto-Rhino-Laryngologicum Amicitiae Sacrum, Politizer Society and the Association for Research in Otolaryngology.

This new position will also be a homecoming of sorts for Dr. Dobie. He was born into a naval family in Annapolis and spent his senior year of high school and his college summers in McLean, VA. With children at Yale, Barnard, and Georgetown, his family will be geographically closer together than they have been since 1993.

Last Updated Date: 
August 6, 1999