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Amy Donahue, Ph.D., deputy director of the Division of Scientific Programs, retires

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March 20, 2017

Amy Donahue, Ph.D., considers her 26 years spent at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) as the perfect job, and attributes that to her love of research and her collaborators and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in the research community, professional organizations, and numerous federal agency partnerships. At the end of March, Dr. Donahue retires from her dual roles as deputy director of the institute’s Division of Scientific Programs and coordinator of the Hearing and Balance/Vestibular Sciences Program.

Amy Donahue, Ph.D. (center), with NIDCD Director James F. Battey, Jr., M.D., Ph.D. (left), and NIDCD Deputy Director Judith Cooper, Ph.D. (right).
Amy Donahue, Ph.D. (center), with NIDCD Director James F. Battey, Jr., M.D., Ph.D. (left), and NIDCD Deputy Director Judith Cooper, Ph.D. (right).

Before coming to the NIH, Dr. Donahue, who received her Ph.D. in speech and hearing sciences from the University of Tennessee, worked as a hearing conservation consultant for five years at the U.S. Army Environmental Hygiene Agency. She provided guidance to the Army’s preventive medicine program in noise-induced hearing loss and hearing conservation for both active-duty military personnel and civilians.

Dr. Donahue’s expertise has been a driving force behind the strong research portfolio of the NIDCD’s hearing and balance extramural program, which funds research outside the NIH. Her innovative leadership facilitated decades of research on noise-induced and age-related hearing loss, cochlear implants, hearing aids, and intervention strategies for infants and children with hearing loss. 

Dr. Donahue’s many career achievements have included her long history of supporting research efforts to improve treatment options for infants and children with hearing loss, as well as adults with mild to moderate hearing loss. Recently, with support from the NIDCD, other federal agencies, and a nonprofit patient advocacy group, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine released a landmark consensus study report, Hearing Health Care for Adults: Priorities for Improving Access and Affordability.

In 2016, Dr. Donahue was honored with both the NIDCD Award of Excellence and the NIH Director’s Award for her many years of outstanding service. The Hearing Loss Association of America, a patient advocacy organization, recognized her contributions with the James B. Snow, Jr., M.D., Award in 2016 for furthering scientific research in the field of hearing loss, especially in the promotion of accessible and affordable hearing health care.

Her many contributions to hearing and balance research were also recognized by the American Academy of Audiology, which awarded her the 2017 Career Award in Hearing, and by the Association for Research in Otolaryngology as well as the American Auditory Society, both of which presented her with a Certificate of Appreciation for her leadership.

“Her forward-thinking attitude, creativity, energy, commitment, and willingness to take calculated risks to help medical advances reach the patient in a more timely fashion, have been invaluable assets,” said Judith Cooper, Ph.D., the NIDCD’s deputy director, and director of the Division of Scientific Programs. “Moreover, Amy has always provided honest, insightful input and guidance to any and all. She will be greatly missed.”

Kelly King, Au.D., Ph.D., an NIDCD research audiologist in the NIH Clinical Center's Audiology Unit, is assuming on an interim basis many of Dr. Donahue’s responsibilities after her retirement.

Last Updated Date: 
March 21, 2017