Guest Bios

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Guest Bios

Douglas A. Cotanche

Douglas A. Cotanche is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Otolaryngology- Head & Neck Surgery and Anatomy & Neurobiology at Boston University School of Medicine, a Lecturer in the Department of Otology & Laryngology at Harvard Medical School, and a Member of the Affiliated Faculty of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. He received his Ph.D. in Anatomy from the University of North Carolina in 1983 and did a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Cell Biology at the University of Pennsylvania from 1983-1985. His first faculty position was in the Departments of Otolaryngology and Anatomy at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC from 1985 to 1987. In 1987 he moved to Boston where he was in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at Boston University School of Medicine for ten years before moving to Children's Hospital in 1998. 

In 2008 he returned to BUMC with a primary appointment in the Department of Otolaryngology and a joint appointment in Anatomy & Neurobiology. Dr. Cotanche has served as Secretary/Treasurer and a Council Member of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology, and has served on the Council of Scientific Trustees of the Deafness Research Foundation, and the Scientific Advisory Board of the Central Institute of the Deaf in St. Louis, MO and on numerous hearing-related NIH Study Sections. He is a Section Editor for Hearing Research and a member of the editorial board of Audiology & Neurotology. Dr. Cotanche’s research has focused on the development and regeneration of hair cells and the tectorial membrane in the avian and mammalian cochlea. In 1985 he co-discovered that birds can regenerate their cochlear hair cells after sound damage and regain their hearing. He has continued his research on regeneration and has been a prominent force in the drive to develop hair cell regeneration as a potential treatment for sensorineural deafness. Currently the work in his lab is also exploring the therapeutic potential of stem cell transplantation into the damaged mammalian cochlea. Dr. Cotanche also teaches Gross Anatomy to first year medical students in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology where, in 2007, he received the Award for Excellence in Teaching at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Gene Bratt

Dr. Gene Bratt is the Chief of the Audiology and Speech Pathology Service at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Tennessee Valley Healthcare System in Nashville. He received his doctorate in audiology from Vanderbilt University in 1980, and has since been a clinical audiologist at the VA in Nashville. He is has been a funded investigator for most of his tenure with the VA, with research interests in the selection and fitting of hearing aids. He has published his findings and those of his research group on several occasions in professional journals, and has been an invited speaker internationally. He is also an associate professor of audiology at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine where his teaching interests have centered about clinical audiology and pathologies of the auditory system.

Dr. Jack J. Wazen

Dr. Jack J. Wazen, MD FACS Otologist-Neurotologist & Surgeon, Silverstein Institute Director of Research, Ear Research Foundation 

Internationally Recognized Otologist- Neurotologist & Surgeon Over 20 years experience as a practitioner, professor and researcher. Silverstein Institute - Sarasota Ear Research Foundation - Sarasota Columbia University - New York Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center -New York 

Author, "Dizzy – What You Need to Know About Managing & Treating Balance Disorders" Drummer, "Doc & the Earignals", jazz band that performs and has made 10 CDs to support the Ear Research Foundation

Dr. Michael A. Harvey

Dr. Michael A. Harvey provides training and consultation on hearing loss, vicarious trauma and mental health issues.  In addition to a private practice in Framingham, Mass., he is an adjunct faculty at Boston University and a consultant faculty at Pennsylvania College of Optometry, School of Audiology, where he teaches on-line courses relating to the psychosocial aspects of hearing loss.  Dr. Harvey writes a regularly forHearing Loss Magazine, for Hearing Loss Association of America, in addition to over 40 articles, his publications include The Odyssey of Hearing Loss: Tales of Triumph, Psychotherapy with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons: A Systemic Model  (second addition), and a co-edited book entitled Culturally Affirmative Psychotherapy with Deaf Persons. His most recent book is Listen with the Heart: Relationships and Hearing Loss. 

Dr. Harvey is Co-Director of a private, non-profit organization, Dialogue Toward Change, dedicated to providing research, training and consultation services to alleviate the potentially negative impact of witnessing oppression.

Ellen Beer

Ellen Beer recently joined Cochlear Americas as a Consumer Marketing Manager, where she contributes her own recipient insights and marketing experience. She is an active member of the Cochlear Community, a network of recipients who share their hearing journeys together worldwide.

Esther Kelly

Author and award winning speaker, Esther Kelly, has developed and implemented numerous programs designed to meet the unique needs of her clients, presenting her acclaimed “Hearing Loss in Action – Beyond Methodology” to countless groups, organizations and community colleges. Ms. Kelly has given many workshops at Hearing Loss Association of America National Conventions.  Among her books, videos and DVDs are, “A Sign Signals Manual”,  and her award winning video, “You Should Hear What You Are Missing”. Her most recent 6-DVD series, “Solutions for People with Hearing Loss in Career and Education Environments,” is a contemporary classic utilized by Texas Vocational Assistive and Rehabilitative Services and available at all Texas Public Libraries. 

Esther Kelly runs a Hearing Loss Program and Technology Center at Deaf Action Center in Dallas Texas and serves as a Hearing Loss Resource Specialist for the Texas Office for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services.  Esther is a tireless advocate for the Hard of Hearing and Late-Deafened.   Having lived with hearing loss from the time she was a child, and the recipient of a successful cochlear implant, Esther has life experience that has given her insight in the needs of those with hearing loss.


Gael Hannan

Gael Hannan is a writer, actor and public speaker who grew up with a progressive hearing loss that is now severe-to-profound. She is a director on the national board of the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association and runs The Hearing Foundation of Canada’s award-winning Sound Sense hearing awareness program for elementary students across Canada. As a passionate advocate for people with hearing loss, her work includes speechreading instruction, hearing awareness workshops for youth and adults, and sensitivity training for corporations and community groups. 

Gael is a sought-after speaker for her humorous and insightful performances about hearing loss, including her signature shows Unheard Voices and EarRage! She has received several awards for her work, including the Consumer Advocacy Award from the Canadian Association of Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists.

Jane R. Madell, Ph.D., CCC-A/SLP, Cert AVT

Jane R. Madell, Ph.D., CCC-A/SLP, Cert AVT is a renowned audiologist, educator, mentor and advocate. Her pioneering work in audiology, pediatric audiology, licensure and professional development has spanned four decades and lifted the field of audiology to the heights it is today. Her clinical practice and research include evaluation and management of hearing in infants and young children, management of hearing loss in children with severe and profound hearing loss, selection and management of amplification including hearing aids, cochlear implants and FM systems, assessment of auditory function, and evaluation and management of auditory processing disorders.

Judy Sexton

Judy Sexton is the Director of Clarke Pennsylvania Auditory Oral Center. Judy holds a Masters Degree in Education of the Hearing Impaired from Bloomsburg University. She also held a license as a hearing aid specialist in the state of Pennsylvania awarded 1987. She has spent her entire career of 31 years working in the field of auditory oral education. Her work experiences include ten years in the public school system intermediate units as an itinerant hearing therapist and resource room teacher in preschool, elementary, middle and high schools. In addition, Judy taught at Archbishop Ryan School for the Deaf from 1983 until 1997 in the capacity of classroom teacher in preschool, elementary and middle schools. Judy’s last five years at “Ryan School” were as principal.

Some of Judy’s other accomplishments include:

  • Newly appointed to the Infant Newborn Screening Committee in the state of Pennsylvania
  • Former President/Quota Club-women’s professional organization dedicated to hearing and speech needs of children and adults
  • Former President of the St. Bernadette Home and School Association
  • Presenter at a variety of conferences and conventions related to hearing loss
  • Committee chair at the A.G. Bell conference 1997
  • Officer of the PA Chapter of the A.G. Bell Association
  • Recipient of the Curriculum Quill Award for outstanding contribution to curriculum and instruction.

Judy’s interests include reading, quilting, walking, traveling with her family, gardening and refinishing furniture. She lives in Havertown with her husband, Tim, and three children Kevin, Patrick, and Julianne.

Julie Olson

Julie Olson, HLAA Board of Trustees Past President, Fox Valley, Wisconsin Chapter Founder
Having been involved with HLAA for more than 25 years, Ms. Olson brings a strong passion for people with hearing loss and the organization that she feels saved her life when she lost her hearing. She has also served as the newsletter editor for the HLAA Wisconsin State Association and the Fox Valley Chapter.