AuDacity 2021 — Speaker Bios
Debbie Abel, Au.D. received her Bachelor and Master’s degrees from Kent State University and her AuD from the Arizona School of Health Sciences. Dr. Abel spent 13 years in private practice in Alliance, OH after moving an existing practice from the Alliance Eye and Ear Clinic, where she was employed for 14 years, taking the ENT with her.
She is the manager of Coding and Contracting Services for Audigy. Formerly the Academy’s Senior Specialist, Practice Management, she was the Director of Reimbursement and Practice Compliance and served as an Academy Board member-at-large and as the chair of the Academy’s Coding and Reimbursement Committee and a member of the Academy’s Ethical Practice Board. She is the Past President of the Doctors of Audiology.
Kim Cavitt, Au.D. was a clinical audiologist and preceptor at The Ohio State University and Northwestern University. Since 2001, Dr. Cavitt has operated her own Audiology consulting firm, Audiology Resources, Inc.
Audiology Resources, Inc. provides comprehensive operational, compliance and reimbursement consulting services to hearing healthcare providers. She is a Past President of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA), serves as the Chair of the State of Illinois Speech Pathology and Audiology Licensure Board, serves on the Audiology Quality Consortium and serves on committees through ADA and ASHA. Dr. Cavitt is also Adjunct Lecturer at Northwestern University.
Dr. Rita R. Chaiken graduated from Syracuse University, Emory University, and received an Au.D. from Pennsylvania College of Optometry (Salus University) where she was awarded the 2014 Osborne College of Audiology Alumna of the Year Award. Dr. Chaiken has previously served as an educational audiologist, regional manager for a hearing aid manufacturer, and founder, owner, and operator of a private audiology practice. She served two terms on of State of Georgia Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. Presently, she is an Adjunct Professor of Audiology at Salus University as well as a Past president of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology.
She has traveled in the United States and internationally for over 25 years to provide cerumen management training to audiologists and Au.D. Candidates, and was honored by the Audiology Foundation of America with its Professional Leadership Award for her work in this area.
Nikki is a life-long hearing aid user and Director of Operations at Corvallis Hearing Center overseeing daily operations and assisting in all audiological services. She has published in the Hearing Review journal and is a presenter at all Oregon Association for Better Hearing monthly educational seminars at the local hospital.
John A. Coverstone, AuD, is the President and CEO of Sentient Healthcare, an audiology consulting company and parent company of Audiology Ear Care clinic in New Brighton, MN, where he provides clinical and educational audiology services. Dr. Coverstone received B.S. degrees in Speech Communication and in Speech & Hearing Science from Portland State University, an M.S. degree from Portland State University, and an AuD degree from Salus University School of Audiology.
Dr. Coverstone is a current writer for the American Tinnitus Association and a former columnist for Advance for Audiologists, Feedback (former ADA member publication) and Audiology Today. He has lectured at numerous state and national conferences, private meetings, and universities. Dr. Coverstone is the 2008 recipient of the Audiology Foundation of America Professional Leadership award, 2012. Dr. Coverstone is the co-host of AudiologyTalk, a monthly podcast for audiologists.
Dr. Davis has a passion for improving communication for patients and believes music has a significant impact on our ability to understand speech. She received her Bachelor's and Doctorate of Audiology from the University of Cincinnati and has been and audiologist for 14 years. She owns a private practice in Austin, Texas and specializes in adult diagnostics, hearing aid fittings, tinnitus, APD, and cochlear implants. Dr. Davis created a music-based auditory training program for patients in order to improve speech understanding in noise, increase cognitive function, and to supplement APD therapy.
Dr. Crystal Bleu Dvorak, daughter of deceased “Grandma YoYo” of TikTok fame, works as a clinical audiologist in Billings, MT. After being a teacher, she went back to school to become a SLP…but fell in love with Audiology, specifically the transduction process. She received her doctorate from the University of South Dakota. Beyond clinical audiology, Dr. Dvorak also serves as a captain in the Army Reserve. Majority of her time is spent doing regular army training, but a fair share of her time includes her reminding soldiers to wear hearing protection. Her teen daughters keep her busy with soccer, track, & theatre. Her oldest daughter Ashlyn has committed to play NCAA Div. I soccer beginning the Fall 2022. Her youngest daughter Alexis spends her time performing in community productions, dancing and pole vaulting on the high school track team. She and her husband own Big Sky Reptiles & Enclosures, which specializes in breeding exotic reptiles and PVC enclosures.
Josiah Dykstra, Ph.D. is an experienced expert in cybersecurity. He is founder and consultant of Designer Security, LLC, which provides security services for audiologists. Dr. Dykstra is also a technical leader in cybersecurity at the Department of Defense. Over the past 16 years, he has worked as a researcher and practitioner in network security and digital forensics. He is a frequent speaker, the author of numerous peer-reviewed publications, and wrote the book Essential Cybersecurity Science. Josiah is a Distinguished Member of the American Academy of Computing Machinery and Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.
Dr. Flexer received her doctorate in audiology from Kent State University in 1982. She is a Distinguished Professor of Audiology in the School of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. Areas of expertise include pediatric and educational audiology. Dr. Flexer continues to lecture extensively nationally and internationally and has authored more than 155 publications. She is past president of the Educational Audiology Association, the American Academy of Audiology, and the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Academy for Listening and Spoken Language.
Dr. Flexer has received six prestigious awards from the Educational Audiology Association; three awards from The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf ,the Volta Award, the Professional of the Year Award, and the 2019 Honors of the Association; and the 2012 Distinguished Achievement Award; and The EHHS Hall of Fame Distinguished Alumni Award 2015 from Kent State.
Audiologist, Kevin Franck, Ph.D., is Senior Vice President of Strategic Marketing and New Product Planning at Frequency Therapeutics, where he leads pre-commercial strategy for the company’s clinical pipeline featuring novel therapies aimed to restore hearing function and enhance the ability to understand speech for patients with sensorineural hearing loss. Dr. Franck joined frequency from Massachusetts Eye and Ear, where he served as Director of Audiology. He previously co-founded Ear Machine, a startup funded by the National Institutes of Health prior to its acquisition by Bose in 2014.
Dr. Franck holds an MBA in Healthcare Management from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, a Ph.D. in hearing science from the University of Washington, and MSA in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University and a BA in engineering from Dartmouth College. He is the Chair of the Board of the Hearing Loss Association of America.
Dr. Gans is a clinical psychologist specializing in the psychological impact of deafness and hearing on well-being. In her private practice in San Francisco, CA, Dr. Gans treats clients with tinnitus, hyperacusis, misophonia, and other hearing-related difficulties. She completed research at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in the Department of Otolaryngology’s Audiology Clinic on Mindfulness-Based Tinnitus Stress Reduction (MBTSR), with promising results. She is the CEO/Founder of MindfulTinnitusRelief.com, the first-ever self-administered 8-week online skill-building course of its kind for learning how to shift tinnitus from 'bothersome' to 'non-bothersome'. Dr. Gans presents globally to audiologist, otolaryngologists, and hearing-health providers on how to integrate and give support to tinnitus patient counseling; a critical piece of the tinnitus management puzzle. Dr. Gans is fluent in American Sign Language and works closely with the Deaf community.
Since obtaining his PhD from The Ohio State University, Dr. Gans has been recognized as a thought leader and innovator in clinical practice, research and as a global educator in the vestibular and equilibrium sciences. With 150 international presentations in 30 countries, dozens of articles, his work is used by Audiologists, Otolaryngologists, Neurologists and Physical Therapists worldwide. As the founder of AIB, among the largest private practices focused on diagnosis and rehabilitation of balance disorders in children and adults, he has a unique perspective on the convergence of patient care, evidence based protocols and business.
Dr. Gans has served AAA as BOD Member, Chair of the PAC and President (2004-05). He is devoted to the advancement of the profession and the AIB has served as a site for 46 student externs from 27 universities. The AIB Foundation supports Audiology students and Research Grants as well as seeing children free, whose families are without insurance.
Archelle Georgiou, MD, is the Chief Health Officer for Starkey. She is responsible for Starkey’s initiative to improve individuals’ overall wellness and quality of life through our products and better hearing. She develops and maintains strategic relationships within the medical community, oversees the Healthable features embedded in the company’s hearing aids, and brings hearing health to the forefront of overall health.
Dr. Archelle Georgiou is a nationally recognized physician, author, medical executive and health reporter. She earned her medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and served as a senior executive and the Chief Medical Officer of UnitedHealth Group from 1995 to 2007. Since 2008, she has used Georgiou Consulting as her business platform to coordinate a diverse portfolio of relationships, clients and projects that ultimately improve health and the healthcare system. As a medical expert, she has covered over 1,200 medical topics during her weekly segments on KSTP-TV, the ABC affiliate in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Based on her interactions with viewers, Archelle Georgiou developed the CARES Model, a five-step approach that consumers can use to make healthcare decisions, and in February 2017, published her first book, Health Care Choices: 5 Steps to Getting the Medical Care You Want and Need (Rowman & Littlefield). Archelle Georgiou was trained and board certified in Internal Medicine.
Dr. Nancy Gilliom had a successful private practice for 24 years in Jacksonville, FL. She retired in 2019. She earned her doctoral degree from Purdue University in 1995. She has presented to numerous community organizations, written several editorials for local media, contributed articles for Audiology Practices, presented at Academy of Audiology and American Audiology Association. She continues to promote better hearing and often consults with local audiologist. She was the Editor for Audiology Practices and Feedback, the official publications for the Academy of Doctors of Audiology from 2006-2010 and served as an ex-officio board member for the Academy of Doctors of Audiology.
Claudia is Senior Accessibility Strategy Partner with T-Mobile’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team. In this role she drives enterprise-wide strategies for disability inclusive culture and an accessible plus equitable work environment. She previously served as Senior Manager for Government and Compliance with T-Mobile Accessibility, a business unit that offers accessible communication products and services for customers with disabilities, including individuals who are Deaf, DeafBlind, or have a speech disability. A native of Jamaica, W.I. plus graduate of Howard University and the American University’s Washington College of Law, she has held senior leadership positions with the National Council on Disability, the National Association of the Deaf Law and Advocacy Center, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. During the Obama Administration, Claudia served as the Chief of Staff for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and the Associate Director of Public Engagement for the White House Office of Public Engagement. Claudia’s advocacy for people with disabilities spans over 30 years and she remains selflessly dedicated to creating a world wherein members of this community are seen, heard, valued, and included. For her unrelenting commitment to her work, Claudia has been recognized by the American Association of People with Disabilities, Google, AT&T Humanity of Connection, National Disability Mentoring Coalition, National Association of the Deaf, and The Root 100.
Dr. G’s leadership in Audiology began when he joined a licensure committee and quickly learned the struggles of the profession. He became the chair of the Arizona PAC for audiology, and then ran and was elected President of the Arizona Speech-Language-Hearing Association in 2006. He served a 3-year term on the BOD for the ABA in 2012-2015, served as Chair of the AAA Marketing sub-committee, Chair of the Public Awareness Committee, and was recently completed a term as President of APSO.He purchased his first practice in WA in 2012, grew the business, sold the business in 2017, and moved to L.A. Dr. G is board certified by the ABA and is a member of AAA, the California Academy of Audiology and ADA. He is the co-founder of the highly successful AudBoss Private Practice Summits, which sells out annually! He is passionate leader for audiology, philanthropic within and outside of audiology and is always looking to help audiologists and students achieve their goals.
KC Grzelka is an experienced financial professional who’s lead multiple small businesses through growth and expansion in both retail and manufacturing industries. KC has over 20 years’ experience in management, and applying a strong expertise in data-driven, long-term strategic planning. He has been supporting the Audigy membership for 8 years. Prior to joining Audigy, KC earned a Master’s degree from DePaul University and a Bachelor’s degree from the College for Creative Studies and was a Controller for Environmental Fibers International, where he directed the financial health of four divisions and implemented systems to improve efficiencies to facilitate their rapid growth. His responsibilities there included financial planning, budget management, forecasting, and designing system controls. KC was also the Controller for Moosejaw Mountaineering managing an outdoor retailer with 7 locations and a large e-commerce presence.
Dr. Jiovanne Hughart is an experienced private practice audiologist who owned offices in the Atlanta area. She was co-owner of Hearing Doctors of Georgia for 38 years and has recently retired from this practice. She currently is consulting for an ENT practice in Atlanta performing cerumen management, diagnostic testing and hearing aid selection, fitting and rehabilitation. She is co-owner of Georgia Equilibrium Diagnostics an educational and consulting practice for vestibular testing and treatment of vestibular and balance disorders. She is an adjunct professor at Salus University teaching Audiology Practice Management and Cerumen management. She is also an affiliate professor at Auburn University where she teaches Private Practice Audiology and Professional Issues. Dr. Hughart has taught Cerumen Management Workshops nationally and internationally with Dr. Chaiken for 18 years.
Dr. Hughart served on the Governor appointed Commission of Deaf and Hard of Hearing persons of Georgia 2016-2021.
Dr. Nichole Kingham has been practicing since 1998. She is the Past President of the Washington Academy of Audiology and was 1 of 12 audiologists chosen as a James Jerger Future Leader of Audiology in 2010 by the American Academy of Audiology. Dr. Kingham has a passion for the Deaf community and an interest in neuro-otology. She earned her Clinical Doctorate in Audiology from the Arizona School of Health Sciences, A.T. Still University, having previously been awarded a masters degree in Audiology from the University of Washington.
As the owner and practicing audiologist at Eastside Audiology & Hearing Services in Issaquah WA, Dr. Kingham is known for her patience and persistence in obtaining the best possible outcome for those who come for diagnosis or treatment of hearing loss. She is dedicated to working with those with hearing loss and their families to find solutions for better hearing and thus, a better quality of life.
Dr. Leavitt received his bachelor's and master's degrees at University of Arizona and his Doctorate at Arizona School of Health Sciences. He has written a number of book chapters, journal articles and presented at international conferences. He has been a consultant for the Hearing Loss Association of America, The American Bar Association and the U.S. Forest service.
His awards include Best Graduate Student University of Arizona Speech and Hearing Department, the Larry Mauldin Excellence in Teaching Award, Best Audiologist Western U.S. from Rayovac and winner of the Audioscan Challenge.
Ms. Manning currently is the Director of Operations for a large non-profit organization, Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center. She works directly with team of Audiologist, Speech-Language Pathologists, Audiology Assistants, SLP Assistants, administrative personnel and management staff. Prior to working in the non-profit sector, she was the office manager for a successful audiology private practice for 7 years. She was instrumental in that practice’s growth. In addition, during her tenure in private practice, she obtained her Audiology Assistant License so that she could help meet the overall practice and patient needs. Before finding her passion for helping individuals with communication disorders, she gained years of experience in communication, creative marketing, office management and project management. She has presented numerous community seminars, leads professional development and strategic planning meetings, and is a volunteer for a local young adult’s ministry.
Emily E. McMahan, AuD, is the owner of Alaska Hearing & Tinnitus Center in Anchorage, AK. She is also a professional audiology consultant with Decibels 180. Dr. McMahan received B.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from University of Cincinnati and an AuD degree from Salus University. Dr. McMahan currently serves on the Audiology Practice Standards Organization board as the Vice President. She has lectured around the country at numerous state and national conferences and private meetings. She is an adjunct faculty for the University of Alaska-Anchorage.
Michael Page, AuD has served as a member of the Utah Cochlear Implant team, and as president, Utah Speech-Language-Hearing Association, member of the Primary Children’s Medical Center Bioethics Committee, and board chair for the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing. He has held adjunct faculty positions at Salus University, Utah State University, Brigham Young University, University of Utah and University of the Pacific. He served as chair and committee member of the AAA Ethical Practices Committee, Manager of Audiology/Cochlear Implant Program at Primary Children’s Hospital (Salt Lake City), as well as management and executive positions with industry. He is presently functioning as a business consultant for healthcare practices specializing in aspects of workplace culture, ethical practice, professional boundaries, industry relationships, employee relations, and strategic planning.
Ernie Paolini is responsible for Human Resources and Recruiting Services at Consult YHN. He has more than 20 years of experience in building and managing technology-driven HR and recruitment organizations. His areas of expertise include behavioral interviewing, employee relations, compliance, and onboarding. He has managed international recruitment campaigns (SE Asia, Canada, UK and Australia) and is very familiar with US-CIS processes for work visas. Ernie attended Rutgers University and the Widener University School of Law.
Dr. Natalie Phillips is Founder and CEO of Connect4Excellence, LLC, a company dedicated to guide individuals, entrepreneurs, and businesses to build authentic connections on social media and at events. She is host of Connecting A Better World, a podcast aimed to highlight people doing good in this world and creating social impact. Dr. Phillips is Co-Founder and Owner of ACT Now Consulting, LLC and Co-Author of ACT Now! A Simple Guide to Take Action on Your Greatest Goals and Dreams, helping creatives confidently take action on the ideas they’ve been dreaming of pursuing. Dr. Phillips is also Senior Audiologist with Advanced Otolaryngology and Audiology in Fort Collins, Colorado and co-host of a weekly Facebook Live show, All Things AuD. In addition to seeing patients, being involved in research and on clinical advisory boards, she has volunteered her time to fit hearing aids in India, Peru, Guyana, and Mexico as well as in the United States.
Dan Quall has a wealth of experience from both the private practice and industry sides of the audiology profession. He owned and operated several audiology clinics in the Pacific Northwest in the 1980s and 1990s. Following his 18-years in private practice, Quall served in executive roles at Amplifon and Starkey Hearing Technologies where he worked to facilitate the development of Hearing Benefits Programs. He has spent much of his executive career focusing on developing network programs, clinical protocols and strategies for private practice growth. In August of 2015 he joined Fuel Medical to help develop strategic partnerships to enhance clinical revenue and efficiencies for businesses in the hearing industry.
For the past 15 years, Vanessa Rentschler has been a clinical audiologist in the ENT setting. She currently explores neurodevelopmental parallels within auditory processing disorder and decreased sound tolerance. Her interest in neurodivergence grew along with her autistic son, where real-world inequities and dearth of concrete supports continually alarm and compel her. Through pursuit of deeper understanding, Dr. Rentschler became a Certified Autism Specialist (IBCCES). She has also completed supplementary trainings and/or certifications in Tinnitus Retraining Therapy, Buffalo Model direct auditory training (The Auditory Processing Institute), PEERS for adolescent social skills (UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior), and Interactive Metronome. Dr. Rentschler has delivered audiology-focused presentations both live and online, regarding hearing assistive technology use on autistic students and patient-centered care through a neurodiversity lens, respectively.
After growing up with a hearing impairment, Catherine Richardson received her Masters degree in Audiology from Louisiana State University in 1998. To share her passion for great hearing solutions, Catherine has worked for leading hearing instrument manufacturers, business development groups and as a practice owner. Today, Catherine is the Director of Market Expansion and Integration for Cochlear Americas.
Dr. Liz Rogers is a graduate of Indiana University-Bloomington, where she earned both her bachelor’s and doctoral degrees. Dr. Rogers completed her audiology externship at the prestigious House Research Institute in Los Angeles, CA, where she focused on pediatrics and cochlear implants. In 2014, Dr. Rogers realized there was a need for cochlear implant services in Southeastern Kentucky, a rural area of Kentucky. At this time, she was able to join the team at Southeast Kentucky Audiology and began providing cochlear implant services to children and adults in the area.
In 2017, the opportunity arose for Dr. Rogers to take on the role as owner of Southeast Kentucky Audiology. Since that time, she has grown the practice to be a full-scope clinic, including a balance program with rotary chair, and 8 employees. She is excited to share her passion for rural healthcare and inspire others to choose a similar path!
Dr. Joseph Sakumura, received the Doctor of Audiology (AuD) degree from the University of Kansas Medical Center and his undergraduate from the University of Kansas. Dr. Sakumura completed his residency training at the American Institute of Balance. He is a lead faculty member in AIB's online, live and hybrid workshops and training programs and publishes regularly as part of the research team.
Dr. Sakumura serves as AIB's Director of Centers of Specialty Care & Clinical Innovation, directing a team of clinical staff in assisting practices worldwide in practice development, clinical protocols, and in the application of new and emerging technologies.
Erik is passionate about growing business. In his 18 years of experience, his marketing and strategy have provided substantial growth for his clients. Now Erik is deploying his proven strategies in Hearing Health Care Private Practice & ENT to bring new innovations, technology, and strategy to combat the threats that face them. In addition to growing business, his goal is to help these organizations thrive and raise the entire level of the industry.
Before selling in 2016, Erik generated over $56 million dollars in his advertising agency business handling many Fortune 500 and 1000 companies like Walt Disney, TDS Telecom, The FBI, the US Air Force, Kia Motors, MaxxSouth Broadband, USA Communications, Rio Alto, and JF Capital to name a few. Erik then co-founded the industry’s first Automation company before developing the marketing & automation systems for HearWorks.
Erik has owned multiple marketing related businesses and is currently a private practice owner with clinics in Phoenix and Surprise. He has 10 children, yes 10 and is a marathon runner, Ironman triathlete, and instrument-rated pilot.
Alicia D.D. Spoor, Au.D. is President and Audiologist of Designer Audiology, LLC in Highland, MD. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University and earned her Doctor of Audiology degree from Gallaudet University. She completed her fourth-year externship at the Mayo Clinic Arizona and joined the hearing aid and cochlear implant teams before moving back to Maryland. She opened her own practice in 2015 with an unbundled/itemized pricing structure, one of the first in the nation to do so from day one, to benefit the patient and demonstrate the value of the audiologist. Dr. Spoor is the current ADA Advocacy Chair and Maryland Academy of Audiology Legislative Chair. She precepts audiology doctoral students in her practice and serves on the Osborne College of Audiology College Advisory Board at Salus University. Alicia is a past recipient of ADA’s Craig W. Johnson Advocacy Award and MSU’s College of Communication Arts & Sciences’ Outstanding Alumni.
Brian Taylor, AuD, is the director of clinical content development for Signia. He is also the editor of Audiology Practices, a quarterly journal of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology and editor-at-large for Hearing Health and Technology Matters (HHTM), a leading industry blog. Dr. Taylor has authored several peer reviewed articles and textbooks and is a highly sought out lecturer. Brian has 30 years of experience as both a clinician, business manager and university instructor. His most recent textbooks, Audiology Practice Management was published in 2019, and the 3rd edition of his Selecting and Fitting Hearing Aids was published in 2020.
Alexandra Tarvin, Au.D. is the founder and owner of Elevate Audiology- Hearing and Tinnitus Center in Easley, SC. She earned her Doctor of Audiology degree from the University of South Florida and her Bachelors in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Florida. She is focused on patient-centered care and evidence-based practices, constantly learning, growing, and changing to better herself as an audiologist and her clinical protocols. She is an audiology preceptor, a Certified Fellow of the Tinnitus Practitioners Association specializing in tinnitus and sound sensitivity, member of the American Tinnitus Association, volunteers as Technology Chair and former President of the South Carolina Academy of Audiology, is an Advocacy committee member of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology and in the SC cohort for The Audiology Project.
Brian is the President of CounselEAR and a former private practice owner in Evanston, IL. He is a Past President of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology, an Adjunct Faculty member at Rush University, an Advisory Board Member for Salus' Osborne College of Audiology, and a Distinguished Fellow in the Audiology Academy of the National Academies of Practice.
Colette received her Doctorate in audiology at City University New York. She has been a life-long hearing aid user and has worked in audiology clinics in New York, California and Oregon. She was awarded Best Undergraduate Poster at the American Academy of Audiology Conference in Orlando Florida in 2014. She has published papers in Audiology Today and Hearing Review.