Speakers


Dr. Kirsten Coverstone is an audiologist at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Newborn Screening Program. As a coordinator of Minnesota’s EHDI program, Kirsten has worked at the local, state, and national levels to support best practice for universal newborn screening, timely, and complete audiologic follow-up for hearing, and early access to intervention. In addition, Kirsten implemented the statewide hearing instrument loaner program for infants and young children in Minnesota. She serves as current co-chair of the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (JCIH), and co-chair of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) EHDI Data Committee.


Kris English, PhD is a professor emeritus of audiology at the University of Akron. She has authored several books and chapters, and has presented over 300 workshops and papers in North America, the UK, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand on the topic of audiologic counseling. Her current projects include preceptor workshops addressing patient bigotry directed to AuD students of color, and counseling course development for the China-UK Audiology Education Center, University of Southampton, England.



Dr. Heidi Hill, owner of Hearing Health Clinic for the past 14 years, has been practicing audiology for over 25 years. Dr. Hill specializes in testing and treating hearing loss in a more functional, real-world way that looks at hearing ear-to-brain. Dr. Hill is the creator of CogniHear, a company that provides education, resources and Cognihear Certification in the practical application of current research into the best practices of audiologist.


Dr. Robert Lang is a clinical audiologist with Ear Nose Throat SpecialtyCare and is primarily located in the Coon Rapids office. His education was completed at the University of Minnesota for undergrad and he earned his Au.D. at A.T. Still University. Dr. Lang greatly enjoys working with all populations, with his greatest passion focused on caring for pediatrics. His practice involves hearing evaluations, hearing aids, cochlear implants, osseointegrated devices, and balance testing. He has had a hearing loss all his life and has experienced many different types of devices from traditional BTE, RIC, CROS, and now an osseointegrated device (both Cochlear and Oticon).

Dr. Tricia M. Nechodom earned her degree at the University of Minnesota and completed her training at the Masonic Children’s Hospital and the University of Minnesota Medical Center. Her clinical interests include hearing aid prescription and fitting, cochlear implant programming, hearing conservation, pediatric diagnostics, electrophysiological hearing tests for infants and young children, and newborn hearing screening program. Dr. Nechodom belongs to the American Cochlear Implant Alliance, ND Hands & Voices, and the North Dakota Hearing Society. She aims to advance audiological best practices by actively participating in continuing education, conferences, and training opportunities.
  Dr. Melissa Polonenko is an assistant professor in the Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences at the University of Minnesota. She worked as an audiologist before pursuing her doctorate from the University of Toronto at SickKids Hospital, where she investigated outcomes in children with asymmetric hearing loss and single-sided deafness who received a cochlear implant. She developed new objective methods to assess hearing during her postdocorate. Her current research focuses on auditory development in children with hearing loss who use hearing aids and cochlear implants, auditory-visual integration, and new electrophysiological paradigms to assess hearing function.
Dr. Mark Schleiss is the American Legion Endowed Heart Research Foundation Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Since the 1980s, he has been engaged in basic science, translational, and clinical research in cytomegalovirus (CMV) biology and infection. His laboratory has had continuous funding from the NIH and he is active in the study of CMV vaccines and the pathogenesis of congenital CMV infection, in particular as it relates to hearing loss in infants and children. He leads a universal congenital CMV screening study in Minnesota supported by the CDC and Minnesota Department of Health.

Elizabeth Walker is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Iowa and Director of the Pediatric Audiology Laboratory. Her NIH-funded research focuses on pediatric aural habilitation, specifically examining malleable factors that relate to individual differences in listening and language outcomes for children who are deaf or hard of hearing.   

Lori Zitelli is an audiology manager at UPMC. She received her clinical doctorate in audiology from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a part-time lab instructor at the University of Pittsburgh and teaches a clinical procedures lab for first year AuD students. Her special interests include clinical education, tinnitus/decreased sound tolerance evaluation and treatment, clinical research, and interventional audiology. She is an active fellow and volunteer with the American Academy of Audiology and a trustee of the American Academy of Audiology Foundation.

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