Lifetime Achievement Award for Service to Families and Professionals Presented to Karl White PhD at the annual conference of American Cochlear Implant Alliance, July 11, 2019
Presented by Donna Sorkin, Executive Director
Dr. Karl White is a Professor of Psychology at Utah State University and the founding director of the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management. For the past 40 years, he has devoted his professional career to conducting research and providing training globally about issues and evidence related to implementing and improving early hearing detection and intervention programs for children who are deaf and hard of hearing. It almost didn’t happen.
Karl White began his doctoral training as a statistician and research methodologist and expected to teach statistics in a university setting. When he finished his academic work there were no university jobs in statistics that he wanted. Instead, he joined the newly formed National Technical Institute for the Deaf where he conducted research, became fluent in American Sign Language and developed an early interest in hearing loss. After two years, he was recruited by Utah State to join the faculty there working on developmental disabilities. His work there was interrupted in 1984 when he received a Congressional Science Fellowship sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and was assigned—of all places—to Senator Lowell Weicker’s oversight hearings of Gallaudet University and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, which put him back into deafness.
His work then took him to Rhode Island where he was involved in that state’s hearing assessment and the country’s first state newborn hearing screening program. He then headed the establishment of the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management at Utah State University where he has since worked on newborn hearing screening in the United States and around the world.
Dr. White’s contributions include the design and implementation of national legislation and programs across the US and globally. He has encouraged initiatives that aim to provide families with comprehensive information about options and the wide-ranging ways that children may develop language. He has influenced our thinking by serving as an expert for Public Television, giving TED talks, and being interviewed by media sources around the world.
In preparing for this award presentation, I interviewed Karl and he noted that “I have been lucky beyond anything I could have imagined when I graduated with a PhD in statistics to have had a front-row seat to witness historical improvements for children from all over the world and to have seen how early identification and appropriate treatment of hearing loss has changed their lives for the better.”
The Board of Directors and Members of American Cochlear Implant Alliance wish to honor you, Karl White, with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Service to Families and Professionals.