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Lady Jean Wilson Keynotes 4th Annual CGHH Conference/ GPU CEO Cherow Forecasts Driving Global Trends

May 3, 2013 - May 4, 2013
Vanderbilt University Bill Wilkerson Center, Nashville TN USA

According to Coalition Global Hearing Health conference co-organizers, James Saunders, MD and Jackie Clark, PhD, the 4th annual Conference of the Coalition for Global Hearing Health Conference, held this year May 3-4 at Vanderbilt University's Bill Wilkerson Center in Nashville, Tennessee, 'was considered a resounding international success amongst the attendees'. Conference participants represented multiple disciplines from 15 countries around the globe, and discussed global hearing health care program and policy development challenges in underserved and unserved regions.

Keynote speaker for the CGHH conference, Lady Jean Wilson, OBE, of the UK, with her husband, the late Sir John Wilson (blind from an accident in his youth), formed partnerships and influenced disability policies for over four decades with support from the UN, UNICEF, and WHO among other agencies. They founded several national and international societies on blindness, and most recently in 2000, Lady Jean formed the Hearing Conservation Council. In facilitating the creation of the Impact Foundation* (founded in UK and aligned with Impact Foundations formed in countries throughout the world), they travelled Asia, Africa and Latin America (55,00 miles/yearly she informed me), developing a wide range of programs, including establishing ear surgery camps with their colleague ENT, Dr. Sal Lekagul of Thailand, and promoting programs for developing countries in prevention and treatment of sensory deficits. Lady Jean continues in disability activism and global program and policy initiatives, inspiring and serving so many. She has received recognition in addition to her OBE (Order of the British Empire) through honors of the Dana International Gold Medal, Harding Award, Jose Rizal Gold Medal, and Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Opthalmology. 

Evelyn Cherow, MA. MPA, CEO/Founder of GlobalPartnersUnited/Global telerehabilitation Institute, met her colleague Dr. Lekagul (above mentioned and through him Sir John Wilson) when they worked together at Children's Hospital of DC decades earlier, and then by coincidence 20 years later when he appeared in Rockville, MD unexpectedly where she served as Director of Audiology Practice Policy at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Unaware of the reunion prospects, Dr. Lekagul had come to discuss his and the Wilsons' developing countries' audiology program and equipment challenges to treat and rehabilitate those who had needed surgeries affecting hearing function. Cherow at that time, wrote and ASHA published national articles urging US audiologists to begin to think about global service delivery, as well as offer services and donate equipment for developing countries' integration of hearing health programs.

At this CGHH 2013 conference, Cherow provided trends forecasting in her presentation, Global Policy, Technology, Systems and Workforce Innovation: A model for driving LMICs' (low- and middle-income countries) hearing health in tandem. Cherow outlined evolving global disability human rights treaties' tenets and movements (UN CRPD), tele-/m-health expansion, and health and rehabilitation funding trends moving away from 'charitable' models and toward 'social enterprise', the latter viewed by donors as holding potential to drive establishment and implementation of hearing health programs where currently lacking or minimal.