Board Members

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Board Members

Kevin H. Franck, Ph.D., CCC-A

Kevin H. Franck has worked in the clinical, academic, corporate, entrepreneurial and nonprofit environments pertaining to bionic and hearing medical devices. As a clinician, Dr. Franck worked for patients who use cochlear implants at the University of Michigan and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. As an academic, he did his post-doc at the Kresge Hearing Research Institute, was assistant professor of otorhinolaryngology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine studying and teaching psychoacoustic and clinical practice innovations, and regularly lectures at Dartmouth College and Wharton. In the corporate environment, Dr. Franck was the head of clinical products and strategy at bionic ear maker Cochlear Ltd. and worked at Artisan Healthcare Consulting, a boutique health care management consultancy to big pharma and medical device companies, and now works for Bose Corporation. As an entrepreneur, he was the director of clinical and health economic research at bionic ankle maker BiOM and was co-owner of Ear Machine LLC, a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant-funded pre-commercial start-up. He serves on the Boards of the Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech and the Alexander Graham Bell Association.

Dr. Franck received his bachelor’s degree in engineering from Dartmouth College. He has two master’s degrees in biomedical engineering and business administration from Johns Hopkins University and Wharton, respectively, and his doctorate in hearing sciences and clinical certification in audiology from the University of Washington. He has lived on three continents and now resides Concord, Massachusetts.

Dr. Franck was elected to the HLAA Board of Trustees in April 2015.

Patrick Holkins, Esq.

Patrick Holkins is a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
He is a graduate of Phillips Academy Andover, Harvard University (B.A.), and the University of Arizona (J.D.). Before joining the Department of Justice, Patrick served as a law clerk to Justice John Pelander at the Arizona Supreme Court.

Mr. Holkins has had a hearing loss since early childhood. He first connected with HLAA, known as Self Help for Hard of Hearing in 2004, when he served as a policy intern at the national office. He returned to HLAA in 2008, again as an intern, to spearhead a young adult outreach effort. In 2009, while at Harvard, Mr. Holkins co-founded the first HLAA chapter for young adults with hearing loss. Building on that experience, in 2010 Patrick started a nonprofit organization
that provided hearing health services to rural communities in South Africa. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Holkins was elected to the HLAA Board of Trustees in May 2016.

Toni Iacolucci

Toni Iacolucci currently works part-time in donor services at the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. She worked for several years as a social work administrator, supervising adolescent group facilities in New York City. As a second career, Ms. Iacolucci produced and managed nonprofit dance companies and was a founding partner of Orbis Design Group, an event design company based in Manhattan.

Ms. Iacolucci joined the HLAA Manhattan Chapter (now known as the New York City Chapter) after becoming profoundly deaf in 2006. She has served on the Manhattan Chapter Planning and Advocacy Committees and also served as New York City downstate chapter coordinator. She co-chaired the New York City Walk4Hearing for two years, and has served as team coordinator since the first New York City Walk in 2008. She has worked to bring CART to city agencies and captioning to outdoor film festivals in New York City.

Ms. Iacolucci holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Adelphi University and a master’s degree in social work from Hunter College. She is also a graduate of the Gallaudet University Peer Mentoring program.

Ms. Iacolucci was elected to the HLAA Board of Trustees in March 2012.

Frank R. Lin, M.D., Ph.D.

Frank R. Lin is an assistant professor of otolaryngology, geriatric medicine, mental health, and epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Lin completed his medical education, residency in otolaryngology, and Ph.D. in clinical investigation, all at Johns Hopkins. He completed further otologic fellowship training in Lucerne, Switzerland. Dr. Lin's clinical practice is dedicated to otology and the medical and surgical management of hearing loss. His epidemiologic research focuses on how hearing loss impacts the health and functioning of older adults and the role of hearing rehabilitative strategies in potentially mitigating these effects. In particular, his research group has demonstrated that hearing loss in older adults is strongly and independently associated with the risk of cognitive decline, incident dementia, impairments in physical functioning and mobility, and greater health care resource utilization in multiple epidemiologic studies. He collaborates extensively with researchers across multiple fields including gerontology, cognitive neuroscience, audiology, and epidemiology, and he has collaborative working relationships with individuals in industry, government, and nonprofit advocacy organizations. He has co-chaired or served as a member on several National Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine committees related to hearing loss and public health. His research has been extensively covered in the media including The New York Times and the BBC, and he has appeared on CBS This Morning and the Charlie Rose show.

Dr. Lin was appointed to the HLAA Board of Trustees in October 2016.

Kristen “KR” Liu

Kristen Liu is the head of sales and marketing strategy at Doppler Labs, the company behind Here Active Listening. Over the last 18 years, she has worked at both large consumer tech companies and early-stage startups (Speck Products, Sol Republic, Pebble), where she held various executive positions leading both marketing and sales strategy. During this time, she launched some of the most disruptive hardware lifestyle tech brands on the market, from iPhone cases, portable power, wireless headphones and speakers, smartwatches, and now, augmented audio devices.

Diagnosed with severe hearing loss at the age of three, KR has made it her life's work to be a strong advocate and voice championing new products that enhance the way we hear the world. She was awarded a U.S. Congressional Award; Silicon Valley's Top 40 Under 40; and 2015 Women on the Move by Women's Business Journal for her advocacy work in hearing health and technology.

Beyond her work at Doppler Labs, KR is also actively involved with industry organizations that are working toward tech innovation in hearing accessibility. Currently, she is a member of the Consumer Technology Association’s Standards Committee on PSAPs.

Ms. Liu was appointed to the HLAA Board of Trustees in May 2016.

James C. Saunders, Ph.D.

James Saunders is professor of research otolaryngology, physiology and neuroscience at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania. He received his bachelor’s in psychology from Ohio Wesleyan University; a master’s in experimental psychology from Connecticut College; and his doctorate in sensory psychology from Princeton University in 1968. He has held appointments at Monash University, Australia, and the Central Institute for the Deaf in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1973 he joined the Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Human Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and served as director of auditory research until 2007. He serves on the Editorial Board of Hearing Research, and is a member of the Medical Advisory Board of the National Organization for Hearing Research and the Council of Scientific Trustees of the Hearing Health Foundation.

Dr. Saunders has published extensively on topics in hearing research that range in scope from the mechanics of middle ear function, the consequences of exposure to intense sound, the structural organization and micro-mechanics of hair cell stereocilia, and most recently the properties of neural coding in the peripheral and central auditory pathways. Recognition of his research efforts includes the Claude Pepper Award for research excellence from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Dr. Saunders is currently professor emeritus.

He was appointed to the HLAA Board of Trustees in November 2011.

Nancy Lelewer Sonnabend

Nancy Lelewer Sonnabend first became acquainted with Self Help for Hard of Hearing People (SHHH), now known as Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) through her parents as her mother had a profound hearing loss and served on the HLAA Board of Trustees for nine years. This brought her in contact with Founder Rocky Stone and his wife Ahme, and she also attended several of the early conventions. She later became deaf in her left ear and with profound hearing loss in her right ear.

Ms. Sonnabend graduated Sarah Lawrence College in 1957 and was a member of the Smith College exchange program in Madrid from 1955-1956. Her diverse background includes inventor; researcher at MIT and Harvard Medical School; founding director of Permobil of America (today renamed USA Permobil), the world’s leading computerized wheelchair company; lecturer; writer and specialist in dyslexia and other learning differences. She currently has two books on the market: SOMETHING’S NOT RIGHT: One family’s struggle with learning disabilities and THE LELEWER LEGACY, Traditions of a Loving Family. She has served on several boards and chaired two of them. For the past six years, Nancy has served as an advisor for her son's start-up data collection company.

Ms. Sonnabend was appointed to the HLAA Board of Trustees in June 2010. 

Committees: Ms. Sonnabend serves on the Development and Nominating Committees.

Kelly Tremblay, Ph.D.

Kelly Tremblay is a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle. She has a 30-year history of serving and advocating for people with hearing loss. As an audiologist and educator, she teaches graduate students how to prevent, assess and treat hearing loss. As a scientist, she studies the effects of hearing loss and hearing prosthesis on the brain in addition to the public health benefits of intervention for our aging society. Her research is funded by the National Institutes of Health and is published in top-tier medical journals.

As an advocate, her list of activities is long, but some recent examples include: presenting on hearing loss with the HLAA Washington State Association at the Washington State Joint Legislative Executive Committee on Aging and Disability, and serving on Guideline Development Committees for the World Health Organization.

Dr. Tremblay was elected to the HLAA Board of Trustees in May 2016.

Jack J. Wazen, MD, FACS

Jack J. Wazen is a leading authority on hearing and balance disorders, pioneering new research that has expanded treatments for those with single-sided deafness and complex cases of hearing loss. An experienced otological/neurotological surgeon, he specializes in microsurgical procedures, acoustic neuromas, implantable hearing devices and treatment of dizziness and balance disorders.

Dr. Wazen has heavily contributed to otolaryngology community through research and publication of numerous articles, chapters, and books throughout his career. His experience includes training at the American University of Beirut, residency at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York and a Fellowship at the Ear Research Foundation in Sarasota. He then spent 23 years as a researcher, professor and practitioner with Columbia University before returning to Florida in 2006. Dr. Wazen is currently a partner at the Silverstein Institute and the director of research at the Ear Research Foundation in Sarasota.

Dr. Wazen was elected to the HLAA Board of Trustees in January 2015.