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Keynote speakers

Associate professor Jenna Voss

Jenna Voss, PhD, CED, LSLS Cert AVEd, is an Associate Professor at Fontbonne University. She received her undergraduate degree in Deaf Education, and her master’s degree in Early Intervention in Deaf Education from Fontbonne University. As a National Leadership Consortium in Sensory Disabilities (NLCSD) fellow, she completed her PhD in Speech and Hearing Sciences in the Program in Audiology and Communication Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. She holds teaching certification in the state of Missouri in the areas of Deaf Education and Early Childhood Special Education. Her background, as a teacher of the deaf and early intervention provider, has sparked diverse interests in topics including the health disparity among children and families experiencing adversity, primary prevention of abuse and neglect for children with disabilities, provider use of strategies and techniques implemented in family-centered practice, and the application of research in cognitive psychology to the field of deaf education to improve the efficiency of learning and instruction of pre-service professionals. Voss is co-author of various articles, book chapters, and two texts: Small Talk: Bringing Listening and Spoken Language to Your Young Child With Hearing Loss & Case Studies in Deaf Education: Inquiry, Application and Resources.

Professor Elizabeth Fitzpatrick

Elizabeth Fitzpatrick is a Full Professor in the School of Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Ottawa and a Senior Scientist at the CHEO Research Institute, Ottawa. Prior to academia, Elizabeth worked for more than 20 years as a clinical audiologist and listening and spoken language therapist. Her current research is related to the epidemiology of childhood hearing loss and interventions and outcomes in both children and adults with hearing loss. She is currently leading a Canadian Institutes of Health Research funded study on the impact of unilateral and mild bilateral hearing loss in children. Elizabeth has authored 3 books and numerous scientific articles on pediatric hearing. In 2021, Elizabeth received the Honours of the Academy Award from the Canadian Academy of Audiology.  She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Global Foundation for Children with Hearing Loss.

Professor Astrid van Wieringen

Astrid van Wieringen is full professor at Experimental ORL, Department of Neurosciences, University of Leuven (Belgium) where she combines research and teaching (5 courses). Her interdisciplinary research focuses on understanding the neural consequences of deprived auditory input, and optimizing hearing of adults and children with hearing aids and/or cochlear implants. She is the program director of the five-year program Speech-language Pathology and Audiological Sciences (faculty of Medicine), and also professor II at the University of Oslo, Department of Special Education. She is president-elect of the International Society of Audiology, secretary-treasurer of the International Collegium of Rehabilitative Audiology (ICRA), (founding) board member of the Belgian Scientific society of Audiology (B Audio), and member of the World Rehabilitation Alliance (WHO).

Dr Hanna Stenfeldt Essner

Hanna Stenfeldt Essner is Senior Physician in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Lund University Hospital, Lund, Sweden, and Director of studies for Specialist training in child and adolesent psychiatry in the Southern Healthcare Region in Sweden. Since 2008 she heads the works at the regional department in Child and Adolecent psychiatriy for the hearing impaired and deaf, based in Lund. Hanna has a special intrest in neruopsychatric conditions and genetic syndromes and regularly lectures to parents, registrar, Specialist doctors and other co-workers on Child and Adolecent Psyciatric conditions and hearing impairment.

Dr Eva Karltorp

Eva Karltorp is a senior consultant in ENT and audiology. Since the year 2000 she has spearheaded the cochlear implant team at the Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm. Her main research areas remain close to her clinical work, such as the impact of age at cochlear implantation, bilateral implantation and causes of deafness, especially congenital cytomegalovirus infection. Her current research focus is to explore pre- and intraoperative factors, including age of implantation, that may have an impact on the spoken language development, hearing abilities and quality of life of teenagers and young adults who were implanted as infants or toddlers.

Dr Kathryn Margaret Crowe

Kathryn Crowe is an adjunct in speech-language pathology at the University of Iceland. She concurrently holds positions as an Adjunct Associate Research Professor at the School of Education, Charles Sturt University, Australia, is an affiliate of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, Rochester Institute of Technology, USA, and Associate Professor (status only), Department of Speech-Language Pathology, University of Toronto. She is a Fulbright alumnus, member of the International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children’s Speech, and the Global Young Academy. Kathryn’s research has focused on cultural and linguistic diversity, particularly children with hearing loss, their families, and the professionals who work with them. She is passionate about using evidence to inform clinical and educational practices and making available evidence accessible to parents, professionals, service providers, and service administrators.

Professor Mark Schleiss

Dr. Mark R. Schleiss, Professor of Pediatrics, holds the American Legion Endowed Chair at the University of Minnesota (UMN) Medical School. His laboratory studies vaccines for prevention of congenital cytomegalovirus (cCMV) infection. His laboratory also helped develop techniques to improve the clinical and analytic sensitivity of PCR testing of the newborn dried blood spot (DBS) as a tool for universal screening for cCMV infection ( As a practicing clinician, he provides expertise in the evaluation and management of cCMV. He has active collaborations with the University of Minnesota Lions Children's Hearing and ENT Center, and the University of Minnesota Department of Audiology, and works with practicing otolaryngologists and audiologists in the study of CMV-associate hearing loss. His research program is funded by the NIH and the CDC. In addition to clinical and research activities, he is highly engaged in advocacy for universal cCMV screening. His work with the Minnesota Legislature, in collaboration with families who have children with cCMV, led to successful passage in 2021 of the "Vivian Act", legislation that enabled universal screening. Minnesota subsequently became the first state in the USA to adopt universal cCMV screening in 2023. He is also the site principal investigator of a Centers for Disease Control-funded Maternal and Infant Surveillance Network (MAT-LINK) site in Minnesota engaged in cCMV surveillance ( He will speak about his research in congenital CMV screening as well as the political pathway that led to adoption of universal screening for cCMV in Minnesota.