HLAA 2023 National Award Recipients

HLAA’s 2023 National Award Recipients were recognized on Friday, June 30, 2023 at the Awards Ceremony & Reception at the HLAA 2023 Convention sponsored by CapTel Captioned Telephone and held in New Orleans, LA. Three NYS members received awards; see below. Visit HearingLoss.org for the full story on all national, state and chapter award recipients.

Keystone Award

This award is given to an individual for their outstanding achievement and/or contribution to the establishment, advancement and continued success of HLAA.

Dan Brooks, New York

Dan Brooks, current president of the HLAA Rochester Chapter and immediate past president of the New York State Association, has contributed to the establishment and success of HLAA in New York. With his leadership, Dan expanded the reach of HLAA and ensured that we are a trusted resource in the state. As president of the chapter, he helped establish innovative programs, such as expanding the technology demo center to become virtual during the pandemic, developing a support group for working adults and organizing a network to help foster parents of children with hearing loss. Dan also initiated a free hearing test program in partnership with the Rochester Hearing & Speech Center, the Monroe County Department of Public Health and Excellus BlueCross Blue Shield. While president of the State Association, he focused on underserved areas, encouraged volunteers to form new chapters and helped establish a state advocacy committee to push legislative efforts, including the establishment of a state commission for the Deaf, Deaf/Blind and People with Hearing Loss. 

Community Service Award

This award is presented to HLAA Chapters, State Organizations, or an individual who has undertaken significant outreach projects or efforts that serve the community by creating awareness about hearing loss and the communication obstacles that it can create.

Toni Iacolucci, New York

Since Toni Iacolucci received the Spirit of HLAA award back in 2011, her service to HLAA and people with hearing loss has only increased. Shortly after losing her hearing suddenly in 2006, Toni joined the HLAA New York City (NYC) Chapter. She has served on their board for most of the past 15 years and been active in many of their advocacy efforts. Toni co-authored the Guide for Effective Communication in Health Care, recently completed a webinar with the Department of Justice on health care access and frequently presents on this topic around the United States. She is currently working with another NYC Chapter board member to reinstate hearing screening in NYC public schools. Toni has served as Co-Chair and Walk Team Coordinator for the New York City Walk4Hearing and remains an enthusiastic volunteer and participant. She has also served on the HLAA Board of Directors and is now a member of HLAA’s Hearing Healthcare Access Committee. 

Community Access Award

This award is presented to HLAA Chapters, State Organizations, or an individual who has created awareness about hearing loss and promoted communication access.

Peggy Bell, NY/FL & Wynne Whyman, CO

As dedicated core members of the Get in The Hearing Loop Committee, Peggy Bell and Wynne Whyman helped develop the Hearing Loop Accessibility feature on the Google Maps platform and created tools to promote it. Over several years, they have built supportive, ongoing relationships with accessibility team members at Google, as well as with hearing loop installers and manufacturers. In addition, Wynne developed a database of looped venues—perhaps the largest such database in the world. 

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