Telehealth and Teleaudiology Webinar


Speaker List

Dena S. Puskin, Sc.D.
Director, Office for the Advancement of Telehealth
Office of  Health Information Technology
Health Resources and Services Administration
Telephone: 301-443-3682

Dr. Puskin is Senior Advisor in the Office for Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation in the Health Resources and Services Administration, where she specializes in Telehealth, health care technology, and health care financing.  She served as the founding director of the Federal Office for the Advancement of Telehealth from 1998-2009.  From 1988-1998, Dr. Puskin served as the Acting Director and Deputy Director of the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP).  Dr. Puskin has assumed many leadership positions within and outside of government, including serving on the Board of the American Telemedicine Association.  Prior to joining ORHP in 1988, Dr. Puskin was a senior analyst at Congress's Prospective Payment Assessment Commission (predecessor to MedPAC), where  she developed the model for annual updates of Medicare payment rates to hospitals and worked on numerous economic issues related to rural hospitals and specialty hospitals in the U.S. (psychiatric, rehabilitation, and chronic disease hospitals).  From 1982-1984, she was employed by the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Association as a senior legislative analyst in Washington D.C.   Dr. Puskin served as the Research Director at the Finger Lakes Health Systems Agency and as Assistant Professor of Community Medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry from 1977-1981. 

Dr. Puskin currently chairs the Joint Working Group on Telemedicine, the Federal interagency committee coordinating the development of telemedicine initiatives across the Federal government.  Dr. Puskin spends considerable time speaking at national forums and writing academic papers and reports on Telehealth and broader health care financing issues.

Dr. Puskin received her Sc.D. degree in Health Policy and Research from Johns Hopkins University, a M.S. degree in Community Medicine from the University of Rochester, School of Medicine and Dentistry, and B.A. and M.A. degrees in Biology from Boston University.


Neil Scharpe, M.S. SpEd, Service Contract Specialist
North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities
Minot State University 
Telephone: 701-858-3596

Neil serves as the Project Director for three projects at NDCPD; a data linkage effort that is integrating early hearing detection data with state Vital Statistics, Immunizations and Newborn Screening; he directs a rural health network project that brings together family support agencies to better serve families with children with special health care needs in ND; the third project is the TeleAudiology project. Neil has spent 25 years in a community rehabilitation program serving adults with developmental disabilities as an innovative administrator. He has been with NDCPD for the past two years.


Irene Forsman, M.S., R.N.
Director, Universal Newborn Hearing Screening and Intervention
Maternal and Child Health Bureau

Irene Forsman has been in the Maternal and Child Health Bureau for more than 2 decades in a number of positions focusing on children with special health needs and their families.  She has been responsible for HRSA/MCHB's universal newborn hearing screening and intervention program since passage of the legislation.   Critical components of the program are screening of newborn infants for hearing loss prior to hospital discharge, audiologic diagnosis before three months of age, linkage to a medical home, enrollment in a program of early intervention before 6 months of age and linkage to a family to family support system. That program is now operational throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and two Pacific Rim Territories. 

Ms. Forsman did her undergraduate work at Hunter College in New York City and formal graduate study at California State University in Los Angeles.  Prior to joining the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, she was Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in Genetics at the University of Southern California School of Medicine and also held an adjunct appointment in the Department of Nursing at California State College at Los Angeles. 

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