Irene Forsman of MCHB Recognized for Dedication to Pediatric Audiology Training

March 30, 2010

Irene Forsman accepting award
Irene Forsman accepting award

Irene Forsman, M.S., R.N., Director of the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening and Intervention Program at the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) was recognized for her dedication to Pediatric Audiology Training.  She was honored by the Pediatric Audiology Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (LEND) programs during a trainee reception at a dinner hosted by the three universities funded by MCHB for Leadership in Pediatric Communication Disorders at the 2010 Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Conference in Chicago, Illinois.

Jackson Roush, Ph.D., LEND Audiologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill spoke to the attendees about Irene's commitment to pediatric audiology.  He stated, "She is a person who works quietly behind the scenes, and she has been incredibly effective over the years as an advocate for families whose children are born with hearing loss."  Roush continued, "We now have nine programs in the LEND Network with expanded pediatric audiology programs that, in the first year alone, impacted over 50 medium and long term LEND trainees, and over 100 short term pediatric audiology trainees."  Roush concluded, "Clearly, Irene, this would not have been possible without your vision combined with your determination to identify a funding source, the funding mechanism, and the partnership with AUCD."  As a token of appreciation on behalf of all of the LEND audiology programs, Roush presented Forsman with an award.  The inscription read: "To Irene Forsman, in grateful recognition of her vision and leadership in promoting educational opportunities for future pediatric audiologists."

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.

Irene Forsman with Trainees


Irene Forsman pictured with LEND Pediatric Audiology Trainees


EHDI Conference 2010, Chicago, IL