On March 3, 2016, Michael Gorga, Ph.D., Director of the Human Sensory Physiology Laboratory at Boys Town National Research Hospital, gave the Carhart Memorial Lecture at the annual meeting of the American Auditory Society. This lecture, named after the "father of audiology," Raymond Carhart, is considered the most prestigious lecture in audiology.
During his lecture, Michael presented a sampling of 35 years of high-impact translational research from his laboratory. Work from his group has had major influences on the implementation of universal newborn hearing screening and the identification and quantification of hearing loss in infants, young children and patients with developmental disabilities who are unable to provide voluntary responses to sound. In addition, Michael has contributed to research that has increased our understanding of auditory function in both individuals with normal hearing and those with hearing loss.
Michael began working at Boys Town Hospital in 1981, spending much of his early career focused on directing clinical services. This direct clinical experience led to his observations of the inadequacies of assessment tools and the need for translational research to improve the services provided to patients. To address this important clinical issue, Michael sought and received funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH-NIDCD), which has been continuous for the past 20 years.
With support from the NIH and Boys Town Hospital, Michael has been able to lead a creative and productive research program. He has produced over 130 publications in archival, refereed and scientific journals, which is the second-highest level of published research in the history of Boys Town Hospital. Michael frequently acknowledges the contributions of his colleagues at Boys Town Hospital have made to his success. He considers himself fortunate to have had so many smart colleagues throughout his career. This group includes co-investigators, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students. Michael readily admits that without the help of these individuals and the environment at Boys Town Hospital, any success he has had would have been greatly diminished.
As Michael's career winds down, he looks back fondly on his work experiences and is thankful for the opportunities he has had to contribute to the body of knowledge related to the identification and diagnosis of hearing loss. He considers his invitation to give the Carhart Memorial Lecture a wonderful recognition and a fitting capstone to a career well-spent. Those who have worked with him can't help but agree.
"Michael deserves this award not only because he has done good work, but because he has mentored a lot of scientists, including me," said Ryan McCreery, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Audiology. "If you just look at the people who have worked with him - students and postdocs – they have gone on to be very successful in their own right. He has that academic family tree that shows he not only did a lot of great work himself, but he enabled other people to do really amazing work as well."
Michael Gorga epitomizes translational science. Boys Town National Research Hospital thanks Michael for his contributions to the mission and the impact he had on the field of audiology and congratulates him for his accomplishments locally, nationally and internationally, as recognized by this prestigious award.