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When audiology students passed their comprehensive exams, George Osborne, PhD, DDS, founding dean of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry’s School of Audiology – now the Osborne College of Audiology - liked to call each one of them personally because he wanted to be the first one to refer to them as “doctor.”

Ask anyone who graduated from the program during the “Osborne Era” and they’ll likely tell you that phone call was one of those life moments where the recipients remember where they were and what they were doing when they received it.

The vision Dr. Osborne had for the profession of audiology – that the Doctor of Audiology (AuD) degree should be the entry-level degree for the profession coupled with his desire to promote leadership within the profession – was on full display at the 26th annual Pennsylvania Academy of Audiology (PAA) convention Oct. 2-4 in Lancaster, Pa. Dr. Osborne, who died in 2007, was the founder of the PAA.

Award at PAAThe purpose of the convention was to obtain continuing education credits for audiologists, both in private practice and in medical settings. And, Salus University’s Osborne College of Audiology (OCA) – named after its founder - was right in the thick of the convention.

“What we learned in particular was that Salus does live up to Dr. Osborne’s reputation of promoting leadership within the profession,” said Jonette B. Owen, AuD, FNAP, CH-AP, OCA assistant dean of the Practice and Assessment of Audiologic Medicine. “His idea that we need to make our profession known to the world, that we need to be leaders, that we need to forge a path for the future, was evident.”

Dr. Owen, the current chair of the PAA, said although the convention was not strictly a Salus OCA event – she didn’t want it to be that way and extended speaking opportunities to other audiology universities in Pennsylvania and across the nation – OCA was well-represented.

Victor Bray, MSC, PhD, FNAP, associate professor in the Osborne College of Audiology at Salus University, offered the keynote address on “The Past, Present and Future of Audiology as the Provider of USA Hearing Healthcare.”

Dr. James Shaffer, a former OCA adjunct professor, was the winner of the George Osborne Award, presented to an audiologist in Pennsylvania who has shown excellence in his or her career. The recipient is nominated by his or her peers because they have proven to be an advocate for the profession of audiology.

Dr. Shaffer shared a moving story about Dr. Osborne, who had encouraged him to join the state’s licensure board for audiologists. He said he told Dr. Osborne that since he was so young at the time, having graduated from the Arizona School of Health Sciences in 2005, he’d need to think about putting his name in for the board. By the time Dr. Shaffer decided that yes, he would put his name for the board, Dr. Osborne had died.

PAA AwardeeOther OCA faculty members making presentations included Tracy Offerdahl-McGowan, BSc, PharmD, assistant professor at Salus, who focuses on pharmacology and therapeutics, lectured about pharmacology and how it relates to audiology in a presentation titled, “Drugs and Ear: A New Spin on an Old Problem”; and an Interprofessional Care of the Patient with Type 2 Diabetes roundtable that was presented by Dr. Owen, Robert Serianni, MS, CCC-SLP, FNAP, interim department chair/program director of the SLP department; Linda Casser, OD, FAAO, FNAP, professor of optometry and coordinator of Interprofessional Education; Caitlyn Foy, OTD, MOTR/L, director of the OTD program and assistant professor of OT; and Cara Orr, PA-C, principal faculty member in the PA program.

A session titled “Services to Add to Your Practice Panel” was presented by alum Frank Wartinger, AuD ’11 (hearing protection); and faculty members Yvonne McHugh, AuD, CCC-A (CAPD) and Bre Lynn Myers, AuD ’06, PhD (vestibular). Current Salus student Maura Kelly, ’20AUD, was part of a group that presented a session titled “Guideline for Pediatrics in Audiology.”

The convention was such a success for Dr. Owen that she said there was only one thing missing: Dr. Osborne himself.

“I wish he was here to see it,” she said.