Presidential Medal of Honor 2024: Stephanie Czuhajewski, Executive Director of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology
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Presidential Medal of Honor 2024: Stephanie Czuhajewski, Executive Director of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology

She’s not an audiologist and she’s not a graduate of Salus University. But as executive director of the Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) since 2008, Stephanie Czuhajewski, MPH, CAE has developed a passion for the profession. 

Stephanie Czuhajewski headshot“From the very moment that I began working with audiologists, I was actually the one that was humbled by their passion and their dedication to their profession and it made me so proud and excited to be the executive director of the ADA,” said Czuhajewski. “I think that sentiment has only grown over the past 15 years. Now I’m proud to call many audiologists some of my very best friends.”

That passion for audiology, and the fact that she’s been a steadfast advocate for the profession for so long has made her the recipient of the 2024 Presidential Medal of Honor from Salus University. Czuhajewski, along with four other medal winners, will be honored with a reception and award ceremony at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 2, at PineCrest Country Club in Lansdale, Pennsylvania.

She believes she has been drawn to the profession not only because of the work audiologists conduct in clinical settings, but also because of the advocacy work they do to raise public awareness about the profession and the importance of hearing and balance. It’s that continued advocacy for the profession she has championed as executive director of the ADA.

“Audiology has been around now for a long time but in many ways the profession of audiology is still not appropriately recognized by policymakers and insurance companies as the clinical doctoring profession it is,” said Czuhajewski.

She cites Salus University associate professor Victor Bray, MSc, PhD, FNAP, and former dean of the Osborne College of Optometry (OCA), as “one of the great leaders in our profession.” And, then there is the College’s namesake, George S. Osborne, PhD, DDS, whose great insights into what the future of audiology should be are still used today in the advocacy of the profession.

Stephanie Czuhajewski and Victor Bray“I was not able to spend time with Dr. Osborne, but have heard about all of the amazing work he did,” said Czuhajewski. “And, certainly at the ADA, we use a lot of his publications and speeches as we continue to push audiology forward as it makes its full transition to a clinical doctoring profession.”

In that context, the profession is making some headway, according to Czuhajewski. There is a bill in Maryland that has passed both the state House and Senate that will meaningfully modernize the scope of practice for the profession. She hopes Maryland will be the first of many states to make this modernization a reality. 

It was Dr. Bray, himself a Presidential Medal honoree in 2020, along with Kim Cavitt, AuD ‘05, MA, owner and principle of Audiology Resources, Inc.; Rita Chaiken, AuD ‘03, MMS, president of Atlanta Audiology Services and herself a 2024 Presidential Medal honoree; Angela Morris, AuD ‘03, MS, account manager at Shoebox, Inc.; and Brian Urban, AuD ‘06, MA, FNAP, president of CounselEAR, LLC, and a member of the OCA advisory board, that nominated Czuhajewski for the Presidential Medal. All the nominators are past presidents of the ADA and have worked closely with her. 

In the nomination letter, they wrote: “Stephanie has impressed all with her leadership, including advocacy, education, and her commitment to success for the private practice audiologist. Among the nation’s many audiology organizations, no organization compares to the ADA in driving change to benefit the profession, enhance the private practices of our practitioners, and place our patients’ interests above our own. The ADA is who it is because of the forward-thinking, progressive leadership, and steady hand on the tiller of its long-term executive director, Stephanie Czuhajewski.”

Czuhajewski, who in addition to her duties as ADA executive director, is also president and CEO of Agentis Management, Inc., called it a tremendous honor to receive the Presidential Medal of Honor from Salus and that she was overwhelmed to be considered. 

“We will continue to advocate for better access to audiology services for patients and beneficiaries and better and more thoughtful coverage for both the services and devices like hearing aids when they’re needed,” she said. “And, certainly for better recognition for audiologists as clinical doctoring professionals.” 

Stephanie Czuhajewski and Kamala Harris