Dr. Sharon Kujawa is one of the field’s most active and accomplished audiologists and scientists. She is director of audiology at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, the largest academically-based clinical audiology program in the world. She is an associate professor of otology and laryngology at Harvard Medical School and adjunct faculty at Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology. She received her BS from Michigan State University, her MS from Idaho State University, and her PhD from the University of Arizona, where she was later named Distinguished Alumnus in Speech and Hearing.
Dr. Kujawa participated in two post-doctoral fellowships, first studying auditory pharmacology at Kresge Institute of Louisiana State University Medical Center and later studying auditory neurophysiology in the Eaton-Peabody Lab at Harvard. Before coming to her present position at Harvard, Dr. Kujawa was director of audiology and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Dr. Kujawa has made major contributions to the field of audiology by her years of service. Highlights of her service to the field include two terms on the Executive Board of the Academy, Board of Directors of the American Auditory Society, Editorial Board and section editor for Ear & Hearing, chair of the Research Committee of the Academy, and program chair for the Mid-Winter Meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology.
Dr. Kujawa has a stellar record as a scientist and as a supporter of research. She has served as a reviewer for the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders and the National Institute on Aging. She is a member of the working group on translational research for NIDCD and a member of the Scientific Review Council for Deafness Research Foundation.
Dr. Kujawa’s own research is currently focused on the interactive effects of noise exposure and aging on auditory function. This area of research will lead to enhanced understanding and, certainly, amelioration of noise-induced hearing loss universally. She is exploring mechanisms related to compromise in normal auditory function from noise exposure and how noise can alter the aging of the inner ear and neural systems. In addition, she is investigating how factors such as genetic background and the efferent system interact with the damaging effects of noise. Dr. Kujawa has published more than 40 scholarly papers in the field’s most prestigious journals including Hearing Science, J. Neurophysiol.,J. Neurosci., JARO, Nature-Genetics, Otol-Neurotol,Audiol-Neurotol., Laryngoscope, and JASA.
In addition to her clinical work and research, Dr. Kujawa has led efforts for community outreach and public education related to hearing and hearing loss in both Seattle and Boston. As a direct of her outreach programs, she was instrumental in developing the Academy’s very popular Turn It to The Left® campaign.
Finally, Dr. Kujawa’s is a consummate teacher of audiology. She not only guides individual students but serves as the highest example of excellence in clinical work, applied research, teaching, and outreach. She is certainly most deserving of the distinguished achievement award of the Academy.