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HCE Branch Leadership

Prevention and Surveillance Branch

  • COL (RET) Vickie L. Tuten, AUD, CCC-A, C/PS

    Director, Prevention and Surveillance branch

    Dr. Vickie Tuten is currently serving as the Director, Prevention and Surveillance Branch working initiatives and projects across the Directorates. Dr. Tuten previously served in the position as Associate Director of the HCE Prevention Branch while on active duty. She entered active duty as a U.S. Army Audiologist in 1988, left active duty in 1994 where she continued to serve in the Reserves, and then returned to active duty in 1998, retiring in September 2015. Military assignments include: Audiology Consultant to the Army Surgeon General; Director, Otolaryngology Technician Program; Audiology Staff Officer, Office of the Surgeon General; Hearing Program Manager at Fort Bragg, Fort Hood, Fort Drum, and Fort Eustis; and Chief, Audiology, Brooke Army Medical Center.

    Dr. Tuten obtained her Master’s degree in Audiology at the University of North Carolina in 1984, and her AuD at Central Michigan University in 2003. She currently serves as Associate Coordinator, for the American Speech Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) Special Interest Group (SIG) 8, Audiology and Public Health. She has served in the past as an officer in the Military Audiology Association (MAA) and as a representative on the Council for Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation (CAOHC), and as Secretary-Treasurer of the National Hearing Conservation Association.

Clinical Care, Rehabilitation, and Restoration Branch

  • Carlos R. Esquivel, MD, COL (Ret)

    Chief Medical Officer, Clinical Care, Rehabilitation, and Restoration branch

    Dr. Carlos Esquivel currently serves the Hearing Center of Excellence as the Chief Medical Officer of the Clinical Care, Rehabilitation, and Restoration Directorate. He also serves as a board certified Neurotologist and is a Principal Investigator for many research projects.

    Prior to working for the HCE, Dr. Esquivel served more than 20 years in the military. He graduated from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, completed an internship in the U.S. Army and went on to be a flight surgeon at Hunter Army Airfield for two years. He completed a residency in Otolaryngology at Brooke Army Medical Center and a fellowship in Neurotology at Northwestern University in Chicago. He has served the last five years in the U.S. Air Force at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center. Dr. Esquivel is board certified in General Otolaryngology and Neurotolgy. He holds fellowship status in the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy. He has written numerous peer-reviewed articles and several book chapters in the Otolaryngology field.

Research Coordination Branch

  • Douglas S. Brungart, PhD

    Chief Scientist and Associate Director of the Research Coordination branch

    Dr. Doug Brungart is currently the Chief Scientist at the Audiology and Speech Center at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The Center is currently working with the U.S. Army Public Health Command in a major effort to conduct clinical and field studies to support the objectives of the U.S. Army Hearing Program, including an initiative to develop new “Auditory Fitness for Duty” standards for military personnel.

    Dr. Brungart obtained his PhD in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1998. From 1993 to 2009, he worked at the Battlespace Acoustics Branch at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Since 2009, he has been the Chief Scientist at the Audiology and Speech Center at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Dr. Brungart has published many peer-reviewed journal articles on auditory perception, and holds more than 10 U.S. patents related to auditory perception and speech communication. In 2009, he was designated as a “Fellow” by the Acoustical Society of America.  Since 2011, Dr. Brungart has served as the Interim Director of Research for the HCE, where his scientific research and subject matter expertise is being utilized to support the HCE mission.

  • Tanisha Hammill, MA, MPH, CRA, PMP

    Senior Research Administrator

    Mrs. Tanisha Hammill currently provides support as the contract Senior Research Administrator for the Hearing Center of Excellence at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. In this position, Mrs. Hammill coordinates a global research effort to support the military’s Hearing Health Program, which includes the administrative coordination of a regional team of administrators, a portfolio coordinator, and targeted project teams. She coordinates various work stream group efforts, including the HCE’s Collaborative Auditory/Vestibular Research Network and Pharmaceutical Interventions for Hearing Loss Working Groups. Mrs. Hammill also conducts organizational coordination and development, grantsmanship activities policy and SOP development and implementation, academic and industry outreach and collaboration activities, and scientific steering and road mapping contributions and coordination.

    With a Master of Arts degree in Religious Studies and Ethics from the Point Loma Nazarene University and a background as an ethics instructor for the El Cajon Community College, Mrs. Hammill began her military support career with the Navy Medical Center San Diego serving as the Human Subjects Protections Specialist and Research Assistant to the ENT Department. After completing a Master of Arts in Public Health with a focus in Administration from the San Diego State University in 2005, Mrs. Hammill took on the position of Departmental Research Administrator for NMCSD ENT. In 2011, when the HCE stood up in San Antonio, Texas, Mrs. Hammill transitioned from the Navy to HCE support role. She began a PhD program in Translational Science at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio in August 2014 and maintains professional certifications as a Clinical Research Administrator and Project Management Professional.

Operations/global outreach Branch

  • Michael E. Elliott, MPM, MSgt (Ret)

    Health Systems Administrator

    Michael Elliott is currently the Operations Lead for the Hearing Center of Excellence. In this capacity, he serves as the HCE point of contact for all budget and contract issues.

    Mr. Elliott is a retired Air Force MSgt with over 25 years of Medical Logistics experience. He has earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Logistics from Trident University International as well as dual Master's degrees in Project Management and Information Systems Management from Keller Graduate School of Management. He helped develop the DoD ROES policy with a cost avoidance over $7M annually and has a pivotal role in establishing the AF Baseline Hearing Program.

Information management Branch

  • Trina Morrisette

    Chief Information Officer

    Ms. Trina Morrisette joined the Hearing Center of Excellence as the Chief Information Officer and oversees the Information Management Branch in support of the development, design, and deployment of the congressionally mandated Joint Hearing Loss and Auditory System Injury Registry. In addition to the registry effort, she provides technical expertise to the HCE leadership and other organizations on the design and capture of data for analytical purposes.

    Ms. Morrisette received her Bachelor of Science degree in Management and Human Resources in 1996 and an Associate’s degree in Management in 1994 from Park University. Ms. Morrisette has over 26 years of Military Health Systems experience and has held various positions within the DoD Military Health Care Community. From 1996 to 2002, she served as the Composite Health Care Systems Project Officer at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. In 2002, she took a Program Manager position and spent the next six years supporting the Decision Support Services Group for the United States Air Force Europe Surgeon General’s Office. In 2008, Ms. Morrisette moved to Texas, to continue her career within the MHS.

Quick Fact


Home power tools and equipment can reach noise levels over 100 decibels.

About Us

The Hearing Center of Excellence fosters and promotes the prevention, diagnosis, mitigation, treatment, rehabilitation and research of hearing loss and auditory injury. It supports the development, exchange and adoption of best practices, research, measures of effectiveness and clinical care guidelines to reduce the prevalence and cost of hearing loss and tinnitus among Warriors and Veterans. Read more

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