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Prevention and Surveillance branch

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

    Director, Prevention and Surveillance branch

    Dr. Vickie Tuten serves as the Director working initiatives and projects across the Branches. 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.

  • COL (RET) Kathy Gates, AUD

    HCE Prevention Lead

    Dr. Kathy Gates joined the Hearing Center of Excellence as a contractor in October 2012. Her primary area of focus within the HCE is to promote hearing loss prevention initiatives. She is currently working on the Comprehensive Hearing Health Program and Campaign.

    Dr. Gates’ passion for hearing loss prevention began in 1987 when she was commissioned in the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps to serve as an Army Audiologist. Dr. Gates served over twenty-six years in the U.S. Army and her last assignment was Integrated Service Chief, Audiology and Speech Center, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. During this tour she also served as the Audiology Consultant for the Army Surgeon General from July 2005 to July 2010.

  • Brian Shearer, MA, CMSGT (RET)

    Program Analyst

    Mr. Brian Shearer is a Program Analyst for the Hearing Center of Excellence. He brings his unique skills to HCE as a program manager working in the Prevention and Surveillance Branch. He is the HCE’s lead for all Global Hearing Health Outreach activities and events for the Hearing Center.

    He served 29 years and 10 months in the Air Force where he served across the United States and in the Pacific and European theaters, to retire as Chief Master Sergeant. He received his Master’s degree in Human Resource Development from Webster University. Mr. Shearer has extensive leadership, management, and program management experience. He has led and managed many Air Force and DoD programs that affected thousands of Airman, Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines across the entire DoD enterprise. He wrote ground-breaking policy in 2010 for the European theater based on direction and orders from the European four-star general commander. He presented that policy to senior leaders, which was supported and approved across the entire theater of operations. Mr. Shearer was also a member of the Air Force Enlisted Force Development Panel chaired by the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force from 2011 to 2013.

  • Robert WIlliams


    Mr. Robert Williams is an Engineer in the Prevention Branch of the Hearing Center of Excellence.  He is assigned to Program Executive Office Soldier, where he provides expertise in acoustics to the Tactical Communication and Protective System program and other hearing protection programs.  He earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Alabama in 2006, and a Master of Engineering in Acoustics from the Pennsylvania State University in 2009.  Prior to joining the Hearing Center of Excellence, Mr. Williams was a research engineer at the US Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory, where he specialized in acoustic measurements and hearing protector testing.

  • Jeremy T. Nelson, PhD

    Science Advisor

    Dr. Jeremy Nelson is a contractor supporting the Hearing Center of Excellence as the Science Advisor. He works with the HCE Clinical Care, Rehabilitation, and Restoration Branch and Prevention and Surveillance Branch to better understand auditory and vestibular injury rates within the DoD and VA, using this data to help shape HCE initiatives and policy development. Additionally, he assists with scientific reviews, academic interactions, and technology assessments.

    With a background in Human Factors Engineering (United States Air Force Academy), Dr. Nelson served as a research scientist and program manager in the Air Force. His graduate work in neuroscience (Tulane University) focused on human performance optimization with neuromodulation technology. Dr. Nelson has supported several organizations within the Air Force and Army focusing on operational and medical research and development. Additionally, he serves as a faculty member at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in the School of Medicine.

Clinical Care, Rehabilitation, and Restoration Branch

  • Amy Boudin, AuD, CCC-A 

    Clinical Audiologist

    Dr. Amy Boudin-George is a Clinical Audiologist for the Hearing Center of Excellence in the Clinical Care, Rehabilitation, and Restoration Branch. Dr. Boudin-George is currently leading HCE efforts in audiology clinical coding standardization, continuing education programs and products, and the development of easily accessible clinical tools for ototoxicity monitoring. She provides support and clinical expertise in other HCE activities, including the use and improvement of the Enterprise Clinical Audiology Application and CarePoint. Dr. Boudin-George also serves as a clinical provider for patients with, or who are considering, implantable devices in the Audiology Clinic at the San Antonio Military Medical Center.

    Dr. Boudin-George received her doctorate of audiology in 2010 from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. Prior to joining the HCE, she spent five years as a diagnostic and rehabilitative audiologist at a neurotology clinic in Albuquerque, New Mexico; ancillary duties included lecturing for the University of New Mexico graduate speech pathology program and providing screening services for semi-annual rural cleft palate clinics in Gallup, New Mexico.

  • Andrew J. Fallon AuD, ABA

    Clinical Audiologist

    Dr. Andrew Fallon is a Clinical Audiologist for the Department of Defense Hearing Center of Excellence. Dr. Fallon serves as a subject matter expert, both leading and providing support for HCE research and clinical endeavors using his background knowledge in information technology.  Projects currently underway include facilitating the use of online learning management systems, standardization of clinical coding, migration and merging of legacy and current day patient information data bases and the systematic evaluation and implementation of next-generation clinical testing software.

     Dr. Fallon earned his Doctorate in Audiology from the University of Florida at Gainesville. His undergraduate degree, a Bachelor's of Science, in Communications Disorder is from Stockton University and his Masters of  Science, in Audiology is from Lamar University.

     Prior to coming to work for the DoD, Dr. Fallon has served previously as both a Clinical Audiologist with extensive experience in diagnostic studies and exams and as a program director for an adult cochlear implant  program.  He has also held the position as Northeast Regional representative for MED-EL cochlear 

  • Karen H Lambert PT, DPT, NCS

    Vestibular Program Manager

    Karen H. Lambert currently serves as the Vestibular Program Manager for the Defense Hearing Center of Excellence and provides clinical care at a private outpatient physical therapy clinic specializing in treatment of patients with vestibular and balance dysfunction. She earned a Master of Physical Therapy from MCP Hahnemann University in 2000 and later her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Drexel University in 2014. She received Board Certification in the area of Neurologic Physical Therapy from the American Physical Therapy Board of Clinical Specialties in 2006 with re-certification in 2016. She has served on multiple task forces for the Neurology Section of the American Physical Therapy Association related to vestibular dysfunction. She served as the Officer in Charge of the Traumatic Brain Injury Section of Physical Therapy at Walter Reed Army Medical Center from December 2007-August 2010 where she participated in research aimed at investigating the most effective rehabilitative techniques for service members with complaints of dizziness and/or cognitive impairment post mild to moderate traumatic brain injury.

Research Coordination Branch 

  • Douglas S. Brungart, PHD

    Chief Scientist

    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 Defense 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.

  • Kia Brooks

    National Capital Region Research Coordinator/Administrator

    Ms. Kia Brooks is the contract National Capital Region Research Coordinator/Administrator for the Defense Hearing Center of Excellence at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in the Audiology and Speech Pathology Center (ASPC). Ms. Brooks oversees research activities for the ASPC including, but not limited to, tracking projects, protocol implementation, assisting with collaborative efforts, marketing, grant proposal submission assistance, research portfolio management, and regulatory oversight.

    Ms. Brooks received her Bachelor of Science in Neurobiology and Physiology from the University of Maryland. After transitioning from the laboratory as a Molecular Biologist, Ms. Brooks moved to New York City where she spent nine years managing research projects. She is currently seeking a Master of Science degree in Clinical Trial Sciences at Rutgers University.

  • Kari Buchanan, MA, MPH

    Program Manager

    Ms. Kari Buchanan is the contract Program Manager for Auditory Fitness for Duty for the Defense Hearing Center of Excellence and liaison to the Office of Naval Research Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Program. In this position, Ms. Buchanan manages the programs and projects supporting the Auditory Fitness for Duty work stream, including coordinating the AFFD Working Group and efforts to develop a standard assessment method for auditory situation awareness factors with hearing protective devices, conducting research related to AFFD, and working with DoD and service representatives.

    Ms. Buchanan is a retired Navy Industrial Hygiene Officer with 20 years of active duty military experience. During her varied career, Ms. Buchanan served aboard two hospitals, a submarine tender, and an aircraft carrier, and with a Marine Wing, and an environmental and preventive medicine unit. She was a staff officer on the Chief of Naval Operations staff and the Navy Warfare Development Command. In addition, she was the first Navy Medical Service Corps fellow concentrating on chemical, biological, and radiological defense. She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Medical Technology from the University of Connecticut, a Masters of Public Health in Environmental Health Sciences from Columbia University, and a Masters of Art in National Security and Strategy from the Naval War College.

  • Elsa Camou, MPH

    Regional Research Coordinator

    Ms. Elsa Camou currently serves as a contract Regional Research Administrator for the Defense Hearing Center of Excellence at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. In this position, Ms. Camou supports grantsmanship activities, quality and process improvement initiatives, proper implementation of research-related operating policies and procedures, and coordination of research protocols and outreach activities.

    Ms. Camou began her military research support career in 2007 as a Behavioral Research Assistant at the 711th Human Performance Wing at Brooks Air Force Base, Texas. In 2009, Ms. Camou became a Project Director at Brooke Army Medical Center, in the Center for Nursing Science and Clinical Research. During her time at BAMC, Ms. Camou worked on a variety of research studies ranging from nanotechnology to smoking cessation. After completing a Master’s in Public Health in 2012 at the University of the Texas School of Public Health San Antonio Regional Campus, Ms. Camou became a Regional Research Administrator at HCE.

  • Genny Krackau

    Research Coordinator

  • Genny Krackau is a contract Research Coordinator for the Hearing Center of Excellence, at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. In this position, Ms. Krackau supports The Prevalence and Objective Verification of Central Auditory Processing Disorders in Blast Exposed Warfighters research study. Ms. Krackau supports this study by recruiting, instructing, and coordinating research subjects at both Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, Lackland Air Force Base, TX and the Troop Medical Clinic, SAMMC, Ft. Sam Houston, TX. She also provides administrative support for research protocols.

    Ms. Krackau has over 25 years of experience in academic, administrative and military research. As a Health Systems specialist she retired from the U.S. Army Medical Command, Ft. Sam Houston, TX. Ms. Krackau held contract research and clinical trial positions with the Department of Veterans Affairs and University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX, as well the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, SAMMC, Ft. Sam Houston, TX
  • Kathryn E. Marshall, PHD

    Pacific Northwest Regional Clinical Research Coordinator/Administrator

    Dr. Kathryn Marshall is the contract Pacific Northwest Regional Clinical Research Coordinator/Administrator for the Defense Hearing Center of Excellence positioned at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington. In this position, Dr. Marshall serves as the point of contact for HCE to implement research objectives out to the Pacific Northwest research facilities. In addition, she heads the research program for the ENT and Audiology clinic at MAMC where she manages the pre- and post-award administration for sponsored programs and internal DoD projects.

    In 2009, Dr. Marshall completed her PhD in the Cell Biology, Neurobiology, and Anatomy at the Medical College of Wisconsin specializing in Developmental and Molecular Biology. She went on to complete her post-doctoral fellowship with the Department of Energy at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory where she specialized in developing biosensors to detect explosives in marine environments. With her strong background in biomedical research, Dr. Marshall aids in advancing the research objectives at MAMC and the Pacific Northwest region.

  • Sara Murphy, MPH

    Pacific Southwest Regional Clinical Research Coordinator/Administrator

    Mrs. Sara Murphy serves as a contract Regional Research Coordinator/Administrator for the Defense Hearing Center of Excellence.  Mrs. Murphy facilitates auditory and vestibular research collaborations in the Pacific Southwest, including grantsmanship activities, protocol development, and study oversight. She oversees a robust clinical research program at Naval Medical Center San Diego, as well as facilitating research in the region.

    With a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of San Diego, Mrs. Murphy began her research career with Veteran’s Medical Research Foundation. There she served as a Research Associate on a prospective study examining the psychological, social, and genetic factors related to alcohol dependence. In 2009, she took on the position of Project Coordinator for a related collaborative study investigating the genetics of alcoholism.

    After completing a Master of Public Health with a focus in Health Promotion from San Diego State University in 2010, Mrs. Murphy transitioned into the private sector as a Clinical Research Coordinator of pharmaceutical interventions for a wide variety of central nervous system disorders. In 2012, Mrs. Murphy assumed the position of Research Administrator for HCE.

  • Aries Okungbowa-Ikponmwosa, MPH


  • Ms. Aries Okungowa-Ikponmwosa is a contract Clinical Research Coordinator for the Hearing Center of Excellence, at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. She is responsible for recruiting and consenting research subjects and the administration of research studies. In addition, she coordinates and implements research study protocols and maintains data collection integrity. Ms. Okungbowa-Ikponmwosa earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Sciences from University of Michigan, Flint Campus. She also earned a Master’s Degree in Public Health, Health Administration at the University of Michigan, Flint Campus.

  • JR Stefanson

    Southeast Regional Research Coordinator/Administrator

    Mr. JR Stefanson is the contract Southeast Regional Research Coordinator/Administrator for the Defense Hearing Center of Excellence, as well as an Associate Investigator for the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory. Mr. Stefanson serves as HCE’s administrative contact for coordination and collaboration initiatives concerning auditory and vestibular projects for DoD within the Southeastern US. He also serves as an administrative lead for the Pharmaceutical Interventions for Hearing Loss working group, and is a member of a number of DoD working groups including the Collaborative Auditory and Vestibular Research Network Allied Neurosensory Warrior Related Research working group, and the Auditory Fitness for Duty working group.

    While serving the HCE’s mission, he also serves the Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory’s mission by developing and conducting studies in the areas of auditory protection, hearing protection device attenuation analyses in field and laboratory environments, hearing conservation, and auditory localization and situational awareness. Mr. Stefanson recently took on the role of Research Program Coordinator for the USAARL Auditory Protection and Performance Division, in which he works closely with the division director to assist in the project management of all ongoing studies for the division.

    Prior to working for HCE, Mr. Stefanson worked as a contract research investigator for General Dynamics Information Technology at the Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory.

  • Sarah C. Sullivan, MA

    North Central Regional Research Coordinator/Administrator

    Ms. Sarah Sullivan is a contract Regional Research Coordinator/Administrator for the Defense Hearing Center of Excellence. Located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, Ms. Sullivan serves the North Central region of the United States. She facilitates collaborations between DoD, VA, academic, and industry researchers; provides general administrative support for the HCE; and hosts a monthly teleconference on the topic of Sound Exposures for the Pharmaceutical Interventions for Hearing Loss working group. Ms. Sullivan also supports the Air Force Research Laboratory under the 711th Human Performance Wing as the Research Laboratory Manager for the Battlespace Acoustics Branch. She supervises the branch’s on-site subject panel, manages study documentation, assists with data collection, and provides weekly experiment progress reports.

    Ms. Sullivan earned a Master of Arts degree in Cognitive and Perceptual Psychology from the University of Texas – Austin and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences from Washington State University. Ms. Sullivan has 15 years of experience in research administration and acoustics research in military, academic, and medical settings. Prior to joining the HCE, Ms. Sullivan was a Research Program Manager at the University of Arizona and a Research Technician at Boys Town National Research Hospital.

  • Victoria Tepe, PHD

    Research Portfolio Manager

    Dr. Victoria Tepe supports the Defense Hearing Center of Excellence as the contract Research Portfolio Coordinator to advance scientific and technical objectives in the clinical care and prevention of hearing and balance injuries. Dr. Tepe works closely with other DoD/VA scientific and technical program managers to survey and shape directions in research and development. She supports the HCE’s ongoing efforts to specify critical gaps in scientific knowledge and technical capability, and steer appropriate expertise and resources to meet emerging needs and priorities.

    Dr. Tepe has more than 25 years of experience in academic, medical, and military research settings. She holds a PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience from Northwestern University. She began her professional career at the Chicago Institute for Neurosurgery and Neuroresearch and has supported numerous military medical research programs.

    Dr. Tepe’s published works address problems in cognitive psychophysiology, human factors, stress and resilience, human performance, and traumatic brain injury. Dr. Tepe has edited several books, including A Warrior’s Guide to Psychology and Performance (Potomac Books, 2010). She is also interested in military women’s health concerns, including brain and neurosensory injuries.

  • Quintin Hecht, AUD

    Research Audiologist

    Dr. Quintin Hecht is a contract Research Audiologist for the DoD Hearing Center of Excellence. He is the chief audiologist for “The Noise Study” at Joint-Base San Antonio, in collaboration with the Dept of Veteran’s Affairs and the National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research. Dr. Hecht also reviews, composes, and consults research protocols for future studies alongside our Research Coordinators.

    Dr. Hecht earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Disorders as well as a Clinical Doctorate in Audiology from Illinois State University. He is a graduate of the San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium and has served as a staff audiologist and as the Chief of Audiology Services during his assignment at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, Lackland AFB, TX. Immediately preceding his work at the DoD Hearing Center of Excellence, Dr. Hecht served as the Air Force Hearing Conservation Program Manager, located at USAF School of Aerospace Medicine, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. 

    Dr. Hecht is a licensed and board certified audiologist as well as a CAOHC certified Course Director and Professional Supervisor of the Audiometric Monitoring Program. He has presented at numerous professional conferences and meetings, to include AMSUS, NHCA, JDVAC, and CAVRN. Dr. Hecht’s research interests include the relationship between noise exposure and hearing loss and tinnitus, ototoxicity, musician hearing care, and hearing protection device fit-testing.  

  • Tina Penman, AuD

    Regional Research Administrator

    Dr. Tina Penman serves as a contract Regional Research Administrator for the Hearing Center of Excellence (HCE) at the National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research (NCRAR) in the VA Portland Health Care System, Portland, Oregon. In her role, Dr. Penman promotes research collaborations between the Department of the Veterans Affairs (VA) and Department of Defense (DoD) and serves as a liaison to other stakeholder groups. Additionally, she provides administrative support to the HCE through writing grants, disseminating research findings, and educating stakeholders.  Lastly, she augments research efforts at NCRAR and continues to function as an audiologist in the VA Portland Audiology Clinic. She also serves as faculty in the Speech and Hearing Sciences Department at Portland State University as an Adjunct Assistant Professor.

    Dr. Penman is a licensed and board certified audiologist and she received her BS in Behavioral Neuroscience (2006) and Clinical Doctorate in Audiology (2010) from Northeastern University. The long-term goal of the position is to better serve Military Personnel and Veterans through the application of research findings to clinical practices, the real world, and combat-related settings.

  • Natasha Gorrell, MSPH, CPH

    Research Coordinator

    Ms. Natasha Gorrell serves as a contract Research Coordinator for the Hearing Center of Excellence at Joint Base San Antonio Lackland, Texas. Ms. Gorrell provides research project management to various ongoing studies, coordinates the auditory and vestibular funding programs, administrates the Collaborative Auditory/Vestibular Research Network, and provides general research and scientific inputs.

    Ms. Gorrell earned a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Cell Biology from Rice University, and a Master of Science in Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins University. Ms. Gorrell has nine years’ experience working in the research field, in topics including cytogenetics, protein engineering, cell biology, vaccines, occupational epidemiology, and health communication and injury prevention.
  • Charla Levy, AUD

    Research Audiologist

    Dr. Charla Levy serves as a contract Research Audiologist for the Hearing Center of Excellence. She assists the Research Directorate by administering audiological research with the guidance of the Research Coordinators. Dr. Levy earned her Bachelors of Science degree, with honors, in Communication Disorders from Texas State University. She completed her Doctorate of Audiology at the University of North Texas and completed her externship at The University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada.

    Dr. Levy has been a part of several studies covering a wide range of topics such as hearing aid affordability, brain plasticity in Dementia/Alzheimer’s disease, hearing aid algorithms, hearing amplification technology, hearing in noise, CAPD testing, and pediatric audiological testing. She has been published in several research papers and has presented at the American Academy of Audiology’s national conference twice. 

  • Nina Pryor, AuD

    Regional Administrator

    Dr. Nina Pryor is a contract Regional Research Coordinator/Administrator for the Defense Hearing Center of Excellence. Located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, Dr. Pryor serves the North Central region of the United States. She facilitates collaborations between DoD, VA, academic, and industry researchers; provides general administrative support for the HCE; and assists with research efforts at the Air Force Research Laboratory under the 711th Human Performance Wing as a Research Audiologist for the Battlespace Acoustics Branch. 

    Dr. Pryor earned a Doctor of Audiology degree from the University of Utah and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Toledo. Prior to joining the HCE, she was a Doctoral Fellow at the Dayton VAMC in Dayton, Ohio.

  • Veotria “Veda” Byrd

    Research Coordinator

    Ms. Veotria “Veda” Byrd serves as a contract Project Director and provides support for Hearing Fitness for Duty (FFD) developments at the Department of Defense Hearing Center of Excellence (DoD HCE) at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC).  

    She has over 12 years’ experience in research, and has worked in various healthcare and academia environments. She has worked in several research disciplines and capacities to include oncology, occupational health, general surgery, anesthesiology, pain medicine, substance abuse, and education.  Assignments were with Georgetown University Medical Center Lombardi Cancer Center (Washington, DC), Washington Occupational Health Associates (Washington, DC), Westat (in support of) The National Cancer Institute and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (Rockville, MD and Hampton Roads, VA), The Geneva Foundation (Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Portsmouth, VA), Duke University Medical Center, and the Durham VA Medical Center (Durham, NC).

    Ms. Byrd graduated from Columbia Union College where she earned a B.S. in Healthcare Administration.  She earned her Master’s in Public Health from Walden University and is currently completing dissertation requirements for her PhD in Public Health/Epidemiology

  • Kelly Watts, AUD

    Northeast Regional Research Coordinator/Administrator

    Dr. Kelly Watts serves as the contract Northeast Regional Research Coordinator/Administrator for the Defense Hearing Center of Excellence at the Naval Submarine Medical Research Laboratory (NSMRL), Naval Submarine Base New London, Groton, Connecticut. In this capacity, she provides input to scientific manuscripts and protocols, provides audiological monitoring to support warfighter performance research activities, and acts as a project manager for a hearing preservation and auditory injury intervention effort. In supporting the HCE’s Comprehensive Hearing Healthcare Program, she has participated in hearing conservation community outreach.

    Dr. Watts obtained her doctorate in audiology from Arizona State University. Her undergraduate degree, a Bachelor’s of arts in Brain and Cognitive Sciences, was obtained from the University of Rochester. Prior to joining the HCE, she was a research audiologist at the James H. Quillen VAMC in Mountain Home, Tennessee.

Operations/global outreach branch

  • Jenille Salomon, MBA, BSP

    Resources Program Manager

    Ms. Jenille Salomon is an HCE administrator and serves as the Resources Program Manager. As the program manager, she is in charge of all financial plans, oversight and spending. Ms. Salomon coordinates with Air Force Medical Service higher headquarters budget and manpower leadership for program requirements. She has been working with HCE budget and programs for several years as part of the Air Force Operations Agency. Assigned in the Operations Directorate, she also assists in contract management, and day-to-day operations.

    Ms. Salomon is an Air Force veteran. She received a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare and a Master of Business Administration from American Intercontinental University. Ms. Salomon brings wealth of knowledge to HCE in resource and administration program management within the military healthcare system.

  • Timothy J. Ciampaglio


    Timothy J. Ciampaglio is a contracting consultant for HCE’s Balanced Scorecard (BSC) Strategic Planning Model. He works with the whole of HCE facilitating workshops to develop, train, implement, automate, and maintain the BSC.

    Mr. Ciampaglio is a 23 year Veteran of the United States Coast Guard where he focused on all aspects of Maritime Operations (Search and Rescue, Alien Migrant Interdiction Operations, Counter Narcotics, Living Marine Resources and Homeland Security), Training and Education, and Balanced Scorecard Strategic Planning. Prior to retiring Mr. Ciampaglio completed successful tours of duty totaling nearly 10 years at sea on six ships. He commanded his last ship, the Coast Guard Cutter WASHINGTON, in Honolulu, HI. His last tour in operations was in the Coast Guard's most visible and demanding area of responsibility as the Sector Response Chief (Operation’s Officer), in Key West, FL. He managed the operations center, and 12 subordinate units (ships, stations and aircraft) in all Coast Guard missions.

    Mr. Ciampaglio’s focus on Education includes teaching/lecturing the following:

    • Organizational Behavior and Leadership (Coast Guard Academy)
    • Macro Economics (Coast Guard Academy)
    • Negotiations (The George Washington University)
    • Strategic Human Resources Planning and Management (The George Washington University Graduate School)
    • Intercultural Communications and Conflict Management (Carnegie Mellon University Graduate School)

    Senior Program manager

    Mr. Greg Schmidt is a contractor and Senior Program Manager for the HCE.  He provides strategic planning, facilitation and balanced scorecard development.  He assists the Division Chief with ensuring the long-term objectives and short term strategies and plans for the HCE are met by aligning with the congressional mandate that established the DoD HCE.  Mr. Schmidt also provides support to the HCE’s 5 Branches in developing day-to-day operational activities and is involved with the required planning, coordination and program management necessary to support resources. Additionally, he is responsible for the content maintenance of the HCE website. 

    He served 27 years as a member of the Air Force in the dental and medical career fields.  His duties took him to several bases in Europe as well as stateside assignments with both Air Force and Army.  He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Total Quality Management from Friends University.  Mr. Schmidt brings a wealth of knowledge to the HCE in program management and leadership of groups both small and large, as well as an extensive background in the operations and leadership in the military healthcare system. 



    Ricardo Santa Cruz is a Program Analyst for the Hearing Center of Excellence.  He is responsible for all Infection Control, Safety, and Educational Training and other associated programs within the HCE Branches.

    He served in the Air Force for 25 years in Surgical Specialty Services and the Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) sub specialties. During this time he was deployed to Iraq and Germany and participated on 12 surgical humanitarian missions to Central and South America. He has received certification in the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Management and the Central Sterile Processing. 

    He is also a certified Healthcare Team Coordination Manager for TeamSTEPPS and a coach for Lean Management Process for the HCE. Mr. Santa Cruz contributes a vast amount of knowledge to the Hearing Center of Excellence as a Management and Program Analyst along with his experience and leadership skills obtained from the Air Force managing the Air Force’s largest ENT Clinic.

  • Sharon D. Bryant, MSgt (Ret)

    Executive Assistant

    Ms. Sharon Bryant is currently a Management Assistant to the Divsion Chief and Deputy Division Chief for the Hearing Center of Excellence. She assists all headquarters HCE personnel with processing procedures and administrative tasks. In her capacity, she also manages the travel processes for all HCE funded travelers. Ms. Bryant also oversees the logistical budget as the supply custodian and GPC holder.

    Prior to joining the HCE, Ms. Bryant served in the Air Force for 24 years before retiring at the rank of Master Sergeant. During her Active Duty career, Ms. Bryant served as an Otolaryngology Surgical Technologist in the role of ENT Clinical Manager stationed at Lackland Air Force Base, Elmendorf Air Force Base, and Bitburg Air Base in Germany. She went on to lead the Audiology and Speech Pathology departments at Landstuhl before returning to Lackland in 2004.

    During her military career, she was an integral team member during humanitarian missions to Paraguay and Honduras assisting with ear examinations and surgical procedures to improve hearing for the underprivileged and during deployment to Iraq. She garnered several awards to include AF Achievement medals and an Army Commendation Medal. The experiences garnered as a leader in ENT has made Ms. Bryant a key member of the HCE family.

Information management Branch

  • Stacy Leonard

    Informatics Program Manager

    Mrs. Stacy Leonard is a contract Informatics Program Manager for the Hearing Center of Excellence. In this position Mrs. Leonard oversees the data analytics efforts within HCE and participates in the development of the Joint Hearing and Auditory System Injury Registry. She also establishes data use and sharing agreements with other DoD and VA agencies; provides guidance to clinical, functional and business operations process improvement groups; provides analysis to support cost saving initiatives and facilitates DoD and VA resource sharing agreements; and assists with the development of protocols required to support research efforts.

    Mrs. Leonard is an Army Veteran with 24 years’ experience within the Military Health System. The focus of her career has been support of DoD military healthcare computer systems, data repositories, and data quality. She developed and implemented the pharmacy third party insurance collections program at Brooke Army Medical Center. Mrs. Leonard served as a Tier II Clinical Support Coordinator throughout the DoD implementation of Pharmacy Data Transaction Service. She has held positions as System Administrator as well as Trainer for both CHCS and AHLTA. In 2010, she joined the Air Force Medical Operations Agency Data Quality Team as a Senior Health Systems Subject Matter Expert providing guidance to all Air Force Military Treatment Facilities. She later migrated to the Health Informatics Division of the Air Force Medical Support Agency as the Program Manager and Lead Functional Analyst for Biometric Data Quality Assurance Service.

  • William Lloyd

    Cybersecurity Consultant

    Mr. William Lloyd is currently a contractor supporting the Hearing Center of Excellence as a Cyber security Consultant. He is involved in several IT-focused projects, including the DoD-wide deployment of an electronic audiology application known as AudBase, which will standardize the audiogram collection process. To help pave the road for this deployment, Mr. Lloyd spent months wading through the arduous procedure known as certification and accreditation, to obtain an authority to operate and an authority to connect for AudBase.

    Before landing at HCE, Mr. Lloyd spent time working at Brooke Army Medical Center, then as a subject matter expert and technical trainer at the U.S. Army Medical Information Technology Center. In total, he has accumulated almost 15 years of private sector, and local and federal government, IT work experience, with a concentration in cyber security, system administration, and project management.

  • Kathy Swaba

    Senior Cybersecurity Analyst

    Ms. Kathy Swaba is currently a contract Cyber security Analyst supporting the Hearing Center of Excellence. She provides Cyber security support for the Enterprise Clinical Audiology Application (ECAA, also known as AudBase) which is being deployed and implemented at Military Treatment Facilities throughout DoD to improve the way data is computed and patient information is shared in a centralized environment.

    Ms. Swaba earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Information Systems in 2003 and has over 19 years of in-depth Information Assurance and Cyber security experience from certifying and accrediting desktop applications to her support to large acquisition programs. Her career focus areas include the implementation and embedding of security in the life cycle of systems supporting multi-million dollar local and wide area networks, telecommunication facilities, data processing centers, information systems, cryptographic devices, and cross domain solutions. She has implemented Information Assurance programs where none existed and continues to improve programs that she supports.

  • Ronda L. Schmidt, CMSGT (RET)

    Project Manager

    Mrs. Ronda Schmidt is currently a contractor for the Defense Hearing Center of Excellence where she serves as a Project Manager for specific projects within the Information Management Branch.

    Mrs. Schmidt earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Health Sciences from Excelsior College. She is retired from the United States Air Force, having served 24 years as a Dental technician at various assignments. During her military tenure she led the dental forensic identification team at the Dover Port Mortuary and also served as an instructor at the Airey NCO Academy. She held leadership positions at AFMOA as well as Squadron and Group Superintendent. Mrs. Schmidt brings a wealth of knowledge to the HCE with her background in education, process improvement, and project management.

  • David Biddix

    System Architect/Database Administrator

    Mr. David Biddix is a contract System Architect/Database Administrator for the Defense Hearing Center of Excellence. His responsibilities include reviewing/modifying architectural design documents, clarifying business requirements, and prototyping database designs for the Joint Hearing Loss and Auditory System Injury Registry (JHASIR). In addition, he works with Research Coordinators in data collaboration.

    Mr. Biddix has over 25 years of experience in Information Technology working with small businesses to large enterprise organizations and has worked in DOD organizations for the last 5 years. He has experience in managing Information Technology (IT) and being responsible for all aspects of developing and implementing technology initiatives in an organization. His core experience is in application development, database administration, database analyst, and the ability to link IT solutions to overall business objectives. He has equal strengths in problem solving, troubleshooting, organizational/time management and an aptitude in helping to building cross-functional relationships.

    Mr. Biddix obtained a Master of Business Administration with emphasis in Computer Resources and Information Management. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science with a specialization in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics. He also has certifications as a Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD) and a Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA).

  • Adam Zhang

    Informatics/Data Analyst

    Mr. Adam Zhang is a contract Healthcare Analyst with DoD Hearing Center of Excellence (HCOE), focusing on business intelligence and decision support. He currently supports the HCOE in developing the Joint Hearing and Auditory System Injury Registry for DoD and VA (JHASIR). His focus is developing and executing data collection and data exchange strategies of hearing related data for data sources from DMDC, TMDS, and other data sources under DHA. He provides facilitation and ad-hoc analysis, and Subject Matter Expert (SME) support on Hearing center relevant topics. 

    Mr. Zhang is a seasoned professional with strong expertise in utilizing a variety of complex business intelligence tools such as Tableau BI, SAS BI, SQL Server Analysis Service/Reporting Service, and Business Object in problem solving process. He has 15 years of MHS experience in various projects within DoD and VA, in the software development lifecycle and the use of DoD and VA managed data repositories such as: M2, MDR, DEERS, VA CDW, NPCD MedSAS datasets, and VINCI. Mr. Zhang graduated from the University of Georgia with MBA degree, specialized in Information Management and Finance. 

Quick Fact


Noise that’s too loud, too close, or that lasts too long can damage the inner ear and cause noise-induced hearing loss, or NIHL.

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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