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CHC's Annual Awards Celebration, May 1, 2024 - Highlights

Updated: May 23

CHC Board member Steve Peikin addresses the audience at CHC's 2024 Awards Celebration

CHC's Annual Awards Celebration and Reception, May 1st, put the spotlight on individuals and organizations making a difference in the lives of people with hearing loss.

Here's a brief look at some of the memorable and inspiring moments.

CHC Awards Celebration Highlights

CHC Board member and Past President, Steven Peikin (above) of Sullivan and Cromwell, welcomed guests to the offices of Sullivan and Cromwell, host of CHC's Awards Celebration for the second year, and introduced CHC President, Heather Baker.

CHC President Heather Baker at the podium at CHC's  2024 Annual Awards Celebration

President Baker spoke to the impact of CHC's clinical programs, including emotional health and wellness services:

We’ve seen growth in all our clinical departments. In our mental health department alone, we are seeing more clients than ever, which reflects the mental health crisis in this country that so many face. For those with hearing loss, CHC’s Emotional Health and Wellness Center is often the only option, where all our clinicians understand the emotional impacts of hearing loss, and all of our therapists are fluent in American Sign Language. 

Keynote Speaker

Claire Bernstein of Gallaudet University addresses the audience at CHC's 2024 Awards Celebration

Claire Bernstein, of Gallaudet University, described Gallaudet's partnership with CHC on an aural rehabilitation research project and cited CHC's hearing health care model as the gold standard:

I began my training here at the Center for Hearing and Communication many years agoknown then as the New York League for the Hard of Hearing. . . . Over the course of my career I have worked in hospitals, private practice, national associations, and universities. To me, CHC is the model for what a center for those working with those with hearing loss should be. It has the most highly talented, competent, and innovative professionals across disciplines, providing services in such a warm and caring way where clients of all ages are treated like family. It is my great privilege to be collaborating with this amazing team at CHC!


HLAA-NY President accepts CHC's Advocacy Award from Past CHC President John Scopaz

Author and HLAA-NYC President, Katherine Bouton (with CHC Board member and Past President John Scopaz), accepting the Ruth R. Green Advocacy Award, shared this about the power of advocacy:

I believe that when we ask for accommodations for ourselves, we’re asking for us all. When we advocate for ourselves, we advocate for all. It’s not time yet to rest on our laurels but we’ve come a long wayand so has the world around us.

High school junior James Erwine (with Heather Baker), accepting the Volunteer of the Year Award, offered his perspective on advocacy and making a difference:

CHC's Volunteer of the Year, James Erwine, accepts award from CHC President Heather Baker

I’ve done my best to take what I’ve learned as a volunteer here to my school community. For example, I spread awareness each year about International Noise Awareness Day at my school, especially on the importance of safe music listening with earbuds, which is a major issue for teenagers, myself included! After I sent an email to my school community, I received feedback from one of my science teachers who now wants to include some of the information in her neuroscience class, so while that is a small impact, it made me realize that that is sometimes how progress is made.

Maria Hartman of Teachers College accepts CHC's Leadership Award from Board member Don Itkoff and Cartoline Itzkoff

Maria Hartman (with Don Itzkoff and Caroline Itzkoff), Director of the Special Education: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program at Teachers College/Columbia University, accepted the Sheldon Williams Leadership Award with this insight about the role of teachers:

I received my PhD under the mentorship of Dr. Ye Wang, a quiet and unassuming though brilliant scholar, who confirmed for me that teachers show students the way by leading, and then walking alongside us and finally standing behind so that the student shines and takes on the future. It has been my joy in the last 20 years to be a teacher's teacher supporting the next generation in this exciting field.

Mark Stern (CHC audiologist Michele DiStefano) accepts CHC's Nitchie Award in Communication on behalf of ZP Better Together

Mark Stern (with CHC's Director of Audiology, Michele DiStefano), accepting the Nitchie Award in Communication on behalf of ZP Better Together for their mobile app that makes E911 geolocation services available to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, shared his company's guiding principle:

At ZP Better Together, our guiding principle is captured in our motto: "Every Conversation Matters." It serves as a reminder that access to communication is not merely a privilege but is a fundamental human right. We firmly believe in functional equivalence, recognizing that it is essential for our safety—whether at home, in the workplace, or on the move.

Bruce and Liz Gitlin of the New York Center for Law and Justice, accepting CHC's Irving Berelson President's Award from CHC Past President Steve Peikin

Bruce and Liz Gitlin of the New York Center for Law and Justice, accepting the Irving Berelson President's Award, spoke on behalf of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community:

It was a result of our awareness of the challenges to communication faced by the Deaf, Deaf-blind and hard of hearing communities that we established the law center over two decades ago. The law center’s mission is to provide access to justice for hearing loss communities who, due to communication challenges, have been unable to receive effective services.

Congrats to All!

Congratulations to this incredibly deserving roster of honorees, to our young CHC Changemakers, and to our scholarship winners—Mark, Aidan and Rex!

Photo montage of CHC's 2024 Young Achievers, scholarship winners, and young scholar honoree.

And a big thank you to Sullivan and Cromwell for hosting the event and for all they did to make it fully accessible to people with hearing loss.

See you at next year's celebration!

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