April 11, 2018
CHARLESTON, SC – On April 11, Gov. Henry D. McMaster presented Judy R. Dubno, Ph.D., the state’s highest honor: the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Science.
Dubno is considered one of the premier scientists in the country who studies hearing loss and aging. She is a professor in the MUSC Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and serves as the director of the hearing research program.
“Dr. Dubno is a brilliant scientist and one of the most productive and collaborative individuals I have ever had the pleasure of working with," said Vice President for Research Kathleen Brady, M.D., Ph.D. "She is always generous in providing service to the academic community at MUSC through her mentoring and committee work. She is truly deserving of this honor.”
This prestigious award is presented to a scientist whose contributions to scientific discovery merit special recognition and have affected the respective discipline on a national and international basis.
The quality of Dubno’s work is demonstrated by the continuous funding she has received for more than 30 years. She's the primary investigator on a coveted National Institutes of Health Research Project Grant, which has had more than three decades of continuous support. Hers is the longest-funded grant in the United States related to age-related hearing loss.
During her tenure at MUSC, she has brought more than $70 million to the institution. In addition to providing critical insights into the subject of hearing loss in the aging, this funding also has allowed for the employment of more than 100 research students and technicians. Most of the students have launched successful research careers, having had the opportunity to work so closely with Dubno.
Dubno 's research program has been ranked near the top in the nation for NIH funding in Departments of Otolaryngology over the last decade. “Her experience and expertise have been invaluable in fostering the research careers of many faculty within our department. This has been a key component of our national ranking as #11 Best Otolaryngology Departments in the country by U.S. News & World Report,” said Paul R. Lambert, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.
Widely acknowledged as an auditory scientist for her expertise in hearing loss and aging, Dubno has served as a leader in scientific societies and worked extensively in public policy related to hearing loss to improve access and affordability of hearing-loss treatments.
She was elected president of two major scientific societies, the Association for Research in Otolaryngology and the Acoustical Society of America, and is an elected member of two honorary scientific societies. She has served on two NIH scientific review panels, having chaired one, and was a member of the Advisory Council of the NIH, which is the committee that makes the final funding recommendations to the NIH.
Dubno has also served on four consensus committees of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), focusing on hearing and noise in the military, evaluating a government hearing-loss prevention research program and conducting an analysis of the long-term effects of blast exposure to service members in the Gulf War.
Most recently, Dubno served on the NASEM Committee on Accessible and Affordable Hearing Health Care for Adults, which reviewed the evidence related to the importance of hearing to individual and societal health, including such issues as social isolation, physical and mental health consequences, and economic productivity.
The committee reviewed and assessed current federal regulations, the affordability of hearing technologies and services and access to hearing health care. One of its recommendations was for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to create a new category of over-the-counter hearing aids to improve access, lower costs, and encourage innovative technologies. This recommendation directly led to the introduction of a bill in Congress that was signed into law on Aug. 18 as the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017.
Dubno was recruited from UCLA in 1991 to help establish a research program in hearing at MUSC. At that time, there was growing recognition nationally that hearing loss was a major disability for older citizens, a problem that has only worsened in the ensuing decades, as baby boomers continue to reach senior status.
Today, it is estimated that 15 percent of individuals 18 years of age or older have some trouble hearing. This number increases to 25 percent for individuals ages 65 to 74 and over 50 percent for those 75 and older, according a 2010 report published by the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. The consequences of hearing loss are significant, said Dubno. In addition to the obvious safety issues, studies demonstrate an increased incidence of isolation and depression and possibly an accelerated cognitive decline in patients with hearing impairment.
About the South Carolina Academy of Science
The South Carolina Academy of Science (SCAS) was organized in 1924, and in 1927, the Academy affiliated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Publication of the Bulletin of the Academy began in 1935, and in 1973, the Newsletter was established as a vehicle for communication among its members. Beginning in the 1960s, industry and business joined academic institutions in support of the academy and have helped set goals to aid and improve the development of science in South Carolina.
Founded in 1824 in Charleston, The Medical University of South Carolina is the oldest medical school in the South. Today, MUSC continues the tradition of excellence in education, research, and patient care. MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and 700 residents in six colleges (Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy), and has nearly 14,000 employees, including approximately 1,500 faculty members. As the largest non-federal employer in Charleston, the university and its affiliates have collective annual budgets in excess of $2.4 billion, with an annual economic impact of more than $3.8 billion and annual research funding in excess of $250 million. MUSC operates a 700-bed medical center, which includes a nationally recognized Children's Hospital, the Ashley River Tower (cardiovascular, digestive disease, and surgical oncology), Hollings Cancer Center (a National Cancer Institute-designated center), Level I Trauma Center, Institute of Psychiatry, and the state’s only transplant center. In 2017, for the third consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named MUSC Health the number one hospital in South Carolina. For more information on academic programs or clinical services, visit musc.edu. For more information on hospital patient services, visit MUSChealth.org.