About ICIT

To learn more about ICIT, watch our introductory video here.

The Institute for Cochlear Implant Training (ICIT) is dedicated to providing advanced training to cochlear implant professionals through the use online distance learning and hands-on workshops. It has no marketing materials from any manufacturer. ICIT was founded in 2012 by Dr. Thomas Balkany. Dr. Balkany began cochlear implantation in 1979 and helped to develop some of the earliest surgical training workshops.

It became clear that a long weekend was insufficient to provide in-depth knowledge as well as the technical expertise needed by surgeons, audiologists, language and educational professionals in our field. ICIT was organized to provide advanced didactic training over a 3 month period followed by a hands-on workshop. The website contains an open library of training videos and a blog site restricted to emerging science regarding cochlear implantation.

ICIT Directors

Thomas J. Balkany, MD

ICIT Director, Advanced Surgeons’ Training Course Director

Thomas J. Balkany, MD, FACS, FAAP is Hotchkiss Distinguished Professor and Chairman Emeritus, Department of Otolaryngology and Professor of Neurological Surgery and Pediatrics, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Dr. Balkany is board certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology and the American Board of Neurotology. He has published four books, over 250 scientific papers and 14 U.S. and international patents on cochlear implants. Dr. Balkany has served on the Editorial Boards of 5 U.S. and 5 international indexed peer-review journals, and as Associate Editor of one over the past 30 years. He has also served as Senior Examiner of the American Board of Otolaryngology and the American Board of Neurotology and a member of the Boards of Directors of AAO-HNS, Auditory-Verbal International, AG Bell, Florida and as President of the Florida Society of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Dr. Balkany is the founding chairman of the William House Cochlear Implant Study Group and founding board member of the American Cochlear Implant Alliance (ACIA). He has trained over 300 CI surgeons at manufacturer based workshops in the U.S.

Teresa A. Zwolan, Ph.D.

Advanced Audiology Course (AAC) Director

Teresa A. Zwolan, PhD, CCC-A is Professor, Department of Otolaryngology and Director of the Cochlear Implant Program at the University of Michigan.  She is the founding Co-Chair and Vice Chair of the Board of the American Cochlear Implant Alliance (ACIA). Her work has been supported by the NIH (NIDCD) and recent work covers speech and language outcomes in auditory neuropathy, use of objective measures to set processor MAPs, cost utility of pediatric cochlear implantation, and spoken language development in children following cochlear implantation.

Heather L. Strader, AuD

ICIT Executive Director

Heather L. Strader, AuD serves as the Executive Director of the Institute for Cochlear Implant Training. She received her Bachelor of Science from Purdue University and her Doctorate of Audiology from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. She completed her fellowship with the University of North Carolina Pediatric Cochlear Implant Team and previously worked with the St. Louis Children's Hospital Pediatric Cochlear Implant Team, where she grew her passion for clinical education and training. As part of the ICIT team, she works to develop new courses, moderates ongoing courses, and networks with both potential instructors and course participants.
Email: hstrader@CochlearImplantTraining.com

Distinguished Instructors

Simon Angeli, MD

Doctor Simon Angeli M.D. is Professor of Clinical Otolaryngology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. He is Board Certified in Otolaryngology and in Neurotology-Skull Base Surgery having completed his residency at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in 1994, and his Neurotology Fellowship at the House Ear Clinic in 1995. Among his institutional activities are the following: Director of the University of Miami Ear Institute, Neurotology Fellowship Program Director, and Coordinator of Translational Research. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, member of the Triological and American Otological Societies, member of the Collegium ORL AS, Treasurer of the Panamerican Society of ENT, as well as member of many other International professional societies. Professor Angeli has a long standing interest in diagnosis and treatment of pediatrics and adult hearing loss and labyrinthine disorders. He has published on hereditary hearing loss, phenotype-genotype correlation studies, cochlear implantation outcomes, vestibular disorders and skull base surgery.

Douglas D. Backous, MD, FACS

Dr. Backous is a board certified Neurotologist with Proliance Surgeons and Puget Sound ENT in Seattle, Washington. He is a principal at 17Consulting in Bellevue, WA. He attended college at Seattle Pacific University (1984), medical school at the University of Washington (1989), did his residency in Otolaryngology at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas (1995), and completed his fellowship in Neurotology in 1997 at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. He was certified by the Shingijutsu in Gemba Kaizen (Toyota Production System) in 2003 for process improvement and efficiency. His research interests focus on hearing device program efficiency for improved patient access and program viability. He is married to his wife Julie and they have 3 children.

Allison Biever, AuD

Allison Biever received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Alberta in 1989 and her Master of Arts degree in Audiology at the University of Colorado in 1992 after which time she worked as a Fellow in the first cochlear implant program in Colorado. In 2005 she received her Au.D from Central Michigan University completing a doctoral thesis that examined the impact of residual hearing on cochlear implantation in children. Her focus at the Rocky Mountain Ear Center has been helping people regain their hearing through the miraculous technology of cochlear implants. She was awarded the LaFawn Biddle Award and the Hands & Voices Families First Award for her outstanding service to the deaf and hard of hearing community. In addition to her work in the clinic, she is also a prominent researcher in the field of cochlear implants. Allison enjoys hiking and spending time with her husband and three daughters. She is also an avid runner and Boston Marathon participant.

Nikolas H. Blevins, MD

Nikolas Blevins MD is the Larry and Sharon Malcolmson Professor of Otolaryngology at Stanford University. He is the Chief of the Division of Otology and Neurotology, and is the Director of the Stanford Cochlear Implant Center. His clinical interests include the treatment of hearing loss and tumors of the cranial base. His research is focused on the development and application of technology to augment microsurgical approaches to the skull base. This includes the use of computer modeling and immersive surgical simulation for education and preoperative planning. Additionally, he and his collaborators are developing minimally-invasive techniques for inner ear microendoscopy, surgical micro-robotics, and other technology applicable to hearing restoration. Dr. Blevins is a California native, and received his bachelor’s degree from Stanford University. He completed medical training at Harvard University, before returning to California for residency in Otolaryngology at the University of California at San Francisco. He remained at UCSF for a fellowship in otology/ neurotology. Dr. Blevins joined the Stanford Department of Otolaryngology in 2003.

Craig A. Buchman, MD, FACS

Dr. Craig Buchman, MD, FACS is Lindburg Professor and Chair, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Washington University in St. Louis. He completed his residency at the University of Pittsburgh and Fellowship at the House Ear Clinic in Los Angeles. He is the Chair of the William House Cochlear Implant Study Group and the Implantable Devices Committee of the AAO-HNS, a Founding Board Member of the American Cochlear Implant Alliance (ACIA) and its current Chairman of the Board, and a member on the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (JCIH). He has published extensively and has extensive editorial experience in the field. His investigative interests are broad in the field of hearing loss and rehabilitation and his ongoing research centers on the utility of auditory evoked cortical responses in the pediatric population and the use of auditory brainstem implantation in children with cochlear nerve disorders.

Camille C. Dunn, PhD, CCC-A

Camille Dunn, PhD, joined the Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Iowa in 2003 where she is an Assistant Professor and the Director of the Cochlear Implant Program. She received her Masters of Science Degree in Audiology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1998 and her Doctor of Philosophy Degree from University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2003. Dr. Dunn holds her Audiology license from the State of Iowa. She maintains her Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology (CCC-A) and is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and the American Cochlear Implant Alliance (ACIA). She is a Principal Investigator on a NIH-funded grant studying Hybrid cochlear implants and an Investigator on a Department of Defense Grant studying Hybrid cochlear Implants in veterans.

Howard Francis, MD

Dr. Howard W. Francis is professor and deputy director of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck surgery at Johns Hopkins University where he specializes in Otology and Neurotology and directs the Johns Hopkins Listening Center. He obtained his medical education from the Harvard Medical School and his Internship, residency and fellowship training at Johns Hopkins. His research interests include the evaluation of best practices of acoustic neuroma treatment, the study of functional outcomes of cochlear implantation in young children and older adults, and the study of best practices in surgical education.

René H. Gifford, PhD

René Gifford, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University in the School of Medicine and Director of the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center Cochlear Implant Program in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences.  Her research has been funded by the NIH for nearly 15 years and focuses on combined electric and acoustic stimulation (EAS) for individuals with cochlear implants and hearing aids including EAS integration, basic auditory function, audiovisual processing, spatial hearing, and speech perception. She has over 75 peer-reviewed publications and is the author of a book in the Plural Publishing Clinical Core Concepts series entitled “Cochlear Implant Patient Assessment: Evaluation of Candidacy, Performance, and Outcomes." Dr. Gifford’s research was recently featured on National Public Radio (NPR) series Science Friday as the first in a 6-part series entitled Breakthrough: Portraits of Women in Science http://www.sciencefriday.com/segments/breakthrough-hearing-a-whole-new-world/

David S. Haynes, MD, FACS

David Haynes is a professor in the departments of Otolaryngology, Neurosurgery and Hearing and Speech Sciences at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He is the Director of the division of Neurotology wihin the department of Otolaryngology and is co-director of the multidisciplinary Skull Base Center. In addition he directs the internationally recognized Neurotology Fellowship training program and the Vanderbilt Cochlear Implant Program.

His research has appeared in leading academic journals including The Laryngoscope and Otology and Neurotology. He has hosted many international conferences including the XIV International Pediatric Cochlear Implant Conference in Nashville, TN. He also serves on the executive board of the Hearing Health Foundation, New York, New York and the American Cochlear Implant Alliance, Washington D.C.

Meredith A. Holcomb, AuD, CCC-A

Meredith Holcomb, AuD, CCC-A is the Clinical Director of the Cochlear Implant Program at the Medical University of South Carolina. She received her AuD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2006. She has worked with adult and pediatric cochlear implants for over 10 years. She also diagnoses hearing loss in infants and children and manages pediatric hearing aid caseloads. Dr. Holcomb serves on the Board of Directors for the American Cochlear Implant Alliance and the Audiology Advisory Board for Advanced Bionics Corporation. She has served as a past consultant for Med El Corporation and Cochlear Americas Corporation. She is the President-Elect for the South Carolina Academy of Audiology and the SC representative for the ASHA Audiology Advisory Council.

Michael LaRouere, MD

Dr. Michael LaRouere is a board certified neurotologist who has practiced at Michigan Ear Institute for 28 years. He attended the University of Michigan for both undergraduate and medical school. He served his Surgical Internship at St Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor and completed his Otolaryngology Residency at the University of Michigan in 1988 serving as Chief Resident. He performed his Neurotology Fellowship at University of Michigan under the late Dr. John Kemink.Since his fellowship training he has served as a Attending Neurotologist at the Michigan Ear Institute. Dr. LaRouere is President of Michigan Ear Institute. He has been the Neurotology Fellowship Director at Michigan Ear Institute for the past 21 years along with directing the Temporal Bone Laboratory. He is currently the Director of Neurosciences at Providence Hospital and Chief of the Division of Neurotology. Dr. LaRouere has served on various boards and committees including being past President of Michigan Otolaryngological Society and serving on the American Neurotology Society Fellowship Committee.His current clinical and academic interests include acoustic neuroma treatment, facial paralysis, vertigo and disequilibrium and chronic ear disease. He has contributed over 50 peer related articles and 20 book chapters related to the above topics. He recently was the editor of an atlas of otology and neurotology.

Rodney Lusk, MD

Dr. Lusk is the past director of the Boys Town ENT Institute in Omaha, Nebraska and the Director of the Boys Town Cochlear Implant Program. He is a pediatric otolaryngologist with special expertise in pediatric sinusitis and pediatric hearing loss. Dr. Lusk has approximately 90 peer-reviewed manuscripts, 35 chapters, two books and has contributed to more than 104 courses. Most of his work has been in the surgical management of pediatric chronic sinusitis and pediatric cochlear implants. Prior to joining Boys Town National Research Hospital, he was the Division Director of pediatric otolaryngology at St. Louis Children's Hospital. There he was a Professor of Otolaryngology at Washington University. Dr. Lusk has served as previous presidents of ASPO, ABEA and The American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head Neck Surgery.

William Luxford, MD

William M. Luxford, MD is an Associate at the House Ear Clinic in Los Angeles. He is a pioneer in cochlear implantation and over the past 35 years has been a leader in surgical training and host of several national and international congresses on cochlear implantation.  Dr. Luxford led the Durango panel that set the minimum age of implantation at 2 years and later chaired the group that determined the elements of the minimal audiometric test battery required for implanting adults. Dr. Luxford contributions also include topics such as the Auditory Brainstem Implant, revision CI surgery, and post-implant infections.

Michael A. Novak, MD

Michael Novak is an Otologist with 32 years of cochlear implant experience. He started the adult cochlear implant program at Carle Foundation Hospital in Champaign-Urbana, Ill. in 1984 when he joined the FDA clinical trials for the House-3M single channel implant. Dr. Novak subsequently participated in the clinical trials for the original Cochlear Corporation, Advanced Bionics, and Symbion devices. He developed the pediatric cochlear implant program in 1987. Today, Carle works with Cochlear, Advanced Bionics, and MedEl implants in busy adult and pediatric programs implanting about 40 patients per year. He has placed approximately 900 cochlear implants between in patients from 7 months to 91 years of age.

Cache Pitt, AuD, CCC-A

Dr. Cache Pitt is a clinical assistant professor of audiology at Utah State University where he sees cochlear implant patients and teaches “Introduction to Cochlear Implants”. Dr. Pitt received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Wyoming and his Doctor of Audiology from Salus University. He was trained in cochlear implants and pediatric audiology at the California Ear Institute in Palo Alto, California. Clinical research interests include outcomes in cochlear implant recipients and spoken language development in children with cochlear implants

Lisa G. Potts, Ph.D., CCC-A

Lisa Potts graduated from Washington University with a M.S. in Speech and Hearing and a Ph.D. in Communication Sciences. Her clinical interests include cochlear implants, aural rehabilitation and hearing aids. Her research interests include speech-in-noise perception, binaural processing, and electrophysiologic measures of the auditory system. Dr. Potts has many research publications and presentations, and teaches in the Audiology and Communication Sciences graduate program at Washington University.

Peter S. Roland, MD

Peter S. Roland, MD, FACS is the Arthur E. Meyerhoff Chair of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas Texas.  Dr. Roland is founder and director of the Dallas Cochlear Implant Program and has received the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Distinguished Service Award and the Distinguished Award for Humanitarian Service. He is a pioneer and authority in micro-anatomy and histopathology of the human cochlea as it relates to cochlear implantation. His recent work also covers the utility of MRI in CI evaluation, high resolution 3-D MR for scalar ossification, and the benefit of hearing conservation for speech perception.

William H. Shapiro, AuD, CCC-A

William H. Shapiro received his Master of Arts degree in Audiology from Queens College of the CUNY in 1978. He received his Doctorate of Audiology from Arizona School of Health Sciences, A.T. Still University in 2007. He has worked at New York University since 1984 where he has been involved with all aspects of diagnostic and rehabilitative audiology, including the dispensing of assistive hearing technology (hearing aids, FM systems). He currently holds the title, Lester S. Miller, Jr.& Kathleen V. Miller Clinical Assistant Professor of Hearing Health, in the Department of Otolaryngology, is Director of FGP Audiology, and is Supervising Audiologist at the New York University Cochlear Implant Center, a nationally recognized center of excellence in the field of cochlear implants. Dr Shapiro has several publications in peer reviewed journals as well as book chapters. He has presented at conventions, both nationally, as well as internationally. He serves on the advisory board of two cochlear implant manufacturers. He is the 2008 recipient of the “Outstanding Clinician Award” received from the New York State Speech, Language and Hearing Association.

Holly F.B. Teagle, AuD

Holly FB Teagle is an Associate Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Co-Director of the Children's Cochlear Implant Center at UNC.  She also holds an adjunct appointment with the UNC Dept. of Allied Health Sciences, Speech and Hearing Sciences.  Dr. Teagle has been involved with clinical care of cochlear implant recipients and related research since 1987.

Jace Wolfe, PhD, CCC-A

Jace Wolfe, Ph.D., is the Director of Audiology at the Hearts for Hearing Foundation. He also is an adjunct Assistant Professor in the Audiology Department at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and Salus University. He previously served as the editor for the American Speech Language Hearing Association’s Division 9 journal and is currently a co-editor for the Plural Publishing, Inc. Core Clinical Concept Series on Cochlear Implants. Dr. Wolfe is a member of the Better Hearing Institute’s Pediatric Advisory Board as well as the Audiology Advisory Boards for Cochlear Americas, Advanced Bionics, and the Phonak Hearing Aid Company. He is also serves on the Editorial Board of The Hearing Journal. Additionally, Dr. Wolfe co-authors a periodic column entitled “The Tot Ten” in The Hearing Journal, and he has published numerous book chapters and articles in professional peer-reviewed and trade journals. He is also a co-author of the textbook entitled “Programming Cochlear Implants, Second Edition.” His areas of interests are pediatric amplification and cochlear implantation, personal remote microphone technology, and signal processing for children. He provides clinical services for children and adults with hearing loss and is also actively engaged in research in several areas pertaining to hearing aids, cochlear implants, hybrid cochlear implants, and personal remote microphone systems

ICIT Courses

Advanced Surgeons' Training Course
The Advanced Surgeons’ Training Course is an excellent opportunity for surgeons to hone skills in hearing preservation and avoiding complications in cochlear implantation, designed to add depth to the basic training and experience provided in residency and fellowship. Advanced surgical techniques focus on hearing preservation, adaptive cochleostomy, estimation of electrode insertion vector, R/S fixation techniques for current wider/flatter designs, ossification, dysplasia, and very young children.

Advanced Audiology CI Course (AAC)
The AAC is taught by highly distinguished instructors and is designed to challenge both developing and practicing cochlear implant audiologists. This course will provide in-depth knowledge regarding signal processing, programming skills, evoked potentials, SSD and EAS and clinical efficiency. We will focus on practical techniques for programming difficult cases such as very young children, facial nerve stimulation, and multiply handicapped children.