Expert Panel Members
Thais Morata Ph.D.
Thais Morata is an audiologist who has been working in the area of hearing loss prevention since 1982. A native of Brazil, she earned degrees in Speech Pathology and Audiology, and Communication Disorders from the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (B.S.; M.S.) and the University of Cincinnati (Ph.D.). She got involved in occupational hearing conservation when consulting for the Union of Chemical Workers in São Paulo, Brazil. She did her post-doctoral work at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH, Cincinnati, OH), funded by the National Research Council, in a project with the Pan-American Health Organization.
Dr. Morata has worked at the Swedish National Institute for Working Life as a Guest Researcher from 1997 to 1998, and is currently back at NIOSH. She collaborates with several international occupational health institutes in the area of hearing loss prevention. She is the Associate Editor for the International Journal of Audiology.
Pamela S. Graydon, M.S.
Pam Graydon is an Electronics Engineer who joined the Hearing Loss Prevention Team in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1999. She has been working for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) since 1990. She received a Bachelors of Elected Studies from Thomas More College and her Engineering Degree as well as her M.S. in Science in Technology from Northern Kentucky University. She is a CAOHC certified hearing conservationist. Her research interests include talking with carpenters, farmers, teachers, and students about hearing loss prevention as well as anyone else who will listen.
Deanna K. Meinke, Ph.D.
Expert Committee Coordinator
Dr. Deanna Meinke has focused her career on the prevention of noise induced hearing loss as a clinician, educator, researcher and advocate. She is currently an Associate Professor of Audiology and Speech-Language Sciences at the University of Northern Colorado. She obtained her B.S. in Communication Disorders from Colorado State University, an M.A. in Audiology from Northern Illinois University and her Ph.D. in Audiology from the University of Colorado. She has worked as an audiologist in a multi-specialty medical clinic for 18 years and as an occupational audiology consultant for national and world-wide corporations since 1985. She is a former president of the National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA) and the Colorado Academy of Audiology.
Presently, she chairs the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) “Safe-in-Sound Expert Committee” and the NHCA Task Force on Children and Noise. At UNC, her research interests include the recreational firearm sound levels, hearing protector performance, program effectiveness and the use of distortion product otoacoustic emissions for the early detection and monitoring of noise-induced hearing loss, work which is funded by the Office of Naval Research (ONR). Her passion for hearing loss prevention targeting children is highlighted by her collaborations with colleagues from the Oregon Health & Science University in the delivery of Dangerous Decibels® educator training workshops in the U.S., Canada and New Zealand.
John R. Franks, Ph.D.
Dr. John Franks, retired from the Hearing Loss Prevention Section of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and now consulting in all aspects of hearing loss prevention, has been involved in the field of hearing loss prevention and remediation of hearing loss for more than 30 years. He has served on committees of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association, the American Society for Testing and Materials, the American National Standards Institute and the National Hearing Conservation Association. He has published or presented more than 70 articles and presentations and has authored two patents. Having first developed materials for companies to audit their programs for effectiveness in preventing occupational hearing loss in the 1970’s, Dr. Franks is particularly interested in seeing companies with excellent programs receive recognition.
Lee brings over 25 years experience to his position as Hearing Conservationist for 3M, including consultation with Fortune 50 companies on hearing conservation program effectiveness. He has served as chair of the Council for Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation (CAOHC), past president of the National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA), and past chair of the Noise Committee and Fellow of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA). In his role with 3M, he provides technical support on hearing protection issues and hearing protector fit testing as well as training in hearing loss prevention. He publishes regularly and presents internationally on noise and hearing issues. Most of all, he cares about your ears.
James E. Lankford, Ph.D.
James Lankford is professor emeritus from Northern Illinois University where he taught audiology courses for 31 years. He holds PhD and MS degrees in audiology from the University of Oklahoma and a BS degree in biology from Oklahoma Christian University of Arts and Sciences. During the last 10 years of his tenure at NIU he was dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences. His principle interest in research has been on preventing noise-induced hearing loss and has worked with the farming community for 18 years with this primary focus. He is presently engaged in research investigating impulse noise exposure from recreational firearms.
He is a former president of the National Hearing Conservation Association, a former president of the Illinois Academy of Audiology and has consulted with professional organizations, educational institutions, government as well as business and industry. James and his wife, Vera, are happy to have two children and four grandchildren. And, James likes to turkey hunt and has published a book in 2006 entitled, “TurkeyQuest” which details some of his experiences
Scott P. Schneide, M.S., CIH
Scott P. Schneider is the Director of Occupational Safety and Health for the Laborers' Health and Safety Fund of North America (LHSFNA). The Fund is a non-profit associated with the Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA) which represents about 500,000 primarily construction workers in the US and Canada. He has been with the Fund for fourteen years. He has a Master’s Degree in Industrial Hygiene from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master’s Degree in Zoology from the University of Michigan. He has been a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) since 1989. For the past 31 years he has been doing
occupational safety and health work for the Labor Movement.
Rick Neitzel, Ph.D.
Rick is an Assistant Professor in the Risk Science Center within the University of Michigan's Department of Environmental Health Sciences. He received a PhD in Environmental and Occupational Hygiene from the University of Washington in 2009, and has been a Certified Industrial Hygienist since 2003. He has been conducting research on noise and hearing loss since 1997. His current research interests include quantitative and subjective exposure assessment in occupational and non-occupational settings and development and evaluation of effective occupational health interventions and controls.
Noah Seixas, Ph.D.
Ad hoc Member
Noah Seixas is Professor of Exposure Sciences at the University of Washington,
School of Public Health and Community Medicine. Dr. Seixas received an MS in
Industrial Hygiene at Harvard School of Public Health in 1982. After working for
public health agencies in New Jersey for four years, Dr. Seixas returned to school at the University of Michigan, earning a PhD in Industrial Health in 1990. Dr. Seixas’ dissertation addressed obstructive lung disease among coal miners and exploited the large exposure database on coal dust exposures from the Mine Safety and Health Administration compliance activities. As such, Dr. Seixas’ activities were part of the growing recognition of exposure assessment as a crucial component of effective occupational epidemiology. Dr. Seixas was appointed Assistant Professor at the University of Washington in 1993 where he developed a teaching and research program on exposure assessment techniques in relation to epidemiologic studies. Dr. Seixas also serves as Director of the Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety, a NIOSH ERC serving the Pacific Northwest region. His research activities have included studies on silica exposure, irritant exposures in aluminum smelting and organic dust exposures. Over the past eight years, Dr. Seixas has focused largely on noise exposure in the construction industry. In addition to ongoing studies in construction, Dr. Seixas has developed an interest in injury prevention and is currently working on risks in ‘precarious employment’ including day laborers.
Amber Powner, Au.D. student
Amber Powner, a recent graduate of the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) is currently working as a clinical audiologist in Santa Rosa, California. She earned a bachelor’s degree from UNC in Audiology and Speech-Language Sciences in 2010 and finished her doctorate in 2014. Amber is a Colorado native as well as a life-long musician, though the opportunities for outreach are unlimited where she is in California. She became interested in hearing loss prevention after experiencing the loud lifestyle as a front-member in a local band, and always mentions her 'day job' when performing. She has served as Secretary for UNC’s Student Academy of Audiology chapter, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Audiology (AAA), a member of the National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA), and participates with the Performing Arts Medicine Association (PAMA). Amber is also CAOHC certified as an occupational hearing conservationist. Her current goal is to create a program for local musicians seeking information about music induced hearing disorders and safe use of products such as in-ear monitors.