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Norfolk Sertoma’s Largest Donation Advances Hearing Research

The Norfolk Sertoma Club of Norfolk, Virginia, donated $150,000 to Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) to fund a new state of the art temporal bone laboratory. This new lab has enabled both medical professionals and students to research, learn and practice various techniques and procedures pertaining to the brain and hearing health

Can you imagine a world where sound could be heard by all who wanted to hear? Anyone who desired to experience the melodic sounds of music and nature could have the chance without complica

Fortunately, due to medical research and breakthroughs in the industry, combined with the support and generosity of passionate individuals, this scenario is not entirely far from becoming a reality.

In June of 2015, the Norfolk Sertoma Club made its largest gift to date, which funded a temporal bone research lab at Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS).

The $150,000 donation helped fund the lab’s eight training stations, which include video monitors, microscopes, temporal bone holders, and equipment designed to provide education related to surgical techniques within the temporal bone anatomy.

The lab opened in September 2015 and has been used by both medical staff and students. In addition to surgical skills training, the lab is used for printing 3D images, testing bone cements and similar products used in surgery to help repair eardrums.

Preston Garner, the secretary of the Norfolk Sertoma Club, and a Sertoma member since 1982, said that his club has supported EVMS in the past, but wanted to make a larger contribution in accordance with Sertoma’s hearing health mission.

“We knew that the students did not have access to a temporal bone lab,” Garner said. “The residents would have to travel too, and we wanted to invest in a place where physicians could sharpen their skills.”

Barry Strasnick, MD, Chair and Professor of EVMS Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, faculty member for 23 years, explained that he was profoundly honored to have received a donation from a major community organization such as Sertoma.

According to Strasnick, the lab has provided EVMS with a “unique” opportunity to offer in depth and advanced training to both local, national and international staff and students.

In terms of the future, Dr. Strasnick says he looks forward to seeing the progress and development of research in the lab. Already, Strasnick has started to develop the protocol to allow implantation of the first semi-implantable hearing aid in Virginia. In addition, the lab is currently being used to test robotic surgery and new cochlear implant devices. These new developments are just the beginning for hearing health, and have been made possible by the Norfolk Sertoma Club.

“EVMS is grateful for this extraordinary gift,” Strasnick concluded. “Sertoma’s hard work and generosity will allow for concentrated instruction and education regarding temporal bone anatomy and surgical techniques for many years to come.”