Eleven worthy winners were presented with their awards during the British Academy of Audiology Annual Conference in Liverpool on 14th & 15th November.

Every year at the British Academy of Audiology Annual Conference, time is taken to celebrate Audiologists and their teams who have excelled and shown exceptional commitment to the Audiology profession over the past 12 months. Here is an overview of the 2019 champions.

Audiologist of the Year for 2019 is Sam Blakemore


The BAA award for the Audiologist of the Year, in memory of Peggy Chalmers, is an award that recognises an Audiologist who stands out from the crowd with regards to patient care. We look for an individual who has gone above and beyond to put the patient first, or improve their experience in even a small way, making a difference to them.

Sam, an NHS Audiologist in Brighton, was nominated by the mother of a patient who has been in Sam’s care for 14 years, from his first fitting at the age of 4 to his final paediatric hearing test at his transition to adult services appointment. The patient’s mum said, “With pleasure she informed us that his hearing remains stable despite his loud practising! (Always great news to hear as a mother). Nonetheless, she expertly advised my son (who is soon to commence a degree in drumming) to get some ear protection for professional musicians.”

The mum continues, “Each and every time Sam has treated my son with the utmost respect, kindness and patience, which I believe, combined with her high sense of professionalism and obvious technical skill (leaving us mesmerized each time we go for an appointment as she tweaks buttons & adjusts settings!) make her an outstanding paediatric audiologist and I feel she thoroughly deserves the accolade of this award for her obvious commitment and dedication to assisting the lives of those who are hearing impaired.”

Team of the Year presented to Manchester Centre for Audiology and Deafness (ManCAD)


With 17 teams from across the UK nominated in the Team of the Year category, the decision was always going to be a tough one. However, more than 20 nominations for one particular team and the fact that team were celebrating their 100th year ensured that the Manchester Centre for Audiology and Deafness (ManCAD) stood head and shoulders above their fellow nominees this year. Former students and professors along with current staff and the Vice Dean of the Faculty of Biology, Medicines & Health and Head of the School of Health Sciences, under which ManCAD sits all sung the praises of the BAA 2019 Team of the Year.

One nominator commented, “ManCAD is unique and special. We are unique in the UK because of our range of activities: education and training; hearing research; service development and provision of services. We are special because we are world leaders in each of our activities. Imagine what UK audiology would be like without 100 years of ManCAD!”

Another nominator said, “This year ManCAD is celebrating its 100th anniversary, and I feel it currently is the strongest research team the centre has ever had. The research carried out is translational, and underpins clinical delivery, for example, the work on dead regions and the current ‘Ladies in the Van’ project. Led by Prof Kevin Munro, who is the only full time Professor of Audiology in the UK, and the only Audiologist who is an NIHR Senior Investigator, the team not only carry out research but provide excellent education and training, including one of the Department of Health preferred providers of the STP programme and only providers of the HSST. The centre has been involved in service delivery, two major projects were newborn hearing screening and the modernisation of children’s hearing aid services. Staff have also made significant contributions to BAA over the years. I feel it would be very fitting to recognise the contribution of this team during the 100th year anniversary.”

Jos Millar Shield presented to Caroline Rae


The Jos Millar Shield is a long-standing award given each year for the best contribution to a BAA publication.  The recipient is chosen from all articles printed in the previous year’s magazine and newsletter and is chosen by the publicity and communications team.

Caroline Rae was chosen as this year’s winner due to her two articles that featured in the BAA magazine in the last year. In our Autumn issue, Caroline wrote about Audiology Directed MRI to Exclude Vestibular Schwannoma and the Winter issue featured her article: A Quality Improvement Project: Redesigning the Patient Pathway for Vestibular Services – An Audiology Led Direct Access Clinic for Labyrinthitis and Vestibular Neuritis. The Pubs & Comms team felt both articles contributed significantly to the magazine and our audiology education.

Paul Doody Supervisor the year is Jessica Molloy


This award recognises an Audiologist who stands out from the crowd with regards to supervising and supporting a student while on placement. BAA look for an individual who has gone above and beyond to provide a supportive learning environment on placement for students, providing leadership and guidance as well as inspiration. The award is focused on the mentoring of students.

Along with a nomination of Jessica by her student was a nomination from her line manager. They said, “Jess has taken to the role of student-supervisor brilliantly. She has not only trained her student clinically but has coached him through difficult decisions regarding his career and training. She has been able to have those challenging conversations, whilst maintaining his confidence resulting in him passing his placement year. I feel she has gone above and beyond as a supervisor this past year and deserved to be recognised.”

Paediatric Audiologist of the Year (sponsored by Phonak) is Anisha Visram


This award is for audiologists working in the field of paediatrics and is aimed at those in any area of paediatrics who, it is felt, have influenced the audiological world. Anisha Visram, one of the famous ‘Ladies in the Van’, beat 12 other nominees to the Paediatric Audiologist of the Year prize. One of her nominators said, “Anisa is a dedicated researcher and remarkable young paediatric audiologist who has played a critical role in the success of the University of Manchester mobile hearing van study in which many infants with hearing loss are having their cortical auditory evoked potentials measured. She has driven the van around the UK testing infants, challenging work that has required considerable time away from home. She has also spent a lot of time taking the hearing van to conferences, educating the public and engaging with patients. Her dedication to this work has resulted in a remarkable data set that will enable better outcomes for children with hearing loss using amplification through advanced objective analysis of aided cortical responses.”

Student of the Year (sponsored by Oticon) presented to Mehwish Khokhar


To be chosen as Student of the Year, winners should have made significant contributions to their group, mentored other students, be deaf themselves and overcome barriers to communication to work in the profession, be studying against the odds or have developed an innovative practice or project work. Equally the student may have achieved a high academic standard that we wish to celebrate and recognise.

Mehwish Khokhar excelled academically and on placement and gained employment with her placement provider prior to graduation.  At graduation, Mehwish received the award for the highest dissertation mark and the Rufus Grayson award from Guymark for the overall highest marks in the programme. Her supervisor said “Mehwish Khokhar began as a student at De Montfort University in October 2016.  Within her first term she had initiated The Audiology Society and created a social and peer support network. Her purpose was to pull the group together to support each other emotionally and to provide opportunities for group study and revision for exams.  As well, the group did fund raising for the British Tinnitus Association.  Mehwish also attended the Special Olympics in Belgium this year, along with some of her peers and lecturers, in order to help with the Health Athletes Hearing Screening programme.”

2019 Lisa Bayliss winner is Awajimijana Otana


The Lisa Bayliss award is given to the student who performs the best during their clinical placement, from any full-time course. This year’s winner arrived at the University of Manchester in September 2017, having undertaken his BSc in Information Technology in Nigeria. Not only did he have to adapt to a new country and culture but had to navigate a new education system and different approaches to teaching and learning.

Awajimijana Otana’s nominator said, “On arriving, his academic writing ability was limited; having never heard of critical thinking or reflective practice, Awajimijana had a steep learning curve ahead of him. However, what makes Awajimijana an exceptional student, is the passion he applied to his intellectual pursuits and his genuine love of learning. Awajimijana took every opportunity to learn, he became the class rep, contributed to class discussion but also spent hours visiting academic staff to talk and learn more about audiology. His intellectual vitality was infectious, which impacted not only on his own learning experience but that of other staff and students.” The nomination ends with the comment, “Awajimijana has been an outstanding and inspirational student who deserves recognition for his achievements. Not only has he excelled in his academic pursuits but also in his clinical practice.  He has taken every opportunity offered to him, during this journey both in and beyond the classroom. He has demonstrated the importance of striking the balance between the science of audiology and the human experience of hearing loss, proving himself a dedicated and caring clinician.”

Congratulations to all our award winners, we hope to catch up with you all in more detail after the conference. For more information on the BAA Awards, please visit www.baaudiology.org/awards.  Applications for the 2020 awards will open in the Autumn of 2020.

 Poster Prizes

1st Place Clinical Paper  STEPHANIE LOWE (poster 75)
1st Place Research Paper  AWAJIMIJANA OTANA (poster 61)
1st Place Student Poster  PATTARAWADEE PRAYUENYONG (poster 57)
2nd Place Student Poster  ALEEMA RAHMAN (poster 97)