2022 Elections

The Executive Board of AVAA is pleased to announce the opening of voting in the 2022 elections.  Voting will remain open until close of business Pacific Standard Time on Friday March 18th, 2022.  Winners will be announced at the AVAA business meeting at JDVAC on Monday, April 4th.

Votes must be cast using an official VA email address.  Any votes received using a non-VA email address will not be counted.

President-Elect (3-year term)

The President-Elect will act as understudy to the President to become acquainted with the business and operation of the AVAA in preparation for assuming the duties of President. In the absence of the President, the President-Elect will assume the duties of the President. If the President, for any reason, cannot serve out a full term of office, the President-Elect will become President for the remainder of that term and also his/her regular term. In the event that the President-Elect also cannot serve out the full presidential term for any reason, the remaining officers shall cause an election for that office to take place.

Danielle Crawford, Au.D.

Bio:   Danielle Crawford, Au.D., CCC-A currently works with the Phoenix VA Healthcare System as a supervisory audiologist at the Northwest CBOC. Danielle completed her Bachelors in Communication Sciences and Disorders at Louisiana State University and Doctorate of Audiology at Vanderbilt University. Danielle concluded her audiology training with a 4th year at the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System (TVHS), Nashville and Murfreesboro VA hosiptals.  After working briefly in the private sector, Danielle re-joined the VA and worked at TVHS for 8 years prior to transferring to the Phoenix Helathcare System.  Danielle is committed to carrying out the VA mission and helping Veterans’ hearing and communication needs.

Statement: “I am committed to carrying out the VA mission by providing care to Veterans for their hearing and communication needs. Serving on the AVAA board as President-Elect, is another means by which I see myself carrying out the VA mission; by collaborating with and uniting professionals in the field, together we can ensure the VA remains in the forefront of delivering top-notch care to our Veteran population.”

Michele Gortemaker, Au.D.

Bio:  Michele Gortemaker, AuD, is a Supervisory Audiologist at Cheyenne VA Health Care System in Cheyenne, WY. Michele begam her VA career as a second year intern and fourth year extern at Omaha VAMC before assuming the role of Chief of ASPS for Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System in 2012.  Michele has been involved in Tele-Audiology on a local and national level since 2012 and is a Master Preceptor in Tele-Audiology.  She and the team in Nebraska worked on early piloting of remote diagnostics for CVT in 2013 and 2014, and in her current position at the Cheyenne VA Healthcare System, she has built a successful Tele-Audiology program over the last six years.  In the Spring of 2020, Michele led their team of Audiologists through the final testing and validation of remote fine tuning for hearing instruments.  Michele sits on the TeleAudiology Advisory Team, is involved in a VISN 19 SFT Audiology pilot and sits on the Field Advisory Council for Audiology.   She has been involved with the JDVAC conference for many years presenting on Tele-Audiology panels.  She began volunteering for the conference in 2017 serving as Poster Committee Chair in 2018, Conference Chair for the 2020 JDVAC and has sat on the exhibitor committee for the last two virtual events.  Michele is currently Member At Large for AVAA.

Michele is excited for the possibility to serve as President Elect as she is a collaborative professional who enjoys sharing her ideas, as well as engaging in productive discussions on how to improve and advance VA Audiology.  She hopes to bring her past experience with JDVAC and AVAA into this role to advise in future conferences and AVAA endeavors.

When not at work, Michele is involved in a service organization promoting education in women and stays busy following and coaching the extracurricular activities of her 10 year-old-daughter and 8 year-old-son.  Her family enjoys spending time in the outdoors taking part in the many adventures Wyoming has to offer.

Statement: “Over the past 16 years, I have gained a tremendous amount of experience through the mentorship of VA Audiologists.  I started my journey with VA as a 2nd year student and have never looked back.  I believe we have an exceptional opportunity and responsibility to our nation’s veterans to provide exceptional health care through our Audiological Services.  Every day, we have the opportunity to improve quality of life and overall health of our patients in a very different way than our peers in the private sector.  I am constantly amazed by the collaboration seen across health care systems, VISNs and even across the country within VA Audiology.  When I started working in the realm of Tele-Audiology around 2012, I was very isolated in my “bubble” in the clinic focusing only on what was occurring in my location on a given day.  This experience allowed me to interact with a larger group of like-minded Audiologists and develop relationships that ultimately led to volunteering for JDVAC committees and serving as Conference Chair in 2020.  I have grown as a leader and clinician during this time period and often find myself in the role of the Mentor in recent years.  It is my desire to serve as President Elect for AVAA to continue to contribute to the field in a meaningful way, provide guidance and collaborate with the other AVAA Board Members on topics our field is facing today as well as looking towards our future.”

This poll is no longer accepting votes

President-Elect (3-year term)

Member-at-Large (1-year term)

The Member-at-Large of the AVAA will attend all board meetings to shares ideas, guidance, and expertise, serve on the newsletter committee and assisting with social media as requested by the board.

Melissa Ginesi, Au.D.

Bio:  Dr. Melissa Ginesi is the audiology supervisor of the costal clinics for the Orlando VAMC, which include the Viera OPC and William V. Chappell clinic in Daytona Beach. She has a staff of 14, three telehealth carts, teleworking emplyees and collaboration with both fee and FTE employees from the 4 sites of care in corporate Orlando. Prior to becoming a supervisor in 2018, she was a staff audiologist at the Fayetteville VAMC and the Wilmington OPC working with many airborne veterans and Vietnam era veterans . During this time Dr. Ginesi also moonlighted with UNC medical center in Chapel Hill North Carolina where she completed her 4th year externship. She is a graduate of The Ohio State University and Ohio University and completed. Her clinical interest include telehealth, cochlear implants and hearing aids. However, some of her staff may say her interest include problem solving as Dr. Ginesi has been found on more than one occasion with a screw driver in hand fixing a desk, repairing equipment or trouble shooting IT issues. Dr. Ginesi likes to work in dynamic and complex environments that involve collaboration and a working knowledge of her employees personal and professional likes and dislikes. She has trained several technicians, students and new staff over the years, is a yellow belt, Arbinger trained and has completed the ASP leadership mentoring program.

Leah Horn Au.D.

Bio:  Dr. Leah Horn is an audiologist at the Atlanta VAMC where she completed her fourth year externship from 2018-2019. She also completed a third year traineeship at the Gulf Coast VA’s CBOC in her hometown of Mobile, Alabama. Dr. Horn graduated with her Au.D. from the University of South Alabama in 2019. She is part of the Atlanta VA’s Progressive Tinnitus Management Team and teaches group PTM classes twice a month. She also specializes in vestibular assessment and works alongside neurology in our weekly “Dizzy Clinic” to provide vestibular testing as needed in assisting with differential diagnosis of veteran’s dizzy and balance symptoms. Dr. Horn has recently begun precepting third year students this year as well. Outside of audiology, Leah enjoys attempting to craft the perfect playlist, being outdoors, painting in gouache or watercolor, and reading.

Statement: From the first time I heard the ICARE principles as a grad student, I knew I wanted to serve in the VA. I recognized the VA values of Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, and Excellence as my own values. I have completed all my VA training in the Southeast and my career has been greatly enriched by the mentors and colleagues I have encountered. Because of this, I am excited by the idea of connecting to more audiologists from across the country with different backgrounds, expertise, and experiences.  After serving in national and local organizations as a student, I came to understand the significance of functioning as a collective – supporting and learning from each other, helping each other become the best clinicians and people we can be. I would be honored to be a part of that with AVAA.”

Ashley Long, Au.D.

Bio: Ashley Long, Au.D, received her B.A. from The Ohio State University and her Au.D. from Ohio University. She was an audiology trainee at the VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, at both Nashville and Murfressboro campuses. She completed her 4th year externship at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center. Upon graduation she worked at the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System in Las Vegas completing diagnostic testing and running the same day/walk-in clinic. Five years ago, she transferred closer to home the Toledo CBOC as part of the Ann Arbor Healthcare System where she specializes in diagnostics and hearing aid fittings. Ashley is currently serving as co-chair on the JDVAC poster committee.

Statement: “I do not believe I chose a career in audiology, I chose a career in VA audiology to serve men and women like my grandfather, a Navy Veteran and audiology patient. All of my clinical training and career has been in the VA system serving this nation’s Veterans. I have worked in various clinics in various locations and have enjoyed all experiences working alongside amazing VA audiologists. I wish to work on the AVAA board to gain knowledge into the organization and be a part of a leadership dedicated to uniting VA audiologists and advocating for them. I would like to continue to improve on the reputation of the VA healthcare system and its audiologists through patient satisfaction and quality of care.”

Darrin Worthington, Au.D.

Bio: Dr. Worthington has been a member of the Audiology team at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center since its inauguration in 2010, and with the North Chicago VAMC from 2008-2010. He is a clinical audiologist and manages the hospital’s TeleAudiology and Aural Rehabilitation Programs. Dr. Worthington received his B.S. in Hearing Speech and Language Sciences with a minor in Music and Psychology from Ohio University in 2004 and his Doctorate in Audiology from Northwestern University in 2007. In addition to his clinic responsibilities, Dr. Worthington also serves on the VA TeleAudiology Advisory Committee and is an adjunct lecturer on telehealth topics at both Northwestern and Rush Universities.

Statement: “I have always been grateful and appreciative of all of the hard work and dedication that AVAA has done for audiologists in and outside of the VA. I have directly benefitted from countless educational opportunities as well as have been provided invaluable connections with audiologists in VA from all over the country. I feel that now is the time to give back and do my part for an organization that has done so much for me over my VA career.”

This poll is no longer accepting votes

Member-at-Large (1-year term)