My AVAA

2024 Elections

The Executive Board of AVAA is pleased to announce the opening of voting in the 2024 elections.  Voting will remain open until midnight EST on Monday, February 26, 2024.  Winners will be announced at the AVAA business meeting at JDVAC on Monday, March 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.

Kaylee Davenport

Bio: Kaylee L. Davenport, Au.D. currently works at the Aleda E Lutz VA Medical Center’s Saginaw North Clinic as a staff audiologist. She has been in this position for 6 years. Prior to coming to VA, Dr. Davenport worked in an ENT clinic providing hearing evaluations and vestibular evaluations. Her undergraduate degree is from Northern Michigan University and obtained her Doctor of Audiology degree from Louisiana Tech University. Dr. Davenport is American Board of Audiology (ABA) certified and holds the ABA certificate for Tinnitus Management.

She is committed to the growth of our profession both within and outside VA. Dr. Davenport is well informed on audiology current events and is able to help determine the impact to her team directly or to the field as a whole. Dr. Davenport has served terms on the American Academy of Audiology New Professionals committee, AAA planning subcommittees, Michigan Audiology Coalition Public Relations committee, and currently serves on the Michigan State Board of Audiology. Dr. Davenport is the current chair of the Field Presentations committee for JDVAC and was co-chair of the same committee in 2023.

Dr. Davenport has taken on many roles with her department throughout the years. Her areas of focus are tinnitus management, student precepting, and telehealth. Dr. Davenport has been instrumental with growing the tinnitus program in Saginaw including a Tinnitus Education class with a Whole Health Psychologist partner starting in 2019. She has been the student coordinator/liaison for OAA students as well as non-OAA students. Dr. Davenport is a lead preceptor in clinic with the students and helps mentor new professional audiologists on her team with student relations. She has also participated in providing education to medical residents on rotation in her facility. Dr. Davenport has helped expand and support telehealth into 8 CBOCS to include tele-testing and full hearing device services.

Statement: As VA audiologists, we have unique needs when compared to our private sector counterparts as our Veterans are a unique population to serve. VA audiology will continue to drive the profession of audiology forward as a model for high quality care, diverse training opportunities, and top research. As the new President-elect of AVAA, I will use this opportunity to continue fostering the relationships AVAA has with other professional groups (governmental and non). I have learned through my previous experiences, both at the state and national level, that advocacy is never finished.

 

Melissa Pereira

Bio:  Dr. Melissa Pereira is the Audiology Section Chief for the VA Northern California Health Care System, overseeing eight audiology clinics that provide comprehensive and innovative services. She has a strong background in audiology, having served as an active duty army audiologist managing large hearing conservation programs before joining the VA. Dr. Pereira is dedicated to caring for veterans from various eras and aims to attract younger veterans to the VA by expanding specialty services tailored to their unique needs. Her goal is for every veteran to feel cared for, seen, and heard. She believes in leveraging the assets of the VA and utilizing CAOHC certified technicians to their fullest potential.

Since joining the VA, Dr. Pereira has made significant contributions, including streamlining coding and documentation, transitioning follow-up appointments to a walk-in clinic, creating an ototoxic monitoring program, and revamping and expanding vestibular and PTM programs. She is also piloting an innovative patient care structure to improve efficiency and productivity.

In her personal life, Dr. Pereira is a single mom to a two-and-a-half-year-old and continues to serve in the Army reserve as the XO of the 898th Preventative Medicine Detachment. She and her daughter enjoy hiking and are looking forward to exploring the mountains in Northern California this summer. Dr. Pereira also serves on ASHA’s Scientific and Professional Education Board.

Statement: It is my passion to continue serving my country at the VA, driven by the heartfelt expressions of disappointment from many veterans regarding the healthcare system. I am committed to being the catalyst for change and a staunch advocate for my fellow brothers and sisters in arms. My ultimate goal is to see veterans choose the VA for all their healthcare needs. While audiograms and hearing aids are vital, they only scratch the surface of the complex audiologic needs of our veteran population. The prevalence of TBI among veterans leads to a myriad of issues within our scope of practice, such as APD, tinnitus, vestibular issues, and more. I am dedicated to propelling audiology towards providing a wider range of specialized services tailored to the unique needs of our veterans while expanding upon our basics leveraging CAOHC technicians.

It is my firm belief that we are presented with a remarkable opportunity and a profound responsibility to our nation’s veterans to deliver exceptional healthcare. Each day, we have the chance to enhance the quality of life and overall health of our patients in a manner that sets us apart from our counterparts in the private sector. If elected, I am committed to consistently delivering significant contributions to the field. I will provide guidance and cultivate collaboration with fellow AVAA Board Members to address the urgent challenges our field confronts today, all while maintaining a forward-looking approach.

 

Molly Brown

Bio: Molly Brown, AuD is a staff audiologist and serves as the lead for the Cochlear Implant program at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston, SC.  She is a member of the VA’s Cochlear Implant mentoring team, which helps educate and mentor up-and-coming CI Audiologists. Outside of cochlear implants, Dr. Brown has a passion for interprofessional collaboration and heads the interventional Audiology team at her VA, as well as representing Audiology on the hospitals Dementia committee. She received her AuD from the University of Pittsburgh in 2018.

Statement: My first Tuesday of graduate school, I walked into the Pittsburgh VA Medical Center’s facility and thought “wow, I want to work here”. Starting my clinical rotations at the Pittsburgh VA in my second year of graduate school did not change that thought. Every decision I have made in my graduate school and then professional career has been made so that I could work for the VA, an organization that I love. VA Audiologists commitment to iCARE values, evidence-based practice, enthusiasm for educating Audiology students and then Audiologists, and their unwavering commitment to the Veteran as an individual has formed me into the clinician and leader I am today. As president-elect, I hope to uphold these principles and support AVAA in helping to foster those things about VA Audiologists that make us uniquely qualified to help those who have served.

President-Elect (3-year term)

 


Secretary (3 year term)

The Secretary of the AVAA will attend and record minutes at all meetings. In addition the Secretary will: maintain a historic record of the minutes that will be available to the members of the Executive Board through the AVAA website; arrange and schedule meetings for the Executive Board; develop the agenda for the meetings; continue action items on the agenda until they are resolved; manage and update the AVAA website, attend to all correspondence through AVAA email account, and record the minutes of the debriefing after each yearly program.

Paris Florence

Bio: Paris Florence, Au.D. graduated with her Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) degree from the Osborne College of Audiology at Salus University. She completed her clinical externship with the Greater Los Angeles VA healthcare system and began her audiology career with the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center, where she gained extensive experience and interest in vestibular testing and management. She earned her bachelor’s degree in speech-language pathology at Xavier University of Louisiana and was awarded the outstanding clinical service award in audiology. Dr. Florence transitioned to the Washington DC VA Medical Center in 2017 and is the vestibular program manager, and audiology trainee program coordinator. She expanded diagnostic services at the DC VA to include auditory processing evaluations, which is another large area of interest for her in the field. She is a 2019 graduate of the VISN 5 leadership Development Institute, and she was appointed to the VHA audiology field advisory council in 2021. Dr. Florence joined the faculty at Shenandoah University as an adjunct professor in 2024. In her free time, Dr. Florence enjoys reading and spending time with family and friends.

Personal statement: It would be such an honor to serve on the executive board of AVAA to collaborate and support in making a positive impact on our VA Audiology community. With my experience and commitment to serving our nation’s veterans, I’ve acquired leadership skills that would be an asset to accomplish the objectives of the organization. I am committed to the VA’s mission and values to those who have sacrificed and would like to continue to integrate those aspects into the progression of VA audiology.

 

Stacey Sturgulewski

Bio: Stacey Sturgulewski, Au.D. is the Implantable Hearing Device Program Coordinator at the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital.  Dr. Sturgulewski received her B.S. in Speech and Hearing Science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  She is a proud alumna of Rush University, having received her M.S. in Audiology in 2003 and her Au.D. in 2005.  During her graduate school career, Dr. Sturgulewski completed a 350-hour student traineeship at Hines VA Hospital, as well as a clinical rotation at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center.  During these experiences, she discovered her passion for providing hearing health care to our nations Veterans.  After briefly working in the private sector, Dr. Sturgulewski joined Hines VA as an audiologist in 2008.

Dr. Sturgulewski’ s clinical interests include the areas of cochlear implants, bone-anchored implants, and amplification.  Along with her ENT colleagues, Dr. Sturgulewski developed the Hines VA Cochlear Implant program in 2012.  Over the last 12 years, Dr. Sturgulewski has been responsible for the coordination and management of all aspects of cochlear implant patient care at Hines VA.  She is extremely proud that the Hines VA Cochlear Implant program has been nominated twice for Federal Team of the Year.

Outside of her clinical duties, Dr. Sturgulewski enjoys participating in professional learning and leadership opportunities. She completed the Hines Leadership Development Program in 2017 and utilized skills learned during that program in a shared detail position as a Supervisory Audiologist in Summer 2023.  Dr. Sturgulewski has served as a clinical preceptor for audiology students since 2005 and has been a course instructor at Rush University and Northern Illinois University.  She is currently a mentor for the VA Cochlear Implant Mentorship program and enjoys co-managing the quarterly VA Cochlear Implant conference calls.  In addition to her AVAA membership, Dr. Sturgulewski has served as in both Chair and Co-Chair roles for JDVAC Virtual 2022, JDVAC 2023 and JDVAC 2024.  In 2023, Dr. Sturgulewski was elected to the role of Member-At-Large for the 2023-2024 AVAA Executive Board.   In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, especially her dog Lily.

Statement: Serving as your 2023-2024 AVAA Member-At-Large has been one of the most professionally fulfilling experiences of my career.  I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the collaboration with my fellow AVAA board members, as well as sharing information with the field through our quarterly “AVAA Amplifier” newsletter.  As I mentioned in my personal statement when nominated for Member-At-Large in 2023, we have unique needs and concerns in our roles at VA audiologists.  AVAA works hard to ensure that the voices of VA audiologists are brought to the table in discussions with our professional organizations, VA leadership and hearing health care decision-makers.  I’d be honored to continue to represent VA audiologists by serving in the role of AVAA Secretary.

Secretary (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.

Ashley Zambetti

Bio: Ashley Zambetti is currently an audiologist at the Pittsburgh VA. She divides her clinical care between the Oakland main campus and Fayette CBOC.  Dr. Zambetti coordinates the day-to-day operations of the Audiology Inpatient Management (AIM) program, as well as assists with the tinnitus management and auditory processing programs.  In addition to her patient care duties, she enjoys precepting Audiology externs and students from multiple universities.

Dr. Zambetti attended the University of Pittsburgh and completed two clinical rotations, as well as her externship at the Pittsburgh VA. Her VA training experiences lead to her love of working at the VA with the Veteran population. After obtaining her doctorate in 2021, she began her career with the Phoenix VA (Gilbert CBOC) and later joined the team at the Pittsburgh VA in 2023.

Dr. Zambetti is currently serving as the Social Committee chair for JDVAC 2024.  She was actively involved with JDVAC 2023 (Social Committee co-chair) and JDVAC 2022 (Social Committee) by helping to plan social events and promote the conference through social media.  When not busy seeing patients or helping plan JDVAC social events, Dr. Zambetti enjoys keeping up with the antics of her shelter-kitty, Kate.

 Statement: I have taken great pride in providing audiology services to the Veteran population and growing as a provider. To continue that mentality, being a part of AVAA as Member at Large will allow me to provide a platform to advocate for other hearing health care professionals and the Veteran’s that they work for. I love providing a fun twist into everything audiology, hence my positions for the past few years on the JDVAC Social committee. It would be an honor to be given the chance to serve on the AVAA executive board to provide a fun, positive twist to the Member at Large position.

 

Melissa Ginesi

Bio: Dr. Melissa Ginesi has been an Audiology supervisor within corporate Orlando since 2018 and has worked for VA since 2014.  Originally an audiologist at the Fayetteville North Carolina VA, Dr. Ginesi transferred to the Orlando VA to take on more responsibilities.  She manages a staff of 8 audiologists, 2 technicians, a PSA, 2 volunteers and works closely with 3 TCTs.  Dr. Ginesi’s clinic is known for its technological advancements, creative solutions to space limitations and high productivity of staff.  Additionally, Dr. Ginesi assisted with bringing cochlear implant programming to the Orlando VA and she will manage the cochlear implant program manager stationed out of her clinic.  Dr. Ginesi is not one to be seen in her office.  Melissa (as she tells her patients to call her due to her difficult last name) is seen on the floor covering call outs, opening mail, calming a disgruntled patient, putting together furniture and updating the huddle board with her handwriting that is worse than her 3 year old’s.  Though there are many trainings and awards to list here, she would rather you know her for her entertaining vacancy announcements and after hours humor.

Statement: VA/DoD audiologists are the best and a group that is made up of them that helps plan and manage one of the most useful conferences I have been to in a long time is something I want to be a part of administratively.

 

Paige Tatge

Bio: Paige Tatge Au.D., CCC-A currently works with the VA Pacific Island Healthcare System as an Audiologist at the Hilo CBOC on Big Island, Hawaii. Dr. Tatge is one of the only Audiologists on the island and works diligently to provide greater access to care for the Veterans who reside there. Dr. Tatge completed her Bachelors in Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Tennessee and Doctorate of Audiology at Arizona State University. She finished her audiology training at the Phoenix VA where she then worked for 7 years. Dr. Tatge is dedicated to expanding VA hearing healthcare by mentoring onboarding Audiologists, supervising 3rd and 4th year externs, helping implement new clinic policies and procedures, and volunteering at local universities and Veteran events. Outside of audiology, you can find her eating local Hawaiian foods, playing ukulele, swinging in a hammock, rollerblading, or catching ocean waves.

Statement: My passion for audiology has been deep rooted since a young age because both my parents hold degrees in Audiology. With an older sister who is a Major in the USAF, I am inspired to serve those who sacrifice so much to preserve our freedom. With over 7 years of VA experience, I am dedicated to providing high quality hearing healthcare to our Veterans. As Member-at-Large, my goal is to help VA Audiologists stay informed about our ever-evolving field. I will continue to challenge myself and others to provide Veterans the compassionate and professional care they deserve.

Member-At-Large (1 year term)

 

My AVAA

My AVAA