Cochlear Implant Engineers Receive 2015 Russ Prize

Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ Prize

Areas of Interest: Honoring Engineers
Project Type: NAE Program, Contest/Award
Latest Update: January 7, 2015

description for russ medal revised 2010The Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ Prize, established in October 1999, is named after Fritz Russ, an esteemed engineer and founder of Systems Research Laboratories, and his wife Dolores Russ, a long-time supporter and benefactor of the engineering industry.

The NAE established the prize at the request of Ohio University to honor the Russes for their dedication to education and the field of engineering. Fritz Russ graduated from Ohio University in 1942 with a B.S. in electrical engineering.

The Russ Prize recognizes an outstanding bioengineering achievement in widespread use that improves the human condition. This achievement should help the public better understand and appreciate the contributions of engineers to our health, well-being and quality of life.  An auxiliary purpose of the Russ Prize is to encourage collaboration between the engineering and medical/biological professions to work closely together.

Awarded biennially (odd number years), the recipient receives a $500,000 cash award and a commemorative medallion. NAE members and non-members worldwide are eligible to receive the Russ Prize.

Professor Graeme M. Clark AC

Professor Graeme M. Clarke
Laureate Professor Emeritus, University of Melbourne; Otolaryngologist Emeritus, Royal Victorian Eye & Ear Hospital; Founder & Director Emeritus, Bionic Ear Institute;
Honorary Professor Centre for Neural Engineering, University of Melbourne
University of Melbourne; Royal Victorian Eye & Ear Hospital

Erwin Hochmair

Dr. Erwin Hochmair
Professor Emeritus and Co-Founder of MED-EL
MED-EL Medical Electronics GmbH

Dr. Ingeborg J. Hochmair-Desoyer

Dr. Ingeborg J. Hochmair
MED-EL Medical Electronics GmbH
Dr. Michael M. Merzenich
Dr. Michael M. Merzenich
Francis Sooy Professor Emeritus
University of California, San Francisco
Professor Blake S. WilsonProfessor Blake S. Wilson
Adjunct Professor of Surgery, Biomedical Engineering, and Electrical and Computer Engineering
Duke University

Hochmair & Wilson to Speak in Washington, DC

Two Scientists Who Received the Prestigious Lasker Award and Major General USMC to Speak on Cochlear Implants

WHAT: The Cochlear Implant 2013 Symposium, a national conference of cochlear implant clinicians, will honor two scientists, Dr. Ingeborg Hochmair and Dr. Blake Wilson, who recently received the prestigious Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research, often referred to as the “American Nobel Prize.” These scientists developed and improved the cochlear implant, allowing deaf patients to hear, transforming lives and for the first time, restoring a human sense with a medical intervention through their pioneering work.

Major General Robert Hedelund, USMC, will also be on hand to discuss cochlear implantation as a solution for the number one health issue facing combat duty personnel—substantial hearing loss incurred during their service to our country.

A highlight of the symposium is the premiere of the new dramatic film, 95 Decibels, followed by a panel discussion with the director, crew and actors, Oct. 24 from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. The movie chronicles the true story of a family whose daughter was diagnosed as profoundly deaf at 18 months of age and the obstacles they faced.

WHO: American Cochlear Implant Alliance is a non-profit dedicated to improving access to cochlear implantation through research, advocacy and awareness.

Available for interviews:

  • Lasker Award recipients Dr. Ingeborg Hochmair and Dr. Blake Wilson
  • Major General Robert Hedelund, USMC
  • ACI Alliance Board of Directors Chair Dr. Craig Buchman (Director of UNC Ear and Hearing Center)
  • ACI Alliance Executive Director Donna Sorkin (a cochlear implant recipient)

WHY: Expand awareness of the power of cochlear implants today. Only 6% of eligible individuals in the US currently have a cochlear implant.  Deafness can be helped.

WHEN: Thursday, October 24, 1:00 PM

WHERE: Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill, 400 NJ Avenue NW, Washington, DC.  Street parking and hotel valet.

RSVP: More information and to schedule an interview: and Donna Sorkin,  (cell) 703.585.7336