Rotarians from the Clover Park Rotary Club in Lakewood hosted a tour of the Virginia Merrill Bloedel Hearing Research Center at the University of Washington March 20. Gene Pankey, a former club president, was instrumental in organizing a Rotary fellowship, Rotarians for Hearing Regeneration
(*RfHR), about three years ago.
District Governor Joan Firkins, DG elect Erik Frederickson and DG nominee Norm Watts and his wife Marion all participated together with members of the Rotary Clubs of Clover Park, Lakewood and Tacoma 8, including CP President Brian Knutson and president-elect Ed Chandler and Tacoma 8 president-elect Pete Taylor. Also participating was David Seago, Editorial page editor for
the Tacoma News Tribune.
VMBHRC scientists showed the group of 16 around the facilities. Brief talks were given by Dr. Edwin Rubel, chief of the center; Dr George Gates, chairman emeritus; and researchers Dr. Olivia Bermingham-McDonogh, Dr. Jenny Stone and Dr Elizabeth Oesterle.
Pankey reported that this was the third tour of the facilities that has been held. RfHR is trying to help get the word out about the research being done on hearing regeneration at the UW as well as assisting in raising funds for a matching grant that the center has received.
Pankey and other leaders of the RfHR have done more than 40 programs around the district since forming the hearing fellowship plus a couple presentations at district conferences. They will also appear at this year’s conference in Victoria in May.
Rotary clubs and other organizations interested in learning about the hearing regeneration story are encouraged to contact Pankey to schedule a presentation. He can be reached at email@example.com or at 253-584-5556
Dr Elizabeth Oesterle (back to camera) explains some of the research to
(left to right) Marion Watts, DG-elect Erik Frederickson, Tacoma 8
President-elect Pete Taylor, Allen Olson from Clover Park, Don Lloyd from
Tacoma Rotary Club #8, DG nominee Norm Watts, Helene Voron from VMBHRC and
Tacoma News Tribune editorial page editor Dave Seago.
DG Joan Firkins listens to Dr. Olivia Bermingham-McDonogh (back to
camera) explain how testing is accomplished on hearing regeneration
projects. Also listening (from left) are Don Doman (Tacoma 8), Dave Cotant
(Clover Park), Kurt Graff (Cloevr Park), Ed Chandler, president-elect of
Clover Park and current Clover Park president Brian Knutson.
After touring the VMBHRC lab and facilities, visitors and scientists
enjoyed a lunch and a more formal presentation on the status of the project
from Dr Jenny Stone (back to camera). She explained that VMBHRC collaborates
with scientists around the country and it is hoped that with additional
funding a more extensive organization can be developed to get more labs
working on the project and thus reduce the time before the regeneration
mystery is solved.
After the tour, formal presentation and lunch, tour participants spent
considerable time visiting one on one with the VMBHRC scientists and