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Rapid City Man Honored With Oticon Focus On People Award

November 6, 2008, 10:52 AM

Doug Wernke, M Ed is among the outstanding hearing care professionals honored by the 2008 Oticon Focus on People Awards, a national competition that recognizes individuals who are helping to eliminate negative stereotypes of what it means to have a hearing loss. Doug’s selection as a first place winner in the Practitioner Category was announced at the eleventh annual Oticon Focus on People Awards Ceremony in Denver. The Awards ceremony was attended by over 300 leading hearing care professionals from across the country. As part of his award, Doug has designated the South Dakota School for the Deaf as the recipient of a $1,000 donation from Oticon, Inc.

Doug Wernke is an Outreach Consultant for the South Dakota School for the Deaf. In his role, he is both a counselor and an advocate for his many charges, ranging in age from birth to 21 years, 11 months. His goal is to ensure that his clients' educational settings are accommodating and provide the access they require to succeed in school. He assists older clients through the maze of college choices and applications and helps ease their transition into the world. Doug encourages his charges to "aim high" and instills in them a belief in their own ability to achieve. Thanks to his caring dedication, many young people with hearing loss have stretched beyond what everyone thought was possible and achieved their dreams. 

The Oticon Focus on People Awards program was created in 1997 by Oticon, Inc., one of the world’s oldest and most respected hearing instrument manufacturers. By celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of individuals with hearing loss, Oticon, Inc. aims to call attention to common misconceptions about hearing loss and motivate people with hearing loss to take advantage of the help that is available to them. The company’s goal is to reach out to the 80 percent of an estimated 28 million Americans who could benefit from hearing solutions, but who fail to seek professional help.

“We know that people with hearing loss make incredible contributions in all walks of life,” states Peer Lauritsen, President of Oticon, Inc. “But for many, negative stereotypes persist. Through the Focus on People Awards program, we hope to motivate people to speak with hearing care professionals about the hearing solutions that can enable them to live the lives they want with the hearing they have.” 

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