The Shepherd Centre’s GM of Clinical Programs Aleisha Davis and CEO Dr Jim Hungerford nominated for Impact 25 Award

17 Jan 2019
  • Davis nominated for her work and research on childhood hearing loss
  • Dr Hungerford selected for his leadership in advocating for increased levels of funding in the National Disability Insurance Scheme for children with hearing loss

Thursday, 17th January 2019: The Shepherd Centre, a world-leading organisation supporting children with hearing loss is proud to announce their General Manager of Clinical Programs, Aleisha Davis, and their CEO Dr Jim Hungerford have been nominated for an Impact 25 Award.

The Impact 25 Awards honour the most influential people in the Australian social sector as selected and voted by their peers.

Davis has been nominated for her commitment to the management and development of clinical and research programs around childhood hearing loss. Davis has led the expansion of the program including school age services, social skills and early literacy programs for children with hearing loss, and music and parent training programs for parents and families.

The implementation of which have been a direct result of the research The Shepherd Centre has undertaken in the outcomes of children and families, both in the program and after leaving. Combined with internal research, Davis is part of numerous collaborative research projects on the outcomes of children and young adults with hearing loss through Australian Universities and industry organisations.

Davis is in the final stages of her PhD with Macquarie University and the HEARing CRC on Optimising Language Outcomes for Children with Hearing Loss through the Functional Listening Index for Paediatrics, to provide improved evidence and information to guide intervention for both professionals working in the field and families to guide their decision making. She has over 50 papers accepted at international conferences over the last 10 years on language, cochlear implants and childhood hearing loss outcomes.

Aleisha Davis said of the nomination, “I am incredibly humbled to be recognised amongst a list of very influential and inspiring people choosing to better the lives of others the world over and bring attention to such worthy causes. I truly hope my nomination brings attention to the needs of children with hearing loss, and the hard work, passion and commitment of my team and partners, both at The Shepherd Centre and throughout the field, who through research and clinical care continue to improve outcomes for these children and their families.”

Dr Jim Hungerford’s work with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in advocating for increased levels of funding for children with hearing loss and an introduction of the rapid referral pathway into NDIS for newly diagnosed children has led to his nomination. The introduction of the NDIS saw funding packages covering only 30 per cent of the disability providers cost, despite the proven result of 90 per cent of children who attend The Shepherd Centre graduating to Kindergarten with speech and language on par with their hearing peers. The initial implementation saw a 9-12 month waiting period for families to access their NDIS funding which meant that the disability providers had to rely on charitable income to fund the services.

Dr Hungerford has led the industry to unite all providers to speak with one voice, lobby state and federal politicians to influence the National Disability Insurance Agency. In 2018, after two years of lobbying all childhood hearing loss disability providers received confirmation of increased funding for services and a rapid NDIS pathway was introduced to ensure families could access funding within three months from the diagnosis.

Dr Hungerford said of the announcement, “My nomination is a reflection of the hard work of my team and that of my peers in the childhood hearing loss sector. The improvements to funding and the rapid referral pathway has alleviated anxiety for families who are dealing with their child’s diagnosis creating a positive ripple effect through to our staff on the frontline. I’m honoured to be included amongst such inspiring people, including my colleague Aleisha Davis.”

The Impact 25 award addresses some of societies greatest needs, previous recipients include domestic violence advocate Rosie Batty, Tim Costello head of one of Australia’s largest foreign aid organisation for more than a decade and former Prime Minister Julia Gilliard for the implementation of the NDIS and commitment to education. 

Voting for the Impact 25 Award is open to the public as of today and closes on Thursday 31st January.

You can vote for Aleisha Davis and Dr Jim Hungerford here:

Winners will be announced on 14th March, 2019.


For more information, interviews or for media enquiries regarding contact:

Katie Bartolillo

The Shepherd Centre

02 9370 4400 / 0422 671 630

[email protected]

About The Shepherd Centre:

The Shepherd Centre is a NSW-based not-for-profit organisation specialising in early intervention to help children who are deaf and hearing-impaired develop spoken language skills.

Since its foundation, The Shepherd Centre has opened up a world of sound for more than 2,000 children who are deaf or hearing impaired. The organisation is recognised as a world leader in the field of Listening and Spoken Language early intervention, providing families with assistance to develop their child’s speech, so they can reach their full potential.

The Shepherd Centre relies heavily upon fundraising and donations to support the more than 500 Australian families who turn to them for help each year. The services cost nearly $20,000 per year per child and the funds donated help give deaf and hearing-impaired children access to critical services.

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