From our CEO

What a year it has been! We have so much to celebrate and to look forward to, and we know we cannot do it without our amazing supporters and HASA community.

We celebrated the launch of our “Hear for You” program in collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Association. “Hear for You” is a crucial initiative that educates individuals and provides interventions for the direct link between hearing loss and cognitive decline. We are forever grateful to The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation for their charitable investment!

Our internal structural advancements this past year have enabled us to build sustainable staffing models. These frameworks are pivotal in accommodating organizational growth and attracting top-tier talent, which is essential for meeting the escalating demand for our services.

As HASA grows and expands to serve individuals from throughout Maryland, we have deepened partnerships within the business community, who are essential partners in our work and creating lasting impact.

Yet, amidst our successes, challenges persist, driving our dedication to progress. The pressing need for space, facilities, and staffing to meet escalating demand remains a priority. Furthermore, the correlation between hearing loss and cognitive decline demands greater amplification—a narrative crucial for public awareness.

Ultimately, our commitment is to foster a truly inclusive and equitable society by addressing language access. We recognize the necessity for more sign language interpreting to ensure broader inclusivity and accessibility.

To ensure we meet our mission of language inclusivity, we look ahead to the future of HASA as the leading hearing, speech, and language organization in Maryland and as a national expert. HASA will face more exciting transformations to serve those who need us the most.

I look forward to keeping you apprised of these exciting developments, and as always, I’d love to hear from you about how we can work together.

With much gratitude,

Erin Lamb, PhD, MS, CCC-SLP
CEO / Executive Director

Board Spotlight

Michelle L. Goddard-Kim, PhD

Michelle L. Goddard-Kim, PhD, serves as HASA’s Executive Committee Secretary on the Board of Directors. She was introduced to HASA by Erin Lamb, PhD, MS, CCC-SLP, CEO/Executive Director at HASA.

“The ability to communicate is a key part of our humanity. HASA empowers people with communication barriers, and enables them on their journey to find their voice through learning new skills and connecting them with professional resources,” Michelle says.

Michelle goes on to say that she feels privileged to serve with Dr. Lamb, who is an inspirational leader, and to work alongside incredible board members. “Everyone is so passionate about the mission and lends their unique skills and perspective to make the agency a great organization.”

She is multi-talented and is chief diversity officer at the Defense Information Systems Agency. She leads diversity and inclusion strategies and goal setting in support of the agency’s values and mission to defend the warfighting in cyberspace.

Michelle researches policies, procedures and programs to identify gaps and remove barriers to attract, develop and engage a diverse and highly capable workforce. She holds a doctorate in public policy from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, a Master of Science in engineering management from Drexel University and a Bachelor of Science in engineering science from Loyola University.

As a licensed professional engineer, Michelle is a member of the Loyola University Dean of Arts and Sciences Steering Committee and the Engineering Department Advisory Board.

Michelle says, “ I am married to my wonderful husband, Paul, and we are happily busy raising our precocious, bright-eyed toddler, Lillian.” They are active in their church and enjoy eating good food, going for walks in nice weather, and dancing around the house to music.

“Cheers to another great year in 2024!” she says.

2023 by the numbers

Gateway School’s mission is to empower students to fulfill their potential and guide them towards independence as learners and community members by providing an individualized, comprehensive, language-integrated educational program, focusing on students’ academic, communication, social emotional, behavioral, and functional development.

Gateway School’s vision is for a society where our graduates lead fulfilling lives with independence, meaningful employment, healthy relationships, and the ability to understand and be understood.


Founded in 1957, Gateway School has provided a unique, inclusive and supportive environment for students from kindergarten through 8th grade with autism, developmental disabilities and communication disorders.  Our team of faculty and staff ensure students have a warm and nurturing environment to learn and thrive.

Hannah Jones, whose daughter attends Gateway School said: “I’m always excited about the things Gateway School does [ . . . ] and watching [my daughter] learn and grow has been amazing.”

Hannah’s daughter is one of our amazing, young learners at Gateway School, and her progress is nothing short of incredible, especially after risky surgeries. “It was really refreshing for me to see how much people enjoyed her. I’ve seen her confidence grow, I’ve seen her ability to interact with her peers grow, and the interaction with her brother has really grown,” says Hannah.

Gateway School’s personalized approach to education, along with the patience and care of the faculty and therapists, allows our students to blossom in ways they never thought possible.  We also foster independence, diversity, inclusion and a sense of belonging.  It’s a part of HASA’s overall message to connect people to their worlds and aid individuals in their ability to understand and to be understood.

In the realm of healthcare and aging, we’re tuning into the intricate interplay between cognitive decline and hearing loss.

As we age, it’s pretty common to experience declines in various faculties, from physical to cognitive functions. While some cognitive decline is a natural part of the aging process, recent research is shining a spotlight on a strong correlation between cognitive health and hearing loss. Studies are pointing to untreated hearing loss as a potential risk factor for cognitive impairments like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

So, why is there a connection? When someone has hearing loss, their brain kicks into overdrive to process sounds, leaving fewer cognitive resources for memory and higher-order thinking. It’s like the brain has to work overtime, and that extra load can speed up cognitive decline. Plus, the social isolation that often comes with hearing loss can make cognitive issues worse, as social engagement is crucial for mental sharpness.

If you or a loved one is dealing with hearing loss and the risk of cognitive decline, here’s what you can do:

Educate Yourself: Learn more about the link between hearing loss and cognitive decline.

Regular Check-ups: Keep an eye on your hearing health with regular check-ups at HASA.

Cognitive Health Check-ups: Don’t forget about your brain – schedule regular check-ups with a trusted medical professional.

“Hear for You” Program: Check out HASA’s “Hear for You” program, a collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Association that dives into the connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline.

Spread the Knowledge: Share what you’ve learned with others and empower them with the same knowledge.

At HASA, our mission is to connect individuals to their worlds and foster a sense of connection with each other. Dealing with the challenges of hearing loss is something our clinical team and organization tackle daily. We’re here to guide you and your family every step of the way, bridging the gap to a better hearing experience and sharper minds.

Swift action leads to comfort

“There was no notice and HASA whipped into action,” says Mary Comer about the HASA interpreters who partnered with Union Memorial Hospital for her father, Gail, who had to be admitted for surgery suddenly. An interpreter was always at the hospital for Gail’s entire stay, even at the rare moments when Mary couldn’t be there.

“I was just over the moon when they sent the interpreters,” Mary says. They worked with Mary’s father in a way that he could understand. He communicates with a combination of reading lips and American Sign Language (ASL).

The interpreters recognized this and used a combination of techniques to communicate with him. They used their lips, ASL, and their faces to communicate the thoughts and emotions the doctors conveyed. Each interpreter made Gail feel special because they genuinely cared. Mary says it is awful to be left out of the loop of your own care, and the HASA interpreters always kept Mary and her dad informed.

At one point, during the surgery, Gail woke up. The doctors brought in the interpreter, who was just outside the door, into the operating room where he was able to explain what was happening to Gail. The interpreter stayed with him for the rest of the procedure.

At one point, Mary’s brother came in to sit with their dad. Her brother is also deaf, so with the interpreter there, he was able to understand and communicate with the doctors and his dad. “It takes a team,” says Mary. Our HASA interpreters were right there to be a part of it.

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