By Press Office 17 September 2019

Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh (QMU) is set to offer access to online audiology courses to Africa-based students of an organisation that is making hearing healthcare services more available around the world.

This development arose following a visit to QMU this week by Dr Alfred Mwamba, Director of the Starkey Hearing Institute in Zambia, Jeff Larsen, Director of Research and Programme Development for the Starkey Hearing Foundation, and Dr Heather Jensen, a Clinical Assistant Professor in Audiology from Utah State University (USU), to collaborate on this new initiative that will allow QMU and Starkey Institute students to work together online.

During their visit, the Starkey and USU representatives met with staff from QMU’s Speech and Hearing Sciences division, as well as members of the senior management team. QMU is currently working towards offering students at the Starkey Institute in Zambia access to online modules from their Hearing Aid Audiology programme so that they will be able to work towards a QMU diploma. This link-up will also benefit QMU's home-based students as it will allow them to interact with their counterparts in Zambia through the online learning system.

The Starkey Hearing Foundation's mission is to give the gift of hearing to those in need, empowering them to achieve their potential. With a goal of making hearing healthcare services more accessible for people around the world, the Foundation currently operates in 64 countries, enabling people to work in and care for their communities. 

The Zambian Institute is based in Lusaka, and since 2016, they have been working tirelessly to give the gift of hearing to the local community. Since then, the Institute has graduated 30 hearing care professionals working in clinics and hospitals in 15 African countries. Apart from training, the Starkey Hearing Institute is very active in providing services to the community. Just one example of their work is fitting hearing aids for a five-year-old who until that point, hadn't been able to hear a single sound. Another example is helping a woman who had been rendered deaf after a severe bout of smallpox when she was just 13 regain her hearing after over 40 years.

A representative of the Starkey Hearing Foundation said: “This partnership is such an important one for our students at the Starkey Hearing Institute.  The Founder of Starkey Hearing Foundation, Bill Austin, has a mantra that says, 'Alone we can’t do much, but together we can change the world!' I believe this partnership with Queen Margaret University will help us prove him right.”

Dr Heather Jensen said: "In education, it is vital to continue to look forward and work toward making resources available to as many students as possible. This collaboration is important to the future of hearing healthcare in Africa, and I look forward to seeing the growth that this opportunity will bring."

Professor Janet Beck, Head of Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences at QMU, said: “We were delighted to welcome Dr Mwamba, Dr Larsen and Dr Jensen to Queen Margaret University last week. This collaboration is a great opportunity for students from Scotland and Africa to learn together online, and fits perfectly with our strategic aim of being a University without borders."

 

Notes to Editor

For further media enquiries, please contact Gavin McNee (Media Relations and Content Officer) at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, E: gmcnee@qmu.ac.uk, T: 0131 474 0000.

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