By Glory Weisberg
Marion Downs died Nov. 13 at the age of 100 with her family by her side. Marion influenced countless numbers of professionals and consumers through her teaching, research, and clinical work on hearing loss.
Dr. Downs created the first national infant hearing-screening program in 1963 in Denver, and fostered the effort to identify and manage hearing loss in infants and children. Downs was also recognized internationally for her work in pediatric audiology. Her professional publications and lectures brought worldwide attention to the importance of early intervention for hearing loss. Today in the U.S., more than 96 percent of all infants receive a newborn hearing screening.
The Marion Downs Center, which opened in 2005 at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, provides services for people with barriers to communication locally and internationally.
LaFawn Biddle said, “Marion Downs was a shining light for families needing help in the field of hearing loss/deafness. In addition to her professional expertise, she shared warmth and empathy with parents and children who were dealing with auditory limitations. Her work changed the quality of life for many families.”
Downs was born in 1914 in New Ulm, Minn., and grew up there, married George Downs, Ph.D., after her junior year of college, and the couple had three children.
Downs attended the University of Minnesota but finished her degree at the University of Colorado. She got her master’s degree from The University of Denver in 1951 and taught there until 1959, when she went to work at the University of Colorado Medical School, and with Doreen Pollack, opened a hearing clinic there.
In 2006 she was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame.
The Marion Downs Foundation had a Celebration of Dr. Downs’ Life, Jan. 9, at the Pinnacle Club at the Grand Hyatt Denver.
The above information is from the Marion Down Center and sources such as the Wikipedia.
In lieu of flowers, her family requests donations to the Marion Downs Foundation via website at www.mariondowns.com, mail at 4280 Hale Parkway, Denver, CO 80220, or call at 303-322-1871.
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