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Judy R. Dubno, PhD

Distinguished University Professor
Medical University of South Carolina
Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery

Judy R. Dubno grew up in Manhattan (New York City), attended the very competitive Bronx High School of Science, and later earned a PhD from the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate School and University Center, where her major advisor was Harry Levitt and Gerald Studebaker was a principal mentor. Her dissertation research involved predicting consonant confusions by individuals with normal and impaired hearing from acoustic analyses of consonants. She was also heavily involved in the development, recording, and analysis of the CUNY Nonsense Syllable Test, which was among the first closed-set tests that generated consonant confusion matrices (from paper and pencil responses) and is still in use today. Her doctoral research was part of a large, National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded project to develop and evaluate methods for the automated selection of hearing-aid specifications using a wearable master hearing aid, one of the first in the analog era, using an early form of a multivariate adaptive testing strategy. Following the PhD, Dr. Dubno became an NIH-funded postdoctoral fellow at the UCLA School of Medicine and then joined the faculty at UCLA, where she mentored students, postdocs, and otolaryngology residents, and conducted collaborative research until 1991 when she moved to MUSC.  

Dr. Dubno’s research at MUSC focuses primarily on understanding the pathophysiology of presbyacusis and its consequences for communication. A particularly important contribution has been her leadership of a 35-year longitudinal cohort study of age-related hearing loss alongside an exceptional, multidisciplinary, and international team of research colleagues, including program co-founders Jack Mills, Rick Schmiedt, and Brad Schulte. Her research has been funded continuously by NIH and other awards since 1981.  

More recently, Dr. Dubno has been participating in research and public service to support improved accessibility and affordability of hearing health care, especially hearing aids, and to enact the necessary federal policies and legislation. This began in 2009 with a partnership with Amy Donahue (then at NIDCD) and Lucille Beck at the VA. She served on a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) committee on this topic and is now a member of the Lancet Commission that is addressing the global burden of hearing loss. 

Dr. Dubno has mentored many graduate and medical students, postdoctoral fellows, otolaryngology residents, and junior faculty, and was recognized by MUSC with its inaugural mentoring award. The most rewarding moments of Dr. Dubno’s career are seeing those she mentored achieve success in auditory research, teaching, and leadership positions. Throughout her career, Dr. Dubno has benefited from many opportunities to serve and lead scientific societies (including ARO), participate on NASEM boards/committees, and serve the NIH on review and other committees and as a member of the NIDCD Advisory Council.  She and her colleagues received Editor’s Awards from the Journal of Speech and Hearing Research and Ear and Hearing and she delivered AAS’s Carhart Memorial Lectureship. Dr. Dubno has been fortunate to receive several national awards and achieved society fellowships in recognition of her research and leadership, and credits her mentors, colleagues, and collaborators at CUNY, UCLA, MUSC, and around the US and the world (and her husband, John) who have contributed immeasurably to her achievements.  

ARO Award of Merit

The ARO Award of Merit recognizes an individual who has made substantial scientific achievements in and contributions to the fields encompassed by otolaryngology. Candidates should be able to present a talk as part of the Award ceremony at the Midwinter Meeting.


Submit a Nomination


The Association for Research in Otolaryngology will begin accepting nominations for the 2025 ARO Award of Merit beginning on June 3, 2024.

REMINDER:  ARO membership is not required for nominators or nominees.

 Please read carefully before submitting.

NOMINATION Requirements:

Nominations should include the following:

  1. A letter of nomination that includes a description of the research contributions
  2. The nominee’s CV
  3. One to two additional letters of support. (These can have multiple signatures if desired.)

Nominations are selected by the ARO Award Committee and submitted to the ARO Council for approval.  A nominee’s package will be considered for up to 3 years in sequence; the package can be updated for the second and third years.  Nominations submitted in previous years without meeting the new standards should be resubmitted.