Lt. Cmdr. (Dr.) Paula Johnston, Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) Division Officer for Occupational Audiology, was selected as the 2012 Military Audiologist of the Year on Feb. 7, and is scheduled to be presented a command coin and congratulatory letter written by Rear Adm. Terry J. Moulton, 17th chief of the U.S. Navy Medical Service Corps, later this month.
According to Cmdr. Joel Bealer, audiology specialty leader for the U.S. Navy, the annual award was reinstated in 2010 to recognize Navy audiologists for their superior performance and contribution to the audiology field. Johnston was selected for the award out of 26 eligible audiologist candidates. She shared her thoughts on the nomination.
“I feel honored to have been selected as 2012’s Military Audiologist of the Year, because I know of several deserving audiologists who provide world class care on a daily basis,” she said. Johnston credits the NMCSD audiology team for this recognition.
“I feel very fortunate and blessed to be here at this command and to have the support of our leadership that enables us to accomplish our mission, and also to have really outstanding staff who give it their all every day…they’re the ones who make it happen,” she added.
Retired Cmdr. (Dr.) Kelly Paul, NMCSD audiologist, revealed why she nominated Johnston for the award.
“She brings a rich foundation of experience to her current position as Head of Occupational Audiology, where she effectively leads 20 military and civilian staff members in the successful implementation and oversight of one of the largest hearing conservation programs in Navy Medicine,” Paul added.
In addition to her leadership abilities, Johnston is also being recognized for going above and beyond when she took initiative to review literature, tour a local civilian hospital, gather ideas, put together a team and ultimately implemented a comprehensive noise reduction program for NMCSD’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Johnston’s comprehensive noise reduction program initiative won NMCSD’s Process Improvement Project (PIP) award in 2012 and was displayed at the annual PIP Fair.
“As a member of the audiology community, I have known Lt. Cmdr. Johnston for more than 15 years, and I have witnessed her growth and professional development over the years, and it comes as no surprise to me that she was selected for this very prestigious award.” said Paul.
Johnston shared her thoughts on the care she provides for NMCSD’s audiology patients.
"It's a privilege to help the Marines and Sailors who put their lives on the line every day by helping them preserve their hearing. Many of our patients have permanent hearing loss caused by noise exposure, which can affect their personal and professional lives. By providing hearing conservation education and services, we can reduce the risk of noise induced hearing loss, which will lead to improved job retention and quality of life.” she said.
Johnston has served in the military for 11 years. Her future goal is to continue her career as a military audiologist until she retires after 20 years of service.