Board of Directors


Sarah Sydlowski
Cleveland Clinic

Sarah Sydlowski, AuD, PhD received her AuD from the University of Louisville in 2007. After completing her externship at the Mayo Clinic Arizona, she stayed on there as a clinical audiologist coordinating the cochlear implant program before moving to Washington, D.C. in 2008 to pursue her PhD at Gallaudet University. After graduating in 2010, she moved to Cleveland and is currently the Audiology Director of the Hearing Implant Program at the Cleveland Clinic where she oversees clinical services related to cochlear implants, osseointegrated hearing implant systems, and options for the management of single-sided deafness. Dr. Sydlowski also serves as adjunct faculty at Kent State University and the University of Akron (which along with the Cleveland Clinic comprise the Northeast Ohio AuD Consortium). She is a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology, is Board Certified with Specialty Certification in Cochlear Implants, and is a certified member of the American Speech Language Hearing Association. She currently serves a member at large on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Audiology.

Dr. Sydlowski’s clinical interests include evaluation, programming and management of auditory implants for pediatrics and adults as well as options for single-sided deafness or conductive/mixed hearing losses, electrophysiology, and evaluation of auditory disorders. Her research interests involve disorders of the auditory system and auditory implants.


Past President

Melissa Kappes

Melissa Kappes, M.A., is currently a Ph.D. candidate at The Ohio State University. She has worked in a variety of settings including hospitals, ENT practices, and a speech and hearing center. Melissa has experience in comprehensive diagnostic testing, electrophysiology, amplification and practice management and development. Her passions include pediatric amplification, aural rehabilitation and clinical research, focusing on amplification in children. Melissa received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from The Ohio State University. She has presented at local and national conventions and has previously served as a committee member for the Ohio Audiology Conference.



President Elect

Gina Stillitano
The Cleveland Clinic Foundation

Gina Stillitano, Au.D., graduated from the University of Akron with a Bachelor of Arts in Communicative Disorders. Her Clinical Doctorate and a certificate in Gerontology studies was obtained from the Northeast Ohio Au.D. Consortium in 2006. She completed her fourth year fellowship at The Cleveland Clinic and was awarded Outstanding Graduate Student in 2006 by the Ohio Academy of Audiology.

Currently, she is working on various research projects within the Head and Neck Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Stillitano has previously worked both in and out of state within private practice, and ENT clinics. She is happy to be back in Ohio and proud to continue to volunteer for the Ohio Academy. Dr. Stillitano enjoys working with the geriatric population, tinnitus, amplification, counseling and the Dangerous Decibels school based noise conservation program. She enjoys community outreach, and speaking at community health fairs advocating for audiology and hearing conservation. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering for the Alzheimer’s organization, occasionally cooking and spending time with her family and friends.



Gina Hounam

Gina Hounam is the Audiology Program Manager at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Oh. She received her B.A. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from The Ohio State University and her M.A. and PhD in Audiology from the University of Cincinnati. Gina has practiced audiology in a variety of settings for over 14 years. Her areas of interest focus on relationship-centered care, counseling and hearing aids. She also has years of experience grant writing for non-profits and believes in supporting community education and awareness. Her goal both as a clinician and manager has always been to help patients and families overcome obstacles associated with hearing loss and achieve their maximum potential. In her current management role, Gina now focuses on assisting staff in achieving their full potential and expanding the services and programs offered at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.




Elizabeth McKenna

Dr. McKenna works at the United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.  Within the Preventive Medicine and Public Health Department, she serves as a consultant for hearing conservation program operations, conducts survillence and research projects, and is faculty for audiology, hearing conservation and occupational health courses and cirriculum development for the Community College of the Air Force.  Additionally, Dr. McKenna is an Individual Reservist for the Department of Defense Hearing Center of Excellence at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in San Antonio, Texas.  She received her clinical doctorate from the Northeast Ohio AuD Consortium and bachelors in Speech, Hearing and Language Sciences from Ohio University.


Member at Large

Reena Kothari

Reena Kothari, Au.D.  is currently a Public Health Audiology Consultant for The Ohio Department of Health in the Infant Hearing Program.  She has been in this role for twelve years and has extensive experience with Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI).  She participated in the passage of the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening (UNHS) Legislation in 2002 and the development of legislative rules, as well as  has assisted with the implementation of hearing screening in Ohio birthing hospitals.  She provides ongoing monitoring, oversight and technical assistance to hospitals, consults with diagnostic audiology facilities and works directly with Part C Birth to Three Early Intervention. She is well versed with the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing 1-3-6 Guidelines and Benchmarks.  She has experience in writing, reviewing and budgets of statewide and federal grant applications.

Reena has an interest in public speaking and has had a variety speaking engagements statewide and nationally over the years. She has developed many public awareness materials in variety formats for the Ohio Department of Health’s Infant Hearing Program. Reena was the state team lead for the National Initiative on Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ) and has expertise with Quality Improvement (QI) Initiatives. She led the state of Ohio’s Infant Hearing Program through a very successful 15 month federal QI project.

Her previous experience includes newborn hearing screening, clinical diagnostic audiology testing and dispensing hearing aid services for adults and pediatrics, as well as vestibular testing and balance re-training therapy.   Reena has a strong background in Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) and is interested in continuous quality improvement for successful outcomes for children identified with hearing loss and deafness.

Reena is a licensed audiologist in the state of Ohio and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Audiology (F-AAA).


Member at Large

Kelsey Krueger

Kelsey Krueger is a clinical audiologist at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center. She specializes in cochlear implants, diagnostic audiology, and amplification for pediatrics and adults. Kelsey received her Bachelor of Arts in Speech & Hearing Science from The Ohio State University in 2012.  She remained at the University to complete her Doctorate of Audiology in 2016. Kelsey serves on the Ohio Academy of Audiology Board as a Member-At-Large and on the American Academy of Audiology’s Membership Committee. Kelsey has also been actively involved on the Ohio Academy of Audiology’s Conference Planning Committee. Her professional interests include increasing community awareness about hearing protection, hearing loss, and amplification/treatment options for hearing impairment. She also volunteers locally through hearing loss support groups and health and safety fairs. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking the Cleveland Metro Parks with her husband and dogs.