Time to Hand on the Batton at SCIC
Monday, 25 August 2014 marked the end of an era for SCIC – Sydney Cochlear Implant Centre, when Professor William (Bill) Gibson AM announced that he was stepping down as Director and that Associate Professor Catherine Birman would take up the position of Medical Director of the newly merged SCIC, Cochlear Implant Program, an RIDBC service.
Professor Gibson affectionately known by everyone as “Prof” made his pronouncement at the official launch of the new service was attended by The Hon Jillian Skinner, NSW Minister for Health. The merger of SCIC and RIDBC will form Australia’s largest cochlear implant program.
Prof had commenced what is now SCIC, in 1984 with the vision of helping all children and adults for whom hearing aids were not providing access to sound. Under his stewardship and guidance SCIC, has grown from one small centre performing eight surgeries in 1984/85 to a network of eight regional centres that have provided cochlear implant surgeries for 396 people in 2013/14. SCIC now offers cochlear implant and related services for over 4000 clients.
During the launch the Minister also announced funding for an additional 22 cochlear implants, including 12 for adults at Westmead Hospital.
Considered the pre-eminent cochlear implant surgeon in the world, Prof has contributed enormously to the development and acceptance of cochlear implants as the expected form of intervention for deaf children and adults.
During his 30 years with SCIC he has done over 2,000 individual surgeries and in 1995 he became a member of the Order of Australia in recognition of his contribution to the deaf and hearing impaired.
Whilst “Prof” has officially announced his retirement he intends to continue on with his research studies, particularly relating to Meniere’s disease and will also continue to provide guidance and counsel for SCIC.
In between spending time with his family and on his many interests including his boat, which for some strange reason is called “Mad Wax”, we look forward to having him still be very much a part of SCIC. Enjoy your extra leisure time Prof, you certainly deserve it!