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American Tinnitus Association Names David Fagerlie as CEO

Portland, Ore. - David Fagerlie has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of the American Tinnitus Association, the nation's foremost organization committed to curing tinnitus.

"Medical research has made important progress toward curing tinnitus in the past 10 to 20 years, and our goal is to greatly increase fundraising to find a cure," said Scott Mitchell, Chair of the association's Board of Directors. "With David's leadership, we look forward to dramatically expanding our campaign to end tinnitus suffering for millions of people."

An estimated 50 million Americans suffer from tinnitus, a chronic and debilitating condition often described as ringing, hissing or roaring in the ears. Tinnitus sufferers hear these or other sounds - including buzzing, whooshing, chirping and high-pitched squealing - when no external source is present. For 10 million, the condition is severe enough to be distressing and sometimes literally maddening. Between one and two million sufferers are completely incapacitated by it.

"There has never been a greater need - or a greater opportunity - to find a cure for tinnitus," Fagerlie said. "The American Tinnitus Association has long been a leader in combating the condition. I have tinnitus myself, and this is a challenge I'm personally honored to accept."

Dangerous increases in noise in our environment, such as the misuse of personal music players, pose an increased risk to acquiring tinnitus, Fagerlie said. Of all the medical conditions suffered by soldiers in the Middle East, it is estimated that we will spend the most money over the coming years in compensation and treatment for tinnitus and other hearing disorders

At the same time, Fagerlie said, medical researchers have made significant advancements in scientific knowledge about tinnitus. Progress has been greatest in determining how tinnitus starts and which areas of the auditory system - from the ear to the brain - are affected. In addition, the number of researchers and their efforts to cure tinnitus have increased with the growing awareness of the condition's impacts and the need to end the suffering.

The research advancements closely parallel the association's Roadmap to a Cure. Developed last year, the Roadmap is designed to guide research efforts by defining the highest-priority areas and showing how they tie together. Path A focuses on where tinnitus starts, by identifying areas of auditory system that show abnormalities related to the condition. Path B targets how it starts, through pinpointing which nerves or cells cause the tinnitus-generating signals in the auditory system. Paths C and D concentrate on developing, testing and refining treatments to cure tinnitus.

"Our primary mission must be to support medical research to find a cure," Fagerlie said. "Tinnitus can literally take away quality of life for millions of people. Our goal is to help tinnitus sufferers get their lives back."

Fagerlie, 54, brings a strong background in nonprofit leadership and fund-raising to his new position with the American Tinnitus Association. For the past six years, he has operated his own nationally successful consulting practice for nonprofit organizations. He previously served for three years as executive director of the 300,000-member University of Washington Alumni Association and as the University's assistant vice president for alumni affairs.

Prior to that, he spent 14 years in leadership positions in United Way organizations in Indiana, Ohio, and Washington State. There he oversaw fund-raising programs that generated as much as $32 million in contributions annually.

He has a master's degree in social work in administration and planning from the University of Washington in Seattle and a bachelor of science degree in social work from Augsburg College in Minneapolis.

About the American Tinnitus Association

The American Tinnitus Association is the nation's foremost organization committed to curing tinnitus. Founded in 1971, it has contributed millions of dollars to medical research projects focused on curing tinnitus. The association also provides information on tinnitus to the public, conducts seminars on the condition for medical professionals, and advocates for effective public policies to support its mission of curing tinnitus. It is headquartered in Portland, Oregon.

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