Secretary Hillary Clinton to Speak at The Starkey Hearing Foundation Gala

Dr. Robert Dean has been privileged to support The Starkey Hearing Foundation in their efforts to give the gift of hearing to children throughout the world. This year’s special guest speaker is none other than the renowned Secretary Hillary Clinton. Fresh off her worldwide book tour, Clinton will be lending a hand to a cause worth fighting for.

The Starkey Foundation has been incredibly blessed by the presence of celebrities from all over the world who truly care about giving the gift of hearing. Many celebrities and humanitarians will be attending the annual So The World May Hear gala in St. Paul MN. The Starkey Hearing Foundation has used this function to recognize and honor those who have made hearing possible through their generous donations of time and money, and this year is no exception. This year, the So The World May Hear gala will take place on July 20th, 2014 so that humanitarians, volunteers, and donors can be recognized as those that make the foundations work possible.

This year the gala, and all of those involved with the foundation are pleased to announce a very special guest. For many years now the Starkey Foundation has received a great deal of support in its mission to spread the gift of hearing from the Clinton Foundation. This year the So The World May Hear gala is going to be the host to special guest speaker former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Secretary Clinton has been a longtime supporter, through both the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiate, but this is the first time she will be joining the Starkey foundation and its guests for the gala. Given her busy book tour and political efforts, the foundation is truly honored by her presence and the commitment it shows to children around the world.

With a list of humanitarians that feature the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Forrest Whitaker, Prince Seeiso of Lesotho and Sandi Young, this year’s gala promises to be spectacular. Dr. Robert Dean, the Florida-based humanitarian, physician, and journalist has already announced his intention to attend year’s function. Adding Secretary Clinton, as the guest speaker, is both profound and exciting for the foundation.

Beyond the glitz and glamour of a once a year event, The Starkey Hearing Foundation has been a worldwide advocate at the forefront of the global hearing initiative. The founders, Bill and Tani Austin, believe that there is no such thing as a disability only ability and have built an organization that takes this message the furthest reaches of the earth. As of this year the Starkey Foundation has visited over one hundred countries and has delivered and equipped over 1.43 million people with hearing aids. As they traverse the planet helping people hear The Starkey Foundation, and volunteers like Dr. Robert Dean have changed countless lives bringing a whole new world of possibility and opportunity to millions of people.

You too can make a difference by supporting The Starkey Hearing Foundation. Learn more by visiting

Dr. Robert Dean to Attend the Starkey Hearing Foundation Gala

Each year the stars align over St. Paul MN, and the supporters and fans of the Starkey Hearing Foundation will come together to celebrate giving the gift of hearing to children throughout the world. At the So The World May Hear gala the spirit of giving will be once again honored, and those who have taken the time to participate and give back to the community will have a spotlight shone upon their generosity. The event is designed to showcase the tremendous impact caring individuals can have on their fellow man and encourages each person to reach for their full potential. The gala celebrates the achievements of those who are willing to work to make the world a better place, people like Dr. Robert Dean, who has been traveling the world with the Starkey Hearing Foundation to give children one of the greatest gifts of all – the gift of hearing.

This year the So The World May Hear gala will take place on July 20th, 2014. Among the humanitarians that will be honored are the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Forrest Whitaker, Prince Seeiso of Lesotho and Sandi Young with performances by Sammy Hagar and John Legend. Dr. Robert Dean, the Florida-based humanitarian, physician, and journalist will also be in attendance at this year’s gala. The gala has even greater significance this year as it falls on co-founder Tani Austin’s birthday, and founder Bill Austin has committed to matching all donations, up to $100,000 that come in through Tani’s birthday on the 20th of July. This is a fantastic opportunity for people to contribute and have that contribution make an even greater impact.

The Starkey Hearing Foundation has become a global force to help people achieve their full potential. Believing that there is no such thing as a disability, only ability, the foundation has travelled the globe delivering people from a world filled with silence. To date the Starkey Hearing foundation has visited over one hundred countries, partnering with local and international organizations to bring their vision of hearing for everyone to the most remote parts of the world. Over the course of these travels the organization has delivered and equipped over 1.43 million people with hearing aids, opening up the world to people who otherwise were forced to live in complete silence. Countless lives have been changed by the organization and Dr. Robert Dean has felt privileged to participate with on the ground activities.

Despite its celebrity appeal, The Starkey Hearing Foundation has taken a realistic and community-based approach to hearing. As part of its model, the foundation works with local and regional leadership in the community and has been striving to empower local residents to take ownership of their own local hearing health services. The team then approaches each situation in a three-phase model that has worked effectively in over one hundred countries across the globe. First patients are identified, then the patients are fitted with custom made ear molds and taught how to care for and operate their hearing aids, and finally the foundation provides after care services to patients. The aftercare is an ongoing support system that remains in place at a central location, giving patients access to information, batteries, and repair services.

This July, the foundation once again hopes to highlight the contribution of those who make a difference in the world. Previous honorees have included President Bill Clinton, Sir Richard Branson, Ashton Kutcher, and Mohammed Ali. Dr. Robert Dean will be attending the event and this year’s gala promises to have a host of deserving people, who for a moment are given the spotlight of a grateful world.

Dr. Robert Dean and the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA)

08th Jul 2014 Diseases, Friedreich's Ataxia

Dr. Robert Dean is actively involved with the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA) and working with them on ways to help find a cure. Friedreich’s Ataxia (FA) is a condition that causes damage to the nervous system. It will often start in childhood and worsen over time until it begins to impair movement. The disease impacts around 1 in every 50,000 people within the U.S. Unfortunately, the disease did not get very much attention, funding, or research until FARA was founded. The organization has led the awareness and research efforts since 1998 and continues to do so today.

What are the symptoms of Friedreich’s Ataxia?

The disease impacts people in different ways but generally speaking the symptoms will start to occur between the ages of five and fifteen. It typically starts by making it difficult for people to walk with the Ataxia spreading into the arms and core. Some patients will also lose their tendon reflexes and suffer from scoliosis. As time goes on patients may start to have their speech slur and develop hearing and vision loss, as well.

In addition to making large impacts on their ability to move, patients find it difficult to recover from common illnesses like colds and the flu. They become fatigues more easily and frequently suffer from chest pain, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations, common symptoms that result for accompanying heart disease.

Once the symptoms have started manifesting most patients only have ten to twenty years before they are confined to a wheelchair and eventually become incapacitated. This is incredibly devastating considering that most people start to suffer from Friedreich’s Ataxia when they are small children. By the time they are teenagers they could be permanently confined to a wheelchair.

How FARA Helps Patients

FARA was established in 1998 by a dedicated group of scientist and patient families that were determined to learn everything they could about the disease, what causes it and how to cure it. Their efforts have been successful in that millions of dollars have been poured into FA research and clinical trials throughout the world. With drugs in clinical trials, FARA continues to work on funding and creating public, private partnerships to further research and development.

Dr. Robert Dean and FARA

When Dr. Robert Dean became aware of Friedreich’s Ataxia, he was moved beyond measure. Witnessing small children suffer from an incurable genetic disease was something he could not stand by and watch. Listening to patients tell stories of heartbreak and learning to overcome their condition was inspirational and motivating. When children and young adults can be so confident in the face of a debilitating disease it brings what needs to be done into focus and Dr. Dean had to get involved. He has since been focused on bringing awareness to the disease, FARA, and the patients that are impacted by it. Through participation in various programs and fundraising activities, Dr. Robert Dean continues to push forward and partner with FARA to find a cure for those that need it most.

He invites you to join him in these efforts by learning more about FARA, volunteering, or donating so that those suffering from the disease can lead longer and fuller lives. To contact Dr. Dean, email

Fighting Against Hearing Loss in the Philippines and Throughout the World

13th Jun 2014 Haiti

The right to hear is basic to who we are as human beings. We were made to enjoy the song of the birds, communicate with others, and listen to the wind rustle through the trees. In the United States and other wealthy countries, we have been able to fight against hearing loss by using vaccines and other basic medicine. Unfortunately, there are millions of people throughout the world that never benefit from modern medicine. They are unable to have access to even the most basic vaccinations. They and their children suffer as a result, often leading to preventable hearing loss.

I traveled to the Philippines with the Starkey Hearing Foundation, on a mission to help improve the hearing of people in poorer communities. While there, I was greatly saddened to find so many people suffering from hearing loss that was completely preventable. One mother, for example, had a little boy that was born unable to hear because she had the measles while pregnant, something that could have been prevented with an MMR vaccine. On this trip, we were able to provide free hearing aids for over 5,000 children. Those children now have the gift of hearing and can rejoin society and their peers at school and other activities. Rather than growing up isolated, they can now enjoy the fullness of life and the sweet sounds that fill it.

I was so moved by this experience that I have continued to travel with the Starkey Hearing Foundation to developing countries around the world. While, in Haiti, I experienced another eye opening moment. We found that children and people with disabilities, hearing loss included, were labeled as worthless and tossed aside by society to die. These children, at no fault of their own, were cast aside and made to believe that they didn’t matter. Every child, every life matters, regardless of a disability and by providing them with hearing aids we were able to directly impact their lives and show that people with disabilities have value. It is amazing how a piece of medical technology, in this case a hearing aid, can turn a child’s life around and give them value again.

After our trip to Haiti, Hope 2 Haiti director Scott Bonnell issued a statement saying: “It is because of sponsors like Dr. Robert Dean, here fitting children with their new hearing aids, that hundreds of orphans in remote villages like St. Marc are able to hear for the first time.” I believe that it is because of local activists and partners we are able to make a difference. Organizations like Hope 2 Haiti are working with these poor and impoverished communities on a daily basis, paving the way for people like myself and the Starkey Hearing Foundation to come in and provide resources like hearing aids. Without their work it would be impossible for us to help so many.

I have been privileged to continue my work in countries throughout the world and will continue to do so. On each trip, I learn new things and my eyes continue to be opened to the challenges of people living without hearing. As a doctor, I am committed to making a difference in the lives of people at home and throughout the world because there is no difference between us. As people, we are all the same though some have been privileged enough to grow up in the world of vaccinations and preventative medical care while others, through no fault of their own, suffer in silence, cast aside by society. It is up to us, those that can, to stand up and help. I for one am happy to respond to that call and invite others to join me in doing the same. To learn more about the Starkey Hearing Foundation or my work email

Dr Dean Blog – Special Column in Tampa Bay Times for World Health Day

08th Apr 2014 Uncategorized

The Tampa Bay Times is running a special column I wrote in honor of World Health Day:

Column: Health Agency’s Flaws Hurt the Hearing-Impaired

As a physician who has devoted significant time to traveling the world recently on a volunteer mission to help people with hearing impairments, I have a new sense of the significance of World Health Day, which was celebrated Monday. I also have a new sense of the limitations of the organization associated with this day: the World Health Organization.

Since November, I have visited five developing countries as a volunteer physician with the Starkey Hearing Foundation, a pragmatic, results-based organization committed to fitting 1 million hearing-impaired people with hearing aids worldwide. My travels have taken me to the Philippines, Haiti, Senegal, Liberia and Mexico.

Founded in 1984 by William and Tani Austin, the Starkey Hearing Foundation has given the gift of hearing, and changed lives, for more than 1 million children and adults over these past 30 years.

Seeing the excited smiles of children who are hearing their mother’s voice for the first time has been incredibly satisfying, but it has also been terribly frustrating. Growing up the son of an immigrant and a pharmaceutical research scientist, I have always had a passion for finding cures for diseases in the developing world. During my travels, I’ve come to recognize that a significant share of the hearing loss in these countries is entirely preventable…
Click here to read the whole thing.

Dr Dean Blog – Talking Starkey for What’s Right in Tampa Bay

08th Apr 2014 Uncategorized

I had the pleasure of being featured on Fox13, WTVT, last night. Kelly Ring put together a story about my recent travels with the Starkey Hearing Foundation for a segment called “What’s Right in Tampa Bay.” The Fox13 crew were a pleasure to work with, and the story explains what my work with the Starkey Hearing Foundation means for my mandate as a physician. You can watch the story on my media page:, or at in their “What’s Right” tab:

Dr Dean Blog – Starkey Hearing Foundation Press Release

06th Mar 2014 Uncategorized

Florida-based Dr. Robert Dean Continues Spreading the Gift of Hearing Worldwide With the Starkey Hearing Foundation
Destinations include Haiti, Senegal, Liberia, and Mexico

Tampa, FL (March 6, 2014) – Thousands of people across the world are hearing sounds for the first time, thanks to the Starkey Hearing Foundation. Robert Dean, MD, a Tampa, Florida-based physician and journalist, is personally responsible for fitting nearly one thousand people with their first hearing aids.

Dr. Dean just returned from a trip to Mexico, where he continued his volunteer work for the Foundation. He began traveling with the Starkey Hearing Foundation in November of 2013, spending two weeks in The Philippines during the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. He followed that up with trips to Haiti, Senegal, and Liberia. In each location, the Starkey Hearing Foundation provided thousands of people with free hearing aids, making sure they fit each individual ear.

Hope 2 Haiti director Scott Bonnell says: “It is because of sponsors like Dr. Robert Dean, here fitting children with their new hearing aids, that hundreds of orphans in remote villages like St. Marc are able to hear for the first time.”

Studies confirm that children born with hearing loss become isolated from society, and rarely develop the speech that is so essential for their social and intellectual growth. The Starkey Hearing Foundation is not just committed to helping people achieve that connection to society, but also sheds a light on how to reduce instances of preventable hearing loss. The Foundation shares research into which types of medicines can contribute to deafness, and encourages groups like the Gates Foundation to continue their work bringing vaccines to developing nations, in order to reduce cases of congenital hearing loss.

The Starkey Hearing Foundation was founded in 1984 by William and Tani Austen. They recently made a commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative to distribute one million hearing aids over the next ten years.

Dr. Dean, a physician with a long record of exploring the natural origins of medicine, will share commentaries and videos from his travels in advance of World Health Day. He blogs about his journeys at You can also follow him online at or
Dr. Dean in Senegal Dr. Dean in Senegal with the Starkey Hearing Foundation

The Dean Blog: Notes from Haiti

24th Feb 2014 Uncategorized

It seems I’ve caught a serious case of the travel bug since my very meaningful and emotional trip to the Philippines in late 2013. It turns out that journey with the Starkey Hearing Foundation (SHF) was just the beginning of an intense period of global travel.

My November/December trip to The Philippines was part of a humanitarian mission whose timing came shortly after Typhoon Haiyan struck. Our goal was to fit as many hearing-impaired children with free hearing-aids as possible. I’m proud to say there are now 5,000+ children who have regained hearing, thanks to the work of the Starkey team.

But our mission didn’t end there. My next stop was a trip to Haiti in January. Even four years after the tremors that took more than 100,000 lives, residents are still dealing with the after-effects of that devastating earthquake. The tent cities still stand, though just a fraction of the tens of thousands erected after the disaster. But life in Haiti is a struggle to survive — for some it is nearly impossible.

SHF teamed up with local partners, including Hope 2 Haiti and International Village, to bring the gift of hearing. We learned that people with disabilities are often labeled as worthless in that culture… so the blind, deaf, or handicapped were simply tossed aside and left to die. For the members our team, we felt we were bringing more than hearing aids into this community… we were also bringing acceptance.

There are many preventable causes of hearing loss in the developing world – it is a topic I will tackle in a future blog. But what I have found so awe-inspiring is that the Starkey global health initiative is not at all theoretical; it focuses on practical action to have an immediate impact on lives, one person at a time. Other organizations can learn from their pragmatic approach – which includes training residents to maintain an aftercare program for years to come. SHF also works to identify preventable medical causes of hearing loss, in the hope that someday, hearing aids will no longer be necessary.

I’ll post soon on my recent trip with SHF to West Africa – and then a February trip to Mexico. As I said, I’ve been struck by a new desire to travel with a purpose. Although jet lag is a force to be reckoned with, the desire to be of service burns ever brighter.

More to come soon.

DrDean Haiti

The Dean Blog: Notes from the Philippines…

06th Dec 2013 Philippines

Half a century after its development, little girls who grow up to be mothers are not being vaccinated and a preventable disease like the rubella or germen measles is still destroying the hearing of newborns all over the world.

As in so many areas – and since the beginning of time — the greatest challenge to doctors has been finding cures for their patients afflicted with disease. The tremendous frustration today is that so many modern day medical innovations have advanced the lives of millions of people. But there is still a huge disconnect.

My experience in the Philippines has shown me that disconnect in vivid colors.

My Starkey Hearing Foundation group has spent the last three days in general Santos City, seeing hundreds of patients with hearing loss. I was completely taken when a mother of five children explained to me that her ten year old son had been deaf since birth because she was infected with German measles or Rubella during her pregnancy. The teratogenic effects of this virus include damage to the hearing system. What is most shocking is that it should have been prevented if she were properly vaccinated with mmr a vaccine that has been available for more than 50 years.

Mankind must realize that even with the most advanced technologies, in many places we are not delivering the cheap, basic medical innovations of the last century.

When a child is born with hearing loss they become isolated, never developing the speech that is so important for their social and intellectual growth. Eventually they become isolated and often discarded in a world that doesn’t have the time to pay attention to them.

The gift of hearing can change the course of child’s life by allowing them to simply hear the words of people around them. But it only works if there is access to care.

I am proud to working with The Starkey Hearing Foundation, which travels the world to provide access to care for these forgotten children. Since 1973, Bill and Taney Austin have dedicated their lives to giving people the gift of hearing, everywhere on the planet no matter how poor or remote the region.

Ravaged by typhoon Haiyan, this particular Starkey mission to the Philippines could not have been more timely. We are screening over five thousand people… and restoring some measure of hope. But the work will go on, and the needs will persist here and in other developing parts of the world.

Florida-based Dr. Robert Dean Joins Relief Mission to Philippines

05th Dec 2013 News and Events, Philippines

Dr. Robert Dean visits The Philippines with The Starkey Hearing Foundation on a mission to help survivors of Typhoon Haiyan, and provide hearing aids to children in need.

Tampa, FL (PRWEB) December 05, 2013

It has been nearly a month since the devastating Typhoon Haiyan hit the islands in the Philippines, but the long-term recovery has just begun. Dr. Robert Dean of Tampa, Florida has partnered with the Starkey Hearing Foundation to join in the relief efforts. He left on November 28th to join the foundation on a previously planned mission to fit over 5,000 deaf children with hearing aids, but the trip now has an even broader relief objective.

The partnership between Dr. Dean and the Starkey Hearing Foundation formed through Dr. Dean’s passion for making people healthier across the globe. His over 20-year medical experience has led him to study cholera, treat post-travel illnesses, and conduct research on women with HIV in Mexico. Dr. Dean also runs a foundation focused on conserving the world’s natural eco-systems and improving the quality of life in rain forest regions by increasing sustainability through improved social and economic infrastructure.

“When I agreed to go on a volunteer trip for the Starkey Hearing Foundation several weeks ago, I had no idea how dramatically circumstances there were about to change,” said Dr. Dean. “I had already booked my trip when Haiyan struck and devastated the islands. Those who were lucky enough to survive are in dire need of basic aid such as food, water, and shelter – resources that are scarce if available at all. I feel privileged to play a small part in helping the local population together with Starkey.”Dr. Dean intends to post updates during his travels from November 29th – December 12th. Please visit for his latest blog entries and to learn more about Dr. Dean. He is also encouraging others to support the efforts in the Philippines by donating here:

More about the Starkey Hearing Foundation: The Foundation donates and fits more than 100,000 hearing aids annually. As a member of President Clinton’s Global Initiative, Starkey has pledged to fit one million hearing aids this decade. In addition to giving the gift of hearing through worldwide hearing missions, the Starkey Hearing Foundation also promotes hearing health awareness and education through the Listen Carefully initiative and provides hearing instruments to low-income Americans through the Hear Now program.