American Tinnitus Association Announces Leadership Transition

Well-Regarded Tinnitus Healthcare Professional to Serve as Interim Executive Director

Vienna, VA, July 14, 2023 – The American Tinnitus Association, a leading nonprofit dedicated to supporting individuals with tinnitus and advancing research and treatment options for the condition, announced the appointment of Sara Downs, AuD, a well-regarded tinnitus specialist and business professional, as its interim executive director.

Dr. Downs has served on the ATA Board of Directors for two years and has worked more than 20 years in tinnitus patient care. As the owner of Hearing Wellness Center in Duluth, Minn., Dr. Downs has an extensive background in healthcare management, organizational development, and a proven leadership track record. 

“With my professional background, I feel strongly positioned to lead the ATA as it conducts a search for a permanent executive director,” Dr. Downs said. “It’s exciting to be able to expand my leadership role and passion for advancing quality care for tinnitus patients with my fellow board members, who represent all stakeholders: patients, healthcare professionals, and researchers. We have an amazing group that is fully committed to the mission of finding solutions to tinnitus, including prevention, awareness, effective treatments, and research aimed at cures and improved interventions that relieve tinnitus distress more reliably for more people.”

Dr. Downs will work closely with the ATA’s communications director Joy Onozuka, who was named interim director of operations to ensure continuity and a seamless transition. Onozuka has been with the ATA for six and a half years in daily operations, which includes interfacing with tinnitus patients, researchers, healthcare professionals, and ATA board members.

ATA board member Julie Prutsman, AuD, is leading the executive search committee to replace Torryn Brazell, who recently resigned as ATA’s chief executive officer.  

During this transition, the ATA remains dedicated to maintaining its commitment to excellence and prioritizing the needs of individuals living with tinnitus, which includes funding critical research to advance solutions to tinnitus and access to meaningful care. The board of directors is confident that this leadership transition will position the organization for continued success and growth.

“With Dr. Downs in partnership with Ms. Onozuka, we will navigate this transition with clarity while maintaining our commitments to the community, particularly in the areas of research and evidence-based information on tinnitus and its management,” said ATA board chair Jinsheng Zhang, PhD.