Two anniversaries important for the history of the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing fall this year in May: 13th anniversary of the opening of the International Center of Hearing and Speech and 3rd anniversary of the opening of the World Hearing Center. None of these institutions would come into being without scientific achievements, huge groundwork work and first of all vision and passion of Prof. Henryk Skarżyński, who was their initiator and founder.
The history of the International Center of Hearing and Speech has begun in 1995, with the Foundation Act signed during the 3rd International Scientific Conference on diagnostics, Treatment and Rehabilitation of Hearing Disorders. The conference opening lecture had been presented by Prof. Józef Zwisłocki (Syracuse, USA) – grandson of the President Ignacy Mościcki, guest of honor of the conference, world-famous specialist and electrophysiology. It has been Prof. Zwisłocki who had signed the Foundation Act of the Center in Kajetany, in the presence of Ms. Maria Oleksy, wife of the First Minister Józef Oleksy, and ministers Leszek Juchniewicz and Krzysztof Szamałek. With that symbolic act the Foundation of Medical Development ‘Homo-Homini’ has begun building a new headquarters of the Institute in Kajetany near Warsaw.
Foundation stone for building of the International Center of Hearing and Speech had been laid in 1997, in the presence of Minister Leszek Juchniewicz, Maria Oleksy, Roman Sroczyński – President of the State Fund for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled, minister Lech Nikolski – undersecretary in the Office of the First Minister, Sergiusz Najar – President of the Kronenberg Foundation. Special letter of support for the International Center of Hearing and Speech had sent the Prime Minister Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz.
After six years of accumulating the assets – mostly earned with the hard work of the team under the leadership of Prof. Henryk Skarżyński, the International Center of Hearing and Speech has been opened. In May 2003 it was ready to receive first patients. The Opening ceremony took place during the 7th International Conference of Cochlear Implants and Audiological Medicine. It has gathered several hundreds of guests – scientists, politicians, and people of church.
Growing needs of the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing with regard to scientific and clinical facilities had been one of the motivations for creating the World Hearing Center. Already in 2003 the Institute had begun collecting funds, while applying also for support within the framework of such programs like the Operating Program Innovative Economy. At the end of 2009 the Institute has received funding from the European Union, 2/3 of the building costs. One third were the own funds of the Institute. In the ceremony of signing of the World Hearing Center Foundation Act have taken part many eminent politicians and scientists.
The World Hearing Center, built in the record-breaking time of several months, can today provide comprehensive care for people with congenital and acquired pathologies of hearing, voice, speech and balance. On 10 May 2012 that extraordinary undertaking, the World Hearing Center, was ready to be opened in the presence of the representatives of the Sejm and Senate, Government and guests representing Polish and international scientific and political communities, representatives of local authorities and church.
– The World Hearing Center provides today care for more than 5 thousand cochlear implant users. – said Prof. Henryk Skarżyński at the anniversary meeting with the Institute’s team. – We have performed more than 300 thousand surgical procedures and introduced in to clinical practice more over 150 different R&D projects, including virtually all innovative implantology solutions in otology. Polish patients have in the Institute access to the newest technologies as the first, or one of the first patients in the world. The Institute is also a highly esteemed teaching and training center, attracting doctors from all continents who come here to learn surgical techniques and medical procedures which I have developed. Kajetany is the best place in the world to learn and train surgical techniques. Our Education Center includes a unique laboratory with 30 stations for otosurgery and rhinosurgery, modern equipment for training of anatomical specimens and computer simulators. The Institute conducts also – since several years – programs of screening of various populations for early detection of hearing disorders in children beginning school education. – added Prof. Skarżyński.
The World Hearing Center of the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing is an important player in global science and Prof. Henryk Skarżyński is considered as one of the greatest authorities in ENT. For that reason international scientific societies have entrusted the Institute with organizing some of the most important scientific events in the world. Organization of these events was an expression of a great appreciation for the scientific, clinical and organizational achievements of Prof. Henryk Skarżyński and his team.
The World Hearing Center will chair five international scientific congresses. They include the XXII World Congress of Audiology, II World Congress of Otology, XII International Tinnitus Seminar with the 1st World Tinnitus Congress – events of the greatest international impact, some of them had never been organized in Europe before. Other two events are also international events whose prestige exceeds continental borders: IV International Conference on Otosclerosis and Stapes Surgery and 25th International Evoked Response Audiometry Study Group IERASG Biennial Symposium.
– We are the only center in the world that has been entrusted with organizing such an unusual series of scientific congresses. – Underlined prof. Skarżyński proudly – The greatest challenges are related also with popularizing the Polish scientific and otosurgical school in global science. It is even more important for the fact that these confirmed and acknowledged possibilities of treatment meet the needs of tens of millions of elderly citizens, and that group is growing larger and larger in the aging societies of the world. – added Professor.