One Who Listens (OWL)


People with vestibular disorders often wish for someone who will listen to them: listen with empathy – not judgement, listen with a deep knowledge – not dismissing their concerns, and listen with understanding for the emotional impact vestibular disorders have brought to their lives. The OWL Award recognizes two individuals and one organization for their contribution to the healing power of listening.

2020 OWL Winners

Alicia Wolf – a.k.a. “The Dizzy Cook”

Alicia suffers from vestibular migraine. After losing her job to her illness, Alicia started to develop a personal treatment plan, which included a migraine diet. She missed being able to go to her favorite food blogs, so she decided to create her own geared toward migraine patients. She also wanted to create a place where people with vestibular migraine wouldn’t feel so alone. Alicia not only shares tasty recipes and diet tips, she also posts about supplements and lifestyle changes that have helped her in her personal recovery. One of the many people who nominated Alicia said, “She personally answers every email you send her, always with a positive tone regardless of how she may be feeling that day.” Alicia is also a VeDA Ambassador and served on the organizing committee for this Virtual Conference.

Dr. John Carey

Dr. John Carey is a Professor and Chief of the Division of Otology & Neurotology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Carey specializes in the health and diseases of the inner ear that affect both balance and hearing. Dr. Carey is a national expert in superior canal dehiscence syndrome, Menière’s disease, vestibular migraine, and other causes of vertigo. His researcg interests include the normal aging of vestibular reflexes, intratympanic treatments for hearing loss and Menière’s disease, and vestibular migraine. “Dr. Carey is the kindest and most brilliant doctor I have ever met,” says one of the people who nominated him. “He listens with empathy and truly understands vestibular disorders from a medical perspective, but also understands the far-reaching impact on an individual’s life, especially emotionally.”

Canberra Dizziness Clinic

Dr. Sandeep Rajagopal started the Canaberra Dizzy Clinic in Holder, Australia when there weren’t any other specialized clinics for vestibular patients in that part of the country. “Dr. Sandeep was the first person who could identify how all my dizziness and vertigo were interrelated, and provide a diagnosis,” says the person who nominated him. “When visiting his clinic you know that he will likely be running late, but since this is because he takes the time to listen to each patient nobody is ever upset. I have been with him when he has spent over an hour with me for an appointment booked for 15 minutes. He always stays up-to-date on the latest research and is keen to discuss with his patients how this might benefit them.”