In 1973, the District 5M Lions entered a partnership with the University of Minnesota Department of Otolaryngology. One project created was the Lions 5M International Hearing Center, which works to improve hearing health via three initiatives: clinical care of patients, hearing research, and education of hearing professionals.
The International Hearing Center sees a wide range of patients for ear, nose, and throat problems. Professionals:
- test hearing
- fit hearing aids
- place cochlear implants and provide follow-up care
- manage head and neck cancer
- perform craniofacial surgery
- treat allergies, sinus problems, tinnitus, balance problems, and voice issues.
With the combined expertise of otolaryngologists and audiologists, state-of-the art equipment, and ready access to the vast resources of the University of Minnesota Hospital system, the International Hearing Center can efficiently treat the complex cases.
In 1977 an agreement was signed between the Regents of the University, the University of Minnesota Foundation and the Lions 5M Hearing Foundation stating that the Lions Hearing Foundation would provide 1.6 Million toward the construction and equipment of the center and contining support to the Department of Otolaryngology in clinical, education and research areas. Lions reached this goal via club projects, two telethons, grants, corporate sponsorship, individual and memorial gifts.
The Lions 5M International Hearing Center was dedicated in November, 1985. The Center provides patient care in general ENT, audiology (hearing testing and diagnosis) cochlear implants, craniofacial surgery, sinus, allergy, head and neck cancer, voice issues and vestibular problems. The center is also a teaching facility for medical students, residents and visiting scholars and physicians from around the world. Since research is a key element of the center’s activities, the Lions Hearing Foundation launched a $500,000 Hearing Research Endowment in 1987 to provide continued support. Planned as a five-year campaign, the goal was reached in half the time. Principal from this endowment has supported research projects in the Department of Otolaryngology since that time.
In 1989, the Lions Hearing Foundation established a $515,000 Program Development Fund to replace equipment in Audiology, improve the Vestibular Lab and complete the Psychoacoustics Lab. In 1993, the 5M Lions dedicated the 52,500-square foot Lions Research Building with generic lab space used by the Departments of Ophthalmology, Otolaryngology and Neurosurgery. The Lions Hearing Foundation purchased a transmission electron microscope which is housed in the Lions Research Building, and completely renovated the Temporal Bone Surgery Lab, including ten new operating microscopes.
The Lions Hearing Research Fellowship was established in 1997 as a way to both support research and recognize Lions who have shown unusual commitment to hearing programs.
The 5M Hearing Foundation is committed to bringing future medical solutions to fruition by providing the space, equipment, and seed money necessary to cultivate promising ideas.
In 2011 the Lions MD5M Hearing Foundation approved a $1 Million pledge over a ten year period for an Endowed Lions Professorship in Otolaryngology which will stand in perpetuity as testament to the dedication of the MD5M Lions to improving hearing and ENT care for the people of MD5M, the nation and the world.