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René Gifford

Professor, Hearing and Speech Sciences
Director, Cochlear Implant Program


  • B.A., 1995, Arizona State University, AZ
  • M.S., 1997, Vanderbilt University, TN
  • Ph.D., 2003, Arizona State University, AZ
  • Postdoc, 2006, Arizona State University, AZ


René Gifford, Ph.D., CCC-A is a Professor in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences with a joint appointment in the Department of Otolaryngology. She is currently the Director of the Cochlear Implant Research Laboratory, Director of the Cochlear Implant Program in the Division of Audiology, and Co-Director of research for the National Center for Childhood Deafness and Family Communication (NCCDFC) at the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center. Her research focuses on the study of auditory perception, spatial hearing, and binaural development for children using combined electric and acoustic stimulation (EAS) via hearing aid and cochlear implant technology. Her primary professional goal is centered on improving auditory-based outcomes and ensuring that we are using data-driven recommendations for hearing and speech/language intervention for our patients. Dr. Gifford’s research has been continuously NIH funded for 20 years, she has published over 130 peer-reviewed articles, multiple book chapters, and she authored a book, now in its second edition, entitled “Cochlear Implant Patient Assessment: Evaluation of Candidacy, Performance, and Outcomes.” Dr. Gifford was a featured scientist on the National Public Radio, Science Friday broadcast entitled Breakthrough: Portraits of Women in Science—Hearing a Whole New World. Additionally, Dr. Gifford was awarded the 2015 Louis M. DiCarlo Award for Recent Clinical Achievement from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the 2017 Vanderbilt University Chancellor’s Award for Research, as well as the 2021 Jerger Career Award for Research in Audiology from the American Academy of Audiology.

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