John K. Niparko, M.D. was one of the top Baha surgery pioneers in the US. He directed the Division of Otology and Neurotology at Johns Hopkins for many years, before taking over as chair of the USC Tina and Rick Caruso Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.
Dr. Niparko received numerous awards, including the Deafness Research Foundation’s Annual Hearing Research Award in 2001. He served on the council of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders of the NIH, and on the board of the River School of Washington, D.C., an inclusive educational model for children with hearing loss offering full immersion in classes with hearing peers.
He published a range of topics related to the management of acoustic tumors and malignancies of the temporal bone. He was an author or co-author of more than 180 peer-reviewed reports and served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Otology & Neurotology since 2006.
He was a leading authority on Cochlear Implantation and one of the first to perform Baha surgery in the United States. John’s advocacy was key to securing FDA and Medicare approvals for bone conduction hearing solutions. Throughout the years, John remained one of Cochlear’s most trusted advisors and one of our key professional partners, globally. His voice, presence and actions helped make Cochlear what it is today.
Dr. Niparko passed away on April 23, 2016.
Here he is remembered by his friend and colleague Dr Anders Tjellström:
In the late 1980s Dr Niparko came to Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Göteborg, Sweden, to learn more about bone conduction hearing solutions. Always a meticulous scientist, he carefully examined past and present Baha research and looked into individual patient charts. He took part both in the Baha outpatient clinic and in the OR. Here, he also did his first Baha surgery. Convinced of the benefit he then introduced the technique at the Johns Hopkins hospital back in the US.
For over 10 years Dr Niparko and myself conducted Instructional Courses at the annual American Academy meetings. Dr Niparko took part in several global hands-on training courses and workshops. These activities became the starting point for many surgeons in the US and all over the world.
Dr Niparko was very well respected in NIH. He supported Cochlear in discussions with legal authorities like FDA and insurance companies including Medicare and Medicaid. He presented his view based experience and a profound knowledge. His integrity was never questioned. Everyone wanted his opinion and advice. He would often get clinical questions from colleagues and always generously offered his point of view.
A good friend, a dedicated doctor and an outstanding scientist has been lost. My thoughts go to his wife Angie and their two sons, Nathan and Kevin.