By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – On September 9, Edmond audiologist, author and researcher Jace Wolfe, Ph.D., was elected chair of the Commission for Rehabilitation Services. The Commission governs the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS).
Wolfe was appointed to the Commission in July 2018 by then-Oklahoma Senate President Pro-Tempore Mike Schulz.
DRS annually serves 83,500 Oklahomans with disabilities through career planning, employment, independent living and educational programs, and the determination of medical eligibility for disability benefits.
As director of audiology and research at the Hearts for Hearing Foundation in Oklahoma City, Wolfe provides clinical services for children and adults with hearing loss and is actively engaged in research.
His primary areas of interest are pediatric amplification, cochlear implantation, hybrid cochlear implants, personal remote microphone technology and signal processing for children.
Raised in Ponca City, Wolfe is an adjunct professor in the audiology department at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City and Salus University in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania.
He has authored and co-authored textbooks, including “Programming Cochlear Implants, Second Edition” and “Cochlear Implants: Audiologic Management and Considerations for Implantable Hearing Devices,” in addition to numerous articles for professional trade journals.
Emily Cheng, director of disability services and diversity at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City, has completed her term as chair of the Commission for Rehabilitation Services’ governing board. She will continue to serve as a Commission member.
As a person with cerebral palsy, Cheng used DRS’ post-employment services in the past to maintain her job at OSU-OKC.
“It is important for Oklahoma to know about the good work that DRS does and how we are unique in our support/provider role,” Cheng said. “We know the challenges that job seekers with disabilities face.
“Looking for a job when you are a person with a disability can be very daunting, but having DRS staff who understand your disability and know the support you need – that can be very powerful,” Cheng added.
Acknowledging Cheng’s contributions to the Commission and Oklahomans with disabilities Wolfe stated, “You [Cheng] have done an incredible job setting the standard for what a Commission chair should be and accomplish – a great role model for me.
“I am looking forward to leading DRS and helping people with disabilities have unlimited opportunities to achieve their goals in our state,” Wolfe added.
Appointed by Oklahoma House of Representatives Speaker Charles McCall in July, banker and former Oklahoma state representative, Wes Hilliard was elected Commission vice chair.
For more information, visit okdrs.gov or call 800-845-8476.