UPDATE: Council for Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation

CAOHC Council Members Recognize an Influential Leader

Bruce Kirchner

“I’ve always been interested in being a good leader. I was fortunate to have those skills,” said Donald (Bruce) Kirchner in response to the accolades he got from other members on the CAOHC Council. Bruce’s term ended from the Council after 10 years in various leadership roles.

“It gets down to playing on the playground,” he said. “Baseball, volleyball, any kind of sports, is where it all starts. It’s how you learn to work with others and bring out their best.

“One of the issues surrounding leadership is that people take on leading roles to satisfy their own egos rather than having a genuine interest in what’s good for the whole team”, said Bruce. “It’s best to stand back and observe the team, then try to mold circumstances to get the best out of everyone. Good leaders make sure everyone else is taken care of first. When you are considerate of everyone’s welfare, that’s what earns you respect.

“In any leading role, you can’t just pick and choose when you want to be in charge, you have to act with respect all the time. Leadership is a learned activity. It is a trial and error thing. You start with small things. You lean on experienced people. Some experienced people have a lot of knowledge but don’t necessarily have the leadership skills. In that case, you’ll need to take in the information and figure out the best way to implement it.

“Pointing out and encouraging good leadership skills in other people is how to develop and mentor other leaders,” said Bruce. He has been a mentor and champion of all things hearing conservation-related for many years. Along the way, he mentored Council members, made life-long connections and provided the calm voice of reason through many excited discussions.

In the classroom of hearing conservation leadership, Bruce is well known in his role as the chair of the Professional Supervisor committee and as an instructor of the course. He served as the Chair of this committee for a majority of his tenure. “I am the most proud of how many Professional Supervisor (PS) courses I’ve taught both domestically and abroad,” he said. Bruce has had a hand in teaching more than 60% of all PS courses CAOHC has conducted in North America, Mexico and Peru since 2010. “It’s very gratifying to have done that,” Bruce said. “Working on the CAOHC council was also very fulfilling.”

 “The CAOHC Council is a very unique organization in that you have nine different professional organizations, representing six different disciplines, that come together to devise ways to ultimately prevent occupational hearing loss,” said Bruce. “I really enjoyed working with this group. I appreciate that the members left their egos and disciplines at the door and came to the table with an open mind. This is so rare to see this in a volunteer organization, but people were willing to roll up their sleeves and get hard work done.

“This Council is a great team – it’s a true team. We all have a mission and we’re all going in the same direction. When we’re in a room together, we’re focused on how we can get the work done. It’s a beautiful thing when it works. And it does!”

Donald (Bruce) Kirchner, MD MPH CPS/A, began his term on the CAOHC Council in 2009 and served two five-year terms. In the fall of 2013, he became Chair of the Council and served until the fall of 2015. He continued on as Past Chair until the fall of 2017.

Additionally, Bruce served on the OHC Exam Performance committee to monitor and recommend the exam item performance. As chair of the Professional Supervisor committee Bruce led the committee to revise the exam, standardize the curriculum and with work of an on-line version of the Professional Supervisor course.

The CAOHC Council was very fortunate to have benefited from Bruce’s many professional contributions and his strong sense of community spirit. He will be missed, but not forgotten.

Opinions expressed in the UPDATE newsletter are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect official CAOHC policy.