Prof. Henryk Skarzynski, M.D., Ph.D., dr. h.c. multi, is a world-renown otosurgeon, specialist in otorhinolaryngology, audiology and phoniatrics, pediatric otolaryngologist. Since 1996, the Director of the departmental Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing. Since 1994, National Specialist in Audiology, then National Consultant in Audiology and Phoniatrics, since 2011 National Consultant in Otorhinolaryngology. Professor Skarzynski is the first surgeon in Poland to perform cochlear implantation (1992), bone conduction implantation (1997), brainstem implantation (1998), and middle-ear implantation (2003).
In 1997, for the first time in the world he developed a classic partial deafness treatment and auditory debris preservation program. In 2002, for the first time in the world he operated the first adult patient with partial deafness, and in 2004 the first child with partial deafness. This method is considered a Polish specialty known as Skarzynski’s Method and it was implemented in numerous cochlear implant centers in the world. For the purpose of this method, Skarzynski developed a new electrode and new clinical procedure.
Together with Assistant Professor M. Góralówna, they were the first in Poland to start screening for early detection of hearing defects in newborns and infants (1993). In 1995-98, Professor Skarzynski headed the first such program in Poland, commissioned by the Minister of Health, which allowed him to make the greatest contribution to the development of the European Consensus in Milan (1998). Then, together with the IFPS team, he conducted screening of older children – in Poland (since 1999) and on 4 continents (since 2012). In 1996, Professor Skarzynski initiated the world’s first partial deafness treatment and auditory debris preservation program. He presented the results of the program, for the first time in the world, at the European Conference in Antwerp and the European Congress in Berlin (2000).
In addition, he introduced over 150 new clinical solutions, which contributed to the development of the field of auditory implants, otosurgery and audiology in Poland and in the world. Prof. Skarzynski initiated and organized the second in Europe Center for Deaf and Hearing Impaired People ‘Cochlear Center’ (1993), the departmental Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing (1996) and the World Hearing Center (1st part in 2003 and the 2nd part in 2012). Thanks to almost 3 decades of Prof. Skarzynski’s efforts, polish patients have access to the newest technologies as the first, or one of the first in the world. For 25 years Prof. Henryk Skarzynski himself, and for 17 years together with the whole team, have been performing the highest number of surgeries to improve hearing in the world. Moreover, he authored and co-authored 18 national and international patents.
Prof. Skarzynski authored and co-authored 3946 publications and 3557 scientific reports from foreign and national conferences, conventions and symposia. He leads an extensive teaching activity for students and physicians in Poland and abroad. Professor performed demonstration operations for over 4500 professors, department heads and other specialists during 57 special international otosurgical trainings called ‘Window Approach Workshop’, as well as, during continental and international conferences and conventions held in Kajetany and Warsaw. He carried out demonstration operations in over a dozen countries in Asia, South America and Europe – he conducted over 1000 of them. He chaired 2 continental and 3 international conventions, two of which were held for the first time in Europe.
He is Honorary Professor of Provo University, USA (1998), doctor honoris causa of the Academy of Special Education (2011), Warsaw University (2012), Maria Curie-Skłodowska University (2014). Associate Professor of the State Medical and Pharmaceutical University Nicolae Testemitanu in Moldova (2013), Honorary Professor of the National Center for Mother and Child in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan (2016).
Professor Skarzynski is a member of 22 most prestigious national and international scientific associations – Corresponding member of Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN), Chairman of the Committee of Clinical Sciences of PAN (2007-2020), and currently, Vice Chairman of this Committee, honorary member of the Society of Polish Otorhinolaryngologists, Phoniatrists and Audiologists, honorary member of the Slovak Society for Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, honorary member of the Danube Society of the Otorhinolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, and the Polish Medical Association. The first ever Polish member of the American Otological Society and the American Neurotology Society. Member of CORLAS, POLITZER, ISA, IAO, EAONO and EFAS. Member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts. He is also a member of the Central Committee for Degrees and Titles, the Scientific Council of the Ministry of Health, and the Head of the University Board of the Maria Grzegorzewska University.
Professor Skarzynski is the laureate of state honors – from Polish President, Polish Prime Minister, and Ministers: of Health, of Science and Higher Education, of Foreign Affairs, of Economy, of Education and Science, of Development, as well as numerous awards in the field of medicine and other prestigious honors in Poland and abroad. Professor was decorated with the Knight’s Cross and Order of Polonia Restituta by the President of the Republic of Poland, with two national orders by the king of Belgium, and also orders from the Presidents of Georgia and Ukraine. Honorary Citizen of Warsaw. On the 25th anniversary of the first free elections – Polish Freedom Day – Professor Skarzynski won the ‘Man of Freedom’ general plebiscite in the ‘science’ category. In 2018, Professor was awarded by the President of the Republic of Poland with the Medal of the Centenary of Regained Independence and by the Prime Minister with a ‘100th Anniversary of Regaining Independence’ medal and diploma. In 2019, he was awarded with White Eagle Promotional Emblem and awarded by the Prime Minister with the honorary badge ‘For contribution to inventiveness’.
Treating total and partial deafness with implant surgeries performed by Prof. Skarżyński was also recognized in the plebiscite ‘Science is Freedom’, organized by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, as the most important scientific event of the last 25 years.
Professor Skarżyński has been awarded by various communities: e.g. Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Medal, granted by Pope Francis, the Primate’s Medal granted by His Eminence Archbishop Wojciech Polak the Primate of Poland and the Medal ‘For merits to the Archdiocese of Warsaw’ awarded by His Eminence Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz. Prof. Skarzynski was also awarded with the International Chapters of the Order of Smile and the ECCE HOMO Medal. Since 2001, Prof. H. Skarżyński has been consistently among the 100 most influential people in Polish medicine and health care in the ‘Puls Medycyny’ magazine ranking: he was 11 times in the top ten – twice in the first place and four times in the second. In addition, Prof. Skarzynski received the title of the Golden Engineer and then the Honorary Engineer from the Polish technical community. From among approximately 400 awards granted by various communities, there are: Business Mace awarded by the Polish-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce, Special Honorary Pearl awarded by the editors of ‘Polish Market’, the title of ‘Outstanding Pole’ awarded by the Chapter of the ‘Teraz Polska’ Competition, Medal of the National Education Committee, Medal of the Senate of the Republic of Poland, Medal of M. Kopernik awarded by the Presidium of Polish Academy of Science, Medal of Prof. Jan Nielubowicz of the District Medical Council in Warsaw, the title ‘Benevolenti’ for supporting pro-social initiatives of the Pro Seniore Foundation, Medal of Tytus Chałubiński, ‘Bene Meritus’ Badge, LAUDABILIS award granted by the District Medical Council and the title ‘Trustworthy’ for special merits for the benefit of the Medical Self-Government, Medal Gloria Medicinae and honorary membership awarded for outstanding services for medicine by the Polish Medical Association, the statuette of the Wiktor Television Academy in the category of Personality of Science and Culture, Honorary Oscar of 20th anniversary of Polish Business, the main award in Washington at the ’21st Century Achievement Award Winners’ in the category of healthcare for the Remote Fitting and Tele-rehabilitation System, which ensures constant remote care for implant users, Special Prize and Medal of Professor Zbigniew Religa granted by the Foundation for Children ‘Zdążyć z Pomocą’ (On time with help). For merits and cooperation, Professor Skarzynski was also awarded with medals by the University of Warsaw, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Warsaw Medical University, Warsaw and Gdansk University of Technology, Fryderyk Chopin University of Music, Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin and Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw.
On behalf of Polish science and medicine, Prof. Skarzynski and his team have undertaken the organization of screening programs in more than 20 countries in Asia, Europe, Africa and South America.
In 2012, Prof. Skarzynski and his team won the Gold Medal and the Prix Galien, one of the most important competitions in the world, rewarding most innovative breakthroughs in pharmacy, medicine and the wide field of health care in Monte Carlo for almost half a century. In 2016, during the 14th International Conference on Cochlear Implants and Other Implantable Technologies – CI2016 in Toronto, the international scientific community awarded Prof. Henryk Skarżyński, among four people, with the highest recognition of the international community for his extraordinary contributions to development of science and medicine and ensuring optimal opportunities for interpersonal communication in modern societies.
Prof. Skarzynski is the initiator and originator of the largest preventive project – Multidisciplinary Program for Counteracting the Diseases of Civilization and Health Support for Poles ‘Health First’, which has been carried out since 2016.
In 2011, he was the main initiator for signing scientific European consensus on detection of hearing, sight and speech defects in Warsaw, which was endorsed and adopted by the EU Council as the ‘EU Council Conclusions on early detection and treatment of communication disorders in children, including the use of E-Health tools and innovative solutions’.
The greatest achievement in scientific, clinical and didactic activities was the concept creation, construction and the launch of the World Hearing Center – the world’s largest scientific and clinical center, where since 17 years, the highest number of hearing improvement operations in the world is being conducted by the team of the Centre. Prof. Skarzynski himself performed over 210 thousand of these surgeries.
In 2019, on stage of the Warsaw Chamber Opera, the musical ‘Interrupted Silence’ presented life stories of his patients, heroes, in part played by themselves. Prof. Skarzynski is the author of the libretto to this musical. Currently, he is preparing two screenplays on the challenges of interpersonal communication in modern society.
Since 6 years, he has been organizing the International Festival for Children, Youth and Adults with Hearing Disorders ‘Beats of Cochlea’ and participated with its laureates in 2018 and 219 special sessions of the European Parliament.