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Announcements & Accolades

We have two newly-named Board-Certified Specialists on our faculty! Tricia Hedinger is now a Board-Certified Specialist in Fluency and Fluency Disorders. Through the application process, Ms. Hedinger demonstrated a minimum of 450 hours of direct service with people who stutter, 100 hours of continuing education related to stuttering, 3 letters of reference, successful completion of 3 case studies including six separate videos, a philosophy statement, and evidence of service to people who stutter. In addition, Ms. Hedinger was recently nominated to serve on the Board of Directors of the National Stuttering Association.

Jennifer Wilson is now a Board-Certified Specialist in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders. Through the application process, Ms. Wilson demonstrated a minimum of 350 clock hours of evaluation and/or treatment of swallowing disorders within a year for each of 3 years, at least 75 hours of continuing education related to dysphagia within the last 3 years, and documentation of advanced level skills in swallowing and swallowing disorders demonstrating achievement of the highest standard of excellence, professionalism, and commitment to continuous advanced learning.

Through their hard work and expertise, both Ms. Hedinger and Ms. Wilson have increased the visibility and stature of ASP and UTHSC. Congratulations!

Congratulations to Jennifer Wilson, Amanda Simmons (PhD student), and Dr. Jillian McCarthy for their article, “Pediatric Dysphagia: Survey Results Describing Speech-Language Pathologists' Education and Experience”, which was featured in the January 2020 edition of Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups.

We are so proud of PhD student, Amanda Simmons, who was accepted to participate in the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s Teaching Symposium in May. The symposium’s goal is to enhance foundational education in the Communication Sciences and Disorders field using evidence-based teaching strategies, including innovative instruction and high-impact learning practices. Only 56 individuals across the nation are chosen to participate.

Kudos to several of our faculty who received a 2020 Maturation Grant from the UT Research Foundation. The Foundation recognizes “researchers whose innovations better society.” Each of the teams shown below were awarded a 2020 Maturation Grant.  Drs. Patti Johnstone, Kelly Yeager, and Molly Erickson and Ms Emily Noss received the award for their “Pediatric Auditory Recognition Test”. Drs. Jillian McCarthy and Michael Berry (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science) received one for “Vocabulary Coordinator (VocaCoord): A Speech to Text Solution to Accessing Academic Vocabulary.”

Congratulations to Professor Emerita Dr. Ilsa Schwarz and Dr. Jillian McCarthy for receiving a U.S. Department of Education interdisciplinary training grant for a 5-year project entitled, “Interdisciplinary Preparation of Speech-Language Pathologists and Educators of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing to Improve Early Language and Pre-Literacy Outcomes for Young Children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.”  This project will train graduate students in speech-language pathology and education of the deaf/hard of hearing to work with children who are deaf/hard of hearing on improving the early language and code-based pre-literacy skills. Drs. Dave Smithand Kimberly Wolbers of UTK’s Center on Deafness are also co-directing the project, with the assistance of ASP’sJulie Beeler.  In addition, a host of departmental faculty will serve as campus-based supervisors, as well several community-based speech-language pathologists and teachers of the deaf/hard-of-hearing. 

AGBell’s Volta Voices recently featured an article written by Velvet Buehler and AGBell’s Gayla Guignard. The article, entitled “3 by 3: Grade-Level Reading by the End of Third Grade”, discusses the importance of reaching grade-level reading for children who are deaf and hard of hearing. Great work!

Many thanks to Dr. Christine Yoshinaga-Itano from University of Colorado Boulder and Dr. Myriam DeLa Asunción and Mr. Michael Douglas from Med-El for being our featured presenters at the 7th Annual Tom Davidson Conference. Their presentations focused on cultural and linguistic diversity in our patient populations. ASP’s Drs. Patti Johnstone and  Nola Radford spoke to the group over lunch about clinical ethics and multiculturalism. Conference resources and presentations can found on our Continuing Education Page. It was a fantastic day of learning!

Congratulations to Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Education in Audiology, Dr. Patti Johnstone, who was recently elected by her peers across the United States to serve on the Audiology Advisory Council for the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). The Council identifies critical issues of concern to the professions and advises the ASHA Board of Directors regarding programs and services that should be provided for members and supported by Association resources. Dr. Johnstone has an impressive background in research, teaching, service delivery, and practice management. Undoubtedly, she will represent the state of Tennessee well, as she begins her 3-year term on the Council beginning January 1, 2020.

Congratulations to Drs. Katie Faulkner, Patrick Plyler, Mary Easterday, and Ms. Teresa Slade for their recently accepted manuscript, "The Relationship Between Auditory and Visual Noise Acceptance in Normal Hearing Listeners." This paper will be published in the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology.   Dr. Easterday is a PhD student in our program and Teresa Slade is a rising 3rd year AuD student. The preliminary data for the study were originally collected as part of Teresa's undergraduate honors thesis. Drs. Faulkner, Plyler, and Easterday continued with data collection on the project and this paper is the result of their combined efforts.

Congratulations to Elissa Doll for placing third in the Exhibition of Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement (EUREcA) Competition with her study, Patient Perception and Clinician Ratings of Voice Disorder Severity.  Elissa is a senior majoring in speech pathology in the College of Education Health and Human Sciences and will be a second-year graduate student in speech pathology in the fall. She completed her research project as part of an undergraduate honors class, and presented her findings at the competition last week. Way to go, Elissa.

The 25th Annual Sol Adler Memorial Conference was attended by more than 200 enthusiastic students, faculty, and community providers.  Many thanks to our keynote speaker, Dr. Kerry Proctor-Williams from East Tennessee State University, who taught us about speech-language and academic outcomes of children who are prenatally exposed to drugs.  Additionally, our audience participated in question/answer sessions with a panel of local experts on the topic:  Patricia Zetterberg from East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Caleb Corwin with Cherokee Health Systems, Teresa Stafford from Tennessee Department of Child Services, Jeffrey Wright with Knox County Schools, Tiffani Dixon with Emory Valley Center, and Sarah Brewer from UT Medical Center.  It was an excellent opportunity to expand our knowledge on how to better serve this population of children.

Congratulations to Dr. Mark Hedrick and Kristin Thornton and co-authors Drs. Kelly Yeager, Patrick Plyler, Patti Johnstone, Kevin Reilly and Cary Springer on their recent publication, “The Use of Static and Dynamic Cues for Vowel Identification by Children Wearing Cochlear Implants”, in Ear and Hearing.  This was a very ambitious project that Kristen completed as part of her PhD  program.  The complexity of the project required the expertise of many individuals from the department.  Great work, team!

Dr. Eun Jin Paek recently received good news that two of her recent peer-reviewed manuscripts have been accepted for publication.  The first in-press paper by Dr. Paek and co-authors L. Murray, S. Newman, and D. Kim is titled “Test-retest reliability in an fMRI study of naming in dementia” in Brain and Language.  The second article Dr. Paek teamed with L. Murray to author “A Novel Cognitive-Linguistic Approach to Addressing Developmental Reading Disorders: A Pilot Study” in Communication Sciences & Disorders.  Congratulations to Dr. Paek and her colleagues on their great work!

We are pleased to announce that PhD student, Donguk Lee, recently received a Resident and Graduate Student Mentored Research Travel Award from the National Institutes of Health-National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.  As part of this award, Donguk will present his first year research project titled, “Acceptable Noise and Preferred Listening Levels for Speech and Music” at the American Auditory Society in Scottsdale, Arizona in February.  Co-authors on the presentation are Donguk’s faculty mentors, Drs. Patti Johnstone, James Lewis, and Patrick Plyler.


Great news!  A paper from the Human Auditory Physiology Lab(HAPLAB) has been accepted for publication in Experimental Brain Research.  Authored by Dr. Andy Bowers (a PhD grad), DrTim Saltuklaroglu, Dr. Ashley Harkrider, Dr. David Jenson (recent PhD grad), and David Thornton (current PhD student), the paper entitled,  Power and phase coherence in sensorimotor mu and temporal lobe alpha components during covert and overt syllable productionreports data collected in the HAPLAB by our interdisciplinary research team and analyzed by Dr. Bowers at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.  This fruitful collaboration between alumni and current faculty members continues to produce peer-reviewed data of interest to a broad scientific audience studying neurophysiology in the US and abroad. Congratulations to Dr. Bowers and his co-authors.

A manuscript, "Sex differences in early sensorimotor processing for speech discrimination," by David Thornton, Ashley Harkrider, David Jenson, and Tim Saltuklaroglu recently was accepted for publication in the journal Nature, Scientific Reports. These data were collected by David Thornton under the mentorship of Drs. Harkrider and Saltuklaroglu to fulfill the requirements of his second research project towards the earning of his PhD degree.  Congratulations to David and the entire Human Auditory Physiology Lab team!

Congratulations to Vickie Barnes who was recognized by the Tennessee Academy of Audiology and Speech Language Pathology with one of their most prestigious awards, the Lifetime Achievement Award. Everyone in the department agrees that Vickie is well deserving of this honor. It is wonderful to see the state that she has served so tirelessly for well over 30 years recognize the lasting impact of her contributions to families and children. Thank you, Vickie, for representing our Department, College, University, and professions in such a remarkable way.

Congratulations to Drs. Tim Saltuklaroglu, Ashley Harkrider, Devin Casenhiser, Kevin Reilly, David Jenson, Andy Bowers, and Ph.D. student David Thornton for the acceptance of their invited, peer-reviewed manuscript entitled, “EEG mu rhythms: Rich sources of sensorimotor information in speech processing” to the journal Brain and Language. This paper highlights the usefulness of EEG mu rhythm activity in elucidating the role of sensorimotor processing in speech, with supporting data culminating from research completed by current ASP faculty, matriculated PhD students (Jenson & Bowers), and a current student (Thornton) over the last 5 years.  Super work! 

Thank you to Dr. David Haynes, Director of the Department of Otolaryngology, Neurosurgery, and Hearing and Speech Sciences at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, for being our featured presenter at the 6th Annual Tom Davidson Conference.  Dr. Haynes shared his experiences in establishing and growing a cochlear implant program as well as considerations in the management of chronic ear diseases.  ASP’s own Dr. Patti Johnstone and cochlear implant representatives Dr. Lindsey Early and Ms. Taylor Sands also presented about research and advancements in cochlear implants.  Some of the presentations can found on our Continuing Education Page.  It was an informative day!

Congratulations to Dr. Sue Hume who, with co-authors Drs. Ilsa Schwarz and Mark Hedrick, recently had her paper “Preliminary Investigation of the Use of Phonological Awareness Paired With Production Training in Childhood Apraxia of Speech” published in ASHA Perspectives this month. Great work!

Congratulations to Dr. Molly Erickson who has a publication, entitled “Inexperienced Listeners’ Perception of Timbre Dissimilarity Within and Between Voice Categories” accepted to the Journal of Voice. This manuscript is the epitome of persistence pays off, as Dr. Erickson was able to collect additional data on a small number of highly experienced listeners to provide ratings of stimuli she used to collect data on inexperienced listeners years ago. Way to go!

Congratulations to Dr. Molly Erickson and co-author and former PhD student Payton Philips for their paper “Can Listeners Hear Who Is Singing? The Role of Listener Experience in Singer Discrimination Across Pitch” which has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Voice. Great work!

We welcome Jestina Bunch to our faculty as an Assistant Professor on the non-tenure track.  Jestina has been on staff with us for some time in the role of Demonstration Teacher, specializing in aural (re)habilitation with patients who have hearing loss.  Congratulations!

Congratulations to Dr. Mary Easterday (PhD student) and her faculty mentors, Drs. Patrick Plyler, Steve Doettl, and James Lewis, on the acceptance of their paper, "Effect of Intensity Level and Speech Stimulus Type on the Vestibulo-Ocular Reflex" in the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology.  These translational data are the result of Mary’s 2nd research project towards the fulfillment of her PhD program criteria and will impact clinical protocols for vestibular assessment.  Way to go, all!

Kudos to our own Dr. Eun Jin Paek for receiving the Advancing Academic-Research Careers (AARC) Award from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)! The AARC Award, a highly-competitive award given to only 10 individuals across the nation each year, is intended to support the academic-research careers of junior-level faculty in the field of communication sciences and disorders (CSD). The AARC Award supports mentored activities in both teaching and research. Dr. Paek will be honored for this achievement at the ASHA conference in Boston in November. Thank you, Dr. Paek, for representing UTHSC so well!

The UT Board of Trustees officially approved Dr. Kelly Yeager's promotion to Professor. The rank of Professor is the highest possible academic promotion and is awarded only to individuals who have served their institution with the highest distinction and earned and demonstrated a national/international reputation in their area(s) of expertise. Dr. Yeager has done both. One of the external reviewers who reviewed her dossier put it best when she said, “Dr. Yeager has remained on the cutting-edge of doctoral education in audiology, serving as a life-long learner and contributor” to her institution and the profession while “successfully educating the leaders of tomorrow.” This is a tremendous accomplishment. Congratulations Dr. Yeager!

Congratulations to Dr. Patrick Plyler, Dr. Mary Easterday (also an ASP Ph.D. student), and Thomas Behrens (from Oticon) on their recently accepted manuscript entitled, "The Effects of Extended Input Dynamic Range on Laboratory and Field-Trial Evaluations in Adult Hearing Aid Users." These data resulted from a grant Dr. Plyler received from Oticon and will be published in the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology.

Several ASP faculty and staff were featured presenters at the 2018 Building Best Practice Early Intervention Conference in Murfreesboro. Leanne Widmer presented "What CAN the Early Interventionist (EI) do to Help with Feeding?" and Vickie Barnes and Lydia Barry presented "Talking Should Be Easy, Right?". Impressive representation of our department!

Congratulations to Dr. Sue Hume and Allison Wegman on their article published in ASHA LEADER Live about the importance of protecting the voices of our teachers, highlighting strategies for doing so, and celebrating World Voice Day. See the full article here. 

Dr. Kenn Apel, professor and chair of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of South Carolina, was ASP’s featured speaker for the annual Sol Adler Conference, which was attended by more than 100 people from around the region. Dr. Apel provided important information about literacy and spelling in his presentation entitled, “It’s All About Word Study: A Multi-Linguistic Approach to Literacy Instruction.” We appreciate Dr. Apel for enthusiastically sharing his expertise on the subject!

Congratulations to Tiffani Kittilstved, Drs.. Reilly, Casenhiser, Harkrider, Bowers, and Saltuklaroglu, Tricia Hedinger, and David Thornton and David Jenson on their manuscript entitled “The effects of fluency enhancing conditions on sensorimotor control of speech in typically fluent speakers: An EEG mu rhythm study,” which was recently accepted for publication in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. These data resulted from Ms. Kittilstved’s master’s thesis.

Congratulations to Dr. James Lewis who recently had the following manuscript accepted for publication:  The area discontinuity between probe and ear canal as a source of power-reflectance measurement-location variability in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.

Dr. Erin Plyler and Jestina Bunch provided an in-service on auditory processing (AP) disorders to the Episcopal School of Knoxville, who specifically requested the training for their educators.  The presentation focused on the red flags of AP disorders, knowing when to seek an evaluation, and strategies for the classroom.

Thank you to Vince Vawter, who was the guest of honor at ASP’s “An Evening with Vince Vawter”. Vawter, a Louisville, Tennessee resident and author of Newbery award-winning novel “Paperboy”, spoke about his book, his experiences with stuttering, and his future creative plans to a room-full of community members, students, and faculty.

Congratulations to Dr. James Lewis who was awarded a CORNET Clinical Award from the UTHSC Office of Research for his collaborative grant proposal entitled, “Defining and predicting outcomes of congenital Cytomegalovirus infection.”   Dr. Steve Goodman, Vice Chancellor for Research at UTHSC wrote in the award letter, “Your team’s submission was chosen from a large and very competitive field of impressive applications from your fellow UTHSC colleagues. As the Vice Chancellor for Research, I wanted to let you know that Dr. Sam Dagogo-Jack, UTHSC, and myself are proud of your accomplishment and are very excited about this collaboration. We wish you every success in your research program.”

Angie Orr just completed an educational series on safe swallowing in senior adults to the Karns and Halls Senior Centers. After each presentation, Ms. Orr offered free swallowing screens to those interested. The series was so successful that Ms. Orr has been invited to return for additional educational presentations this summer.

Many thanks to David Levine, PT, PhD, DPT, Diplomate ABPTS (Orthopedics), CCRP, Cert. DN, Professor and Walter M. Cline Chair of Excellence in Physical Therapy at UT Chattanooga and Henry G. Spratt, Jr., Ph.D., Professor in Biology, Geology, & Environmental Science at UT Chattanooga for an excellent presentation titled, “Healthcare-associated Infections and Prevention Strategies in Clinical Settings”.  The lecture was attended by a host of UTHSC faculty, staff, and graduate students as well as community-based providers.


Congratulations to Dr. James Lewis who recently had a paper accepted by the Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology called “Synchronized Spontaneous Otoacoustic Emissions Provide a Signal-to-Noise Ratio Advantage in Medial-Olivocochlear Reflex Assays.”

Congratulations to Drs.. Patrick Plyler, Brittney Tardy (recent ASP AuD grad), and Dr. Mark Hedrick on their manuscript "The Effects of Non-Linear Frequency Compression and Digital Noise Reduction on Word Recognition and Satisfaction Ratings in Noise in Adult Hearing Aid Users" recently accepted for publication in the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology.

Congratulations to Dr. Jill McCarthy and her co-authors Dr. Mark Hedrick and Cary Springer for the recent acceptance of their manuscript entitled, “Relations between Speech Production, Speech Perception, and Spelling in Children with Complex Communication Needs: A Preliminary Examination.” in the December edition of Speech, Language and Hearing.

Dr. Mark Gaylord, a long-standing member of ASP’s Community Development Board selected as one of UTHSC College of Medicine’s 2017 Outstanding Alumni
Congratulations to Ph.D. student, Ms. Jessica Defenderfer, on her manuscript, “Investigating the Role of Temporal Lobe Activation in Speech Perception Accuracy with Normal Hearing Adults: An Event-Related fNIRS Study”, recently accepted for publication in Neuropsychologia.  Her faculty mentors on this research project and co-authors on the publication are Dr. Mark Hedrick, and Dr. Aaron Buss and Anastasia Kerr-Germain (both from Psychology).  This is another great example of successful interprofessional collaboration!  
Welcome to Ms. Angie Orr, MA., CCC-SLP, who was recently hired as clinical Assistant Professor.   Ms. Orr is an expert in the area of swallowing/FEES (among other areas) and brings a wealth of clinical and educational experience to our SLP program. 
Congratulations to Dr. Kevin Reilly whose latest manuscript, "Vowel generalization and its relation to adaptation during perturbations of auditory feedback,” was recently accepted for publication by the Journal of Neurophysiology.  His co-author is a former thesis student of his from Northeastern.

Last Published: Mar 6, 2020