The Roxelyn and Richard Pepper Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) was recently awarded a training grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Starting Fall, 2009, this prestigious award will provide funding over the next five years for additional predoctoral students and postdoctoral trainees, as well as summer funding for an AuD student who plans to continue in the Ph.D. program. The increased number of training slots will help meet the strong industry-wide demand for future research investigators who are able to apply the newest knowledge of normal function to the development of treatments for communication disorders.
The proposed training program that merited this funding will place greater emphasis on training doctoral students to conduct translational research on communication disorders. Translational research, as defined by the NIH, is where "scientific discoveries must be translated into practical applications." The goal of the new translational research training program is to foster trainees' understanding of communication disorders from a broad perspective; to train them to consider how all aspects of communication—sensory processing, linguistics and cognitive factors, and motor processes—interact in normal and disordered functioning, and how research addressing normal processes helps to design treatment processes.
Two highlights of the new program, case-based presentations and translational seminars, will provide venues for examining selected sensory, cognitive or motor disorders from various perspectives, ranging from the physiology of normal systems to the diagnosis and potential treatment of the given disorder. One outcome of these discussions will be the generation of ideas for experiments that may elucidate the relationship not only between basic processes and clinical strategies, but also across the sensory, cognitive and motor domains.
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