CSD faculty recognized as distinguished fellows


By: Brittany Bell
Creative Services Student Writer 

PHOTO: Cindy ODonoghue and Stacey Pavelko

Photo: Cindy O'Donoghue and Stacey Pavelko

The National Academies of Practice (NAP) is a non-profit organization of healthcare practitioners, including physicians, dentists, pharmacists, nurses, therapists and social workers, among others. Each year, the NAP recognizes healthcare professionals making distinguished contributions to their profession through a rigorous nomination and portfolio review process. This year, communication sciences and disorders (CSD) faculty Cynthia O’Donoghue and Stacey Pavelko are being inducted as Distinguished Fellows in Scholarship for their expertise in the field of speech-language pathology.

The NAP seeks to promote and facilitate interprofessional collaboration that works toward quality healthcare for all. Accordingly, NAP is an active advocate and advisory body to decision makers on health care policy in the U.S. and is dedicated to making quality healthcare affordable and accessible for all.

“It’s all about networks and building communities of people,” O’Donoghue said. “I just find that the more people you meet that are interested in improving the quality of lives and what we’re doing in the health arena, the more opportunities we have to do a better job and be better advocates for individuals that really need services. I’m really honored to have the recognition, I’m looking forward to it.” 

O’Donoghue is the department head for CSD. Her experiences in rehabilitation drive her research studies that focus on neurological impairments, specifically individuals with brain injury. “My research also involves work with interprofessional practice and how we can improve the care for individuals who have brain injuries,” O’Donoghue explained.

O’Donoghue was nominated as an NAP distinguished fellow by Edie Hapner, a professor of clinical otolaryngology-head and neck surgery, from the University of Southern California. O’Donoghue and Hapner have worked together on several professional committees for the American Speech, Language and Hearing Association.

O’Donoghue works with Cara Meixner, a graduate psychology professor, and several students on the Brain Injury Research Team (BIRT). Once people leave the hospital setting, it is important for them to continue receiving services, yet most survivors and families are limited in their options for continuing care. The BIRT team is committed to improving outcomes for brain injury survivors, their families and their communities through access to healthcare.

As for Pavelko, her research is focused on improving clinical practices for children with language impairments. Pavelko, the director for the undergraduate program in CSD, was nominated as a NAP distinguished fellow by colleague Carol Dudding. Pavelko and Dudding were recently awarded a CHBS Research Grant that will utilize a research tool Pavelko previously developed called Sampling Utterances and Grammatical Analysis Revised (SUGAR).  

SUGAR is a method for gathering language samples from school children. Using SUGAR allows children to demonstrate their language skills more completely, resulting in more accurate assessments. Pavelko’s newest research with Dudding will examine whether they can teach the SUGAR method to clinicians through the use of simulations.

 “The big part of my research is trying to improve clinical practices so that we more accurately identify children with language disabilities so that those children who truly need help get it,” said Pavelko. “We’re going to use simulations to see if that will be a way for clinicians to learn because that would be a lot easier, and we could potentially reach a lot more people that way.”

Although Pavelko’s research is focused on improving school-based practices instead of healthcare, her research is important to healthcare because individuals who struggle with language and literacy are not able to fully participate in their own healthcare.  “I was really surprised when Dudding talked to me about the nomination, and it really meant a lot to me,” said Pavelko. “The fact that not only did they consider me, but they selected me, it really shows that there are lots of professionals that really are embracing inter-professionalism and are committed to improving outcomes for all people.”

Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Back to Top

Related Articles