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Board 13: Work in Progress: Pilot Shadowing Experiences to Introduce Engineering Students to Speech-Language Pathology

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Biomedical Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Biomedical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Todd Freeborn University of Alabama

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Todd Freeborn, PhD, is an assistant professor with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The University of Alabama. His current research focuses on techniques to collect and analyze the electrical impedance of biological tissues and their potential applications.

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Memorie Gosa University of Alabama

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Memorie M. Gosa is a pediatric speech-language pathologist and board certified specialist in swallowing and swallowing disorders. She is an assistant professor at The University of Alabama and maintains a clinical caseload at The University of Alabama Speech and Hearing Center and Druid City Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Dr. Gosa has published and presented nationally and internationally on the topic of pediatric dysphagia diagnosis and management. Her research focuses on establishing the efficacy of common diagnostic and treatment methods used in the assessment and management of pediatric dysphagia.

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Speech language pathology is an applied behavioral science that specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of communication, cognitive, voice, and swallowing disorders. Speech-language pathologists receive hundreds of hours of clinical training to be competent service providers. Speech-language pathologists know first hand the many opportunities to improve diagnostic accuracy and patient outcomes through technology applications. In contrast, engineering students receive intensive training that prepares them to actively contribute biomedical innovations to further diagnostic and therapeutic accuracy and effectiveness in health disciplines, including speech language pathology. Unfortunately, in current training programs, most undergraduate students in speech-language pathology and engineering programs never meet, much less have an opportunity to collaborate. Without these interactions, students fail to understand the complimentary skillsets in each discipline. Education in disciplinary silos does not advance either profession, but is the current standard of practice across most programs. Interprofessional education practices are encouraged for all healthcare disciplines, but difficult to put into practice. As a result, faculty from the Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Communicative Disorders at XXXXX are working to bridge the gap between these two groups towards improving collaboration at both faculty and student levels. At the student level, shadowing experiences were piloted that had engineering students shadow clinicians and student-clinicians at the YYYYY at XXXXX during their client/therapy sessions. Students had the opportunity to observe therapies related to articulation, voice treatment, fluency, and motor speech. For each session, students were tasked with i) investigating the type of therapy they would be observing, ii) recording details of the procedures and clinician/patient interactions during each session they felt would be helpful for developing clinically relevant tools, and iii) reflecting on why it is important for engineers to interact with clinicians and patients. After completion of all the shadowing sessions, a focus group was run with the participating students to review their experiences, present to each other what they had learned, brainstorm as a group how engineers can support clinicians, and discuss how the shadowing sessions could be improved for future iterations. In this work an overview of the logistical elements to pilot this program, a summary of the student feedback from the written reflections and focus groups, and future plans for the program will be presented.

Freeborn, T., & Gosa, M. (2018, June), Board 13: Work in Progress: Pilot Shadowing Experiences to Introduce Engineering Students to Speech-Language Pathology Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--29918

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