The long-term goal of this training program is to prepare successful researchers in Communication Sciences. The number of doctoral graduates in that field falls far short of the need in academics. Given a growing need for health care professionals in speech- language pathology and in audiology, this shortage could have devastating effects on the training of professionals in this field. Moreover, the need for research to support clinical efforts is crucial. Several factors contribute to the shortage of doctoral graduates: 1) the relatively small number of research training programs;2) lack of financial support for doctoral students;and 3) difficulties faced by graduates in establishing a program of research in academic settings. The proposed training program will address these problems by supporting interdisciplinary training of individuals with interests in communication studies, broadly defined. Trainees will be recruited from the departments of Electrical Engineering, Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, Psychology, Rehabilitation Sciences, and Speech and Hearing Sciences, as well as the Graduate Program in Neurobiology and Behavior. The proposed preceptors are accomplished scientists with well funded laboratories and international reputations. Fields of inquiry represented include auditory development, auditory perception and learning, auditory physiology, animal communication, cochlear implants, genetics, language development, language science and disorders, signal processing, speech motor control, speech perception, and voice. The proposed program will support 6 predoctoral trainees and 1 postdoctoral trainee. Trainees will interact with each other and with preceptors in a variety of venues, including formal presentations and colloquiua, seminars, and required coursework, to ensure broad exposure to the discipline. Trainees will develop the skills necessary for a successful career in research through courses in grant writing, responsible conduct of research and career development. The postdoctoral training program will recruit PhDs who are specifically interested in cross-disciplinary training. Interdisciplinary training will better prepare students in Speech and Hearing Sciences to become successful researchers and to compete for research funding. By exposing trainees from related fields to the issues that are central to Speech and Hearing Sciences, we hope to attract researchers to the field and to familiarize researchers with potential applications of their approach to communication sciences and disorders.
Congenital and acquired deficits in language, speech and hearing are common problems. Research is needed to understand the nature of these deficits, to develop accurate diagnostic procedures and to optimize treatment. The proposed program will support the training of the scientists who will carry out that research.
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