The goal of this proposal is to train pre and postdoctoral students as well as AuD-PhD students to conduct translational research in communication disorders. Normal communication relies on the healthy functioning of several inter-related processes, including hearing and perception, cognition, motor planning and execution. Most communication disorders similarly reflect disruption of multiple components of these processes. This translational research training program aims to foster trainees'understanding of communication disorders from a broad perspective;to consider how all aspects of communication- sensory processing, linguistic and cognitive factors, and motor processes-interact in normal and disordered functioning and how our latest understanding of normal processes helps to design treatment processes. The proposed training program, led by 15 NIH-funded faculty members from the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, will combine traditional courses in our Ph.D. program, such as experimental design and methods and doctoral seminars, with new components such as case-based presentations and a translational seminar. The latter two experiences, taught by a rotating group of faculty throughout the academic year, will involve extensive discussion of both normal and disordered communication processes, allowing trainees with a background in basic or applied research to explore ways to extend their research to the solution of clinical problems. Trainees will be taught how to develop and assess new treatment procedures and treatments. Based on knowledge and experiences gained from participation in the presentations and seminars, trainees will write an NRSA research proposal, focused on translation of basic research to the understanding of communication disorders. Research ethics will be emphasized throughout. This program will produce young investigators who are not only skilled in basic and clinical research, but who also know how to design experiments to solve problems related to that disorder. Pre-doctoral trainees will be recruited nationally, from the CSD Department, and the Northwestern University Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program. Post-doctoral trainees will be recruited nationally from list-servs and advertisements. AuD-PhD trainees will be recruited from our AuD program. All trainees must demonstrate a commitment to translational research. Extensive outreach is planned to recruit under- represented minority trainees.
There is a dearth of well-trained researchers in the field of CSD, particularly for those capable of translational research. Thus, there is a strong demand for future research investigators who are able to apply our newest knowledge of normal function to development of treatments for clinical problems, which impact the well-being and quality of life of individuals with communication disorders. Well-trained investigators are needed in this field to address increasing demands for services at all age levels.
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