This is a resubmission of our renewal proposal requesting an additional five years of T35 funding to support a three-month summer training program at the National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research (NCRAR) for students enrolled in a Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) clinical degree program. We request funding to cover four students annually for the duration of the grant. Gabrielle Saunders, Ph.D. will be the Program Director. She will be assisted by an Advisory Committee. The long-term objective of our program is to increase the number of individuals with a clinical Au.D. who go on to pursue a Ph.D. and a career in research audiology. The NCRAR is a VA-funded research center consisting of 15 Ph.D. investigators, 12 of whom are T-35 faculty. NCRAR research focuses on diagnosis, rehabilitation and prevention of auditory disorders through human studies, through translational and applied studies, many of which use clinical methodologies to obtain data. It thus has particular appeal and application to the clinical Au.D. students, for whom the program is designed. During the summer, each student works with their mentor to design and conduct a research project, while also working in their mentor's laboratory, attending courses held by NCRAR faculty and guests, participating in NCRAR journal groups, meetings and seminars, holding discussions with each NCRAR Investigator, attending a summer audiology conference and visiting other local research facilities. Finally, students are required to present their mentored research project to members of the NCRAR, and at the American Auditory Society annual meeting. They are also encouraged to work with their mentor to publish the findings of this project. All students enrolled in an accredited Au.D. program are eligible to participate. The program is publicized via mailings to Au.D. Department Chairs, on the NCRAR website, and at audiology conferences throughout the year. To apply, students must send a statement of interest describing what they hope to gain from the traineeship, curriculum vitae, at least two letters of recommendation and an applicant evaluation form completed by their Au.D. program advisor. Applications are evaluated by the NCRAR faculty using undergraduate GPA, letters of recommendation, the content of their personal statement and the applicant evaluation form as metrics. To date, 20 students have participated in the NCRAR T35 training program. Twelve of the past trainees have now graduated from their Au.D. programs. Four of our past students are now enrolled in Ph.D. programs, two are research audiologists, and the others have chosen a clinical pathway. These data, combined with highly positive evaluations from participating students, Au.D. program faculty (see letters of support), and the NCRAR faculty demonstrates that our program successfully accomplishes the goals of the NIH T35 training program, which is to increase the number of Au.D. graduates pursuing a career in auditory research.

Public Health Relevance

This is a resubmission of a renewal proposal requesting five more years of funding to support four Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) students annually to participate in a summer research training program at the National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research (NCRAR), in the hope that some will then consider a career in auditory research. Only a few Au.D. programs provide research training and experience for their students. As a result, many recent graduates have not received any research training. The T35 training program at the NCRAR will provide Au.D. student participants with an understanding of the relevance and importance of research for development of evidence-based audiological clinical practice, and will encourage some to pursue a career in auditory research.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
NRSA Short -Term Research Training (T35)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZDC1-SRB-R (37))
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Rivera-Rentas, Alberto L
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Portland VA Research Foundation, Inc.
United States
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Billings, Curtis J; Penman, Tina M; Ellis, Emily M et al. (2016) Phoneme and Word Scoring in Speech-in-Noise Audiometry. Am J Audiol 25:75-83
Pursley, Alyssa J; Saunders, Gabrielle H (2016) Knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, and noise exposure of baristas. Int J Audiol 55:184-8
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Silverman, ShienPei; Cates, Megan; Saunders, Gabrielle (2011) Is measured hearing aid benefit affected by seeing baseline outcome questionnaire responses? Am J Audiol 20:90-9
Gladd, Dana K; Saunders, Gabrielle H (2011) Ambient noise levels in the chemotherapy clinic. Noise Health 13:444-51