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Tharpe, Woynaroski honored by speech sciences association

Sep. 12, 2019, 10:11 AM


by Kelsey Herbers

Two faculty members from Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences have been recognized with annual awards from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), VUMC’s credentialing organization.

Anne Marie Tharpe, PhD

Anne Marie Tharpe, PhD, chair of the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences and associate director of the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center, received the Honors of the Association, which acknowledges members whose contributions to the discipline of communication sciences have enhanced or altered the course of the professions.

The award is the highest honor the association bestows, and members are encouraged to nominate individuals who are well-known nationally and globally for a lifetime of innovative clinical practice, insightful research and outstanding teaching.

Tharpe’s primary research emphasis has been in furthering understanding of the developmental impact of hearing loss on young children, especially children with minimal bilateral or unilateral loss. Her most recent work focused on the impact of hearing technology interventions on caregiver and child behavior and processing of sound during sleep.

Tharpe has received approximately $8 million in training grant funds to support graduate students in the department and has served as guest faculty at numerous institutions across the U.S. and in the United Kingdom, China, Singapore and Hong Kong.

“It is humbling to be honored by one’s professional peers in this way. I have been quite fortunate throughout my career to work with a number of exceptional people who have mentored and worked alongside me. Those relationships have enhanced my work and brought me great personal satisfaction and joy,” said Tharpe.

Tiffany Woynaroski, PhD, CCC-SLP

Tiffany Woynaroski, PhD, CCC-SLP, assistant professor of Hearing and Speech Sciences, was awarded the Early Career Contributions in Research Award, which acknowledges significant scientific accomplishments by individuals within five years of receiving their doctoral or other terminal degree.

With an extensive background as an early interventionist and speech-language pathologist and as the parent of a child with autism, Woynaroski pursued an academic career focused on developmental disabilities.

Her interdisciplinary research program aims to identify brain and behavioral factors that can help explain heterogeneity in symptomatology, predict differential growth and response to treatment and home in on the mechanisms by which treatments work in persons with autism or other developmental disabilities.

Much of her research over the past five years has focused on elucidating the relationship between sensory function and other core symptoms in children who are diagnosed with or at heightened risk for autism.

“I am honored and humbled to receive this award from ASHA. As a ‘Double ‘Dore’ — having completed both my Master of Science and PhD at Vanderbilt — I feel an immense sense of gratitude for the high caliber of education, mentoring and support I have received during my clinical and predoctoral training and throughout my early career period at Vanderbilt University and VUMC,” said Woynaroski.

“It is validating to know that ASHA feels the work that my team is now carrying out in the laboratory has the potential to influence the field and hopefully to improve the lives of individuals impacted by neurodevelopmental disorders and their families.”

ASHA contains 204,000 members. To be considered for an annual award, members require a nomination, a sponsor and a recommendation by the association’s Committee on Honors.

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