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Three honored by American Speech-Language Hearing Association

Jan. 6, 2022, 8:53 AM


by Emily Stembridge

Three faculty members in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences were honored at the 2021 American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) convention for their contributions to the professions of speech-language pathology, audiology and speech and hearing science.

“I could not be prouder that ASHA has recognized the important contributions that these faculty have had on our professions. Their accomplishments in teaching, research and service are truly exemplary,” said Anne Marie Tharpe, PhD, chair of the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences and associate director of the

Stephen Camarata, PhD

Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center.

Stephen Camarata, PhD, professor of Hearing and Speech Sciences, received the highest honor that ASHA bestows — the Honors of the Association — for his significant work in the practice of speech-language pathology.

Camarata is an internationally recognized expert in phonology and articulation, language interventions and speech-language difficulties in children with autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome and hearing loss. Much of his work has focused on developmental language disorders.

In addition to his many contributions to speech-language research, Camarata is also a noted teacher, mentor and volunteer. His contributions in the area of developmental child language have altered and accelerated the course of treatment and improved the quality of care for children with communication disorders.

René Gifford, PhD

René Gifford, PhD, professor of Hearing and Speech Sciences and director of the Vanderbilt Cochlear Implant Program, was named a fellow of ASHA for her contributions to communication sciences and disorders.

Gifford, an expert in pediatric and adult cochlear implantation, is widely known for her work in auditory perception and binaural processing, combining electric and acoustic hearing with cochlear implants and hearing aids, as well as image-guided cochlear implant mapping.

Her work has refined pre- and post-operative management of cochlear implant recipients, incorporating individualized anatomical features and device placement to bring improved hearing and speech perception to people with hearing loss. She is highly regarded for her teaching ability which has led to speaking engagements throughout the world.

Barbara Jacobson, PhD

Barbara Jacobson, PhD, associate professor of Hearing and Speech Sciences, received ASHA’s Dorothy Dreyer Award for Volunteerism. In addition to Jacobson’s 18-year history of teaching graduate students, contributing to research and providing clinical services in voice disorders at VUMC, she has also made exceptional volunteer contributions to her profession.

Jacobson’s extensive volunteer activity for the ASHA includes involvement in three special interest groups, leadership on the professional service board and serving as vice president for the standards and ethics in speech pathology. Jacobson has served numerous leadership roles for the Tennessee Association of Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists (TAASLP). Under her leadership as vice president for legislative affairs, the TAASLP received an ASHA grant for developing student advocacy participation.

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