happy children, mother and child, and expecting mother and father

Funded Projects

Grant Status: Completed

Grant Title: Center for Communication Disorders in Children

Web Site: Vanderbilt University Project Exit Disclaimer

Project Director(s):

Ann Marie Tharpe, PhD
Vanderbilt University
Hearing & Speech Sciences
1215 21st Ave. S
Nashville, TN  37232-0014
Phone: (615) 936-5109
FAX: (615) 936-6914
Email: anne.m.tharpe@vanderbilt.edu


Newborn hearing screening and advanced technology will shape the future of children with hearing loss. The field of communication disorders is unprepared for the demand for professionals trained to provide culturally-sensitive, family-centered care to these children.

Goals and Objectives:

Goal 1: Specialty Track Training with an Emphasis in Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Objective 1: to recruit, matriculate, and graduate 3 trainees in speech-language pathology and audiology in the Specialty Track annually Objective 2: to integrate robotic, simulated, and "standardized" patients into 3 courses in the Specialty Track curriculum during the project period. Goal 2: Continue Partnership Between DHSS/TSU and Expand to other MCHB-CD Programs Objective 1: enroll at least one TSU student in a DHSS Specialty Track course every year Objective 2: arrange at least one DHSS trainee practicum placement at TSU every year Goal 3: Excellence in Continuing Education and Research in EHDI Principles Objective 1: provide 3 CE offerings that are interdisciplinary and promote family-centered care annually Objective 2: enroll at least one trainee to participate in LEND multidisciplinary research project annually


1. key faculty involvement in Curricula Enhancement Module Series training (no cost) 2. utilization of innovative robotic, simulated, and standardized patients (no cost to program) 3. involvement of trainees in LEND activities (no cost to program)


1) TN Department of Health - MCH Newborn Screening Program (trainees & faculty provide in-service training to staff and work to draft state practice guidelines) (2) MCHB - LEND program (weekly inter-disciplinary seminars, family mentoring projects, monthly leadership meetings, advocacy training) (3) MCHB - T-83 Communication Disorders programs (networking of MCHB trainees across the U.S.) (4) Shade Tree Clinic - Vanderbilt University Medical Center (student practicum with uninsured individuals)


Quantitative and qualitative data will be collected from all stakeholders including trainees, faculty, patients, and employers of our graduates. For example, we plan to evaluate the quality of teaching and course design for every class at the end of each semester via student feedback forms.

Experience to Date:

A major activity and accomplishment over the past year has been the implementation of a pilot project to provide newborn hearing screening follow up via telehealth mechanisms. Vanderbilt has partnered with the Tennessee Department of Health Newborn Hearing Screening Program to provide auditory brainstem response screening/testing to babies who have not passed a newborn screening. This public/private partnership will provide an opportunity for our trainees to serve in leadership roles as they train technicians at the remote sites to prepare the babies for testing. In this project period, 4 audiology students and 4 speech-language pathology students graduated from our Specialty Track in Early Identification and Management of Hearing Loss and all have obtained or are seeking employment in facilities serving children with hearing loss.

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