In an era of reimbursement battles for audiology and speech-language pathology services, clinicians need research data on the effectiveness of diagnostic protocols and treatment more than ever. Key areas in which research is needed include surveillance, prevention, identification, diagnosis, assessment, treatment, outcomes measurement, quality improvement, and service delivery.
To accelerate this research—known as clinical practice research—ASHA sponsors an annual institute to support PhDs who want to shift or advance their program of research to focus on clinical topics that support evidence-based practice. The institute helps the researchers understand the principles, methods, and funding mechanisms of clinical practice research in communication sciences and disorders. To date, the Clinical Practice Research Institute (CPRI) has provided mentoring and educational support to 35 researchers.
At the fourth annual CPRI, eight protégés were matched with mentors—experienced clinical practice researchers with the same research interest. The institute, held at the ASHA national office in March, included a combination of lectures, facilitated discussions, and one-on-one mentoring sessions.
Presentations focused on posing clinical research questions, diagnosis and screening studies, developing an intervention research program, and optimizing clinical research for evidence-based practice. Facilitated discussions and mentoring sessions covered topics such as crafting specific aims of a grant proposal, developing a five-year research career plan, grantsmanship for clinical practice research, and engendering reviewer confidence and enthusiasm.
Participants will continue to work remotely with their mentors to accomplish specific tasks before ultimately submitting a competitive research grant proposal. Mentors and participants will reconvene at the national office in September to receive additional feedback and complete their tasks.
Participating researchers included protégés Anny Castilla-Earls (SUNY Fredonia), Laura Epstein (San Francisco State University), Naomi Hashimoto (University of Wisconsin–River Falls), Margaret Kjelgaard (MGH Institute of Health Professions), Amanda Owen Van Horne (University of Iowa), Naomi Schneider (The Ohio State University), Derek Stiles (Rush University), and Oliver Wendt (Purdue University).
Mentors were Stephen Camarata, Marc Fey, Howard Goldstein, Shelley Gray, Swathi Kiran, and Adelaida Restrepo.
Protégés and mentors who attended the institute say they found it useful. "It was probably the most intensive and productive input I have had since my dissertation committee days," Kjelgaard said. "I really enjoyed the high level of energy, questioning, discussion, and expertise given to all of the research proposals."
Restrepo, a mentor, agreed with Kejelgaard, commenting that "It is so exciting to be among new researchers with great ideas and tons of energy. It is an honor to be among such an amazing group of new investigators who also taught us about new methods and needs in their fields. Each time I do this, I learn from other mentors as well, so this training is productive for all."
For more information, visit ASHA's research webpage. Application information for the 2013 CPRI will be available in September.