About Special Interest Group 15, Gerontology


  • The mission of the SIG on Gerontology is to promote an understanding of the effects of normal and pathological aging on cognition, language, speech, hearing, and swallowing.
  • The SIG mission is accomplished by: (a) providing "research-to-practice" professional development opportunities for affiliates; (b) developing communication and networking opportunities for affiliates in diverse professional and scientific settings; (c) increasing awareness of the communication and swallowing needs of older individuals among consumers and professionals; and (d) advocating for positive outcomes on issues concerning older individuals.


The goals of SIG 15 include:

  • To increase professional awareness of geriatric concerns in the delivery of communication and swallowing disorders services.
  • To develop a forum for discussion of age-related research and clinical issues that impact upon service delivery to older adults and for dissemination of relevant information in a timely fashion.
  • To promote continuing education opportunities for ASHA members interested in gerontology and gerontological aspects of communication and swallowing disorders.
  • To provide advocacy within and recommendations to ASHA regarding policies, procedures, and guidelines related to geriatric communication and swallowing disorders.
  • To interact with other organizations concerned with the needs of older Americans, in order to promote quality interdisciplinary interventions and enhance the visibility of speech-language pathology and audiology services and professions within the services network for older individuals.

Affiliate Benefits and SIG Programs

Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups

Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups is the online peer-reviewed scholarly review journal of the SIGs. SIG 15 offers new self-study CE activities through Perspectives each year.  

Continuing Education

Earn ASHA continuing education units (CEUs) through 

  • self-study of Perspectives and pay the lowest processing fee to take the learning assessments 
  • SIG sponsored Master Classes and one-hour sessions at the annual ASHA Convention. 


SIG 15 Affiliates have access to to exclusive discussion forums/groups, which provide the opportunity to interact with other SIG Affiliates who share interest in gerontology. Use ASHA's Member Directory to search for individuals by SIG affiliation. In addition, SIG 15 Affiliates can meet in person and online at an ASHA and SIG 15 sponsored events; typically each SIG hosts an Affiliates meeting at Convention and sponsors a virtual open house. 

Representation Within ASHA

  • The SIG 15 Coordinator represents the Gerontology Special Interest Group within the ASHA Board of Special Interest Group Coordinators.
  • The Coordinating Committee responds to ASHA requests for input regarding policy, guidelines, committees, and other issues.
  • Affiliates have the opportunity to provide input to the SIG leadership and ASHA.

Specific study and professional issues and activities will be determined by the SIG 15 affiliates, professional development committee, and Coordinating Committee.

Coordinating Committee Members

  • 2024–2026 Coordinator: Amber B Heape, Pruitthealth Therapy Services/South Carolina State University/Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions
  • 2021–2026 Associate Coordinator: Elizabeth Bates Brown, Duke Regional Hospital
  • 2023–2025 Editor: Ciara Leydon-Korn, Sacred Heart University
  • 2023–2025 Professional Development Manager: Jolene Newbrough Barbutes, Broad River Rehab
  • 2023–2025 Member-at-Large: Taylor Abrianna Dry, Lexington Medical Center Extended Care
  • 2024–2026 Member-at-Large: Meredith K Grant Kinne, Cincinnati VA Medical Center
  • Ex Officio: Inoka Tennakoon, Associate Director, Health Care Services, ASHA

Additional SIG Volunteers

  • 2024–2026 Continuing Education (CE) Content Manager: Malathy Venkatesh, A. T. Still University

Editorial Board

View the Editorial Board Roster for Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups.

Professional Development Committee

  • Jolene Newbrough Barbutes, Professional Development Manager
  • Malathy Venkatesh, CE Content Manager
  • Heather S. Anderson
  • Michelle Ashuri
  • Charlotte B. Bianco
  • Cait Brown
  • Jacqueline Columbro
  • Danielle Connor
  • Natalie F. Douglas
  • Adrienne C. Ellison
  • Meredith K. Grant Kinne
  • Sarah Hill
  • Kathleen R. Holterman
  • Ashwini Kanade
  • Mary E. Kayata-Edmond
  • Renee B. Kinder
  • Paula Leslie
  • Masha C. Mekker
  • Emily B. Rampmaier
  • Abby Ray
  • Rose Vargo
  • Jan M. Ward
  • Abby Williams
  • Susan Irene Wranik
  • Ardie T. Zimmerman
  • Ciara Leydon-Korn, Editor
  • Inoka Tennakoon, Ex Officio

Liaisons to the ASHA Board of Directors

  • Janice R. Trent, 2022–2024 Vice President for Audiology Practice
  • Ryan M. Lee James, 2024–2026 Vice President for Speech-Language Pathology Practice

ASHA Corporate Partners