MS SLP program awarded grantThe Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology (MS SLP) program at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions (RMUoHP) was honored to be a recipient of the Parkinson Voice Project’s 2020 SPEAK OUT! & LOUD Crowd grant program. The grant provides speech-language pathologists (SLPs) access to training and resources to benefit people with Parkinson’s disease.

MS SLP associate professor Phillip Sechtem, PhD, CCC-SLP, will be the lead speech-language pathologist in the training program and will lead the new treatment program in the university’s pro-bono Center for Communication Disorders.

Lindsey Koski, a student in the MS SLP program, had learned about the grant opportunity from Sechtem. “I saw what a unique opportunity this would be for our clinic, so I volunteered to fill out the application,” said Koski.

The Parkinson Voice Project works to “To preserve the voices of individuals with Parkinson’s and related neurological disorders through intensive speech therapy, follow-up support, research, education, and community awareness.” 

The grant provides the MS SLP program and the CCD with a consultation with Parkinson Voice Project’s Clinical Outreach Coordinator, SPEAK OUT! & LOUD Crowd training for two SLPs, program workbooks, a subscription to the SPEAK OUT! & LOUD Crowd eLibrary, as well as other resources to support the program in the clinic.

Sechtem explained that the grant “offers online training in the SPEAK OUT! & LOUD Crowd program that is specifically designed to improve the speech and communicative success of persons with Parkinson’s disease and their communication partners. It is a patient-centered and evidence-based approach that will have an impact on our program, the community, and RMUoHP.”

Sechtem said, “The grant was created specifically to help the communication of persons with Parkinson’s and to reach as many of them as possible.” He added, “It is our intent to help fulfill that mission and become a hub where persons with Parkinson’s disease can attend individual or group sessions. We would like to serve persons with Parkinson’s disease within our community and surrounding areas.”

The grant program won’t just benefit the patients in the clinic–it also creates a unique opportunity for students in the MS SLP program. Sechtem said, “It creates a wonderful opportunity to provide much needed SLP services to this specific patient population while providing training and experience for our students.”

Koski explains that the grant will impact the direction of her capstone project and her career post graduation. “Many hospitals across the country use this program at their clinics. Having this grant will let me get exposure to this treatment before I hit the workforce.”

Sechtem hopes all students will benefit from this grant program. “This department strives to develop students who have what they need in terms of knowledge and skills who can hit the ground running once they graduate. This grant helps us in that effort as it provides a cutting-edge tool our students can use once they become independent practitioners.”