Speech and Language Pathology Combines Research and Practice in Developing Clinical Therapies
​Vice Dean Heikki Hämäläinen (on the right) congratulated the unit for Speech and Language Pathology for the new Professor of Practice appointment as well as for the organisation of a new, European specialisation course in Turku. The unit is led by Eira Jansson-Verkasalo (third on the left).

​Vice Dean Heikki Hämäläinen is happy for the new opening made by the Speech and Language Pathology. The unit appointed its first Professor of Practice. A second reason for celebration is the organisation of the intensive week belonging to the European clinical specialisation course for speech therapists.

– The initiation of the Professor of Practice system has a great significance for the whole Faculty of Social Sciences. This kind of international networking has a particularly great significance at the Speech and Language Pathology, which is a relatively new discipline and has created all of its international contacts from the beginning. The significance of establishing international networks is also apparent in this European specialisation education, said Hämäläinen.

In universities, the professor of practice positions are a new way of engaging persons in education and research who have extensive merits and are highly esteemed as managers, experts or professionals in the business sector, academic world or public sector. Professors of practice do not have to have the scientific merits that are required for actual professorships. In addition to practical competence, Docent Kurt Eggers from the Thomas More University College in Antwerp has scientific merits and research expertise.

The collaboration of Kurt Eggers (on the left) and Professor Eira Jansson-Verkasalo (on the right) began over a decade ago. The central theme in both of their research is combining scientific research and clinical work in the therapies for speech and language disorders. Furthermore, Eggers' background in medicine has been particularly fruitful for the collaboration.

With his secondary occupation as Professor of Practice, Eggers is planning to teach and conduct research at the University of Turku. By using brain imaging, such as diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging, Eggers and Jansson-Verkasalo are aiming to develop therapies for stuttering are based on information on the factors contributing to the condition. In addition, their goal is to create valid tests for the evaluation of stuttering. Eggers' expertise boosts the project that began with the students of the University of Turku. Furthermore, the students in the ESCF specialisation education will also join the project.

– At the moment, we have no valid methods for evaluating the therapies for stuttering in Finland and creating such methods is one of our top priorities, says Jansson-Verkasalo

Text and Photos: Erja Hyytiäinen
Translation: Mari Ratia

Published date 9/29/2016 8:50 AM ,  Modified date 9/29/2016 8:54 AM

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