During your clinical training in the Medical Speech-Language Pathology Postdoctoral Fellowship, you see a wide variety of common and uncommon medical and communication disorders.
You acquire the skills and experience necessary to independently evaluate and treat simple and complex speech, voice, language and communication problems. The Medical Speech-Language Pathology Postdoctoral Fellowship offers a unique opportunity to participate in a team approach to managing medical problems that include communication disorders.
After an initial period of observation of the work of consultants and allied health clinicians in speech pathology, you generally complete at least two one-to-two-week rotations in medical subspecialty areas (neurology hospital practice, movement disorders neurology, behavioral neurology and otorhinolaryngology, for example).
Following or simultaneously with those rotations, you gradually take increasing responsibility for evaluating patients on the Speech Pathology Hospital Service. Ultimately, you respond to all consultations sent to the acute hospital service.
You also gradually assume responsibility for evaluating outpatients, initially in collaboration with a supervising consultant. The rate at which you assume clinical responsibilities varies with your prior experience and clinical progress.
When appropriate, you may spend a period of time working on the rehabilitation unit, with responsibilities for ongoing patient management and participation in other rehabilitation unit activities and responsibilities.
You also work with patients being treated through a number of outpatient interdisciplinary teams or clinics, including:
- Craniofacial Clinic
- Learning Disorders Assessment Program
- ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) Clinic
- Voice Disorders Clinic
When appropriate, you attend team meetings for patient review or discussion of other team activities.
Clinical conferences, seminars, small discussion groups and one-on-one instruction are all an integral part of the Medical Speech-Language Pathology Postdoctoral Fellowship.
Grand Rounds in neurology, neurology subspecialty conferences and monthly speech pathology division meetings offer excellent didactic learning experiences. You are encouraged to take advantage of a variety of additional lectures or portions of courses in areas of interest to speech-language pathologists.
As a fellow, you are typically invited to make one or more formal presentations at Speech Pathology division meetings and may be asked to participate in other teaching conferences. You also have frequent opportunities to teach medical students and residents who do clinical rotations in the Division of Speech Pathology.
Although the fellowship focuses on patient care, there are numerous opportunities for research stemming from this clinical work and nearly all fellows undertake at least one research project.
Research projects are generally done in collaboration with one of the speech pathology consultants, although occasionally fellows work more closely with a physician in a relevant medical subspecialty like neurology or ENT.
To ensure that you acquire adequate knowledge and develop the appropriate technical skills to meet program expectations, your performance is monitored carefully during the Medical Speech-Language Pathology Postdoctoral Fellowship. You are formally evaluated by supervising faculty members after each clinical rotation and meet with the program director periodically to review these evaluations. In addition, you regularly evaluate the faculty to confirm that your educational needs are being met.