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LSU Today Flagship Faculty

Neila Donovan

Neila Donovan

Assistant Professor
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
College of Humanities & Social Sciences

Director of the Communication Outcomes Research Laboratory
Director of Community Outreach, LSU Life Course and Aging Center
Research Affiliate, Department of Veterans Affairs Brain Rehabilitation Research Center, Gainesville, Fla.

What was your previous position and where?

Before coming to LSU, I completed a two-year post-doctoral training program in the Veterans Administration Rehabilitation Outcomes Research Center and the University of Florida Rehabilitation Science Program in Gainesville, Fla. I worked with Craig Velozo, Ph.D., in designing and implementing computer adaptive measures of functional cognition for stroke and traumatic brain injury using item response methodologies.

What brought you to LSU?

I chose to come to LSU for three equally important reasons. First, I felt the resources LSU was putting toward attainment of the 2010 Flagship Agenda would support me toward becoming an independent researcher. Second, I immediately felt at home in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, and sensed that I could accomplish both my research and teaching aims in cooperation with such a dynamic group of colleagues. Last, I knew I would be able to affiliate with the LSU Life Course and Aging Centerís multidisciplinary research faculty immediately, and could begin my research agenda rather than having to spend a lot of time trying to connect with like-minded colleagues.

What is your research interest?

My research interests lie in trying to create new treatments for communication disorders of people who have had strokes, traumatic brain injury, neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinsonís disease, and dementia. My treatments are designed to help people better participate in their daily life roles and improve their quality of life. I also design assessments that measure changes in the areas I am interested in. Right now, thanks to a grant from the Louisiana Board of Regents, I am developing a short assessment called the Communicative Effectiveness Survey, or CES, which will be used to identify older people who might be at risk for losing their independence because of changes in communication abilities, and for people with Parkinsonís disease. This is a shameless plug, but I am still looking for older participants with and without Parkinsonís disease to participate in the study.

What do you hope to accomplish at LSU?

During my career at LSU I hope to become an independent resesearcher, and to teach and train outstanding young men and women to be outstanding speech-language pathologists who can serve children and adults with state-of-the-art knowledge and compassion.

What do you enjoy most about LSU?

I enjoy the intellectual environment I have been able to create here at LSU, be it within my departmental colleagues, the multidisciplinary colleagues in the Life Course and Aging Center, or my own monthly writing group made up of colleagues from various LSU colleges who all boarded the flagship around 2007. Second, of course, I enjoy my students. They are bright and highly motivated, so teaching is a joy. Could I be an LSU employee if I didnít mention how much I enjoy SEC sports?

What are your major accomplishments?

I feel as though I am too new to have major accomplishments in my career, but I think that I am proudest of two things. First, I have been competitively funded throughout my academic preparation and academic career. My current funding comes from the Louisiana Board of Regents Grant and the NIH National Institute of Deafness and Communication Disorders. Second, I am part of a department that has graduated approximately 100 masterís level speech-language pathologists who are now gainfully employed throughout Louisiana and the U.S.


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