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June 15, 2006

Doctor of Audiology Degree Offered in Response to New ASHA Certification Requirements

From: St. John's University, NY - Jun 15, 2006

Queens, NY -
A new clinical doctoral program in Audiology, offered by St. John’s University through a tri-college consortium with Adelphi and Hofstra Universities, has been established to meet practitioners’ need to competently assess and assist the growing hearing-impaired population. As it completes its first year, the program—conducted in both classroom and clinical settings—is receiving rave reviews from students.

Graduates will receive an Au.D. degree, says St. John’s University Speech & Hearing Center Director Donna Geffner, Ph.D. (Professor Janet Schoeflin, Ph.D., is the Director of the Au.D. program.)

“The new doctorate in Audiology is being offered in response to the new certification requirements adopted by the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA),” says Professor Geffner, who teaches in the program. “Our practitioners must be equipped to meet the needs of the hearing-impaired as our population grows and ages.”

Professor Geffner, a past national president of ASHA, the professional organization that sets the standards in the field, is well-versed in the credentials required for the state-of-the-art practice of audiology, which, the program brochure states, “is one of the skilled professions with the fastest growth potential.” According to the National Institute on Aging, the need for audiologists will increase 50 percent by 2020. The Americans with Disabilities Act mandates facilitating accessibility for all persons with hearing impairment, a task for trained audiologists.

Collaboration Offers the Best Faculty
“The joint program with two other area institutions has been fabulous,” says Professor Geffner. “The collaboration gives us the best faculty, and we’re working together magnificently. We’ll be taking on 12 to 15 new students in the fall.” Students must complete a minimum of one-third of their courses at their home institution.

Although it’s set up as a four-year post-bachelor’s degree program that enables students to get their master’s degree en route, those who enter with a master’s degree will finish in one and one-half to two years. The classes are held nights and some weekends to accommodate working professionals.

“Students are able to practice in New York State once they have their master’s in Audiology,” she explains, but need 75 postgraduate credits and 2,000 clinical-practice hours to receive ASHA certification. “Almost a full year of supervised clinical training is required for ASHA certification, which is why we offer students a supervised clinical practicum. Our new Au.D. degree makes it easier for students to meet the ASHA- certification requirements.”

Hands-on Clinical Experience
“This program is giving me hands-on clinical experience,” says Liz Monaco, who works in a private hearing-aid practice during the day and attends classes at night and on the weekends. “Since I already have my master’s in Audiology, I’ll get my doctorate through the program in only two years.”

The program also takes full advantage of the extensive clinical resources available in the New York metropolitan area. “For our cochlear-implant class, we observed surgery at NYU Medical Center,” she adds, “and follow-up patient care. An ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist taught our anatomy and physiology class.”

“I’m finding this program to be very beneficial,” says Meredith DeGennaro, who also decided to go on for a doctorate after receiving her Master of Audiology. “The professors are clinical practitioners who bring different perspectives to the curriculum.” The late-day class schedule allows her to work as a substitute teacher while going for the Au.D. degree.

Early Intervention Taught
Interviewed prior to teaching a class on detecting hearing loss in young infants, Director of North Shore/Long Island Jewish Speech & Hearing Center Lynn Spivak, Ph.D., says she’s teaching early-intervention diagnostic and therapeutic services for babies and children up to age three at the Center. (Prior to the launch of the Clinical Audiology doctoral program, she taught a master’s degree course in Audiology at St. John’s and has also been a full-time faculty member at Adelphi University.)

The Center she directs administers a New York State Department of Health program that screens 22,000 babies in hospitals throughout the state, and trains some of the nurses and technicians in the program. “The data for the state is centralized here,” she says, adding that babies from Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island who fail the screening often come through the Center—a state-approved early-intervention center— for follow-up testing.

The students say they’re also eagerly anticipating the course in Auditory Processing they’ll take this summer at St. John’s with Professor Geffner.

Overall, their curriculum includes advanced course work in vestibular assessment, hearing-aid technology, early intervention and electrophysiology. The faculty at the three-school consortium is renowned nationally.

For further information, please contact Professor Geffner at St. John’s University Center for Community Services, 152-11 Union Turnpike, Flushing, NY; (718) 990-6480, or Professor Janet Schoeflin, Au.D. Program Director.

© 2006 St. John's University