An Interview with Boston ROC’s 2011-2012 Visiting Scientist, Dr. Jacob Kean

Jacob Kean, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, is Boston ROC’s new Visiting Scientist.

Dr. Kean recieved his Ph.D. in Speech and Hearing Sciences from Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, in 2008; a  M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology from Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, 2002, and a B.S. in English Education from Ball State University, Muncie, IN, in 1996.

Congratulations on becoming the new Boston ROC visiting scientist. Can you tell us about your research interests?

My research interests include the assessment and treatment of acquired neurogenic cognitive and communicative disorders. My primary research interest is in the development of assessment tools to assess cognitive recovery and outcome in persons with acquired brain injuries using Item Response Theory psychometric models. I currently direct projects to evaluate the impact of prescription medications on early cognitive recovery following traumatic brain injury and serve as a collaborator on several projects to refine measures of postacute rehabilitation outcome, telehealth compliance, and severe mental illness treatment fidelity.

Can you describe a research project or paper that you are particularly proud of?

I have a paper in press (Kean et al., 2011, Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation) where I looked at scales used in acute care settings to monitor recovery from traumatic brain injury (TBI). In this paper I used a measurement model to help advance theory in the area. It’s a different way of using a psychometric model, but I think the effort was fruitful. Our results suggested that the set of indicators used in assessment tools to track early recovery are too narrow and redundant.

What made you decide to apply to be the Boston ROC visiting scientist?

I met Dr. Alan Jette at the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine/ American Society of Neurorehabilitation Annual Meeting in October, 2010, and that’s when I became aware of the Boston ROC. My interest in measurement aligned closely with the goal of the Boston ROC Network to enhance the capability of medical rehabilitation researchers to develop and refine measures of key rehabilitation outcomes. I have background and experience in both clinical rehabilitation and measurement but do not have local access to more training opportunities in these areas.

What are you hoping to gain from your experience at the Boston ROC?

Participating as a Visiting Scientist at the Boston ROC offers me the opportunity to collaborate with an experienced and highly productive research team that shares my interests. The expertise that exists here is unlike any other center in the country. This will allow me to become practiced with more complex psychometric models and learn these analyses with others who understand the unique aspects of medical rehabilitation.

What are your future goals?

I have two primary goals for interaction with the Boston ROC during my year as a Visiting Scientist: 1) learn the qualitative measurement development activities needed to create a measure, including focus group methods and analysis, binning and winnowing processes, and cognitive interviewing, and 2) learn advanced psychometric and factor analytic techniques needed to develop a measure administered adaptively through the use of a computer (computer-adaptive testing; CAT).