Professors Honored by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Clinical Professor Susan E. Langmore and Assistant Professor Cara Stepp were honored by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) for their contributions to the professions of speech-language pathology, audiology, and speech and hearing science.

Langmore was awarded the Honors of the Association, the highest honor ASHA bestows, for her distinguished contributions to the discipline of communication sciences and disorders. This award recognizes individuals whose contributions have been of such excellence that they have enhanced or altered the course of the professions.

Over the past 20-plus years, Langmore’s research has had a significant impact on improving patient care. The findings from her Veterans Administration-funded clinical trial in 1998 to quantify risk factors for aspiration pneumonia remain critical to modern clinical care. She also led a large, NIH-funded, multi-site clinical trial assessing the benefit of electrical stimulation in swallowing treatment in patients with head and neck cancer. And her widely used text, Endoscopic Evaluation and Treatment of Swallowing Disorders, is considered the “bible” for clinicians using endoscopy to examine swallowing function.

One of the most prominent researchers in the field of dysphagia, Langmore has been the prime force in advancing the use of flexible endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) instrumentation for the evaluation of swallowing throughout the world. A state-of-the-art instrumental assessment for dysphagia, FEES is considered one of two gold standard assessment protocols in clinical practice.

Langmore holds a PhD in Communicative Disorders from Northwestern University and MS in Speech Pathology from Stanford University.

Stepp was honored with the Early Career Contributions in Research Award in acknowledgement of her significant scientific accomplishments in less than five years of receiving her PhD.

Stepp runs the Stepp Lab for Sensorimotor Rehabilitation Engineering where she brings her engineering training to the study of normal and disordered speech and voice. Her lab’s long-term goal is to use its findings to help rehabilitate people who have experienced a stroke, Parkinson’s disease, brain injury, or other condition that impairs speech and swallowing.

Two of her lab’s projects use interactive computer games for assessment and rehab. Stepp aims to train people with dysphagia, those whose normal swallowing function has been impaired by a brain injury, to control their anterior laryngeal musculature in response to visual stimuli. Stepp’s research also includes individuals with velopharyngeal dysfunction. To pinpoint the subtle acoustic differences, her lab has developed a sensor and signal processing system in which a microphone measures acoustic energy emitting from a subject’s mouth and nose while an accelerometer picks up vibrations from his nose as he plays a game, moving an object up and down based on his nasalization of words.

Stepp has a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering and an S.M. in electrical engineering and computer science, both from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association is the professional, scientific and credentialing association for more than 150,000 members and affiliates who are audiologists, speech-language pathologists and speech, language and hearing scientists in the United States and internationally.