The School of Health Technology and Management’s (SHTM) Master of Science program in Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) opened its new high-tech facilities at Stony Brook Southampton on Friday, Sept. 17, with an eye toward training the next generation of practitioners in this high-demand field.
Speech-language pathologists help optimize speech rehabilitation and clinical care for patients with stroke, neurological diseases, post-COVID issues, children with autism and other disorders, and individuals learning English as a second language. Careers in SLP are in a variety of settings: hospitals, rehabilitation centers, long-term care facilities, schools, agencies and private practices. The profession has an expected job growth rate of 21 percent to 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics.
“The challenges of the past year have served as an accelerant — bringing together different fields, departments, industries and disciplines toward the common goal of protecting our community, and serving the health needs of our friends and neighbors,” said Maurie McInnis, President of Stony Brook University. “The opening of the Speech-Language Pathology Program facilities here on our Southampton campus is a great example of this. A collaboration between the Speech-Language Pathology Department and Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, the new facilities support an interprofessional model of learning that is critical to Stony Brook’s healthcare education mission.”
The new facility includes classrooms, labs and a control room, with the latest technology for speech-language pathology education including simulation training and video-conferencing capacities. There is a bilingual component of the program which is crucial, as recent U.S. Census data show that 22 percent of Suffolk households speak a language other than English.
“The addition of the SLP program complements our already strong educational programming in the areas of the health professions,” said Stacy Jaffee Gropack, SHTM dean. “The SLP program adds to our nationally ranked occupational and physical therapy programs, rounding out programs related to rehabilitation, which are unique and much needed on the East End of Long Island.”
The SHTM’s other programs on the Southampton campus, Physician Assistant Education, and Applied Health Informatics, represent the breadth of opportunities the school offers to meet workforce needs for a growing population in the region.
Students in the SLP program are being educated to provide services such as rehabilitation after neurological diseases; addressing post-COVID needs including short- and longer-term difficulties with cognition, swallowing and communication; and the treatment of children diagnosed with autism and other disabilities, with craniofacial syndromes, speech and language delays.
“These facilities will support student learning and success in both telehealth and interprofessional team practice,” said Renee Fabus, chair of the SLP program. “We are honored to be part of the entire Stony Brook team of educators and health professionals and to partner with Stony Brook Southampton Hospital and the community.”
SLP master’s students will intern at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital and other East End clinics and organizations in need of speech-language services for children and adults.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony was also attended by Stony Brook University Provost Paul Goldbart, Stony Brook Southampton Hospital Chief Medical and Operating Officer Fredric Weinbaum, New York State Senator Anthony Palumbo, and New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr.