- Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
By Ryan Clark
CHS Communications Director
Joneen Lowman, PhD, CCC-SLP, and Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) has received the Fellowship of the Association Award from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).
“It’s very humbling,” Lowman said. “It recognizes individuals who have made contributions to the profession above and beyond daily clinical service. You know, we all like to get accolades, and it feels good to have our work acknowledged, for others to say you have made a difference. But we really do this for the patients. If we can better train providers, then they get better care — and I know that may sound, you know, cliche. But I really feel like it’s the truth.”
Lowman is Project Director for LinKS, a Department of Education grant to train graduate CSD students in the use of telepractice with the school-age population, as well as the Director of the Center for Telehealth Education, Research and Outreach, including the interprofessional telehealth graduate certificate.
Richard Andreatta, PhD, an ASHA Fellow and professor in CSD and the Rehabilitation and Health Sciences Doctoral Program (RHB-DP), nominated Lowman.
“Her co-sponsors, Chad Gladden, AuD, CCC-A, (Dept. of Veterans Affairs) and Melissa Jakubowitz, MA, CCC-SLP, ASHA Fellow (Founder/President - eLiveNow) and I have conferred and determined that Dr. Lowman has made truly ‘outstanding’ contributions to Communication Sciences & Disorders (CSD) in the three areas of Clinical Education & Academic Teaching, Research & Publications, and Service to ASHA,” Andreatta wrote.
“We will convey to the Honors committee a story of an individual who, throughout her career, has championed the vital importance of technology use as a crucial lever for training students and practicing clinicians to provide needed speech/language services to those who are isolated from these necessary resources.”
Over Lowman’s career, she has promoted the use of telepractice methods to realize her educational, research, and clinical training initiatives and goals, Andreatta said.
“She understood the important potential for telepractice treatment modes long before many of her colleagues across the country did,” he noted. “Her foresight in this area proved prescient when the COVID pandemic engulfed our national clinical practice and fundamentally altered our therapy services and delivery methods.”
In 2016, she began training speech language pathologists (SLPs) to use telehealth to deliver their services with a focus on children in schools. The partnership made sense because schools always needed SLPs, so Lowman could train them to help children by using telehealth.
Then she wondered if they could expand their training services.
“We knew health care needed help,” Lowman said. “So, we thought, ‘Let’s prepare them. Let’s open it up. Let’s train everybody!’”
This time, they reached out to their cohorts in CHS, namely those in the Physician Assistant and Physical Therapy programs and asked if they’d be interested in learning this new technique. They said yes.
And so, they began. Three years ago, CHS was awarded a certificate in telehealth.
Then, inexplicably, the world changed, and COVID-19 thrust everyone indoors. Suddenly, the need for delivering health services via technology became much more in demand.
“During this stressful and uncertain time for clinical practice in CSD, Dr. Lowman provided a lifeline and critical just-in-time information to many different CSD constituencies including academic training programs, clinicians in the field, administrators, and policy makers,” Andreatta wrote. “Dr. Lowman’s professional work in technology-infused education, research and clinical service quickly became one of the key operating standards for best-practice in telehealth use and implementation. Her career-long and consistently outstanding dedication to clinical education, research and professional service were the foundation for her ability to act decisively and provide leadership to our profession at a time of great uncertainty. Dr. Lowman’s career demonstrates that at the heart of leadership is preparation, dedication, and the willingness to act.”
Now, in time for the second annual Telehealth Awareness Week — where the American Telemedicine Association recognizes the many ways virtual care improves access to quality healthcare services for all individuals, including members of rural and underserved communities — we also recognize Lowman for her achievements.
Lowman’s new plan is to offer a 400-level telehealth class at the undergraduate level open to students across health-related degree programs.
“What we’re really looking at doing is trying to take this diverse field of future health care providers that may not get any telehealth training and make sure that anybody that would come to our college at least, would have the option to get some basic fundamental training in telehealth,” she said.