Where are you from and how did you come to practice in Anchorage?
I am originally from the Wichita, KS region. In May 2018, I completed my clinical doctorate and wanted to work for Indian Health Service. As a tribal member of the Kaw Nation of Oklahoma, I have received healthcare through this system and wanted to give back by providing audiologic care to Indian Health Service beneficiaries. I joined Southcentral Foundation in July 2018 and have primarily been based in Wasilla. I am eager to serve the Anchorage community as an audiologist at Alaska Center for Ear, Nose, & Throat (ACENT). Being able to and practice and collaborate with the most talented professionals in the state is a privilege of which I am very appreciative. It is exciting to join a practice that provides such a diverse array of top-tier services.
What about audiology first peaked your interest?
Audiology plays to some of my inherent strengths – overt empathy and troubleshooting. I first learned about audiology when I was perusing an undergraduate course catalog in 2012 at The University of Kansas. I had attended several speech therapy appointments and IEP meetings with my brother and had thought a communication sciences and disorders class would be an interesting elective. At the time, I was interested in studying to be a marriage and family therapist or licensed professional counselor. As the semester progressed, my curiosity in audiology increased. The director of the doctoral program came to lecture on the intricacies of the auditory and vestibular systems. I was absolutely fascinated by complex and delicate structures that allow us to enjoy sound and process movement. The ability to connect with patients and enhance quality of life, opportunities for research, and exciting technological developments cemented my desire to pursue a career as an audiologist.
Where did you do your training? What were some of your highlights during that time?
I completed my undergraduate studies at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas in 2014. As an undergraduate student, I was involved in multiple research projects and was a direct support worker for an agency that helped individuals with disability in increasing independent living skills. My doctoral studies were completed in Kansas City, Kansas at the University of Kansas Medical Center in 2018. During my doctoral studies, I completed extensive hands-on clinical training, didactic instruction, and conducted a research study exploring markers of noise-induced damage in the auditory nerve. My clinical training prepared me to provide high quality hearing and balance to individuals across the lifespan. As a second year student, I was awarded the opportunity to complete a specialized training program that focuses on how to best serve individuals with complex needs and disabilities. This program is called Leadership and Education in Neurodevelopmental Disorders (LEND) by the Association for University Centers on Disability (AUCD). This training experience was immensely valuable in elevating my ability to connect with and serve individuals with complex needs and troubleshoot their communication challenges. I completed my third and fourth years of clinical training primarily at the Kansas City VA Medical Center. It was very fulfilling serving our heroes and working with them to enhance quality of life.
What are your specialties?
My specialties include pediatric hearing loss diagnosis and management, bone-anchored hearing aids, tinnitus counseling and management, and diagnosis and management of Central Auditory Processing Disorders (CAPDs). I am studying to pursue the Pediatric Audiology Specialist Certificate (PASC) through the American Board of Audiology. I enjoy partnering with individuals and their families to gain a holistic understanding of their individual goals and needs.
What advice would you give to someone having hearing difficulty, but are afraid to make an appointment?
Hearing is an integral aspect of overall wellness and health. Living with hearing loss can be exhausting for the person affected and their loved ones. Having an exam with an audiologist will allow you to make an informed decision regarding how to best address your hearing difficult. The information from your exam will explain how well you are hearing and help tailor treatment to your unique needs. Additionally, a hearing exam can provide information about the health and function of your vestibular system.
If you or a family member may be experiencing hearing loss and a hearing test is necessary, you can contact our audiology center in Anchorage to schedule a consultation. You can also give our office a call at (907) 279-8800 to set up an appointment.