WSU Audiology Professor to Receive Distinguished Achievement Award
Gail Siegel, College of Liberal Arts, 509-335-8522, email@example.com
PULLMAN, Wash.—The American Academy of Audiology (AAA) has recognized Gail Chermak, professor and chair of Washington State University’s Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences, with the 2010 Distinguished Achievement Award for her contributions to the field of audiology.
Through the Distinguished Achievement Award, the academy acknowledges educators, innovators and pioneers in areas of clinical service delivery, teaching or research who have impacted the profession of audiology.
“Dr. Gail Chermak’s name is synonymous with research in the diagnosis and management of central auditory processing disorders,” said a statement of the academy’s Honors Committee. “Her research has not only informed our understanding and knowledge of neuroaudiological disorders and their impact on the lives of individuals with these disorders, but her efforts have shaped and guided the preferred practice model for our profession.”
Central auditory processing disorder, or (C)APD, refers to deficits in the way the brain processes auditory information.
Chermak’s approach to treatment of (C)APD is both bottom-up and top-down. Patients learn basic skills like sound detection and discrimination along with complex metalinguistic and metacognitive skills including auditory closure and self-regulation. Such proficiencies are instinctive for most people, but for individuals with (C)APD they have to be learned.
“Auditory training, a bottom-up technique, includes, for example, training people to listen in both ears, to discriminate whether sounds glide up in frequency or down, whether there was a pause in the noise or whether it was continuous, whether the tones are the same or different,” said Chermak. “We go from this very basic auditory processing to very complex, sophisticated levels of (top-down) thinking about and manipulating auditory-language input.”
Chermak’s talent, passion and energy extend well beyond her research, to the classroom and her role as a university administrator.
Doug Epperson, dean of the WSU College of Liberal Arts, said, “Dr. Chermak truly epitomizes the ideal scholar, teacher, mentor, academic leader and professional/community citizen. … I am thrilled that she is now being nationally recognized as a recipient of this year’s Distinguished Achievement Awards from the Academy of Audiology.”
Chermak is a Fulbright scholar and a fellow of the AAA and of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). She has chaired and served on national professional committees and task forces, including the 2005 ASHA Work Group on (C)APD and the 2009 AAA Task Force on (C)APD. She is an assistant editor for the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology. She has published extensively and lectured widely on differential diagnosis and treatment of (C)APD and is also co-editor of “Handbook of (Central) Auditory Processing Disorder” (Plural Publishing Inc., 2007).
Chermak will be presented with her award at the AAA annual conference on April 15 in San Diego.