UNI undergraduate students working with industry on early intervention treatments

UNI undergraduate students working with industry on early intervention treatments

Speech and communication are some of the most basic functions in our everyday lives and their loss is a frightening reality for the millions of people living with neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzehimer’s and dementia.

Over the years, researchers have made breakthrough discoveries in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, but one of the most effective treatments remains the same: early intervention.

Two undergraduate students in the UNI Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders – Raelynn Meade and Clara Petersen – have teamed up with industry leaders on a collaborative research project at the forefront of early intervention treatment.Raelynn Meade and Clara Petersen

Under the mentorship of Laura Pitts, associate professor of communication sciences and disorders at UNI, and in collaboration with Miriam Rafferty at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (SRALab) and Northwestern University in Chicago, Petersen and Meade are assisting with a quality improvement study of an early intervention program for persons with Parkinson’s disease at the SRALab.

“It’s humbling, and an incredible opportunity to connect with people at such a high level – especially as an undergraduate,” Meade said. “I’m really thankful for the opportunity just to make connections and help people. We’re playing a relatively small role, but this research is so impactful, and just knowing something we do here in Iowa may help someone around the country is great to be a part of.”

This research project connects UNI students with the industry leading SRALab, which has been ranked as the best rehabilitation hospital in the nation by U.S. News and World Report every year since 1991.