Partners: A Message from the Dean
The School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS) enters into many partnerships in order to fulfill various aspects of its diverse missions. These partnerships and collaborations range from agreements with local agencies and hospitals, to joint projects with scientists around the world. They enable us to provide extensive and more diverse research and community service than would be otherwise possible. As with any other good partnership, our collaborators are able to draw upon the incredible talent and resources within BBS as they go about their endeavors. I want to mention just a few of the partnerships that we have formed as we try to continuously enrich our contributions to students and society.
One long-term BBS partner is the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) with which we have several joint efforts. A recent initiative enables master’s students in our communication disorders program to receive specialized training in providing speech-language pathology services in an urban school setting. This innovative initiative will also provide our graduate students valuable experience in providing bilingual speech-language pathology services in a multicultural preschool environment. Through this training, DISD hopes to develop and recruit UTD graduates who are uniquely qualified to serve students with speech and language disorders in urban schools. This exciting initiative further expands the range of patients and settings that we can provide to our clinicians-in-training, while helping to serve our community schools.
Drs. Sven Vanneste, Michael Kilgard and Rob Rennaker have a multi-year project investigating whether the debilitating effects of a disorder called tinnitus, which causes ringing in the ears and affects up to 12 million Americans, might be treated by the electrical stimulation of a complex of our peripheral nerves called the vagus nerve. Developing and testing the efficacy of this exciting new medical technology has required collaboration with an extensive team of partners. Developing the technology involved working with engineers at a local company with strong ties to UT Dallas — Micro Transponder. Once a suitable device was ready, initial implantation and testing was conducted with surgeons in Belgium who had worked with a group of patients with intractable tinnitus. The initial results were encouraging, and the BBS research team partnered with surgeons at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and other hospitals around the country to run clinical trials on larger groups of patients. As we await the results of these trials, we are particularly appreciative of our many partners who helped make this research possible.
Part of the mission of the Center for Children and Families is to translate expertise and knowledge generated through research at UTD into outreach to the community. A partnership with Bachman Lake Public Library led to the development of an innovative program called Juega Conmigo (Play with Me). It provides developmental assessments, parenting training and referrals for various community resources to financially disadvantaged families with young children. Undergraduate and graduate students work with preschoolers and their parents to try to promote optimal child development.
These programs, bolstered by many others, illustrate how BBS joins with partners locally, and around the world, to engage in the highest quality teaching, research and outreach.