Trip Paves Way for Audiology Research in China
Feb. 11, 2010
Dr. Jackie Clark, clinical associate professor in the doctor of audiology program at the UT Dallas Callier Center for Communication Disorders, traveled to Beijing recently to lay the foundation for research collaboration in audiology and to exchange information with her Chinese counterparts.
Clark was joined by Dr. Lucy Liu, a UT Dallas alumna who studied under Clark and now works in Dallas as an audiologist and speech-language pathologist.
“China is at a critical crossroads for hearing healthcare professionals,” said Clark. “There are so few audiologists but many more otolaryngologists, who are medical doctors that specialize in the discipline of audiology. Defining the roles of the different professionals so that they can better serve the large population is the biggest need at the moment.”
Clark and Liu visited Tongren Hospital – a historic healthcare facility in Beijing that is famous for its ophthalmology and otolaryngology work – and met with Chinese graduate students to discuss ideas for future research projects. Clark offered the students advice on how to conduct research, how to publish peer-reviewed articles in Western journals, and how best to utilize resources.
“The hospital is currently dispensing about 2000 hearing aids each month, which is an unheard of amount,” said Clark. “Identifying the different types of information that can be collected from those patients and finding ways to harness the data for future research projects was the main topic of discussion.”
Clark and Liu were also invited to speak at the national annual audiology symposium. Clark gave a keynote lecture on cognition and audition, and Liu lectured on the reward of early intervention and early habilitation in hearing and speech development.
Liu, who considers Clark to be a lifelong mentor, is in the early stages of setting up externship and practicum sites in her native China for UT Dallas students who are pursuing a master’s degree in communication disorders or a doctor of audiology degree.
“China needs audiology and speech-language pathology, and audiology and speech-language pathology need China,” said Liu. “Although the economy in China is booming and the equipment is state of the art, there are too few audiologists and speech-language pathologists to handle the overwhelmingly large population.”
Clark and Liu are already planning a return trip to China in May. They will also host Dr. Hua Zhang, director of clinical audiology at the Beijing Institute of Otolaryngology, when he visits UT Dallas this summer.