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President David E. Daniel

February 2013

50 Years of Caring: Collaboration Key to Callier Center Success

In its 50th year, the University's Callier Center for Communication Disorders represents the pinnacle of clinical care, research and education. Just ask Andy Cobb's parents.

They turned to the experts at Callier who, working with surgeons at UT Southwestern Medical Center, provided cochlear implants that enabled their toddler to hear for the first time. Today, Andy is a happy, healthy, athletic fourth-grader.

UTDallas Magazine

Andy Cobb's story is featured in 2012 fall issue of UT Dallas Magazine. The magazine is available on the web and through the Apple Newsstand.

Nearly 5,000 patients annually come from around the world to Callier seeking leading-edge treatments for hearing, speech and language issues. Aspiring speech-language pathologists and audiologists learn and practice their skills alongside faculty researchers and clinicians in one of the nation's largest and most respected programs. Linking education, research and clinical services promotes excellence and brings the latest research findings to bear on patient care. As part of the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS), Callier's programs have been recognized by U.S. News & World Report. The graduate audiology program is considered one of the top 3 programs in the nation; speech-language pathology ranks No. 11.

Collaboration is essential to tackling complex communication disorders. Callier recently partnered with Children's Medical Center Dallas and UT Southwestern Medical Center to streamline provision of services for pediatric cochlear implant patients and for individuals with autism spectrum disorder. This team effort ensures patients receive the best possible care from the experts at each center.

An innovative, interdisciplinary approach is employed on the UT Dallas campus, as well. Callier's executive director, Dr. Thomas Campbell, recently oversaw the opening of the Communication Technology Center, a place that fosters crossover projects. There, researchers, clinicians and students from BBS, the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science and the School of Arts and Humanities (A&H) apply groundbreaking technologies to diagnosis and treatment.

Thomas Campbell

Dr. Thomas Campbell

One of the center's first projects—a tool to treat loss of speech, which often can result from stroke—benefits from the efforts of communication scientists, computer scientists and animators. Dr. William Katz, a BBS professor, uses interactive sensors to allow patients to view 3D images of their tongue movements on a computer screen while they're speaking. A team led by Dr. B. "Prabha" Prabhakaran, a computer science professor in the Jonsson School, created the computer program that translates the tongue movements into animated avatars. And Eric Farrar, an assistant professor in A&H who previously worked on Hollywood movies, applied cinematic animation techniques to enable a patient to pinpoint placement of the tongue and lips to produce the correct sounds. This type of partnership and sharing of ideas provides new opportunities to enhance patients' recovery and their quality of life.

Tools and clinical approaches have changed a great deal since Callier opened five decades ago. But its commitment to helping people communicate more effectively is as strong as ever and owes much to the invaluable, steadfast support of the Board of the Foundation for the Callier Center. They, too, have embraced UT Dallas' spirit of collaboration, ensuring that the pace of progress will only accelerate in the years ahead.

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About This Newsletter

The President's Viewpoint is a periodic newsletter distributed to a select group of alumni, friends, faculty and staff. It comes from the desk of Dr. David E. Daniel, president of The University of Texas at Dallas, and provides the ultimate insider’s view on the news and concerns of the University.