Communication disorders researcher named UF chair of speech, language, and hearing sciences
Nittrouer is currently a professor in the departments of otolaryngology and speech and hearing science at The Ohio State University. Her research has focused on the development of spoken language and problems faced by people with communication disorders.
“As a leading researcher in child language development, Dr. Nittrouer brings impressive qualifications to the department of speech, language, and hearing sciences,” said David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health. “She is committed to interdisciplinary collaboration and we look forward to the partnerships she will build across UF Health and the entire campus.”
The director of otologic research at Ohio State, Nittrouer leads two research projects supported by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders: a study of the early development of spoken language in children with hearing loss and a study of how children develop phonological abilities with the goal of understanding the causes of language problems in disorders such as dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. She is the associate editor of the International Journal of Audiology and the author of numerous articles and the book “Early Development of Children with Hearing Loss.” She is an elected fellow of the Acoustical Society of America.
“Dr. Nittrouer is a nationally renowned authority on language acquisition who has made major contributions to theory, research and clinical care related to communication disorders,” said Michael G. Perri, Ph.D., dean of the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions. “Her experience and expertise make her exceptionally well-suited to lead the department of speech, language, and hearing sciences in its missions of teaching, research and service.”
In her new role, Nittrouer will be overseeing a department that offers a bachelor’s degree in communication science, Ph.D. programs in communication sciences and disorders, a professional doctorate in audiology that is ranked No. 7 by U.S. News & World Report, and a master’s degree in speech-language pathology that ranks No. 15. The department treats patients at five outpatient clinics in Gainesville and provides all inpatient and outpatient speech-language pathology and audiology services for the UF Health system. Faculty members’ research studies span a broad range of basic science and clinical research, including speech physiology and perception, voice disorders, swallowing disorders, reading and written language disabilities, acquired language and cognitive disorders, hearing aids and audiology diagnoses and rehabilitation.
“My vision as incoming chair is to continue the tradition of excellence established by existing faculty and staff, and to expand the footprint of the department to make it more accessible and relevant to other disciplines across campus,” Nittrouer said. “Human communication is a component of clinical training and research in many disciplines, including neuroscience, engineering and psychology. It is my goal to enhance interactions across these fields to advance our scientific understanding and improve outcomes for individuals with communication disorders.”
Nittrouer received her doctorate in speech and hearing sciences from the City University of New York and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Haskins Laboratories in New Haven, Connecticut. She spent 15 years at the Boys Town National Research Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska, and the University of Nebraska Omaha. She went on to serve as the director of exemplary services at Utah State University’s Center for Persons with Disabilities before joining the faculty at Ohio State.