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June is Aphasia Awareness Month and the College of Social Work (COSW) participated in events to increase awareness about aphasia and to provide students with an opportunity for interdisciplinary team experience. Dr. Teri Browne, Associate Professor and Co-Director for Inter-professional Education for the Health Sciences, and MSW students Briannea Hastie, Shannon Palm and Rosland Christen, participated in the first inter-professional practice event for Aphasia Awareness Month on June 9, 2015.

The event was held at the University of South Carolina’s Speech and Hearing Research Center. COSW students, along with students from Communication Sciences and Disorders, Nursing and Pharmacy, worked in teams to assess patients at the center. They also learned about each profession’s role in working with individuals with aphasia, a series of language disorders caused by brain damage, most commonly from stroke.

Aphasia awareness month 15

 Rosland Christen assessed a patient who suffered a stroke several years ago. As a social worker, Rosland used two different instruments to measure the patient’s quality of life, the Stroke Specific Quality of Life Scale and the Patient Health Questionnaire-9. Briannea Hastie and Shannon Palm, along with the other students, were allotted 15 minutes to assess their patients. Once the assessments were done, each discipline came together to discuss their perspectives and what they observed from other assessments. Each of the students provided a plan of care for the patient.

Our students gained valuable experience working with inter-disciplinary teams in a clinical setting. They were able to gain a better understanding of their patients, the effects of aphasia on stroke victims, and the role of caretakers in their lives. The participants reported that this first-hand experience demonstrated what would be expected of them as social workers in the future.


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