Jeanne Johnson

Jeanne Johnson, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Communication Sciences & Disorders
School of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences
ISU Meridian

Dr. Jeanne Johnson is conducting studies at ISU-Meridian of the patterns of brain development in children with cochlear implants compared to children with normal hearing. She is examining responses to different speech sounds as well as responses to unexpected word labels for pictures and unexpected words at the ends of sentences (e.g. "You row a goat."). To date, her data show broader neurophysiologic resources being used by the children with cochlear implants than age-matched children with normal hearing. This broader pattern is also seen in younger, normally hearing children. It may indicate that if children are implanted early, the brain can assume relatively normal function, albeit using broader resources, within the critical period for language development.

Karrie Cummings

Karrie Cummings M.S. CCC-SLP
Communication Sciences & Disorders
School of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences
ISU Meridian

Research Interest:
Dysphagia in Head and Neck Cancer Patients:
Speech Language Pathologist Involvement and Outcome

The addition of chemotherapy to radiation aids in the survival of patients with head and neck cancer but also increases acute toxicity, primarily painful oral mucositis and dermatitis exacerbated by xerostomia. The consequences of these side effects often result in hospitalization and breaks in treatment, which lead to lower locoregional control and survival rates. I am studying the effects of The NO SToPS approach, which is a multidisciplinary strategy for management of nutrition, oral care, skin care, therapy for swallowing, range of motion, and lymphedema, pain, and social support.

Patients with head and neck cancer often have dysphagia as a side effects associated with chemoradiation. The consequences of these side effects often result in hospitalization and breaks in treatment, which lead to lower locoregional control and survival rates. Preliminary findings indicate early and often follow-up with a Speech Language Pathologist reduces the incidence of aspiration pneumonia in this patient population.

Heather L. Ramsdell-Hudock

Heather L. Ramsdell-Hudock, PhD CCC-SLP
Communication Sciences & Disorders
School of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences

Most speech and language disorders are currently not identified until children begin to speech, and thus critical learning and treatment periods are missed in development. Dr. Heather L. Ramsdell-Hudock, CCC-SLP is working to change all that through research at ISU's newly-built Infant Vocal Development Laboratory. Infant prelinguistic vocal behaviors predict later language abilities, but identifying those infants and toddlers at risk for future speech and language difficulties is challenging because normal vocal development is variable and unstable. Adding further complication, the methodology commonly used to study prelinguistic infant vocalizations in research settings is cumbersome, tedious, and unsuitable for clinical practice. Thus, implementation of refined and natural procedures for documentation of infant vocalizations would be expected to provide an efficient means of tracking development, thereby increasing the translational potential of this line of research.

A promising development in this regard derives from recent work on caregiver perception of early infant sounds as a means of identifying infants at risk for developing a speech and/or language disorder. In particular, caregiver report may be more functional than traditional methodology for tracking vocal development because caregiver perception directly influences caregiver/infant interaction and shapes future speech development and word learning. The long-term goal of research conducted in the Infant Vocal Development Laboratory is to contribute to the development of evidence-based strategies for early identification of infants and toddlers at risk for speech and/or language disorders later in life. Currently, cross-sectional and longitudinal research methodologies are being used to track caregiver perspective of vocal development from infants who are both typically developing, and infants who are at risk (those who have experienced one or more of the following conditions prior to 7 months of age: pre- and perinatal problems; ear, nose, and throat problems; swallowing/sucking problems; and/or a family history of speech and/or language problems).The rationale for this line of research is that its successful completion is expected to provide new evidence on the ability of caregiver report to accurately identify discrepancies in speech and language development among infants.

Kritina Blaiser

Kristina M. Blaiser, PhD, CCC-SLP
Communication Sciences & Disorders
ISU Meridian
(208) 373-1814

The Idaho State University HATCH (Helping Adults Talk to Children) Lab on the Meridian campus is under the direction of Kristina Blaiser, PhD CCC-SLP. The primary focus of the HATCH lab is to ensure that families have access to high quality intervention services regardless of their geographic location. The HATCHl lab focuses on research related to early intervention and assessment practices with children who are deaf/hard-of-hearing. The lab focuses on systematic use of technology to facilitate adult learning such as integrating tele-intervention (TI) into the delivery of early intervention services such as using telehealth technology to optimize clinical outcomes. Since 2015, faculty and students (graduate and undergraduate) from the HATCH lab has received over $285,000 of external funding, been involved in six publications, and 28 international and national presentations.

Shauna L.H. Smith, MS, CCC-SLP

Shauna L. H. Smith, MS, CCC-SLP
Communication Sciences & Disorders
School of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences
ISU Meridian
(208) 373-1814

Areas of Clinical and Research Interests: Dysphagia in Adult Neurological Disorders and Head and Neck Cancer Patients, TBI, Interprofessional Treatment Approaches to Dysphagia and TBI, Voice, and Clinical Education and Specialty Clinics Shauna is currently the Clinic Director for the SLP Program and has developed the ISU Dysphagia Clinic treating challenging cases of dysphagia (swallowing disorders) in individuals with neurological disorders or head and neck cancer. She is also in the process of creating an opportunity to provide transgender voice and communication services within group and individual sessions to provide students with exposure to this underserved population that requires specialty training. She has co-authored research projects regarding use of video-review feedback in the training of student clinicians during their clinical application experiences, as well as research regarding the effectiveness of electronic medical record systems in the university clinic setting. Shauna has presented nationally and regionally regarding interprofessional collaboration between mental health counselors and SLPs in the treatment of mild TBI and swallowing disorders. These presentations have been in conjunction with mental health counselors with areas of interest and experience in working with the psychosocial/emotional difficulties associated with these disorders. Conferences have included both SLP conferences and mental health counselor conferences.

Amy Hardy, MS, CCC-SLP

Amy Hardy M.S.,CCC-SLP
Clinical Associate Professor
Communication Sciences & Disorders
President- Idaho Speech Language Hearing Association
ISU - Meridian Health Sciences Center
(208) 373-1724

Research Interests:
Student Supervision, Pediatric Dysphagia, Language Disorders

As a Clinical Faculty member, Amy Hardy, is currently working on providing therapists and caregivers objective ways to increase outcomes in pediatric feeding. Speech Language Pathologist must actively engage the client and caregiver and implement a positive learning and therapeutic environment to promote successful oral intake. In addition to increasing out comes in feeding I am working to improving outcomes in the clinical supervision process. Supervision is a vital aspect of our profession and requires an informative approach that is evidence based and models’ best practices.This project continues and is showing positive responses and improvements in the supervision process.

Joni G. Loftin, MSP-CCC-SLP

Joni G. Loftin, MSP-CCC-SLP, COM
Clinical Professor
Certified Orofacial Myologist
Speech-Language Pathologist
Idaho State University
Communication Sciences & Disorders

As a practicing SLP and certified Orofacial Myologist, Joni has collaborated with colleagues and graduate students in studying the potential relationships in predicting the risk for developing oropharyngeal dysphasia from the presence of oromyofacial disorders, the effects of tongue tie on swallowing, and the effectiveness of specific exercises as tongue strengthening procedures in the treatment of tongue thrust. She has also worked with faculty in the department of Dental Hygiene in establishing Interprofessional Education and Interprofessional Practice opportunities for students in Speech-Language Pathology and Dental Hygiene. These have centered on assessment and treatment of oromyofacial and concomitant disorders, and have included identifying the primary themes of student reflection about each other and about self with the other, and of student perceptions on teaching and being taught by the other profession.

Daniel Hudock, Ph.D., CF-SLP

Daniel Hudock, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Associate Professor
Founder / Director of the Northwest Center for Fluency Disorders (NWCFD)
Communication Sciences & disorders
(208) 282.4403
NWCFD Website:

Dr. Hudock has two primary areas of research. First is a clinical and translational track investigating the functional (emotional, psychological, and social) impacts people who stutter (PWS) experience because of their communication disorder, including holistic approaches to stuttering therapy in collaboration with mental-health professionals. Dr. Hudock is a person who stutters and understands that stuttering is much more than just how someone talks, but very often includes negative thoughts and feelings about themself that has far reaching impacts. Due to his personal and professional experiences with stuttering he has founded the Northwest Center for Fluency Disorders, which in collaboration with the Departments of Communication Sciences and Disorders and Counseling at Idaho State University, offers annual interprofessional intensive stuttering clinics. The adolescent and adult clinic is a two-week residential interprofessional clinic where clients who stutter are paired with one graduate SLP and Counseling student to work with them throughout the clinic using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Much of his first area of research examines training and clinical procedures through this experience for client and student outcomes. His second major area of research uses bio-psychophysiological measures (electro-dermal skin conductance response, heart-rate variability, and eye-tracking) to investigate sender-receiver dynamics during communication and high-density electroencephalography (EEG). With this, he specifically uses time-frequency analysis in EEGLab to examine the neural sensori-motor mu rhythm in speech perception and production of fluent and disfluent speakers. Dr. Hudock frequently has students involved in his projects at many levels, often presenting at state, regional, and national conferences (ASHA) as well as appearing as authors on many of his scholarly works.

Victoria (Tori) Scharp, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

The Scharp Language and Brain Lab at Idaho State University on the Pocatello campus is spearheaded by Victoria (Tori) Scharp, Ph.D., CCC-SLP. Broadly, the research interests for the SLAB Lab include: cognitive and psycholinguistic bases of neurological communicative disorders, semantic and discourse comprehension, nature and treatment of right hemisphere communication processes and disorders, and acquired neurogenic language disorders in adults. Currently, Dr. Scharp’s primary line of research includes how temporal processing cues are integrated with both linguistic and world knowledge to facilitate language comprehension.

Chris Sanford, Ph.D., CCC-A
Communication Sciences & Disorders
School of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences
ISU Pocatello

Jeff Brockett, Ph.D., CCC-A
Communication Sciences & Disorders
School of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences
ISU Pocatello

Auditory Research Lab

Two main areas of focus for the Auditory Research Lab (ARL) in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders involve investigations of middle and inner ear function. Members of the ARL are investigating the use of wideband (broad frequency range) aural acoustic tests that have the potential to overcome limitations of current clinical tests of middle-ear function. The long term goal of this research include development of tests that 1) accurately detect middle-ear pathology and predict conductive hearing loss, and 2) are useful for monitoring middle-ear surgery outcomes. An improved, objective diagnostic test to identify middle-ear disorders and conductive hearing loss has the potential to provide more accurate audiologic information for individuals of any age, but would be especially useful in difficult to test populations such as young children and infants.

Inner ear (cochlear) integrity can be assessed by acoustically stimulating the auditory system and measuring the acoustic "byproduct" of cochlear function (otoacoustic emissions) with a sensitive microphone in the ear canal. Standard clinical measurement of otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) focuses on auditory frequencies from 500 to 8000 Hz. Modification of existing equipment and implementation of improved calibration routines allow for measurement of OAEs at frequencies up to 20,000 Hz. Measuring OAEs at these extended high frequencies may provide information useful for early detection of hearing loss due to noise exposure or ototoxicity related to some cancer treatments. Members of the ARL are collaborating with faculty at the University of Iowa to establish the limits of normal variability of high-frequency OAEs in children with normal hearing.


921 South 8th Avenue
Pocatello, Idaho, 83209