March 13, 2014

The joys and challenges of a PhD undertaken on a tropical island

I am continually impressed at Suzanne's achievements as she undertakes her PhD via distance education from Fiji. Over the past few weeks she has had to accommodate flooding, cyclone warnings, and no electricity. Here is an email I received recently: "I've been luxuriating in the wonders of electricity for the last few hours. Very much hoping the electricity stays on though no promises of that yet. Here's my latest version of the literature review..."

Suzanne has just learned that the first paper from her PhD will be published in the Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology. Congratulations Suzanne! The title and abstract are below. 

Services for people with communication disability in Fiji: Clinical insights 
In Fiji, the government has recognised the importance of services for people with communication disability (PWCD); however, the need for services still exceeds supply, and it is unclear who is providing services to this population. It has been suggested (Wylie et al., 2013) that agents of delivery of intervention can comprise seven groups: qualified speech-language pathologists (SLPs), mid-tier workers, already qualified professionals trained for an additional, new role, disability care workers, traditional healers and other professionals or family members guided by SLPs. In this paper, the role of each of these groups in the provision of services to PWCD in Fiji was reviewed. Results revealed that qualified SLP services in Fiji are restricted to those provided by international volunteer programs. Numerous other agents of delivery of intervention are available; however, their skill base and intervention methods remain largely unknown. There is a need to identify the skills and practices of non-SLP agents and to consider the potential for future direct SLP input, to ensure timely and adequate services are available to people with communication disability in Fiji.