Christiana Care Speech Therapy now offered at UD’s STAR campus

Christiana Care Speech Therapy now offered at UD’s STAR campus

A speech therapy patient and coach at University of Delaware STAR Campus site.
Paul Grohol, a speech therapy patient at Christiana Care’s new University of Delaware STAR Campus site, shows progress with coaching from Christine Virion Cook, MA, CCC/SLP.

Christiana Care Rehabilitation Services teamed up with the University of Delaware to provide speech pathology services at the University’s new Science, Technology & Advanced Research (STAR) campus.

“The collaboration between Christiana Care Rehabilitation Services and the University of Delaware is already a strong one in the area of physical therapy and through activities in the Delaware Health Sciences Alliance,” said Sharon Kurfuerst, senior vice president, Administration. “Expanding this collaboration to speech pathology was a natural course of progression and another way to serve the community.”

The STAR campus is on the site of the former Chrysler auto assembly plant in Newark. Its first tenant, the university’s College of Health Sciences, opened a Nurse Managed Health Center (NMHC) and Department of Physical Therapy services in January 2014.

“The NMHC is a medical home where patients can receive many health care services in one location,’’ said Director Allen Prettyman, Ph.D., FNP. “We take advantage of our new facility, with plenty of free parking to support patient care and engage students in an educational health care environment. The Nurse Managed Health Center is all about interdisciplinary care. It’s about looking out for the patient — that’s always the goal.’’

“Patients enjoy interacting with students and are supportive of the educational mission of the NMHC,” he said.

The site also offers educational opportunities for university students studying linguistics and physical therapy, giving them a chance to observe aspects of speech pathology in a clinical setting.

The move offers an excellent opportunity to bring the skill and strength of an already established program to the University of Delaware, and expands the collaboration between the University and Christiana Care, as partners in the Delaware Health Sciences Alliance, according to Dale Gregore, MS, CCCSLP, speech pathology program manager. At the new site, Christiana Care’s speech therapists work with Parkinson’s disease patients and other patients with voice disorders following a brain injury or stroke.

Having a speech therapist on-site is a win for the patients, Prettyman said. “If you can make it easy for patients to access health care services, it’s always a good thing.”

The first patients were seen at the site in October, and demand for speech therapy services was evident when all of the appointment slots were filled within the first few weeks, said Jennifer Thomas, MS, CCC-SLP, director of Rehabilitation Services at Christiana Care.

Kurfuerst says that Christiana Care Rehabilitation Services and the University of Delaware will continue to foster collaborative relationships that support the education of rehabilitation professionals and serve the clinical needs of the community.

In addition to the STAR campus site, Christiana Care Rehabilitation Services offers outpatient speech therapy at Wilmington Hospital, Christiana Hospital Medical Arts Pavilion 2, Springside Plaza, Middletown Care Center and Concord Health Center.