Communication Sciences and Disorders graduate student Elizabeth Gill is
      traveling to East Africa this summer to conduct research on the attitudes
      of rural Kenyans and Ugandans toward communication problems and speech-language
    therapy.

Above: Elizabth Gill

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Elizabeth Gill

Head of the CLAS

In the third grade, a Nigerian physician sparked Elizabeth Gill’s  interest in Africa and its cultures.  Now, as a Communication Sciences and Disorders graduate student, Gill is traveling to East Africa this summer to conduct research on the attitudes of rural Kenyans and Ugandans toward communication problems and speech-language therapy.

This is not Gill’s first trip to Africa.  In the summer of 2000, she took her first missionary trip to Uganda, serving with the Africa Inland Mission.  In 2002-2003, Gill returned to the country and taught mathematics in a poor, rural high school, and soon realized the great need for specialized services in rural areas of East Africa.

“Currently, people with any kind of disability, including speech, are usually hidden away and considered to be ‘curses’ on the family,” said Christine Sapienza chair of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. ‘Elizabeth hopes to dispel some of these myths by educating the elders and caretakers of a few rural communities and increasing the quality of life for people with speech disabilities and their family members.’

Gill’s research trip is self-funded.  She will be traveling with her husband, who is currently working on a PhD in agricultural development and will be conducting his own research in the same area.

Through her research, Gill hopes to determine East Africans’ perceptions of speech-language therapy and how beneficial and necessary they perceive it to be. In addition, she expects to learn how to adapt Western speech-language therapy practices to fit the local culture.

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Buffy Lockette

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