Frank R. Kleffner Lifetime Clinical Career Award Recipients

The Frank R. Kleffner Lifetime Clinical Career Award honors an individual's exemplary contributions to clinical science and practice over a period of 20 years or more.


Karen Golding-Kushner

Karen Golding-Kushner
Speech-Language Pathologist and Owner
The Golding-Kushner Speech Center, LLC
Golding-Kushner Consulting, LLC
East Brunswick, NJ

Karen Golding-Kushner is honored for more than 40 years of service and contributions. Her clinical career has been dedicated to advancing clinical treatments for patients across the lifespan with cleft lip and/or cleft palate and associated craniofacial syndromes.

Her seminal textbook, “Therapy Techniques for Cleft Palate Speech and Related Disorders,” has been an influential resource for students and practicing clinicians. Throughout her career, she has provided leadership to the Velo-Cardio-Facial Syndrome (VCFS) Educational Foundation and to the Virtual Center for VCFS to support professionals and families. She was one of the first clinicians to provide telehealth speech services for patients with cleft palate and associated disorders and has served as an expert in telehealth delivery. Since 1980, her private practice has specialized in treatment for patients with cleft palate and craniofacial disorders and syndromes. Golding-Kushner’s lifetime of service has been devoted to advocating for and improving outcomes for children and families affected by communication disorders around the world.


Edythe A. Strand

Edythe A. Strand
Professor Emeritus, Mayo Clinic
Rochester, MN
Affiliate Professor, University of Washington
Seattle, WA

Edythe Strand is honored for more than three decades of exemplary service as a clinical practitioner, researcher, and educator. A world-renowned expert in neurogenic speech disorders, she has advanced clinical practice in the areas of dysarthria, progressive apraxia, and childhood apraxia of speech. At the University of Washington, Strand established a clinically oriented research program to study acquired and developmental motor speech disorders while providing intervention services. At the Mayo Clinic, Strand served 850–1,000 patients annually, and her treatment program for children with severe apraxia of speech attracted families from around the world. Her groundbreaking work has advanced treatment for motor speech disorders—she created the evidence-based Dynamic Evaluation of Motor Speech Skills to diagnose childhood apraxia of speech, and developed the Dynamic Temporal and Tactile Cuing technique to treat it. In a career dedicated to education, she taught more than 200 courses to practicing clinicians. Strand’s lifetime of clinical service and research has advanced neurogenic communication treatments, improved the lives of patients and their families, and created a legacy for future clinicians.


Alison Lemke

Alison Lemke
Clinical Associate Professor; Director of Speech-Language Pathology Clinical Education
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, Colorado

Alison Lemke is honored for more than 35 years of leadership and outstanding contributions to clinical practice, education, and national board service. Her work has been committed to developing funded services for people with communication disorders in underserved, rural communities, giving thousands of people access to care. She has dedicated her career to clinical teaching and administration in master’s speech-language pathology programs, while serving adults with neurogenic communication disorders in university clinics. At the University of Iowa, she collaborated with a Brian Injury Association of America chapter, mentoring students to work with families and survivors of stroke and traumatic brain injury; started a reading group for people with aphasia; and initiated interprofessional education opportunities in the Health Sciences College. In her current role, she has increased internship opportunities for University of Colorado graduate students to train in clinical settings, implementing a clinical simulation program during the pandemic. Lemke’s lifetime of clinical service, and her devotion to educating students in evidence-based practice, has advanced SLP services across the professions.


Carol Westby

Carol Westby
Bilingual Multicultural Services
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Known as a trailblazer, Carol Westby is honored for more than 40 years as a master clinician and clinical researcher. Her contributions transformed research into meaningful clinical practices, the depth and breadth of which have not only changed the field, but enhanced lives for millions of individuals. Focused on child language development and disorders, her work in narrative and play assessment, theory of mind and social-cognitive development, and cultural-linguistic diversity, has had an impact on children and speech-language pathology services worldwide.

Her scholarly contributions raised awareness around assessing children’s play to draw connections to language and thinking, which led clinicians to adapt interventions. Speech-language pathologists have applied this “Westby Play Scale” in their practices, and it has been translated into many languages. This approach awakened interest in observing children’s interactions and shaped clinical practice from a sole focus on linguistic form to a focus on using language to make social connections. Westby’s work across cultures with children’s personal narratives is an area of her most broadly felt impact. Her contributions in teaching and mentoring have influenced services for children with autism spectrum disorders, hearing loss, attention deficit disorders, social-communication difficulties, and language and literacy disorders. Westby’s multidisciplinary work has set a standard in giving a voice to underserved populations facing communication challenges.


Howard C. Shane

Howard C. Shane
Director, Autism Language Program and Center for Communication Enhancement, Boston Children’s Hospital
Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School
Boston, Massachusetts

Howard C. Shane is honored for more than four decades of extraordinary achievement as a clinician, researcher, mentor, and advocate supporting individuals with complex communication impairments. His work—characterized by inventive thinking, novel approaches, and pioneering technology developments—has focused on addressing the needs of children with severe communication disorders, particularly those without speech. A true innovator, he conceived of clinical models and practices to create breakthroughs for those with the most severe disabilities. His work harnessed the potential of computer hardware, software, and peripheral equipment to create high-tech solutions for people with cerebral palsy and related neuro-motor diseases. His contributions to augmentative and alternative communication strategies illuminated the capabilities of people with severe communication impairments to participate in social and educational contexts in previously unimagined ways. His seminal work with “feature matching”—a clinical decision matrix that matches augmentative device features to the abilities and deficits of the patients—is a worldwide standard of care. His accomplishments have inspired and advanced clinical treatment on a global scale for thousands of children, their families, and professionals who serve them.

View Frank R. Kleffner Lifetime Clinical Career Award recipients before 2019 [PDF].