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.

2021

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.

2020

Carol Westby

Carol Westby
Consultant
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.

2019

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.

2018

Joseph R. Duffy

Joseph R. Duffy
Emeritus
Mayo Clinic
Rochester, Minnesota

Joseph Duffy is honored for more than 40 years of service as a clinical practitioner, researcher, and educator. His clinical practice and research have transformed accuracy for clinical diagnoses of acquired, degenerative and functional speech and language disorders. His seminal textbook, "Motor Speech Disorders," has become a cornerstone for clinical training programs in teaching generations of speech-language pathologists differential diagnosis of the dysarthrias and apraxia of speech. Serving since 1983 at the Mayo Clinic and Mayo Medical School as a consultant and professor of speech-language pathology in the department of neurology, Duffy provided clinical care for 850 to 1,000 patients annually while teaching and mentoring medical students, neurology residents, medical subspecialty fellows, and speech-language pathology post-doctoral fellows. In the outpatient clinical setting, he diagnosed aphasia, dysarthria, and non-aphasic cognitive-communication deficits associated with stroke, traumatic brain injury, and medical crises with associated speech and language difficulties. His daily practice in identifying and localizing speech abnormalities provided important insight into the neurologic underpinnings of the associated motor speech disorder and treatment implications, fostering widespread appreciation for the value and expertise of speech-language pathologists by neurologists and within the broader medical community. Duffy's lifetime of service has led to extraordinary improvements in the administration of clinical service, enhanced the quality of care, and accelerated clinical research.

2017

Jon F. Miller

Jon F. Miller
Professor Emeritus
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Madison, Wisconsin

Jon Miller is honored for over five decades of leadership in clinical research, service, supervision and administration. His early and ongoing concerns for individuals with severe disabilities informed his pursuit of excellence. Dr. Miller's innovative work to develop the Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts (SALT), a computer-based coding system to analyze language samples, has transformed the work of clinicians to accurately and efficiently code details of children's language. This tool revolutionized a laborious manual practice that had not previously been imaginable, and he has continued to enhance the software to ensure it remains user-friendly and practicable. His visionary work contributed worldwide to increased awareness for analyzing non-native English speakers' language, with the framework adapted to yield valid, reliable, and culturally sensitive methods. With support from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the National Institutes of Health in 1979, Dr. Miller implemented the Symposium on Research in Child Language Disorders (SRCLD) to address issues concerning child language disorders. SRCLD continues to be a national model of how clinical-research collaborations can improve clinical decision-making. His lifetime contributions have altered the course of science and practice, substantially increasing availability of effective services for individuals with disabilities. 

View Frank R. Kleffner Lifetime Clinical Career Award recipients before 2017 [PDF].