ASHFoundation Celebrates 75th Anniversary – Reflecting Back and Looking Forward

75 Years of Achievement and Innovation

June 28, 2021

Throughout the ASHFoundation’s 75-year history, more than $11.2 million has been awarded - more than 2,300 researchers, students and clinical professionals have received ASHFoundation funding - more than 55,000 individuals, corporations, NSSLHA chapters, state associations, and others have made donations. 

What Difference Does It Make?

Recipients share how their ASHFoundation funding helped their research, education, and careers.

Michael Burns

Michael Burns, PhD
University of Washington, Seattle

My ASHFoundation funding made it possible for me to complete my PhD program, and to jumpstart an important line of research. It helped fund the completion of my dissertation research, which explored the perspectives and experiences of people with aphasia, their family caregivers, and physicians during medical interactions, which helped shape the training we now use with health care providers.

Nicole Rogus-Pulia

Nicole Rogus-Pulia, PhD
University of Wisconsin, Madison

My ASHFoundation award was absolutely crucial in giving me the support I needed to launch my own independent line of research. Focused on patients with post-stroke dysphagia, my ASHFoundation project was a small clinical trial designed to examine the effects of tongue-strengthening, as compared to usual care. This study led me to consider the feasibility of rehabilitative interventions for those with cognitive impairment, specifically those with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. The pilot data from my ASHFoundation grant served as a basis for my successful National Institute on Aging K23 award. The ASHFoundation helped me to establish a successful track record of obtaining funding for my work and allowed me to demonstrate my ability to manage a funded project and successfully complete it. As a recipient of a prestigious ASHFoundation award, I have also been able to connect with leaders in the field through networking opportunities and develop my professional reputation on a national level.

Jiyeon Lee

Jiyeon Lee, PhD
Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

I’m very grateful for the opportunities that I have gained through the ASHFoundation and how the awards helped to develop and advance my research career. My ASHFoundation awards opened opportunities for invaluable mentoring from senior researchers and new collaborations. Without this funding to collect pilot data and to attend ASHA’s Lessons for Success program, I would not have been able to be as competitive in securing a larger federal grant. Finally, the recognition I received through the awards gave me a huge sense of confidence that I could be an independent researcher during my initial years as an assistant professor.

Elizabeth Kelley

Elizabeth Kelley, PhD
University of Missouri, Columbia

In our field, people understand that funding from the ASHFoundation is very competitive. If you are one of the small group of people who receive funding, there is an acknowledgement that you are doing work that is important to the field. My grant allowed me to recruit participants and collect data, fund undergraduate and graduate students, and leverage that project into larger grant submissions. I was able to refine some procedures that have become components of other new projects. At our state convention, three students presented research posters that related to the data we collected with the ASHFoundation funding. For these students, and others who have been part of the project, learning about the research process sets the stage for a career as an informed clinician who will seek out and apply evidence-based practices.

Sudha Arunachalam

Sudha Arunachalam, PhD
New York University, NYC

ASHFoundation funding came at a particularly important time, when I was evaluating which research lines were most likely to be successful. The foundation’s enthusiasm for my project helped me realize its potential and allowed me to hire excellent students. Working with wonderful students advances the research and provides training for the next generation of scientists. My work that was funded by the ASHFoundation directly led to a new R01 grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders to examine language processing and verb acquisition in preschoolers with language delays, with and without autism spectrum disorder.

Aaron Moberly

Aaron Moberly, MD
The Ohio State University, Columbus

My ASHFoundation award supported a study of verbal working-memory skills in postlingual adults with cochlear implants. This study provided preliminary data for a subsequent American Otological Society Clinician-Scientist Award and a proposal for an NIH (NIDCD) K23 career development award. My early ASHFoundation funding was instrumental in supporting my career path as a surgeon-scientist and in allowing me to pursue novel interventions to improve speech-recognition outcomes in cochlear implant users.   

McKay Moore Sohlberg

McKay Moore Sohlberg, PhD
University of Oregon, Eugene

My first ASHFoundation grant supported a seed project that then led to securing a large, five-year National Science Foundation grant to run further studies and develop reading assessment and intervention protocols to improve reading comprehension intervention for adults with acquired cognitive impairments. This led to support for an implementation science project to evaluate how to translate the science and methods into clinical tools usable by clinicians. My next ASHFoundation grant supported the development of an app that helps clinicians create patient-centered goals to help measure cognitive rehabilitation treatment outcomes. We used results from this study to apply for further funding from the National Institutes of Health. Without the support from the ASHFoundation grant, I would not have been eligible to apply for further research funding to test and then develop clinical tools.

Why We Care

Every year, nearly 8,000 individuals, companies, and organizations make the work of the ASHFoundation possible through their generous gifts. Donors reflect on why they give.

Preeti Sivasankar

Preeti Sivasankar, PhD
Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Supporting our students and researchers through scholarships and in recognition of their research is what inspires me to donate to the ASHFoundation. It gives a significant boost to your morale and professional career to be ‘recognized’ by the ASHFoundation. I was fortunate to be funded by the ASHFoundation myself, and I know what a difference it made in my career. That is what motivates me to give back. The ASHFoundation has a strong history of being at the forefront of innovation, and I look forward to it continuing to inspire and support our scholars far into the future.

Deborah Swain

Deborah Swain, EdD
The Swain Center, Santa Rose, CA

I continue to be interested in our profession’s students—they demonstrate passion and offer promise for the future. We need to support scholarships for them, which is why I am most proud to contribute to the ASHFoundation. The ASHFoundation is investing in our future and supporting visionary and sustainable efforts for our discipline. As a clinician and a donor, I have also appreciated the opportunity to participate in some of the ASHFoundation’s scholarship review panels and to witness, first-hand, the exceptional students my donations support.

Jessica Sullivan

Jessica R. Sullivan, PhD
Hampton, VA

I take special pride in giving and raising money for the ASHFoundation’s student scholarships, especially those for minority and international students. The ASHFoundation’s scholarship opportunities can ease some of the burden and financial challenges faced by so many, so students can excel. The ASHFoundation is special because it is supported by clinicians and researchers interested in hearing, speech, and language—for us by us! This foundation has sparked the beginning of many bright careers which [have] led to exciting innovations in speech, language, and hearing research directions and clinical interventions. I will be forever grateful for the funding one of my doctoral students received from the ASHFoundation—it was her very first grant, and it funded her dissertation. As an international student, she was unable to apply for support through any other grant agency.

Elizabeth Ijalba

Elizabeth Ijalba, PhD
CUNY, Queen College, Livingston, NJ

I am inspired by the broad support that the ASHFoundation provides for researchers at all stages in their academic careers as well as for students studying the communication sciences, and particularly minority, international, and students with disabilities. This type of support reflects ASHFoundation's commitment to our profession and to innovative research. I am the first one in my family to go to college. My parents were immigrants who worked relentlessly to provide me with an education and better opportunities in life. My mother was not allowed to go to school because she was a woman, she struggled to write her name. My memorial gift in her name is a way to pay back for all that she gave me. We are experiencing a devastating time in our country—racial violence, financial and health disparities, and the immense impact of a pandemic on front line workers and their families. Many families are out of work; many students want to go to college and cannot afford that dream. It is my hope that we come together as the big ASHA family that we are and donate to the ASHFoundation to help make those dreams possible. I hope that I can inspire others to give in whatever measure is affordable. It is really a privilege to support this mission.

Ensuring Innovation Into the Future

More than 30 Legacy Leaders are guaranteeing that new generations of innovators will have the funding and resources they need to pursue innovation and discovery long into the future. Hear from a couple of our Legacy Leaders.

Dennis and Linda Hampton

Dennis and Linda Hampton, PhD
Stamford, CT

I am thankful to the ASHFoundation for giving me the opportunity, over so many years, to do work that I felt would make a difference in the future of our professions. We have provided invaluable support to thousands of students, clinicians, and researchers, many of them at the start of their careers. I’m proud that the ASHFoundation has played such an important, often pivotal, role in the lives and careers of speech-language pathologists, audiologists, and speech and hearing scientists. Through the years, many of those colleagues have shared with me how important the ASHFoundation was in launching their clinical and research careers, and how important the ASHFoundation has been to their work. I believe most speech-language pathologists and audiologists choose their career because they want to be part of a ‘helping profession’ —they spend their lives helping others. For Linda and me, the beauty and the appeal of the Legacy Leaders is that our planned gift will continue to make a difference long after our careers are over. We believe our clinical work has made a difference in many lives, and our legacy gift will allow us to continue making a difference, however small, long into the future.

Christy Ludlow

Christy Ludlow, PhD
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke/NIH, James Madison University (retired), Culpeper, VA

The ASHFoundation uniquely supports young investigators to increase the knowledge basis of communication disorders and to improve patients’ lives. I am proud to support our field’s young investigators, particularly as they start a new laboratory and begin gathering data on their independent research.  This is a difficult transition period for a new faculty member, and ASHFoundation funding helps them publish their initial studies so they can compete for NIH grants. When I set up my will I designated a portion of my trust to be given to ASHFoundation upon my death. It was very easy and rewarding to do! I trust the ASHFoundation will use the funds wisely. I am very impressed with its role in our field over the past 75 years. We need well controlled clinical studies to determine the efficacy of procedures used in medical speech language pathology services. This will not only increase our understanding of the bases of some of the procedures being used in practice, but also better meet patients' needs.

Thank You 75th Anniversary Sponsors

Diamond Sponsor


Plural Publishing


Sapphire Sponsors

Brookes Publishing



Ruby Sponsors

Aegis Therapies

The Swain Center

ASHFoundation Board of Trustees

ASHFoundation University Giving Program