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March 11, 2019 —

Written by Marybeth Kotrodimos

We are very proud to announce that our speech and hearing clinic, officially known as the University of Hawaii Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD), has been named recipient of the Oscar and Rosetta Fish Fund Grant, an award given to provide speech therapy services to disadvantaged children aged three to five.

CSD has been awarded $20,000 a year for three years, for a total of $60,000 covering the grant period of January 2019 to December 2021.

According to Keith Yamase, Fiscal and Administrative Specialist at CSD, the effort that led to CSD being granted this award “was truly a team effort” for CSD.

With the humility which seems so characteristic of those in her department, Dr. Pauline Mashima acknowledges that though she was the one who “connected with the Hawaii Community Foundation* and prepared the proposal narrative, Keith Yamase, Dr. Lisa Taniguchi, and Dr. Kristi Noel provided invaluable support and contributions which resulted in our success.”

Keith adds that they are “especially grateful” to Dr. Larry Shapiro (UHP CEO), Chip Ellis (UHP Chief Financial Officer), and Rachel Zane (UHP Legal Affairs & Contracts Administrator) for “all the support they provided” in this effort.

According to Dr. Mashima, the Fish Fund Grant will allow CSD to provide therapy to children three to five years of age “who demonstrate speech-language delays or disorders.” Their “short-term goals,” she said, “will be to help them 1) understand the communication of peers and adults, and express their thoughts and feelings, and 2) improve their ability to participate in communicative and social interactions in their daily activities.”

The long-term goal of this program, Dr. Mashima tells us, is “to promote positive learning and developmental outcomes” including literacy skills. They anticipate that this approach will empower the parents of these young patients “to serve as their child’s primary speech-language ‘teacher’ through their active engagement and participation” in this program. She explains that they will teach parents how “to implement home programs” which will “infuse facilitating communication techniques in their child’s daily activities.”

In addition to working with patients who are already enrolled in treatment at CSD, Dr. Mashima said that they intend to “extend their program by networking with colleagues in the community to enroll children who do not meet eligibility criteria of other agencies. This strategy,” she said, “will enable us to support children who are under-served and underprivileged.”

Besides providing these direct services to children and parents, Dr. Mashima tells us that CSD “will work toward developing a center of excellence and a model program” to not only serve children with communication disorders, but also “to educate speech-language pathologists in the community to fill the need for specialists in early intervention.”

In this, CSD hopes to honor the legacy of Mrs. Rosetta Ramsey Fish, a former speech pathologist who taught speech at UH at Manoa, and later, with the Hawaii Community Foundation, started this fund to assist families who have children who need speech therapy.  She was known for caring much about children with speech disorders.

Whenever, in speaking with someone from CSD, we mention the good work that they do for our community, it seems that the word “team” comes figures prominently in their responses.  Members of the CSD team are each quick to point to the efforts of other members of their department, quick to acknowledge each other as being instrumental in their achievements.

And their achievements have been significant.  For 45 years, CSD has been training speech-language pathologists, serving as the onsite teaching facility for our community. They have also hosted students from Japan and Taiwan for clinical training and cultural exchange.

In addition, CSD faculty helped to develop and establish the first-ever accredited speech pathology program in China at Kunming Medical University (KMU). In 2016, CSD’s Dr. Henry Lew and Barbara Ward traveled to China to help with KMU program development and a special autism training for physicians there. Dr. Lew himself has been specially awarded and recognized for his work with international education programs.

CSD pride always seems to be tempered with humility and gratitude for the privilege of serving people as they do. “It’s an honor and privilege to serve on the UH CSD faculty and as a UHSHC provider with JABSOM and UHP,” says Dr. Mashima. “We function as a team, to support each other in achieving our collaborative goals for our department and faculty group practice.”

We are truly proud of CSD and grateful to them for the contribution they make not just to our community, but to others far beyond our Island. Congratulations CSD!

The Hawaii Community Foundation administers the Fish Fund Grant.  Incidentally, it was the Hawaii Community Foundation which also provided the award that Romel Domaoal received and donated to UHP. Click here to read Romel’s story.

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