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Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders College of Health & Human Services

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CSAD Faculty-Sponsored Research & Applied Communication Sciences Labs

The Applied Communication Sciences Labs in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Sacramento State integrate diverse faculty sponsored research projects, community outreach projects, pre-clinical experiences, and experiential and service-learning electives that provide practical opportunities for students to enhance their clinical potential by becoming involved in evidence-based practice, research, community service, and contributions to the literature.

Cognitive Communication Connection (CogComCon)

The Cognitive-Communication Connection is a collection of research lab groups where students are able to learn about research in Communication Sciences and Disorders, be trained in research and specific IRB approved assessment and treatment protocols, and observe or work directly with participants in the research.

There are 3 lab groups and all relate to cognitive communication disorders in adults and children. The goal is to complete needed research in the field of Speech-Language Pathology, provide services to the public within the research, and provide students with training and experience in working with research participants as part of IRB approved research at Sacramento State.

Faculty Sponsor: Elisabeth (Lisa) D'Angelo, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Assistant Professor

Interprofessional Education Center for Innovative Teaching & Learning

Mission: To graduate healthcare professionals who are ready to provide collaborative patient-centered care and promote the triple aim of health care: Enhance patient experience, improve the health of the community, and reduce the cost of health care.

CHHS IPE Center Program Outcomes: The Sacramento State graduate will be prepared to join a collaborative health workforce, improve patient outcomes and will demonstrate:

  • An understanding of the roles and responsibilities of other health professionals.
  • An understanding of the role of ethics in the healthcare professions
  • How to work effectively in interprofessional teams
  • How to communicate effectively when collaborating with health professionals from other disciplines.

Faculty Sponsor: Darla Hagge, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Associate Professor


If parents love, talk to, and read with their children daily, the future can be brighter! We are collecting new and gently-used children’s books (ages infant-12 years) to share with low-income children in the greater Sacramento area and around the world, with a special emphasis on developing nations.

Faculty Sponsor: Celeste Roseberry-McKibbin, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Professor

Multicultural Children’s Literature

The purpose of the Multicultural Children’s Literature 199 is to highlight multicultural and cross-linguistic representation within children’s books as a means for a positive early literacy experience. In this elective course, students will:

  1. Discuss the effect of culture on narrative, storytelling, holidays, and children’s songs.
  2. Analyze the disparities within popular children's books and promote diversification of children’s literature.
  3. Develop materials relating children’s books to be used in teletherapy.
  4. Collaboratively, create a portfolio of children’s books and activities that will be made available to all students.

Faculty Sponsor: Tonia Davis, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Assistant Professor

NeuroService Alliance

NeuroService Alliance integrates group-based programs for adults with acquired neurogenic communication disorders, Interprofessional, experiential student learning, scholarly contributions to the literature.

NeuroService Alliance is designed especially for adults who are living with acquired communication disorders such as aphasia, apraxia of speech, and dysarthria often as a result of a stroke, traumatic brain injury or other neurological involvement. Prospective members can choose from a variety of group-based life participation programs. Under the guidance of founder and director, Dr. Darla K. Hagge CCC-SLP, undergraduate and graduate speech-language pathology students serve as trained communication partners for group members. The Alliance provides SacState students with an interprofessional experiential learning experience by offering students from other health care disciplines to participate as trained guest conversation partners. The Alliance is uniquely positioned as a venue for ongoing leadership opportunities, data collection, research projects, and scholarly contributions to the literature.

  • The NeuroService Alliance also offers weekly peer-led group meetings for families and significant others of persons living with acquired communication disorders. Family meetings offer education, training, and a supportive environment for connecting with others who are also living with aphasia, apraxia of speech, and/or dysarthria.
  • NeuroService Alliance life participation group programs:
    • AACtive Talkers (AAC)
    • Aphasia Book Club (ABC)
    • Communicating Through Art (CTA)
    • Communication Recovery Groups-Sacramento (CRG-SAC)
    • Creating Access Through Technology (CATT)
    • Vocally Devoted (VoD)

Faculty Sponsor: Darla Hagge, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Associate Professor

NeuroService Alliance on Facebook

Sacramento State Literacy Connection

The Sacramento State Literacy Connection is a collaboration of Dr. Robert Pieretti and students in the Applied Communication Sciences Lab (ACSL) in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Sacramento State. The Literacy Connection is involved in three ongoing community-based projects designed to empower parents to develop preschool literacy. These projects involve practical service learning that is directly tied to our undergraduate and graduate curricula:

“The Sac State Storytime Connection” trains undergraduate students in our program to provide weekly literacy encouragement through interactive storybook reading and associated craft activities to increase concept exposure to low-income children and their families participating in local programs, including Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) programs. Each child leaves every session with a free book (courtesy of Dr. Roseberry-McKibbin's Love, Talk, Read book drive).

Regular parent training in the area of literacy encouragement is provided biannually in both English and Spanish in a series of four classes designed by Dr. Pieretti and presented by supervised graduate and undergraduate students in our program in collaboration with the Volunteer Parent Education Program at Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services and ASPIRE Public Schools. Parents leave every class with 3-5 free books (courtesy of Dr. Roseberry-McKibbin's Love, Talk, Read book drive) appropriate for their child and the topic being discussed (Reading to Engage, Reading for Sounds, Reading for Words, and Reading to Understand).

Literacy materials for families are maintained and updated regularly on this website (see below) and include “Questions to ask Children When Reading” available in 11 languages, techniques for parents to encourage language and literacy growth at home in several languages, links and resources regarding language and literacy, and red flags indicating the need for language and/or literacy assessment.

Faculty Sponsor: Robert Pieretti, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Professor

S.P.I.T. Lab: Physiological Stress Response Research

The purpose of the S.P.I.T. lab is to provide much needed information on how individuals with various communication disorders respond to stressors.

Salivary sampling for stress hormones and other biomarkers is minimally invasive and provides a comprehensive analysis of the body’s reactivity to environmental stressors. A quantifiable analysis of the body’s reactivity to various stressors is especially interesting for communication disorders known to fluctuate in severity when the individual becomes stressed or anxious (e.g., stuttering). The ability to characterize an individual as a high or low reactor to stress may guide therapeutic options to better serve the unique needs of each client.

Faculty Sponsor: Aishah Y. Patterson, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Assistant Professor

S.P.I.T. Lab Flier

Speech Pathology Research, Outcomes and Treatment (SPROuT)

Speech Pathology Research, Outcomes and Treatment (SPROuT) is a research initiative within the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Sacramento State, developed by Heather Thompson, Ph.D. CCC-SLP.

  • The mission of SPROuT is threefold:
    1. To conduct clinical intervention studies in the field of speech-language pathology and audiology, contributing to best practice guidelines.
    2. To provide pediatric clients with high quality assessment and intervention services through research studies while investigating the nature of their concerns related to speech, language and swallowing.
    3. To provide undergraduate and graduate students with opportunities to obtain research experience early in their speech-language pathology and audiology academic careers.
  • On-going activities under SPROuT:
    • Examination of interventions for speech sound disorders of children with cleft palate.
    • An evaluation of communication and swallowing concerns of individuals with neurofibromatosis.
    • Applied Communication Sciences Lab (ACSL) in cleft palate for undergraduate and graduate students.
    • ACSL in Neurofibromatosis for undergraduate and graduate students.

Faculty Sponsor: Heather Thompson, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Associate Professor

Undergraduate audiology research

This 199 provides students with an opportunity to be involved in audiology research. Previous topics have included: cognition, aging, hearing loss, and hearing conservation.

Faculty Sponsor: Laura Gaeta, Ph.D. Au.D. Program Director

Undergraduate aural rehabilitation experience

This 199 involves weekly class meetings focused on further exploring aural rehabilitation concepts and four seminars that provide education about hearing loss to older adults in the community.

Faculty Sponsor: Laura Gaeta, Ph.D. Au.D. Program Director