Speech-language pathologist Amber Meadows-Yusko was treating patients at the University of Cincinnati Speech and Hearing Clinic last spring when news of the coronavirus pandemic swept across the country, forcing all non-essential establishments to close their doors. For the clinic, this meant a three-week pause in services while its leaders worked to determine which virtual platform would best serve their patients.
When the clinic reopened, Meadows-Yusko, a clinical supervisor at the time, and her colleagues provided free telehealth services to community members throughout the summer. She also recorded 120 teletherapy sessions for UC students to gain clinical knowledge remotely. Now eight months into her new role as director of the clinic, which gradually started shifting back to in-person services last fall, Meadows-Yusko is working to expand programming and make its audiology and speech pathology units more cohesive.
Patients who prefer teletherapy services over in-person visits also benefit from Meadows-Yusko’s leadership. As someone who grew up in a small, rural town, she recognizes the importance of increasing access to telehealth services for those who live in remote areas. She also acknowledges that telehealth services may be a patient’s preferred method of treatment for a number of reasons, including convenience, which is why expanding virtual capabilities is a top priority for her.
Whether the clinic is expanding current offerings or exploring ways to increase access for community members near and far, Meadows-Yusko says the role she plays as director wouldn’t be possible without the support, collaboration and encouragement of her colleagues. “I couldn’t do it without my team,” she says. “They are the driving force of everything, and I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without them.”
Featured image at top: Photo of the UC Speech & Hearing clinic in the Health Sciences Building shortly after it opened in the fall of 2019.