Miller School Standouts Recognized with ASHA Awards

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) recognized several University of Miami Miller School of Medicine faculty and staff for their achievements, leadership and dedication at the 2023 ASHA Convention, November 16-18 in Boston.

The ASHA Convention is the most comprehensive educational event in the world for speech, language, and hearing professionals, and is a premier professional development and networking experience.

This year’s ASHA awards reflect the Miller School’s dedication to improving speech, language and hearing care for all people, said Adam Lloyd, SLP-D, CCC-SLP, recipient of the 2023 ASHFoundation State Clinical Achievement Award.

Sandra Prentiss, Ph.D, CCC-A, and Adam Lloyd, SLP-D, CCC-SLP, are two of the Miller School’s ASHA award recipients.

“We have had an amazing group of multidisciplinary clinicians and staff that have been a part of the process of trying to improve care for our patients, specifically patients who are underrepresented and underserved,” said Dr. Lloyd, a voice pathologist, singing health specialist and clinical assistant professor in the Division of Speech Pathology at the Miller School.

Being recognized at the ASHA conference helps to create a groundswell of awareness among colleagues and referral sources beyond South Florida, according to Dr. Lloyd.

Colleagues nominated Dr. Lloyd in 2022 for the Florida Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists Clinician of the Year award. He received the honor for his work improving care and access for LGBTQ+ patients, as well as offering and advocating for services for gender-affirming voice care. Colleagues then nominated Dr. Lloyd for this national award, representing Florida, for his outstanding commitment in these areas.

Recognition for Outstanding Contributions and Clinical Achievement

Sandra Prentiss, Ph.D, CCC-A, associate professor in the Miller School’s Department of Otolaryngology, received AHSA’s certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Contributions and Clinical Achievement, which honors those with at least five years of experience who have made multiple contributions to the field.

During her 20 years in practice, Dr. Prentiss’s contributions as a clinician scientist in the area of cochlear implants have been recognized nationally and internationally.

“I’ve shared my research and clinical expertise over the last several years with the goal of improving cochlear implant outcomes for our patients. Hearing loss impacts so many patients and their families. I continue to strive to improve our patients’ quality of life through innovative research,” Dr. Prentiss said.

These efforts afforded her an invitation by the American Cochlear Implant Alliance to serve on a task force to provide guidelines for evaluating adult cochlear implant candidates.

Dr. Prentiss, who was nominated by her first preceptor, said this award recognizes audiologists for their achievements in clinical education, research and, most importantly, patient care.

“Precepting is my way of giving back and being able to shape some of our new visionaries and audiologists to the field. Hopefully, my dedication and efforts can inspire them that hard work will not go unnoticed,” Dr. Prentiss said. 

Distinguished Early Career Professional Certificate

Courtney Kolberg, Au.D., CCC-A, an audiologist who leads the vestibular program in the Department of Otolaryngology at the Miller School, received ASHA’s Distinguished Early Career Professional certificate. The award recognizes individuals in the first five years of their audiology or speech-language pathology careers who have made strides toward leadership, while advocating for patients at the state or national level.

“It’s like the up-and-coming people to watch within the field,” Dr. Kolberg said.

In a little more than a year in practice, Dr. Kolberg has become a leader and visionary in an area that she said needs attention. She works with vestibular patients, assessing people with dizziness and balance disorders. Dr. Kolberg also focuses on comprehensive adult diagnostics, running comprehensive hearing tests and electrophysiology measures, which are different ways to assess the hearing nerve.

“I’m working on creating updated clinical protocols for best practices. I work as the liaison between vestibular audiologists, physicians, physical therapists and visiting professors. And I’m bringing in a guest lecturer to help with growing clinical education,” said Dr. Kolberg, who also is a clinical educator for Miller School students.

She has already delivered one national presentation and one invited state presentation. Dr. Kolberg has had two publications within the past year.

Her short-term goal in vestibular sciences is to continue with process improvement at the university. Outside of the university, she plans to continue to present on the national and state levels and educate people about vestibular sciences.

“In my graduate school, I took a specialty track on vestibular sciences, an area that I know a lot of universities and audiology programs don’t offer,” she said. “Many audiologists run away from vestibular sciences.”

Dr. Kolberg believes audiologists avoid vestibular sciences because of that lack of education.

“My passion is to get out there and educate practicing audiologists in it,” she said.

The ASHA certificate, according to Dr. Kolberg, not only recognizes the hard work she has done early in her career but also encourages her to keep doing what she’s doing.

Another Distinguished Early Career Commendation

Early career advocacy and leadership also helped to earn Aliana I. Romero, Au.D., CCC-A, ASHA’s Distinguished Early Career Professional certificate.

Dr. Romero, an audiologist at the Mailman Center for Child Development, part of the Miller School, serves on the board of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), representing the emerging leaders community. AUCD supports and promotes a national network of university-based interdisciplinary programs to, among other things, offer leadership on major social problems affecting all people living with developmental or other disabilities or special health needs.

She also is co-facilitator of the Mailman Center’s Emerging Transformational Leadership Program (ETLP). Dr. Romero was an ETLP fellow two years ago and completed AUCD’s national leadership program when she was asked to help lead the program to help others find their leadership styles.

Dr. Romero chose the Miller School for her fellowship as a Leadership Education and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) extern in 2019 and became a staff audiologist in August 2020.  Since that time, she has presented twice at Florida ASHA and will present at this year’s national conference with her long-time mentor, Robert Fifer, Ph.D., director of audiology, on the challenge of testing children with developmental disabilities.

“I’m also heavily involved with the Florida Department of Health with the newborn hearing screening program. I’ve taken charge in helping our program here at Jackson Memorial Hospital by doing a lot of the footwork in the newborn hearing screening program,” Dr. Romero said.

To Dr. Romero, the ASHA recognition highlights the importance of having mentors in and out of the field of audiology.

“Finding those mentors is critical, as is making those meaningful connections in your networks. I hope that my leadership journey can help others find their own footing on their leadership journeys,” Dr. Romero said.

Tags: Division of Speech Pathology, otolaryngology, speech pathology