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Debra Brucker

Course: Health and Education Policy

As a research associate professor at the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability, Dr. Debra Brucker uses national level survey data to measure the economic, health and social well-being of persons with disabilities. She has over 20 years of applied policy research experience and has held social and health policy research positions at academic institutions, research organizations, and state agencies. Her work has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals including Social Science Quarterly ,  Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research , and Journal of Disability Policy Studies .


  • PhD, Urban planning and public policy (health and disability policy focus), Rutgers University
  • Master of Public Administration (social policy analysis concentration), University of Delaware
  • BA, psychology and criminal justice, University of Delaware

Sumit Dhar

Course: Leadership for the SLP

Sumit Dhar studies hearing, hearing loss, and hearing healthcare. One major focus of his work is in understanding the physiology and biophysics related to sounds created in the inner ear (otoacoustic emissions). The sounds are recorded using small microphones placed in the ear in an attempt to understand the workings of the inner ear by analyzing them in various ways. He is also keenly interested in using these sounds to detect malfunction of the ear at the earliest. A second major focus is on hearing healthcare delivery. Dhar is interested in understanding why so few people seek hearing health care. Once barriers to access are identified, Dhar’s research group attempts to devise tools and methods to remove these barriers, thereby improving the affordability and accessibility of hearing health care.

Sumit Dhar is currently the Associate Dean for Research and a Professor at Northwestern University School of Communication. He has also served as Chair for the The Roxelyn and Richard Pepper Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.


  • PhD, Hearing Science (minor area Neuroscience), Purdue University
  • MS, Audiology, Utah State University
  • BSc, Audiology, University of Bombay

Denise Eisenhauer

Courses: Business Principles; Organizational Behavior; Culminating Project mentor

Denise Boggs Eisenhauer is a certified speech-language pathologist with a background in pediatric speech and language disorders. Denise worked clinically for over 18 years in both academic and hospital settings before transitioning toward healthcare enterprise management and healthcare business operations. Denise’s special interests include organizational behavior, leading strategic change, and service operations, and she is currently the director of Northwestern University’s Center for Audiology, Speech, Language, and Learning (NUCASLL).


  • MBA, Northwestern University
  • MS, University of Louisville
  • BA, University of Iowa

Stacy Kaplan

SLPD Program Director

Courses: Digital Literacies; Education and Supervision; Culminating Project mentor

Stacy Kaplan is the director of the MS (SLP) and SLPD programs at Northwestern University. The mission of her scholarship is to contribute to the development of science-based, critically-thinking, creative, and compassionate clinicians. Broadly speaking, the goal of her work is the employment of learning analytics to make data-based decisions regarding admissions, advising, student intervention, curricular development, teaching methodologies, and supervision.


  • PhD, Speech Language Pathology, Northwestern University
  • MS, Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Arizona
  • BS, Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of Arizona

Megan Roberts

Courses: Scientific Clinical Decision Making; Dissemination and Implementation in CSD ; Culminating Project mentor

Megan Roberts is an assistant professor in the Roxelyn and Richard Pepper Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Her work focuses on family-centered early communication interventions for young children with language delays. This clinically based line of research examines different variations of parent-implemented communication interventions tailored specifically for different populations of children with language delays. Her research has been funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders and the Institute of Education Sciences.


  • PhD, Education and Human Development, Vanderbilt University
  • MS, Communication Sciences and Disorders, Emerson College
  • BA, Spanish and Economics, University of Rochester

Holly Schmidt

Course: Operations and Process Improvement for the SLP; Culminating Project mentor

Holly Schmidt is a certified speech-language pathologist with a background in pediatric dysphagia as well as pediatric speech and language disorders. She is a recognized Board-Certified Swallowing Specialist and worked clinically for over 19 years in both academic and hospital settings. Prior to transitioning into a healthcare operations role, Holly was formerly an owner of a private practice. Her special interests include process and quality improvement, lean healthcare and leading strategic change, and she is currently a healthcare consultant for throughput and performance improvement at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.


  • MBA, University of Wisconsin Madison
  • MS, Speech Pathology, Marquette University
  • BS, Speech Pathology, Marquette University

Kate Schultz

SLPD Program Assistant Director

Course: Professional Integration and Reflective Practice I-IV

Kate Schultz is a higher education administrator with nearly a decade of experience in all facets of health professions education, including academic and career advising, admissions, program management and assessment, and curriculum design. She is the assistant director for the SLPD program and the MS in Speech, Language, and Learning program in the School of Communication. Her research and teaching interests include student personal and professional development, program evaluation, teaching and learning, and instructional design/curriculum development.


  • PhD Candidate, Health Sciences (focus: health professions education), Northern Illinois University
  • MS, Higher Education Administration and Policy, Northwestern University
  • BA, Communication Studies, Northwestern University

SLPD Program Guest Facilitators

Gail Berger

Team Dynamics Workshop (Orientation Residency)

Gail Berger is an Assistant Professor of Instruction at Northwestern University in the Kellogg School of Management, the McCormick School of Engineering, and the School of Communication. She has over 15 years of experience working in a variety of sectors (private, non-profit, and public) and industries (consumer product goods, engineering, financial, insurance, hospitality, healthcare, and professional services). She is very experienced with the design, development and implementation of leadership development programs for clients that have harnessed coaching as a cornerstone for program success. In particular, Gail has worked with clients to foster leadership capacity by accelerating the emergence of core leadership competencies like conflict management, delegation and emotional intelligence. She also works with clients to assess key talent, and help individuals and organizations evaluate career transitions and inflection points. She coaches clients to manage key stakeholder relationships more effectively, and build effective collaborations that are grounded in a foundation of trust and mutual respect. Gail also designs strategic management retreats for executive teams and boards. She has an artful ability to initiate and lead conversations that allow for the emergence of divergent perspectives, as well as a convergence and synthesis of key ideas and interests. Her facilitation skills, coupled with an understanding of the tools and best practices for building and maintaining organizational culture, result in retreat outcomes that enhance organizational performance. For the SLPD program, she facilitates a full-day team dynamics workshop during orientation.


  • PhD, Management and Organizations, Northwestern University
  • M.Ed , Administration and Supervision, Loyola University
  • BA/BS, Psychology and Elementary Education, Boston University