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June 2006 Issue

Phyllis Breen, MA, CCC-SLP Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders-CAHS
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'Matchmaker' Phyllis Breen Puts Students at the Center

Published June 2006

Many in the College of Allied Health Sciences probably thought there was a typo when they read that their colleague Phyllis Breen was the recipient of the 2006 Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Member award.

Not because she doesn't deserve it-her contributions to the university and the students she serves are invaluable-but because they never realized Breen was here only part-time.

Breen began working for UC 23 years ago-before the allied health sciences college even existed. What started as two days a week quickly turned to four, and she's been carrying that workload ever since.

As an adjunct clinical faculty member in the department of communication sciences and disorders, Breen has taught the introductory clinical process course to undergraduates and clinical skills to graduate students while also supervising their first practicum experience.

She also serves as director of the on-campus speech-language clinic and teaches a practicum for the department's newly formed distance-learning program.

But probably her biggest task involves managing the clinical practicum activities of master's degree students in speech-language pathology-more than 60 students each year needing at least three clinical placements each.

"Someone told me recently that I'm a matchmaker," says Breen. "I thought about it for a second and said, "I guess I am!"

Breen searches the community for locations serving people with speech-language problems, evaluates those sites and then interviews her students to find the perfect match. She puts great care into her "matchmaking" because she knows that clinical experiences can set the tone for a student’'s career.

Before coming to UC, Breen worked at various clinical sites

around Cincinnati, Detroit and Milwaukee, helping people with speech-language problems. It's experience like that, she says, that makes adjunct faculty such an important part of the university.

"Adjunct faculty have the important role of adding to the great experiences of our students and can really enrich programming," says Breen. "I'm truly honored to receive this award and represent the many wonderful adjunct faculty across the university."

UC Faculty Award Winners
In addition to Breen, other faculty at the Academic Health Center were recognized at the 2006 Faculty Awards Celebration. Among them were winners of the Emerging Entrepreneur Award and the inaugural President's Excellence Awards-recognizing faculty whose achievements advance the goals of UC|21.

Steven Boyce, PhD, professor of surgery and biomedical engineering, won the Emerging Entrepreneur Award. Dr. Boyce, who holds six U.S. patents in tissue engineering, is helping burn patients and others with chronic skin wounds.

He developed a cultured skin substitute called PermaDerm that helps damaged skin to regenerate, reducing the need for donated skin. PermaDerm has been successful in patients who suffer burns over as much as 90 percent of their body.

Pankaj Desai, PhD, associate professor in the College of Pharmacy, was honored with a President's Excellence Award.

Dr. Desai leads UC's new MS degree program in drug development, which offers multidisciplinary coursework that covers the entire drug development process, from discovery to preclinical, clinical and postclinical marketing.

The program is the first of its kind in the United States, and its first class of 12 students will graduate this month.

Donna Gates, EdD, RN, professor and Jane E. Procter Endowed Chair in the College of Nursing, also won a President's Excellence Award. Dr. Gates is one of the college’s top-funded investigators, with more than $1.5 million in federal grant awards.

Her research promotes safe and healthy behaviors in the workplace. One study aims to reduce violence by patients and visitors against health-care workers. Another focuses on reducing obesity among manufacturing workers.

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