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EWU speech clinic to receive $280K grant from Texas non-profit for Parkinson's treatment

Parkinson Voice Project is giving the EWU speech clinic a grant worth more than $280,000 over the next five years.
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CHENEY, Wash. — A clinic at Eastern Washington University (EWU) is working with a Texas non-profit clinic to make speech treatment for individuals with Parkinson's Disease more accessible.

Parkinson Voice Project, a speech therapy clinic out of Richardson, Texas, is collaborating with EWU's Speech & Language Clinic to help all Washington residents with Parkinson's Disease get access to high-quality treatment. In doing so, Parkinson Voice Project is awarding EWU a $280,000 grant.

Parkinson's Disease, the world's fastest-growing neurological disorder, is a brain disorder that causes unintended and uncontrollable movement, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. This happens when the nerves in the part of the brain that controls movement die and lose the ability to produce dopamine, a crucial brain chemical involved in body movement.

The Parkinson Voice Project estimates 90% of people with Parkinson's Disease are at risk of losing their ability to speak. Swallowing complications are the main cause of death in this population.

Parkinson Voice Project is giving the EWU speech clinic a grant worth more than $280,000 over the next five years. This money will be used for training, services, supplies and equipment. The EWU clinic will then become Washington state's only SPEAK OUT! Therapy and Research Center.

SPEAK OUT! is a research-based speech therapy protocol that can minimize the risk of life-threatening swallowing complications associated with Parkison's Disease, according to Samantha Elandary, founder and CEO of Parkinson Voice Project.

EWU will specialize in online treatment and will commit to providing SPEAK OUT! therapy at no cost to anyone in Washington state diagnosed with Parkinson's. The university will also conduct efficacy research on SPEAK OUT! Therapy.

“We selected the Eastern Washington University Speech & Language Clinic because of their compassion and commitment to serving their Parkinson’s community,” Elandary said in a statement. “These new SPEAK OUT! Therapy & Research Centers will eliminate the barriers currently preventing thousands of people with Parkinson’s from receiving speech treatment."

EWU is one of 16 universities across the country receiving grant money for this treatment program. Parkinson Voice Project is awarding more than $4.5 million to these universities.

“The department has prioritized providing SPEAK OUT! to our community and educating our students in this treatment approach,” said Doreen Nicholas, Clinic Director and Senior Lecturer of Communication Sciences and Disorders. “We see the Therapy & Research Center as a path to making our department a clinic of excellence in speech therapy for people with Parkinson’s Disease."

For more information on SPEAK OUT!, click here.

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