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Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine

Speech and Hearing Sciences

Native American Focus

Washington State University is currently recruiting Native Americans to train as speech-language pathologists.

There is a need for speech-language pathologists to serve Native American communities. In response to this need the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences at Washington State University assists Native students in obtaining financial aid and provides educational support for Native students as they pursue training in the field of speech-language pathology. Graduates are prepared to work in educational or medical settings with individuals who have difficulty with their speech, language, or hearing.

We value the contribution that Native American students can make to the field of speech-language pathology. Therefore, we provide students with opportunities to explore this profession as it relates to Native culture through course work, observations, clinical experience, and research in Native communities. In addition, we provide professional mentorship.

Some scholarships are available for tribally-enrolled, Native American students. To receive further information, contact:


Native American Programs News

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Native American Culturally-Based Resources

The Shadow of the Salmon is a multimedia curriculum developed by the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission for use with students in the eighth grade. The 42-minute Shadow of the Salmon video can be viewed online.

The curriculum can be used to facilitate the development of language and literacy skills.

History of this Program

The Native American Focus is the remaining legacy that began as the Native American Program. The program was significant in providing speech, language, and hearing services to Native Americans.

Continuing Legacy

Native American students have the opportunity to become involved in the Native American Caucus of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).


Contact Us

Native American Program Director
Ella Inglebret
Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences
Washington State University
PO Box 1495
Spokane, WA 99210-1495

ASHA’s Native American Caucus

The Native American Caucus consists of American Indian/Alaska Native, as well as non-Native, speech-language pathologists and audiologists who provide services to Native clients. The caucus meets each year at the annual convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) to discuss interests and concerns related to our professions.

More information can be obtained by contact Dr. Edgarita Long or Dr. Matt Gillispie.

Mission Statement for the Native American Caucus

The Native American Caucus is dedicated to the provision of quality speech, language, and hearing services to all American Indian/Alaska Native people who have communication disorders. Inherent to the appropriate delivery of these services is a respect for traditional values and the uniqueness of each individual.

  1.  To provide a forum where professionals:
    1. Network and discuss major issues that relate to the delivery of speech, language, and hearing services to Native Americans with communication disorders.
    2. Exchange information about the needs of Native American clients.
  2. To provide and share with others a base of knowledge that will help all professionals:
    1. Understand the cultural and linguistic need of Native people with communication disorders.
    2. Become more aware, sensitive and competent as they work with Native American populations.
    3. Increase the cultural and linguistic appropriateness of speech, language, and hearing services for all Native people.
  3. To encourage and support respectful and culturally sensitive research efforts that provide data on the assessment and clinical management of communication disorders in Native American populations with the understanding that such data:
    1.  Is collected following appropriate tribal protocols (i.e., committee and other tribal approvals).
    2. Is used appropriately (i.e., not generalized to different Native American populations).
  4. To support the expansion of opportunities for Native American professionals to serve as leaders and role models within the professions of speech-language pathology and audiology.
  5. To support the recruitment, training, and leadership development of personnel, especially those who are Native American, to serve Native Americans with communication disorders.
  6. To advocate for improved service delivery to Native Americans with communication disorders.
Action Plan
  1. Hold an annual national meeting during the ASHA convention.
  2. Provide a mechanism for communication among speech-language pathologists and audiologists who serve Native Communities
  3. Provide mentoring/counseling for students in training and those who are considering majoring in speech and hearing/communication disorders.
  4. Provide professional support and mentoring for members.
  5. Provide a speakers’ bureau of professionals to speak on issues important to the caucus and serve as a contact for and referral source for agencies in need of inservicing.
  6. Recognize and encourage achievements and accomplishments of members of the caucus.
  7. Maintain active relationships with ASHA’s Office of Multicultural Affairs and other groups (i.e., caucuses) engaged in efforts affecting culturally and linguistically diverse populations.
  8. Recruit Native Americans into the professions of, speech-language pathology and audiology, and into ASHA through personal relationships and presentations directed to junior high, high school, and university students and other potential candidates (i.e., educators, social and health care workers).
  9. Increase the membership of the caucus.