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BRCHS Student Profile: Heather Newberg

Heather Newberg with her therapy dog, Tess.

Meet Heather Newberg, who is in her first year of the Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology Program. Heather is part of the second cohort of students to enroll in this new program at JU’s Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences. She earned her undergraduate degree in Elementary Education from UNF.

Why did you choose this JU program?
Because I am a Jacksonville native and this is the only program in Jacksonville. The rigorous curriculum and the level of expertise the professors have to offer also impressed me.

What do you like best about the program?
I love that our program incorporates current best practices and procedures, real-world case scenarios and guest presenters in multiple settings. The guest presenters have allowed me to get insight into what is being incorporated into therapy currently as well as understand what the different settings have to offer. JU is one of four institutions that offer community based practicums.

What made you choose to pursue a career in this area?
I chose Speech-Language Pathology due to the sudden passing of my father from a hemorrhagic stroke. After his stroke, I was pulled toward speech-language pathology and absolutely fell in love with aphasia.

What do you hope to pursue after graduation?
After graduation, I hope to work with stroke patients and specialize in aphasia. I would like to incorporate animal assisted therapy (AAT) into my practice and conduct research studies on the effects of AAT.

Tell us more about AAT and the Therapy Program at Brooks Rehabilitation Aphasia Center.
 AAT can be incorporated into therapy with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and aphasia patients to assist with spontaneous communication. In the spring, I will be starting the first AAT program at Brooks Rehabilitation Aphasia Center. Currently, Tess (my dog) and I are undergoing training at Brooks Rehab Inpatient Hospital. Brooks Rehab is putting forth effort to expand its AAT program and has brought in Florida Service Dogs to assist with the training and development of the program.