LU News Archive

LU nets grant to increase minorities in speech and hearing professions

Lamar University’s Department of Speech and Hearing Science has received a grant to improve health care delivery for racial and ethnic minorities by increasing the numbers of underrepresented minorities in the speech and hearing professions.

The $150,000 Minority Health Research and Education Grant Program is provided over two years by Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and begins Sept. 1.

LU’s Monica L. Bellon-Harn, chair and associate professor in the Department of Speech and Hearing Science, serves as director of the program. Bellon-Harn holds a Ph.D. from Louisiana State University, is board certified by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association and licensed by the State Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology. Rebecca Frels, assistant professor in the Department of Counseling and Special Populations, joins her as co-director. Frels holds a Ph.D. in counselor education from Sam Houston State University.  

The goal of the grant funding is to improve health care delivery for racial and ethnic minorities by increasing the proportion of underrepresented minorities in the doctoral program of audiology and the master’s program of speech-language pathology at Lamar, Bellon-Harn said.

Challenges in recruitment and retention in graduate programs are linked to academic self-efficacy and undergraduate academic performance, she said. In the program, African-American and Latino students will be recruited through traditional and technological means, a peer-mentoring program will be established, and the number of African-American and Latino students in Lamar’s Master of Science in speech language pathology and doctorate of audiology programs will be increased.

“Our primary goal is to increase the number of applications from African-American and Latino students in these programs,” Bellon-Harn said. “At the same time, we will create a model recruitment and mentoring program for health care professionals.”