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Arnold School of Public Health

COMD’s Danielle Varnedoe receives Distinguished Contribution Award from the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders

April 24, 2019 | Erin Bluvas, 

Danielle Varnedoe, communication sciences and disorders (COMD) senior clinical instructor and director of the USC Speech and Hearing Research Center, received the Distinguished Contribution Award from the Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CAPCSD) at the organization’s annual conference earlier this month. This award recognizes significant and/or sustained service or contributions to CAPCSD that enhance the organization’s ability to serve its membership or have enriched the education of COMD.

Varnedoe and Illinois State University speech and hearing clinic director Heidi Verticchio received the award together—for the contributions they made together to educate their peers on implementing Medicare at university clinics.

While compliance with Medicare has been advised for the past several years, the approaches to accomplishing this integration have been inconsistent across universities. After the 2017 annual conference, the CAPCSD board of directors invited Varnedoe and Verticchio to share their experiences with Medicare implementation at the 2018 meeting. As experienced clinical directors and instructors, they were able to provide perspectives in both day-to-day compliance and issues related to how to best educate students for future practice considerations related to Medicare.

Before the 2018 conference had adjourned, the board approached Varnedoe and Verticchio to ask if they would consider contributing to something the board had never done before: offering a series of webinars for its membership on a particular topic.

They offered the first webinar that July with a second in October and then a third in February of this year. In those three webinars, Varnedoe and Verticchio taught more than 500 participants, including program directors, deans, clinical educators, billing staff and other support personnel from universities throughout the country.

Varnedoe and Verticchio presented the fourth Medicare educational component at the 2019 conference, where they also presented two sessions on Medicare compliance and implementation in the university setting. The four sessions all focus on the topic of Medicare in clinical settings, with each course building on and filling in the gaps identified from the previous webinar/s.

“Ms. Varnedoe and Ms. Verticchio have been integral players in the understanding of our new frontier, and we are thrilled that these two colleagues have stepped into the unknown with the board and moved forward with a project that is truly new and exceptional,” says Mark DeRuiter, clinical professor at the University of Arizona and immediate past president of CAPCSD. “They have found a distinguished path to contribute to their profession and to higher education.”


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