In January 2012, Kathy Klein suffered a stroke that affected the left side of her brain and the right side of her body. She didn’t speak for more than a year after the injury because she physically couldn’t make words. It was devastating.
On Sept. 26, 2013, she was able to tell her story from a podium in front of a room full of people at a reception to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Loyola Clinical Centers (LCC).
“They taught me to talk,” said Klein, a 52-year-old graphic designer from Lutherville, Md.
Klein has been receiving individual speech-language therapy at LCC for a year. She is living with aphasia (language impairment) and apraxia (motor speech disorder), and she still struggles mightily, laboring over every word. But she can communicate, and she’s eager to discuss the milestones of her still-ongoing recovery.
“I’m thrilled Kathy’s able to give this speech. She was timid when she first came through our doors because of her speech intelligibility,” said Andrea Atticks, adult neurogenic coordinator at LCC and Klein’s clinical supervisor. “Because of the stroke, her brain can’t program every word and sound she’s trying to say. Where that’s automatic for you and I, she’s thinking of how her lips and tongue need to move.”
Klein joined others who shared compelling testimonials at the event, held in LCC’s newly expanded Belvedere Square headquarters in north Baltimore. The 75 attendees included supporters and donors, faculty and student clinicians, and prominent Loyola University Maryland administrators. Paul Rao, Ph.D., vice president of inpatient operations and compliance at the National Rehabilitation Hospital and a former Loyola faculty member, was honored for his decades of commitment to advancing health and human services.
The evening was an opportunity to see and hear first-hand how the interdisciplinary graduate training clinic has transformed thousands of lives over the past decade.
“When you think about what the mission is of the Loyola Clinical Centers and the Jesuit philosophy of Loyola, and about reaching the underserved, underprivileged, those that are often ignored, in this instance you’re able to have tangible, measurable outcomes of the work that you’re doing because you can see the impact not only with the clients and their families but all the people they interact with on a daily basis, both at work and in the community,” said Martin Yankellow, member of LCC’s board of advisors and vice president for Correct Rx Pharmacy Services in Linthicum, Md.
Those outcomes are clear from LCC’s continued growth. In 2012, LCC served nearly 4,000 clients with more than 12,000 clinical sessions; the year LCC opened, fewer than 400 clients were served, and just over 600 clients were served in 2006. LCC is now training more than 170 students each year in literacy (undergraduate and graduate), psychology, speech-language pathology, and pastoral counseling. Almost 60 percent of LCC’s services are provided at reduced rates, and that percentage has increased steadily over the past five years. A $50,000 grant from the Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Charitable Foundation in 2012 allowed LLC to strengthen programs for those living with brain injury and brain disorders, as well as their caregivers. And while LCC also operates in two other locations – Loyola-Notre Dame Library and the Graduate Center-Columbia Campus – its most impactful expansion has been into the community.
“Our faculty and students have moved from working within the walls of our facilities to really engraining the LCC in the community—in Head Start programs, in schools, in senior centers, and in partnerships with various other community agencies,” said Janet Simon Schreck, ’91, M.S. ’93, executive director of LCC.
Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J., president of Loyola, called LCC an “invaluable community resource” and emphasized the critical role LCC plays in Loyola’s overall goals.
“The Loyola Clinical Centers serves as a key part of Loyola University Maryland’s strategic plan, as we work both to strengthen the community along the York Road Corridor and to ensure we are recognized as a leading university throughout the nation,” said Fr. Linnane.
For students, word of mouth about LCC’s unique approach to training has kept demand strong. Jordan Differding, a first-year speech-language pathology graduate student from Minnesota, commended LCC leadership’s commitment to guiding students while also allowing them enough independence to develop.
“I think it’s a different type of experience to be able to work directly with our clients. Instead of learning only through books, it’s learning through actual real-life experience,” said Differding.
Only a few weeks into his graduate program, Differding is already working with Kathy Klein to address the speech impairments caused by her stroke. “This isn’t for me, this is for her. I’m here to support her,” Differding said.
He helped Klein organize the three-and-a-half minute speech she gave at the anniversary celebration. Pronouncing H’s is still a challenge, but that didn’t stop her from closing with high praise for LCC.
“I think they’re real heroes.”