Past Fellow Spotlight: Natalie Douglas, Ph.D.

Fellow Year: 2012 Associate Professor
Central Michigan University
Areas of interest: Implementation science, quality improvement to better outcomes for people in long-term care with dementia, aphasia and related disorders.

ANCDS: Why were you interested in the ANCDS conference fellow program?

Natalie Douglas (ND): The ANCDS conference fellow program helped me to connect with individuals with similar interests in more intimate ways. It introduced me to a group of clinical scholars who were committed to my growth as a professional and who welcomed me into the discipline.

ANCDS: Why would you recommend the ANCDS conference fellow program to future students?

ND: I would highly recommend the ANCDS conference fellow program to future students. This is a unique opportunity to interact with the field’s best players in a non-threatening, affirming way. Relationships that develop through the conference fellow program have the potential to last throughout one’s career.

ANCDS: How are you involved in ANCDS now?

ND: Unfortunately, I’m not as involved as I would like to be, but I’m looking forward to getting back more involved. I was president of my state association in 2017 so for the past several years I attended the Council of State Association Presidents which is held the same day as the annual meeting of the ANCDS.

ANCDS: What are the benefits to being involved with ANCDS?

ND: Involvement with ANCDS provides members a community of people who are truly passionate about improving the lives of people with acquired neurogenic communication disorders. It provides opportunities for research collaborations and pedagogical, clinical and other forms of scholarly mentorship. Members can feel confident knowing that ANCDS community members practice at the highest level of distinction, incorporating the best possible research evidence in all of their endeavors.

ANCDS: What excites you about research/teaching/clinical projects?

ND: Most of my work is really trying to leverage principles of implementation/improvement science to spread and implement interventions that we already know work to larger amounts of people. It brings me such joy to see the spread and scale up of an intervention that we know has worked for quite some time to a new group of people who have never heard of it. I am also so interested in how factors of the organization influence clinician practice and what it would look like to modify some of those factors to support best practice. It’s so exciting for me to know that there are mechanisms available to support the spread of interventions people have worked so hard to study – we can use these tools to bridge the gap between research and practice!

ANCDS: Provide a “teaser” for your presentation at the 2019 ANCDS annual meeting.

ND:  I am so thrilled to be part of this fantastic program where I hope to provide an example of how we can use already required data from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to leverage the benefit of the communication/quality of life services we provide – specifically in long-term care settings. The services we provide are so valuable, and they fit within already existing organizational structures of long-term care settings – an explicit connection between these two entities will likely benefit both parties.