Speech-language pathology program gains new faculty member

Cathy Torrington

By Kate Hunger 

Assistant Professor Cathy Torrington Eaton, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, joined the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders in September.

“My goal has always been to start and develop a research program,” Eaton said. “I am thrilled to be at UT Health because this position will enable me to do that.”

Eaton comes to the School of Health Professions from the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, where she was an assistant professor. She has been on the faculty of a number of universities throughout the U.S.

“Most of my research and clinical work has been in post-stroke aphasia,” she said. “I most enjoy expressive aphasia.”

Eaton earned her bachelor’s degree in linguistics and Russian and went on to serve as an Army intelligence officer before earning her master’s degree in speech-language pathology. She worked as a speech-language pathologist in a wide range of settings before deciding to pursue her Ph.D. in hearing and speech sciences.

“I got a little frustrated with the literature because there was nothing I saw to address what I was seeing in practice,” she said of her motivation for earning her doctoral degree. “I was frustrated by the lack of effective treatments for expressive deficits.”

Eaton was also interested in giving patients a combination of treatments to increase their functional gains. 

“And that has brought me to my current interest in more automatic language, or these expressions that we use automatically that we can string together to make us more fluent speakers,” she said.

The medical focus of the School’s speech-language pathology program is particularly appealing to Eaton.

“The fact this campus is not an island and is so integrated in the community was a huge draw,” she said.

Eaton is teaching research methods this semester and will teach neurogenic language disorders in the spring semester.

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