Taking Research and Care on the Road

Author | Kristy Demas

Stuttering and other speech disorders can make life difficult. Soo-Eun Chang, Ph.D., the Rosa Casco Solano-Lopez Research Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, wants to change that. As program director and principal investigator of the U-M speech neurophysiology laboratory, she studies speech motor control, the neuroscience behind developmental stuttering, and how to augment existing therapies.

Arsen Tomsky, CEO and founder of global ride-hailing service inDriver, stuttered most of his life. After learning of Dr. Chang's research, he wanted to help. His gift allowed for a van to be converted into a speech lab she could take on the road — an idea the transportation executive loved. The van's exterior features characters saying, "Go Blue! For Research." Its interior is both an exam room and a data-collection lab.

"Because we can drive to our research participants, we reduce their travel and time commitment," says Chang. "We also hope it will increase diversity across our study sample to be more representative of the general population — not just those living near campus."

Chang says the van will help her reach more patients and expand her studies.


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