On this #WomenCrushWednesday we interviewed THANC’s speech pathologists Cindy Ganz, SLP and Cathy Lazarus, PhD. The research they do is key to fulfilling part of our mission.
What drew you to speech pathology?
CG: I met this one woman who is a child language specialist and she was just this great, brilliant, funny, smart, mad scientist kind of woman and I’m like… I wanna be her!
CL: I always wanted to be a doctor, but then I always wanted to be a teacher. I started taking courses and thought, “this is fabulous!” It’s medical and yet it’s teaching. I enjoyed it so much I decided to get my Master’s there and I felt, “this is for me.”
We’re curious if, as women, you have faced any unique barriers throughout your career path or if it’s been the complete opposite, where being a woman puts you at an advantage? Or, is the playing field pretty leveled in speech pathology when it comes to gender?
CL: My mentor was a leader in the field and she was butting heads with the male physicians all the time, because this was in the 70s. She had to really prove her worth, which made it easier for me. However, whenever I have male students, there are doctors and patients that would defer and talk directly to the male students rather than me. It was really eye opening.
CG: Speech pathology is a very female dominated field—not much of a gender issue. But, having to go up against male surgeons and internists that don’t necessarily understand what you’re doing can be a challenge. I’ve felt belittled and talked-down to for sure. But, we’re very evidence-based. So, when you know knowledge is power, it’s easier to go up against those forces.
CL: We just got back from our Dysphagia conference and it made me proud as a woman to see this really high-level elegant research going on and the majority is by women.
Who is your #WCW (Women Crush Wednesday)?
CG: Georgia Malandraki—a PhD in our field and I just love her. She’s doing fMRI and swallowing research. Now, she is starting a boot camp-style swallow therapy for children with cerebral palsy. She’s bright and she’s hysterical! She’s such a good teacher, so patient, supportive, nurturing, strong, and fierce.
CL: I have to say Theresa Lever. She’s very “think out of the box.” She developed open floro crates for dogs, and soon she’ll be working with seal pups! She’s kind of my new hero. My new—what do you call it?—#WomanCrushWednesday!