About Karen McNealy

karenThe Department of Communication Disorders hosts a Professional Development conference in honor of Dr. Karen McNealy. The fall conference previously known as Have You HERD, has been renamed the Karen McNealy HERD Series: Higher Education for Responsibility and Development and is being offered in collaboration with Healthy Connections.

Dr. McNealy holds an undergraduate degree in Speech and Hearing from Marshall University, a master’s degree in Audiology from the University of Tennessee and her doctoral degree in Audiology at Salus University.

Karen McNealy retired from Marshall University in 2019 after serving the Department of Communication Disorders for 20 years. While at Marshall, she taught courses in audiology, aural rehabilitation and speech science but was initially hired as the Director of Clinical Development and was instrumental in moving the Marshall University Speech and Hearing Center into the 21st century by creating a billing and reimbursement structure thereby providing a financial structure that has allowed the Speech and Hearing Center to expand services offered to the community and across the age span.

She, along with Kathy Chezik partnered with the Huntington Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in 2002. This partnership provided an additional structure to the Speech and Hearing Center and focused on assisting children and families who are unable to pay for speech-language and hearing services through the Clinical Education Scholarship Program. She collaborated with Pat and Dolly Oshel, founding parents of the Scottish Rite Childhood Speech and Language Program and supported their mission of educating parents through the Oshel Parent Education Program.

Dr. McNealy and Cherese Lee tireless worked with the legislature for the funding for the The Luke Lee Listening, Language and Learning Lab at Marshall which they co-founded in 2006 as the first preschool program in West Virginia providing listening and spoken language outcomes to children with hearing loss. The goal of “The L” is to teach deaf children to listen and speak through the use of hearing technology, including hearing aids and cochlear implants.

Dr. McNealy served as Chair and Graduate Program director from 2011-2019 and during this time supported the program and faculty in a variety of endeavors. She was a founding member of the Marshall University Center for Wellness in the Arts which was founded in 2014 as a place where performing artists can be evaluated by licensed athletic trainers, skilled vocal and hearing clinicians, dietitians, exercise physiologists and performance anxiety specialists who have the proper knowledge and equipment to assess various conditions.  The CWA was created with three components: education, treatment and research.

“Education, treatment and research were also the pillars for which Dr. McNealy considered when suggesting that the Department of Communication Disorders become a national provider for Continuing Education for Speech -Language Pathologists.  Each year, she included this in the programs strategic plan and with the dedication and support of Dr. Kelly Rutherford, this came to fruition in 2017.

Last, Dr. McNealy was the leader who insisted in having the Department of Communication Disorders be included in the initial planning stages of Healthy Connections. Without her insight and forward thinking, the role of the speech-language pathologist and audiologist in the opioid epidemic may have been overlooked in our community.

It is because of her many contributions she is deserving of this honor and her legacy at Marshall University and the Huntington community should be a part of our future.

Watch the 2020 Karen McNealy HERD Series on youtube