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Human Subjects Core Staff

Sophie Ambrose
Coordinator of the Clinical Measurement program

Dr. Ambrose is a speech-language pathologist whose previous roles include being the principal investigator and a co-investigator on NIH-funded projects. In her role as the coordinator of the Clinical Measurement Program, she works with Boys Town National Research Hospital scientists to select appropriate clinical measures for their experiments and ensure the measures are conducted with high levels of fidelity.

Seth Brashford Sarah Al-Salim
Research Audiologist

Sarah Al-Salim is a Research Audiologist in the Translational Auditory Physiology and Perception Lab and in the Clinical Measurement Program at Boys Town National Research Hospital (BTNRH). She completed her Au.D. at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, during which time she worked in the Human Sensory Physiology Lab at BTNRH with Drs. Michael Gorga and Steve Neely. She completed her clinical externship in audiology in Chicago, Illinois and spent 4 years working with adults and children with hearing loss in a multidisciplinary clinic prior to returning to Omaha and BTNRH. Currently, her primary research interest lies in the development of communication in children with hearing loss. Of particular interest are clinical assessment tools and intervention strategies used to promote language development leading to improved academic and social outcomes in this population.

Christine Hammans Judy Kopun
Coordinator of Recruitment and Quality Assurance

Judy Kopun is the Coordinator of Recruitment and Quality Assurance in the Human Subjects Core at Boys Town National Research Hospital. In that role, she assists BTNRH researchers to develop and manage recruitment procedures and ensures that BTNRH staff follow the highest standards in their treatment of research participants. She is also a Research Audiologist in the Auditory Signal Processing Lab and the Communication Engineering Lab under the direction of Daniel Rasetshwane, Ph.D. and Stephen Neely, Ph.D. Judy has extensive experience as a Clinical Audiologist and as a Research Audiologist on NIH-funded grants that have focused on communication and amplification issues for children and adults with hearing loss.

Sara Hansen Mary Thomas
Human Subjects Recruitment Advisor

Mary Thomas is the Human Subjects Recruitment Advisor in the Human Subjects Core. She earned her M.A. in Communication Studies from Central Michigan University. She networks with the local community and organizes hearing screening events to find people who are interested in participating in hearing and communication research studies. She also manages a database of potential participants, allowing scientists to spend more time on their research. She provides researchers with quality assurance services to help ensure that participants are properly consented and that subject participation is properly documented. Prior to joining BTNRH in 2015, Mary was an Interpersonal and Public Communication college instructor for ten years and worked in public affairs.

Daniel Faronbi Barb Peterson
Manager, COBRE Clinical Measurement Program

Barb Peterson, MHD, is the Laboratory Manager for the Clinical Measurement Program Lab (CMP) at Boys Town National Research Hospital. She obtained her Master of Human Development degree from the University of Kansas. She is in charge of scheduling for the CMP and other studies as well as day to day operations of the labs. Barb and her husband Jeff have two deaf daughters, and she has a vast knowledge of raising and educating deaf children. Sharing her experiences and parent perspective with study families has been a valuable asset to the projects.

Daniel Faronbi Kayla Samuelson
Speech-Language Pathologist

Kayla Samuelson is a speech-language pathologist for the Clinical Measurement Program. She completed her M.A. in speech-language pathology at Indiana University. Her role on the Clinical Measurement Program includes administering speech, language, and cognitive measures following standard protocol to ensure the best data possible. Kayla also works as part of the clinical staff at Boys Town National Research Hospital (BTNRH), evaluating and treating children and adults with a variety of communication needs. She is Hanen Certified - It Takes Two to Talk®: Making Hanen Happen, a program designed to coach parents to improve communication in young children.