EPICS Scholar Picks Up Text for Next Course


December 19, 2018: Camille Onglao Gonzales, EPICS Scholar, picked up a hard copy of “Cognitive Communication Disorders,” by Michael L. Kimbarow in preparation for the EDSP 265: “Cognitive Disorders” class which starts on January 7, 2019. Camille is accompanied by Mavi, her two-month old daughter. Both mother and child are clearly excited about the start of the new class. Happy New Year!!!

Guam Regional Medical City Serves as Practicum Site for EPICS Scholar

December 13, 2018: Sibyl Crisostomo, CCC-SLP, (right) clinical supervisor at Guam Regional Medical City, explains bolus flow to Joseph Mendiola, during a bedside swallow assessment, as part of his practicum activities. Joseph is a graduate student under the “Educating Pacific Island Clinicians in Speech Pathology” (EPICS) Project, a collaborative project facilitated by San Jose State University and Guam CEDDERS.

San Jose University Scholars Participate in GRMC Swallow Therapy

November 1, 2018: The Guam Regional Medical City (GRMC) welcomed sixteen scholars from the “Educating Pacific Island Clinicians in Speech Pathology” (EPICS) Project. The scholars visited the Rehabilitation Department to participate in “swallow therapy” classes. The visiting scholars are graduate students in the Speech Pathology Program at San Jose State University (SJSU) through the EPICS Project, a personnel preparation grant funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), in partnership with the University of Guam When the scholars graduate, the new Speech Language Pathologists will fill much-needed positions in Guam schools and hospitals.
Participating in the classes were (Seated L-R): Cassandra Dimla; Aileen Serrano; Meagan Terlaje; Tatiana Perez; and Liahlanni Cruz. (Standing L-R): Sybil Crisostomo, CCC-SLP, GRMC Speech Therapist; Gabriella Duenas; Bobbie Obillo; John Payne; Lisa Eclavea; Jasmin Advani; Christina Coles; Dianne Sapida.

EPICS Scholars Celebrate Completion of Two On-Site Classes

After spending an intense 10 days taking two on-site classes, the scholars in the Educating Pacific Island Clinicians in Speech Pathology (EPICS) Program had a small celebration on August 3 to commemorate the last day of class. Dr. Carol Zepecki, (front, center) San Jose State University faculty, who taught the on-site classes on Assessment and Research Methods, is shown here with a carved latte stone as small token of appreciation from students. EPICS scholars are graduate students in the Speech Pathology Program at San Jose State University.
(Front Row L-R) EPICS scholars pose with Keokia Mendiola, CCC-SLP, EPICS Clinical Practicum Supervisor, and Dr. Carol Zepecki, CCC-SLP, San Jose State University faculty, pose with the EPICS scholars during the end of the classes celebration on August 3.
(Second Row L-R) Camille Onglao, Bobbie Obillo, Dianne Sapida, Tricia Taitano, Liahlanni Cruz, Megan Merfalen, Lisa Eclavea, Jasmin Advani.
(Back Row L-R) Aileen Serrano, Catherine Ruszala, Lillian Reyes, Cassandra Dimla, Christina Cole, Gabriella Duenas, Ignacio Dela Cruz, Tatiana Perez, Meagan Terlaje, John Payne, JJ Mendiola.
On August 3, Lillian Reyes, EPICS Scholar, presented a wooden carving of a latte stone to Dr. Carol Zepecki, as a small token of appreciation from the EPICS scholars.
Dr. Carol Zepecki, expresses her thanks after receiving a carved wooden latte stone from students in the EPICS Project.

EPICS Summer On-site Courses Focus on Language Assessment and Research

EPICS Interdisciplinary Pre-Service Preparation

On-site summer courses for the Educating Pacific Island Clinicians in Speech Pathology (EPICS) Project began on July 23 and will go until August 3.  Dr. Carol Zepecki, CCC-SLP, faculty from San Jose State University, is the instructor for the two classes, EDSP 221- Research Methods and EDSP 276 – Clinical Practicum Assessments.

EPICS is a collaborative project between San Jose State University and Guam CEDDERS which brings SJSU’s graduate program in Speech Pathology to our region.  There are currently 16 scholars from Guam and 3 scholars from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands enrolled in the program.

EPICS scholar Camille Gonzales takes the lead in facilitating this language assessment session on July 25.

Scholar Lily Reyes (left) records data while Camille Gonzales (center) leads the session.

EPICS Accreditation Site Visit Call

Continuing Education EPICS
Educating Pacific Islanders Clinicians in Speech Pathology (EPICS) Scholars participated in a “Site Visit Call” on March 16 conducted by the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) Team reviewing the San Jose State University graduate program in Speech Language Pathology. The CAA Team included (shown on the screen, L-R) Donald Fuller, chair of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley; Vicki Hammen, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Associate Professor and Program Director of the Communication Disorders Programs at Indiana State University; and Kira Wright, MS, CCC-SLP, a speech-language pathologist and resource specialist for The Hello Foundation. EPICS scholars who attended the meeting were (clockwise, starting at right) John Payne, Megan Merfalen, Lillian Reyes, and Christina Coles. Not shown: Terrie Fejarang, Guam CEDDERS Associate Director, and EPICS Liaison for Guam and the CNMI.

Interdisciplinary Training for Guam Early Interventionists

Interdisciplinary Pre-Service Preparation
CHLA Consultant Dr. Irina Zamora (left) responds to a question from one of the parents during the evening session, with her colleagues sitting next to her: C. Blake French, CHLA Speech Pathologist, and Dr. Shelby Surfas, Occupational Therapist.
Guam early Intervention and preschool providers take a team photo with the CHLA Consultants.

In partnership with the University of Southern California, University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (USC-UCEDD) at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), Guam CEDDERS facilitated a four-day interdisciplinary training conducted by three CHLA consultants: Irina Zamora, Psy.D., Shelby Surfas, OTD, and C. Blake French, M.S., CCC-SLP.  Thirty early intervention and preschool providers from the Guam Department of Education and Department of Public Health and Social Services attended the four-day training on December 4-7 at the University of Guam School of Business Building Room 129.  The purpose for the training was to build capacity of early interventionists (EI) on the early identification and delivery of services for young children with developmental delays.  The interdisciplinary training curriculum was designed to increase the knowledge of EI providers in the following topical areas: 1) social-emotional development of young children; 2) language development of children with disabilities; 3) strategies to address language delays in young children; red flags for autism; 4) partnering with parents when providing early intervention services; 5) sensory differences in young children; 6) feeding challenges and feeding therapy; and 7) understanding and addressing the impact of trauma in children with disabilities.  The training curriculum was delivered within the Guam EI program’s coaching model and framework for implementation and sustainability, which included “live practice” of the strategies reviewed with young children and their families.  In addition, the CHLA consultants facilitated an evening dialogue session with nine parents of children with developmental delays.  The session, “Supporting Your Child in Early Intervention,” provided an opportunity for parents to share their successes, challenges, and to ask questions of other parents and the CHLA consultants.  At the end, one parent remarked how she learned so much from listening to other parents share their stories.

FSM Receives Consultation on Autism Spectrum Disorders

Interdisciplinary Pre-Service Preparation
Dr. Irina Zamora (standing), confers with Maureen Villagomez, Pohnpei State Special Education Teacher, during the school personnel session review activity on December 1.

Guam CEDDERS’ June De Leon facilitated the on-site consultation, from November 27 to December 1, in the area of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in Pohnpei State, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).  The focus of the on-site consultation was to support FSM’s efforts to improve educational results for students with ASD.  Irina Zamora, Psy.D., Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, and Ms. De Leon conducted the on-site consultation, which included classroom and home visits, and parent and school personnel sessions.

The classroom and home visits were opportunities to learn from family members and school personnel on the needs of children with ASD in the FSM.  The two 2-hour parent sessions, attended by 32 family members and service providers of children with ASD, included an overview of ASD and dialogue on the “what and why” of ASD.  At the end, family members shared that the behavioral strategies, such as calming techniques, visual supports, and schedules were helpful to them in supporting their child with ASD.

The two-day school personnel session was attended by 50 service providers from Pohnpei, Kosrae, and Yap.  The session, “Working with Children with ASD: Early Identification and Intervention,” incorporated the needs observed and discussed during the school and home visits conducted earlier in the week.  Similar to the parent sessions, the school personnel session included the “what and why” of ASD and strategies to support children with ASD in school.  At the end, school personnel reported that they will be able to use the behavioral and sensory strategies, visual supports, and schedules in their classroom to support children with ASD.

Guam Cohort #2 Completes ADOS-2 Training

Interdisciplinary Pre-Service Preparation
Cohort #2 members with Cohort #1 and Dr. Irina Zamora take a team photo to celebrate the end of the third training visit. (L-R) Alma Terbio, Educational Evaluator; Janice Almoguera, Consulting Resource Teacher-Technical Assistance (CRT-TA); Marie Wessling, CRT-TA; Nicole Duenas, Cohort #1 Speech/Language Pathologist; Jessica Atoigue, Cohort #1 CRT-TA; Melanie Torre, Speech/Language Pathologist; Elizabeth Blas, Early Intervention Speech/Language Pathologist; Ron Gogo, CRT-TA; Dr. Zamora; Anna Perez, Social Worker; Felice Camacho, CRT-TA; Norine Guzman, CRT-TA; and Christine Hernandez, CRT-TA. Cohort #2 member not shown: Marie Tenorio, CRT-TA.

In partnership with the University of Southern California, University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (USC-UCEDD) and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), Guam CEDDERS facilitated the continuation of the comprehensive autism assessment training to build the capacity of Guam Department of Education (GDOE) providers to identify and assess children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) symptoms.  November 13-17 marked the third and last on-site visit conducted by Irina Zamora, Psy.D., Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Keck School of Medicine, USC, to work with GDOE’s Cohort #2 comprised of 11 early intervention and special education personnel.  The third visit continued with the training on the administration, scoring, and interpretation of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, 2nd Edition (ADOS-2).  With assistance from GDOE’s Cohort #1 members, Dr. Zamora provided additional practice activities in preparation for Cohort #2 members completing the Western Psychological Services (WPS) ADOS-2 certification examination.  In 2016, GDOE’s Cohort #1, comprised of five early intervention and special education personnel, completed all training requirements, including passing the WPS ADOS-2 certification examination.

EPICS Scholars Complete Summer Courses

Community Services: Training Continuing Education EPICS Interdisciplinary Pre-Service Preparation

Scholars in the Educating Pacific Island Clinicians in Speech (EPICS) Project completed the final two courses to fulfill the undergraduate requirements for the San Jose State University graduate program in speech language pathology. The courses, EDSP 112: Treatment and Management of Speech Language Disorders and EDSP124: Assessment & Evaluation, were taught on-site, the first face to face courses, by Jean Jackson, CCC-SLP, SJSU adjunct professor from June 5 – July 7, at house 24, Dean’s Circle, UOG.

Shown above are: L-R: Front Row (kneeling): Gabriella Duenas, Meagan Merfalen, Ignacio Dela Cruz, Aileen Serrano, Bobbie Avelano. Second Row: Diane Supido, Cassandra Dimla, Megan Terlaje, Lillian Reyes, Tricia Tatiana, Camille Onglao, Liahlanni Cruz, Catherine Ruszala, and Jean Jackson, CCC-SLP, Professor. Third Row: Jasmin Advani, John Payne, Lisa Ecalvea, Christina Cole, Tatiana Perez, and JJ Mendiola.


Lillian Reyes presents a plaque of the Seal of Guam as a token of the scholars’ appreciation to Professor Jean Jackson.