My Why: Returning to the IHP

Irene (Gofman) Brettman first graduated from the Institute in 2013 with her degree in communication sciences and disorders. After working clinically for many years, she began thinking about her next steps. In 2021, she decided to return to the IHP to pursue her Doctor of Speech - Language Pathology degree. Irene was asked to share her "why" in just five questions.

1. Please share a little bit about your area of practice. 

I work at the Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital in Boston, MA, doing a mixture of outpatient and inpatient care with adult clients. While I enjoy it all, my clinical interests include telepractice, cultural humility, clinical supervision, and end-of-life care. I have worked across the continuum of care, and I particularly enjoy inpatient acute and outpatient services.
2. What was the catalyst for pursuing the SLPD degree? 

I had been considering pursuing the SLPD degree since at least 2017 but wanted to gain a few more years of clinical experience before continuing my education. I had researched SLPD programs around the country but heard that an IHP degree could be coming down the pipeline. I received my MS in CSD at the IHP in 2013 and had a wonderful experience. I ​hoped to return to the Institute for my doctoral work, so when I saw that the program was being launched, I emailed Dr. Bridget Perry (the director of the SLPD program) immediately (the same day I heard about the degree). In short, the IHP launching the SLPD degree was my catalyst!
3. What is it like to return to the IHP and have other alums in your cohort?

​I have immensely enjoyed being on this SLPD journey with fellow IHP alums. It has been equally nostalgic and exciting, ​mainly as I have learned about their post-MS journey, their reasons for continuing their education, and their post-doctoral plans. I have loved building class and community with IHP (and, of course, non-IHP) alums. My cohort inspires me daily!
4. How do you plan to use your degree when you finish? 

​I hope my SLPD degree will equip me with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to eventually assume an advanced clinical leadership position and open doors for academic appointments. I am passionate about working with patients, teaching, and mentoring the next generation of speech pathologists!
5. What advice do you have for alums wanting to come back to the IHP?

​I can sum up my advice in two words: DO IT! If you have been thinking about it take this as a sign to return to the IHP and continue your education. Before applying for the SLPD, I benefited immensely from setting up a meeting with Dr. Bridget Perry and attending informational sessions to understand my program of interest better. The interprofessional focus on learning at the IHP is unparalleled, and so many exciting opportunities are happening at the Institute. I have loved seeing the institute evolve in the eight years I have been away, and I am excited about the future. Good luck!