Research at the Crossroads of Healthcare and Higher Education

MGH Institute of Health Professions networks and affiliates with many top-tier medical and educational research institutions in Greater Boston, putting it at the global crossroads of health care and higher education. Below are just a few of the MGH Institute's ongoing research collaborations.


Harvard University Division of Medical Sciences

One of the many active educational and research collaborations of the MGH Institute is a relationship with Harvard’s Division of Medical Sciences, Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology (SHBT) Doctoral program. SHBT is an innovative, interdisciplinary doctoral program that trains researchers in basic science, translational medicine, and engineering approaches to the field of human communication.

SHBT is an innovative, interdisciplinary doctoral program that trains researchers in basic science, translational medicine, and engineering approaches to the field of human communication. The program grew from the idea that advances in human health will come about when the most rigorous of scientists are exposed to real-life clinical issues and questions.

Through an ongoing relationship between the two institutions, the MGH Institute serves as an avenue through which students interested in speech and language are exposed to clinical practice. For two years, a subset of students enrolled in SHBT join our Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) master’s degree students to become trained as speech-language pathologists. During this time, SHBT doctoral students learn to understand the demands, design, and constraints of clinical practice while gaining exposure to real-world clinical problems. A number also conduct research in our labs during their time here.

The rich academic and clinical environment of the MGH Institute enriches the scientific training of SHBT doctoral students through top tier classroom and clinic experiences in the field of communication sciences and disorders. In the long term, Harvard and the Institute are working jointly to educate scientific thinkers who can produce research that bridges the gap between laboratory research and clinical practice.

Two alumni from the SHBT program – Sofia Villila Rohter and Lauryn Zipse – are on the MGH Institute faculty and are co-directors of the Cognitive Neuroscience Group. 

Educational and research collaborations between Harvard’s SHBT program and the Institute have given way to research that has led to advances in the field’s understanding of the diagnosis and treatment of developmental and acquired communication disorders.

Recent contributions include improving our understanding of the diagnosis and classification of motor speech disorders, introducing new perspectives to treatment and evaluation of language disorders that arise from stroke (aphasia), and using behaviors and neuroimaging to shed light on the ways in which early childhood environments influence cognitive and neural development important for learning and education. This work has taken place in the rich research environment provided by the Speech and Feeding Disorders Lab, the SAiL Literacy Lab, Cognitive Neuroscience Group and area collaborators.


Harvard Macy Institute and Center for Medical Simulation

Both the MS and PhD in Health Professions Education programs at the MGH Institute collaborate extensively with the Harvard Macy Institute and the Center for Medical Simulation. The Harvard Macy Institute brings together health care professionals, educators, and leaders to discuss the critical challenges of the day and design innovative solutions that have a lasting impact on the way medicine is practiced and students are educated. Founded in 1993, the Center for Medical Simulation (CMS) was one of the world’s first health care simulation centers. Two decades of simulation training to improve quality of care later, CMS continues to be a global leader in the field.