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Catherine Palmer


We are pleased to announce that Professor Catherine Palmer has been named interim chair of the Department of Communication Science and Disorders (CSD). Palmer is currently the director of our Doctor of Audiology program and director of Audiology for the UPMC Integrated Health System.  

Palmer joined Pitt in 1990 and added the role of Director of Audiology at UPMC in 1998. Since then, she has served joint roles in SHRS and the Department of Otolaryngology in the School of Medicine. She conducts research in the areas of auditory learning post hearing aid fitting; the relationship between hearing, cognitive health and health outcomes; and matching technology to individual needs. Palmer’s passion lies in interventional audiology where hearing is treated in order to support positive health care interactions. Through her HearCARE initiative, her team is seeking ways to improve the quality of life and care for individuals in senior living communities by engaging employees in the active monitoring and management of residents’ hearing to support social interaction.  

Palmer has published over 150 articles and book chapters on these topics and has provided over 200 national and international presentations. In CSD, she teaches graduate level amplification courses and mentors PhD students.  

Currently, Palmer is the editor-in-chief of Seminars in Hearing (Thieme Medical Publishers) and is a consultant to the National Board of Medical Examiners for hearing related accommodations. From 2019-2020, she served as president of the American Academy of Audiology. She also has received numerous accolades for her work, including the Editor's Award for the American Journal of Audiology, the Pennsylvania Academy of Audiology Award for Outstanding Service, the Provost's Award for Excellence in Mentoring, and the SHRS Dean's Distinguished Teaching Award. Most recently she received the American Academy of Audiology Presidential Award “in grateful appreciation for significant contributions to the American Academy of Audiology and the profession of Audiology.”    

Palmer started her academic journey at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she earned two bachelor’s degrees—one in Communication Science and Disorders (BS) and one in Multicultural Elementary Education (BA). She then completed her Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Audiology and Hearing Impairment from Northwestern University, in Evanston, IL.  

Learn more about Palmer’s impact in the field of audiology through her Faculty Spotlight video below.