Professor Beth Armstrong is Foundation Chair in Speech Pathology and was appointed Head of the School of Psychology and Social Science in April, 2013. Along with a new Speech Pathology team recruited to ECU in 2009, Professor Armstrong established a fully accredited undergraduate Speech Pathology program and a postgraduate research program. Prior to coming to ECU, she worked at Macquarie University in Sydney, where she established the first Speech Pathology Masters program in NSW. Professor Armstrong worked in the hospital sector as a clinician in Sydney for many years before taking up an academic career, focusing on acute inpatient care as well as longer-term rehabilitation for people with communication disorders after stroke.
Professor Armstrong’s research is primarily in the area of aphasia – language difficulty after stroke. Her work includes the application of Systemic Functional Linguistic theory to the everyday discourse of people with aphasia, early intervention strategies, and issues related to communication disorders in Australian Aboriginal populations. Her current projects funded by the NH&MRC involve a multi-centre randomised control trial of very early intervention for people with aphasia after stroke (“Very Early Rehabilitation of Speech - VERSE”), and an exploration into communication disorders in Aboriginal peoples in Western Australia (“Missing Voices: An investigation into acquired communication disorders after stroke and traumatic brain injury in Indigenous Australians”).
Professor Armstrong presents regularly at both national and international speech pathology, linguistics, allied health and medical conferences and has published widely in the area of aphasia. She has represented Australia on several international working parties on aphasia, including one developing the Talkbank Project at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh (a large web-based corpus of speech samples gathered for the purpose of international collaborative research). She is an Associate Investigator on the NH&MRC funded Centre for Clinical Research Excellence in Aphasia Rehabilitation.
Professor Armstrong was founding Editor of Advances in Speech Language Pathology, now entitled the International Journal of Speech Language Pathology, has been Guest Editor of the Clinical Aphasiology Conference special issues of the international journal Aphasiology from 2007 - 2010, Seminars in Speech and Language, Journal of Neurolinguistics, and is on numerous international editorial boards.