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Associate Professor Deborah Hersh

Associate Professor

Contact Information Telephone: +61 8 6304 2563, Email:, Campus: Joondalup, Room: JO21.537
Staff Member Details
Telephone: +61 8 6304 2563
Campus: Joondalup  
Room: JO21.537  


Associate Professor and Honours Coordinator: Deborah is Associate Professor in Speech Pathology in the School of Medical and Health Sciences. She coordinates the Speech Pathology Honours Program.

Current Teaching

  • SPE2105 Clinical Decision Support Systems: Activity, Participation and Contextual Factors
  • SPE2106 Treatment Principles
  • SPE3110 Professional Issues in Speech Pathology
  • SPE3111 Neurogenic Communication Disorders
  • SPE4108 Topics in Focus in Speech Pathology
  • SPE5102 Preparation of Honours Thesis Proposal
  • SPE5104 Honours Research Project


Deborah Hersh, PhD, is an Associate Professor in Speech Pathology and is a Fellow of Speech Pathology Australia. She has over 25 years of clinical and research experience in speech pathology in the UK and Australia. She has published and presented extensively in the areas of discharge from therapy, professional client relationships, clinical ethics, group work, rehabilitation goal setting and acquired communication disorder in Aboriginal Australians following stroke and brain injury. In 1995, Deborah started the Talkback Group Programme for Aphasia, established the Talkback Association for Aphasia in 1999, and was awarded life membership in 2009. Deborah was an affiliate of the NHMRC CCRE Aphasia Rehabilitation and was involved in the development of the Australian Aphasia Rehabilitation Pathway. She was also a member of the expert working party for the development of the Stroke Foundation 2010 Clinical Guidelines and more recently for their 2017 revision, and contributed to their Enable Me website. Deborah has served on the Editorial board of the Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology, and has been a guest editor for Aphasiology. She served as Chair of the Scientific Planning Committee for the 2016 Speech Pathology Australia National Conference. Deborah supervises postgraduate research at Masters and PhD level and coordinates the Speech Pathology Honours programme at ECU. She holds an Adjunct position in Public Health at Flinders University. Deborah has over 60 publications, and presents her work nationally and internationally. She was a CI on the NHMRC-funded Missing Voices research exploring experiences of, and services for, Aboriginal Australians after stroke and brain injury, and is now CI with the NHMRC Partnership grant: Enhancing rehabilitation services for Aboriginal Australians after brain injury..

Professional Associations

  • Fellow, Speech Pathology Association of Australia (FSPAA)
  • Member, Australian Aphasia Association
  • Life Member, Talkback Association for Aphasia Inc.
  • Associate Member: Indigenous Allied Health Association
  • Certified Practising Speech Pathologist (CPSP)

Awards and Recognition

  • 2015: ECU Vice Chancellor’s Staff Award: Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning.
  • 2009: Life membership of Talkback Association for Aphasia, Inc. “for exceptional services to the Talkback Association for Aphasia, Inc”
  • 2003: Fellowship, Speech Pathology Association of Australia,
  • 1999: Australian Postgraduate Award

Research Areas and Interests

  • Experiences of aphasia treatment termination for clients, families and clinicians
  • Assessment and goal setting in aphasia rehabilitation
  • Experiences for people with aphasia in acute care
  • Group approaches for people with aphasia and families
  • Social approaches and empowerment in aphasia
  • Gaining informed consent from people with aphasia/ethical issues
  • The therapeutic relationship and professional boundaries
  • Qualitative research methodologies in speech  pathology
  • Experiences of acquired communication disorders for Aboriginal Australians after stroke and traumatic brain injury


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The Flinders University of South Australia, 2003.
  • Master of Science with Distinction in Human Communication, England, 1992.
  • Bachelor of Schience - Honours in Speech Pathology, England, 1989.


Recent Research Grants

  • Enhancing rehabilitation services for Aboriginal Australians after brain injury: Healing Right Way,  National Health and Medical Research Council,  Partnership Projects,  2016 - 2022,  $3,281,800.
  • Investigating a Communication Enhanced Environment to Increase Communication Activity Early After Stroke. ,  Hollywood Private Hospital Research Foundation,  Grant,  2016 - 2019,  $17,483.
  • Yarning together: Developing a culturally secure rehabilitation approach for Aboriginal Australians after brain injury,  Lowitja Institute Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health CRC,  2017 Research Funding,  2018 - 2019,  $185,184.
  • The Wangi (talking) project: a feasibility study of a culturally sensitive rehabilitation model for Aboriginal people post stroke.,  National Stroke Foundation,  Seed Grants,  2016 - 2017,  $49,779.
  • Missing voices: Communication difficulties after stroke and traumatic brain injury in Indigenous Australians,  National Health and Medical Research Council,  Project Grants,  2013 - 2016,  $634,088.
  • Learning not to talk: Is communication "learned non-use" following stroke a reality?,  Edith Cowan University,  ECU Early Career Researcher - Grant,  2011 - 2012,  $23,622.
  • Communication difficulties after stroke in Indigenous Australians: Issues and attitudes,  Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies,  AIATSIS - Grant,  2010 - 2011,  $35,541.

Recent Publications (within the last five years)

Book Chapters

  • Sherratt , S., Worrall, L., Hersh, D., Howe, T., Davidson, B., (2014), Goals and goal setting for people with aphasia, their family members and clinicians. Rehabilitation Goal Setting: Theory, Practice and Evidence, 325-343, Florida USA, CRC Press.
  • Hersh, D., Worrall, L., O'Halloran, R., Brown, K., Grohn, B., Rodriguez, A., (2013), Assess for Success: Evidence for Therapeutic Assessment. Supporting Communication for Adults with Acute and Chronic Aphasia, 145-164, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, Brookes Publishing.

Journal Articles

  • Katzenellenbogen, J., Atkins, E., Thompson, S., Hersh, D., Coffin, J., Flicker, L., Hayward, C., Ciccone, N., Woods, D., Greenland, M., McAllister, M., Armstrong, B., (2018), Missing Voices: Profile, Extent, and 12-Month Outcomes of Nonfatal Traumatic Brain Injury in Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Adults in Western Australia Using Linked Administrative Records. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, epub ahead of print(epub ahead of print), 12p., United States, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, DOI: 10.1097/HTR.0000000000000371.
  • Hersh, D., Wood, P., Armstrong, B., (2018), Informal aphasia assessment, interaction and the development of the therapeutic relationship in the early period after stroke. Aphasiology, epub ahead of print(epub ahead of print), 26p., Oxon, United Kingdom, Routledge, DOI: 10.1080/02687038.2017.1381878.
  • Hersh, D., (2018), From individual to global: Human rights and aphasia. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, early online(early online), 1-5, DOI: 10.1080/17549507.2018.1397749.
  • Armstrong, B., McKay, G., Hersh, D., (2017), Assessment and treatment of aphasia in Aboriginal Australians: Linguistic considerations and broader implications for cross-cultural practice. Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology, 19(1), 27-34, Melbourne, Victoria, Speech Pathology Australia.
  • Armstrong, B., Ciccone, N., Hersh, D., Katzenellenbogen, J., Coffin, J., Thompson, S., Flicker, L., Hayward, C., Woods, D., McAllister, M., (2017), Development of the Aboriginal Communication Assessment After Brain Injury (ACAABI): a screening tool for identifying acquired communication disorders in Aboriginal Australians. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 19(3),  297-308, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/17549507.2017.1290136.
  • Penn, C., Armstrong, B., Brewer, K., Purves, B., McAllister, M., Hersh, D., Godecke, E., Ciccone, N., Lewis, A., (2017), De-colonizing Speech-Language Pathology practice in acquired neurogenic disorders. Perspectives on Neurophysiology and Neurogenic Speech and Language Disorders, 2(3), 91-99, Rockville, USA, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, DOI: 10.1044/persp2.SIG2.91.
  • Katzenellenbogen, J., Atkins, E., Thompson, S., Hersh, D., Coffin, J., Flicker, L., Hayward, C., Ciccone, N., Woods, D., McAllister, M., Armstrong, B., (2016), Missing Voices: Profile and extent of acquired communication disorders in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal adult stroke survivors in Western Australia using linked administrative records. International Journal of Stroke, 11(1), 103-116, Blackwell Publishing Ltd, DOI: 10.1177/1747493015607521.
  • Hersh, D., Ciccone, N., (2016), Predicting potential for aphasia rehabilitation: The role of judgments of motivation. Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology, 18(1), 3-7.
  • Hersh, D., (2016), Therapy in transit: managing aphasia in the early period post stroke. Aphasiology, 30(5), 509-516, Routledge, DOI: 10.1080/02687038.2015.1137555.
  • Hersh, D., Godecke, E., Armstrong, B., Ciccone, N., Bernhardt, J., (2016), “Ward Talk”: nurses' interaction with people with and without aphasia in the very early period poststroke. Aphasiology, 30(5), 609-628, Routledge, DOI: 10.1080/02687038.2014.933520.
  • Ilich, K., Hersh, D., (2015), Babies with feeding difficulties: Mothers’ perceptions of hospital discharge, transition home, and the role of speech-language pathology. Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology, 17(3), 114-119, Melbourne, VIC, Speech Pathology Australia.
  • Hersh, D., (2015), Hopeless, sorry, hopeless: Co-constructing narratives of care with people who have aphasia post-stroke. Topics in Language Disorders, 35(3), 219-236, Philadelphia, USA, Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, DOI: 10.1097/TLD.0000000000000060.
  • Armstrong, B., Hersh, D., Katzenellenbogen, J., Coffin, J., Thompson, S., Ciccone, N., Hayward, C., Flicker, L., Woods, D., McAllister, M., (2015), Study Protocol: Missing Voices - Communication difficulties after stroke and traumatic brain injury in Aboriginal Australians. Brain Impairment, 16(2), 145-156, Cambridge, United Kingdom, Cambridge University Press, DOI: 10.1017/BrImp.2015.15.
  • Power, E., Thomas, E., Worrall, L., Rose, M., Togher, L., Nickels, L., Hersh, D., Godecke, E., O'Halloran, R., Lamont, S., O'Connor, C., Clarke, K., (2015), Development and validation of Australian aphasia rehabilitation best practice statements using the RAND/UCLA appropriateness method. BMJ Open, 5(7), Article no. e007641, London, UK, BMJ Publishing Group, DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-007641.
  • Armstrong, B., Hersh, D., Hayward, C., Fraser, J., (2015), Communication disorders after stroke in Aboriginal Australians. Disability and Rehabilitation, 37(16), 1462-1469, Informa Healthcare, DOI: 10.3109/09638288.2014.972581.
  • Tsourtos, G., Ward, P., Lawn, S., Winefield, A., Hersh, D., Coveney, J., (2015), Is resilience relevant to smoking abstinence for Indigenous Australians?. Health Promotion International, 30(1), 64-76, United Kingdom, Oxford University Press, DOI: 10.1093/heapro/dau087.
  • Hersh, D., Armstrong, B., Panak, V., Coombes, J., (2015), Speech-language pathology practices with Indigenous Australians with acquired communication disorders. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 17(1), 74-85, Speech Pathology Australia, DOI: 10.3109/17549507.2014.923510.
  • Hersh, D., Armstrong, B., Bourke, N., (2015), A narrative analysis of a speech pathologist’s work with Indigenous Australians with acquired communication disorders. Disability and Rehabilitation, 37(1), 33-40, London, United Kingdom, Informa Healthcare, DOI: 10.3109/09638288.2014.890675.
  • Hersh, D., (2014), Participants, researchers and participatory research. Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology, 16(3), 123-126, Melbourne, Speech Pathology Australia.
  • Hersh, D., O'Rourke, J., Lewis, A., (2013), Collaboration Towards Inclusion: An interprofessional learning opportunity for education and speech pathology students. Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology, 15(3), 115-119, Australia, Speech Pathology Australia.
  • Ciccone, N., Hersh, D., Priddis, L., Peterson, A., (2013), The role-emerging, interprofessional clinical placement: Exploring its value for students in speech pathology and counselling psychology. Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology, 15(3), 110-114, Australia, Speech Pathology Australia.
  • Hersh, D., (2013), Pushing the boundaries: reflections on speech-language therapists' relationships with clients in a changing therapy context. New Zealand Journal of Speech-Language Therapy, 67(1), 5-14, New Zealand, New Zealand Speech-language Therapists' Association.
  • Bickford, J., Coveney, J., Baker, J., Hersh, D., (2013), Living with the Altered Self: a qualitative study of life after total laryngectomy. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 15(3), 324-333, United Kingdom, Informa Healthcare, DOI: 10.3109/17549507.2013.785591.

Research Student Supervision

Associate Supervisor

  • Master of Social Science,  Face-to-face: An Exploratory Study Of How People With Aphasia And Speakers Of English As A Second Language Perceive Their Interactions With Government Agencies
  • Doctor of Philosophy,  Evaluation Of Acceptance And Efficiency Of Exercise For Indigenous Australians To Benefit Physiological, Anthropometric And Metabolic Syndrome Outcomes
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