Public Service Announcement Proposal for Broadcast and Cable Systems in North Carolina

Submitted by D. Michael May and Roger Himmel of the Raleigh Scottish Rite

Background Summary

Scottish Rite Masons began their commitment to the cause of helping children with language disorders more than twenty-five years ago. Since that time nearly 100 Scottish Rite Centers have been located throughout the United States. These centers are staffed by speech-language pathologists and other trained personnel.

Children which might have remained educationally handicapped for a lifetime can now talk, read and lead useful lives. Miracles can happen. With skillful evaluations and treatment, miracles are happening in the Scottish Rite Treatment Centers all over America.

The North Carolina Scottish Rite Masonic Foundation funds and supports four language learning disabilities and dyslexia clinics in North Carolina. It is through the generous support of our members, sponsors, and the general public, that children and their families can seek free help to overcome their language-learning disability. The Scottish Rite RiteCare Centers are a charitable project of the North Carolina Scottish Rite Masonic Foundation. There are no fees for these services. All services are available to families regardless of race, creed, color, or disability.

The North Carolina Scottish Rite Masonic Foundation has supported childhood language disorders clinics in Greenville (ECU) and Boone (ASU) since 1972. Support from the Foundation has provided professional help for thousands of North Carolina residents.

Project Proposal

There are thousands of children who need the help our RiteCare Centers can provide. We need to reach the parents of these children. We also need to reach out to schools, hospitals, clinics, community departments of health and welfare, social media and religious institutions that serve our multi-cultural community.

North Carolina RiteCare needs to have produced a 30 second public service announcement (PSA) that can air on broadcast, cable systems, and be shown in movie theaters throughout North Carolina in order to educate the public that our RiteCare Centers exist. The need is great. The need is now; because RiteCare is changing.

Telemedicine: The Expansion of RiteCare

In order to better serve childhood language disorders, RiteCare has begun a Telemedicine initiative to utilize advanced communication devices between the speech pathologist and the patient/caregiver. On January 9, 2018, Dr. Gail Donaldson, Professor and Chair of the Dept. of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Beaver College of Health Sciences, Appalachian State University and Laura Moody, M.S. Ed, Clinic and Internship Coordinator at the Communication Disorders Clinic at the University of Nebraska – Kearney, conducted a RiteCare seminar on Speech and Language Telepractice in the Orient of North Carolina.

The conference began with comments from Dr. Bill Brunk, our S.G.I.G in North Carolina before Laura began her presentation. Representatives from all seven of our valleys participated,  along with speech-language pathologists and audiologists from Appalachian State University (ASU) and East Carolina University (ECU). The first thirty minutes of the presentation provided a general overview and the remaining ninety minutes addressed relevant issues for the speech-Language pathologists and audiologists in the audience.

Telepractice at the UNK RiteCare Clinic makes use of the Zoom software platform utilizing laptop and desktop computers. This platform is much less expensive and more flexible than the Polycom platform that was tried a few years ago in Swan Quarter, NC.  The patient does not have to travel to a particular location in order to meet with the speech therapist as was required in Swan Quarter.  Instead, patients using this program can utilize a laptop or desktop computer anywhere in the state.  This method of speech-language telepractice has been very successful in Nebraska due to the need for speech therapy in Nebraska’s vast rural areas.

Clinicians at the ASU Scottish Rite clinic have made use of telepractice intermittently in the past, but may expand the use of telepractice for their clinic in the future. Telehealth services are already planned for ASU’s affiliated site at the Foothills Correctional Institute (FCI).  Beginning later this year, Kristin Phillips, M.A., CCC-SLP, the ASU clinical educator who provides speech-language services at FCI, will use telepractice to extend those services to three additional prisons across the state of NC.

We thank our sister RiteCare Clinic at the University of Nebraska – Kearney (UNK) for this seminar which outlines the opportunity for us to improve our RiteCare Speech-Language service to our underdeveloped rural as well as urban areas of North Carolina.  

This will allow RiteCare to have hundreds of local service points beyond our present four. In order to manage this expansion, we must first educate the public that our RiteCare program exists.