Professor earns $3 million grant to improve aphasia treatment

Will Evans, assistant professor in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, received a five-year, $2.98 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to improve aphasia treatment.

Through the study, titled “Integrating complementary learning principles in aphasia rehabilitation via adaptive modeling,” Evans and his team will develop and evaluate novel adaptive computer-based aphasia treatments to help improve the efficiency and long-term impact of language treatment.

Aphasia, commonly caused by stroke or other acquired brain injuries, can have a negative effect on an individual’s quality of life, often leading to depression and feelings of isolation. A primary frustration for people with aphasia is anomia, or word-finding difficulty.

Evans has studied the language disorder for more than a decade, investigating methods to help people with aphasia improve their communication abilities.

His team includes Lauren Terhorst, professor, Department of Occupational Therapy; Peter Brusilovsky, professor, School of Computing and Information; Jeff Starns, associate professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst; and Will Hula, speech-language pathologist, Veterans Health Foundation.

Learn more about his work.