Van Riper Lectures

The Van Riper Lectures began in 1981, honoring Dr. Charles Van Riper, a pioneer in the field of speech-language pathology and audiology and founder of the Speech Pathology and Audiology program at WMU. The series brings nationally recognized experts for pre-service and in-service training on topics in communication disorders in addition to important educational experiences for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology professionals.

Register today    Save the date flier

Please register by Oct. 22.

Cognitive Communication Disorders in Aging Populations
37th Annual Van Riper Lectures
October 25, 2019


8 a.m. Registration opens
8:45 a.m. Dean’s welcome
9 a.m. * Keynote speaker: Dr. Mahendra
The Aging to Dementia Continuum: Critical Roles for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists
12:15 p.m. Lunch on your own
1:45 p.m. Sponsor presentations and awards
2 p.m. * Case Study Panel
Transdisciplinary Approaches to Support Individuals with Cognitive Communication Disorders
4:15 p.m.

Q&A and wrap-up

4:45 p.m.


* Breaks are scheduled during the longer sessions.

Keynote speaker

Dr. Nidhi Mahendra

Nidhi Mahendra, Ph.D., San Jose State University
Associate Professor, Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences
Director, Spartan Aphasia Research Clinic
Assistant Director, Center for Healthy Aging in Multicultural Populations

Dr. Mahendra’s areas of expertise are dementia, aging, aphasia, multicultural issues in speech-language pathology, and palliative care. Her research is aimed at developing and measuring the outcomes of varied cognitive-communicative, technology-assisted, and life participation interventions for persons with dementia and aphasia. She also investigates the impact of service learning pedagogies on educating future SLPs about adult neurogenic disorders and palliative care. Her recent research has been funded by the El Camino Hospital (in Silicon Valley), Gary and Mary West Foundation, the Alzheimer's Association, American Speech Language Hearing Association, and the California Wellness Foundation. She has authored or coauthored over 50 publications, including 10 textbook chapters, and has made over 120 peer-reviewed presentations, nationally and internationally. She was the 2006 recipient of the Editors award from the American Journal of Speech Language Pathology, and recognized by the American Speech Language Hearing Association in 2012 for distinguished contributions to multicultural affairs.

View financial disclosure form.



  • Alyssa Eminhizer, Au.D., WMU Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, disclosure form
  • Donna Weinreich, Ph.D., WMU School of Social Work, disclosure form
  • Diane Peirce, M.D., WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine, disclosure form
  • Joanne DeWit, M.S.N., R.N., WMU Bronson School of Nursing, disclosure form
  • Yvonne Jackson, Ed.D., WMU Department of Physical Therapy, disclosure form
  • Linda Shuster, Ph.D., WMU Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Ph.D. Program, Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, disclosure form
  • Maureen Mickus, Ph.D., WMU Department of Occupational Therapy, disclosure form

Cost to attend

  1. $100 for onsite attendee if before Oct. 22
  2. $125 for registration onsite or after Oct. 22
  3. $75 per registrant, for groups of five or more from the same organization
  4. $100 remote site registration fee (includes URL link for lecture and electronic handouts)
  5. $25 each remote site participant at a registered remote site 
  6. $25 currently enrolled students, faculty, and clinical supervisors  of WMU students
  7. $20 State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECH) (application pending)

Note: Oral and/or manual interpreters are available upon request.


Continuing Education

This course is offered for .55 ASHA CEUs
(Intermediate level, Professional area).

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to: 

  1. Define mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia  
  2. Identify the leading causes of reversible dementia-like symptoms and characteristics of four types of irreversible dementia
  3. Identify leading biopsychosocial, life participation, and social justice approaches that inform assessment and intervention with older adults, in consideration of demographic transitions currently underway in the United States 
  4. List evidence-based components (and examples) of specific screening and assessment measures useful across the aging-MCI-dementia continuum 
  5. Describe key categories of intervention techniques for persons with MCI and dementia 
  6. Identify the unique roles and responsibilities of interprofessional collaborative practice as it relates to patient-centered care for persons with MCI and dementia 


  • Psi Iota Xi, Incorporated
  • Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences
  • College of Health and Human Services
  • Western Michigan University

Previous Lectures

  • 2018 - SLP Practice in the Schools: Contextualizing Interventions and Implementing Policies