May is Better Speech and Hearing Month: Meet Whitney Payne, M.S., CCC-SLP

May is Better Speech and Hearing Month! We celebrate this time by highlighting the significant contributions our Speech & Language Pathologists make every day.

Meet Whitney Payne, a Speech & Language Pathologist and the Speech Manager at Catholic Health Services North Campus. After spending years as a Marketing professional, Whitney found her passion for helping others through speech therapy during a volunteer assignment.

-Tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up in New Jersey and always thought I would become a fine artist (still do it as a hobby). 

I ended up graduating from the University of Hartford in Connecticut with my B.S. in Business and pursued a 10-year career in Marketing and Advertising. I was an account executive for Pizza Hut and a pro bono account for United Way.

-Whitney, why did you get into the Speech Therapy field?
During my time as an account executive on the United Way literacy campaign, I became a literacy volunteer.  For three years, I devoted every Saturday to teach skills to a woman who couldn’t even write her name. Through our sessions, she achieved the ability to read and write!  At the end of our time, she was able to both read and write! This was a very gratifying experience.

After much research, observation, and soul searching, I quit my advertising career, began the path towards my Masters in Speech Pathology, and never looked back.  It was what I was meant to do.

-What do you appreciate most about your role as a Speech and Language Pathologist?
There are so many things that I love about my career. I am privileged to be a part of helping patients recover from a challenging and difficult situation. Providing them with the chance to regain functions and skills they have lost so they can have a better quality of life is extremely rewarding. 

As the manager of the Speech Department, I am so blessed to work with an amazing group of SLPs.  They are all dedicated, passionate, and are good at what they do.

I’ve enjoyed being a part of enhancing and growing our Speech Program for CHS the last 16 years!

-What stands out to you about working at CHS?
The people. The people I work with are like my second family. I also appreciate working for a company that has a spiritually based mission. I truly believe our mission and values gives us a higher purpose and a greater passion for our work.

-What is an intervention or strategy that you find especially useful?
That greatly depends on the disorder and the patient.  I would say immediate intervention for any deficit is critical. Especially when it comes to the onset of neurologically based conditions.  Acute rehabilitation and therapy play a vital part in a patient’s recovery.

-What advice do you have for your patients and their loved ones?
Have a good understanding of the diagnosis/disease process and condition being treated. I encourage everyone to do their research and feel comfortable to ask medical professionals questions. Knowledge is power and allows for better decision making and better advocacy. 

Speech therapy is only one of the many services that Catholic Health Services provides.  For information about the rehabilitation services we offer, visit https://www.catholichealthservices.org/rehabilitation-hospitals/programs/.