EAU CLAIRE, Wis. — Mary Beth Clark, a speech-language pathologist and clinical manager of Speech Therapy at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, recently received the 2023 Aphasia Access Innovator Award at the Aphasia Access Leadership Summit in North Carolina. This award honors an individual with exceptionally creative ideas and evidence of significant impact on people with aphasia, their care partners and the community. The Innovator Award recognizes the incredible work of service providers offering person-centered aphasia care and the Life Participation Approach to Aphasia from a novel and diverse perspective, and creatively and innovatively addressing challenges in service delivery.
Clark was nominated by a multitude of her peers in speech-language pathology, physical therapy and neurology, as well as by community members with aphasia and their families. She was recognized for innovative work at the acute care, inpatient, outpatient and community program level, and her leadership at Mayo Clinic Health System in Northwest Wisconsin.
Clark is the co-founder and director of the Chippewa Valley Aphasia Camp, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary in September 2023. Clark is also a co-founder and board member of the Chippewa Valley Aphasia Network. She has mentored countless new and seasoned clinicians, and is a tireless advocate for person-centered interdisciplinary care.
A portion of one nomination letter states, “We heard from her colleagues across disciplines, and those who have worked with her briefly, and others for years. The message is the same: genuine, authentic, putting the needs of others first, being innovative in ways to make this happen, and model at a system level.”
A care partner wrote, “Mary Beth has not only been incredible when working with my husband with PPA (primary progressive aphasia), but she has been invaluable in helping and supporting me. I am able to call her when I have concerns, and she has also called us to check in and see how we are doing. We know that without Mary Beth working with us, this journey would have been more difficult and lonely.”
“I’m very fortunate to work with an amazing team of speech pathologists, rehab team members and providers at Mayo Clinic Health System,” Clark says. “I’m so appreciative of the collaboration with my two colleagues in Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The unique program development is a team effort. Most importantly, the patients and individuals with aphasia and their family members have made a significant impact on what I value, which is person-centered care across the continuum of care.”
Clark received the award on March 25.
Mayo Clinic Health System has a physical presence in 44 communities and consists of 53 clinics, 16 hospitals and other facilities that serve the health care needs of people in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The community-based health care professionals, paired with the resources and expertise of Mayo Clinic, enable patients in the region to receive the highest-quality physical and virtual health care close to home.