Cara McComish, PhD

Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Master’s Studies
Phone: (919) 966-8153
Fax: (919) 966-0100
Email: cara_mccomish@med.unc.edu

Education

  • PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 2008
  • MA, Oklahoma State University 2000
  • BS, University of Maine at Farmington 1998

Personal Statement

I graduated from the PhD program here in the Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2008, and joined the DSHS faculty in 2011. My interest in the field of speech-language pathology began during my high school years in Maine, where I job shadowed school SLPs and obtained my bachelor’s degree in Speech Pathology from the University of Maine at Farmington in 1998. I always knew that I wanted to be a speech-language pathologist, and immediately went on to graduate school at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma. It was during my graduate work that I became interested in and realized the importance of early intervention for infants and young children at risk for communication delays and disorders. I graduated from OSU in 2000 and moved back to New England to complete my Clinical Fellowship Year at the Richie McFarland Children’s Center in Stratham, New Hampshire. During the next several years I began to develop research questions about early identification of and interventions for communication disorders, specifically autism spectrum disorders. I moved to North Carolina in 2003 to pursue a PhD in Speech and Hearing Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill, and immediately fell in love with the UNC-CH campus, the interdisciplinary research opportunities and resources available here, and the beautiful state of North Carolina.

Courses Taught

  • SPHS 570 Anatomy and Physiology of Speech and Hearing
  • SPHS 806 Birth to Five Communication Assessment and Intervention
  • SPHS 802 009 Autism Seminar
  • *The above course now has the course number SPHS 880 Autism Seminar
  • SPHS 792 Pediatric Dysphagia

Research/Clinical Interests

  • Early Supports and Services for Children Birth to Five and Their Families
  • Early Identification of Autism
  • Development of Communication and Feeding Skills in Infants and Young Children

I am a member of interdisciplinary research teams focused on early identification of autism as well as identification and supports for children with feeding/eating difficulties and their families. One of these teams is the Feeding Flock, which is developing a research registry to partner with families on creating measures of feeding difficulties in infants and young children. You can find more information about this research at feedingflock.web.unc.edu.

Honors/Awards

2017, BRIDGES Academic Leadership for Women Professional Development Program UNC Chapel Hill

2017, Fellow, Academy of Educators, School of Medicine, UNC Chapel Hill 2017, Leadership Academy, Council of Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders

2017, Fellow, Institute for Arts and Humanities, UNC Chapel Hill 2016, Chapman Family Teaching Award, UNC Chapel Hill

2014, Fellow, Diversity Education Resource Center, UNC Chapel Hill

Training Grants

I am the Co-Director (Roush, PI) of a personnel preparation training grant funded by the Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, to help prepare SLP and AUD scholars in specialty areas. The title of this grant is, “Preparation of Pediatric Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists to serve Children with Hearing Loss and Developmental Disabilities”. The process to be eligible to participate in this grant is to first be accepted into the MS/SLP or AUD programs.

Recent Publications

Pados, B., Thoyre, S., Estrem, H., Park, J., & McComish, C. (2018). Factor structure and psychometric properties of the Neonatal Eating Assessment Tool- Bottle feeding (NeoEAT- Bottle feeding). Advances in Neonatal Care. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1097/ANC.0000000000000494

Pados, B., Thoyre, S., Estrem, H., Park, J., & McComish, C. (2018). Factor structure and psychometric properties of The Neonatal Eating Assessment Tool-Breastfeeding (NeoEAT-Breastfeeding) Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing, 47 (3), 396-414. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jogn.2018.02.014

Thoyre, S., Pados, B., Park, J., Estrem, H., McComish, C., Hodges, E. (2018). The Pediatric Eating Assessment Tool (Pedi-EAT): Factor structure and psychometric properties. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 66 (2), 299-305. Pados, B., Estrem, H., Thoyre, S., Park, J., & McComish, C (2017). The Neonatal Eating Assessment Tool (NeoEAT): Development and content validation. Neonatal Network: The Journal of Neonatal Nursing, 36 (6), 359-367. https://doi.org/10.1891/0730-0832.36.6.359

Belardi, K., Watson, L., Faldowski, R., Baranek, G., Crais, E., Patten, E., Oller, K., Hazlett, H., McComish, C. (2017). A retrospective video analysis of canonical babbling and volubility in infants with fragile x syndrome at 9-12 months of age. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders (47) 4, 1193-1206. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-017-3033-4

McComish, C., Brackett, K., Kelly, M., Hall, C., Wallace, S., Powell, V. (2016). Interdisciplinary feeding team: A medical, motor, behavioral approach. MCN, American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing, 41(4), 230-236. doi:10.1097/NMC.0000000000000252

Estrem, H., Pados, B., Thoyre, S., Knafl, K., McComish, C (2016). Concept of pediatric feeding problems from the parents’ perspective. MCN, American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing, 41(4), 212-220. doi:10.1097/NMC.0000000000000249

Cara McComish