Monday, November 23, 2015

CENTENIAL JOURNAL ARTICLE -- Frances Jackson Freeman


Frances J. Freeman, Ph.D., of Logansport, marked the publication of her 100th refereed Journal article this past month, when her research, entitled “Characteristics of Fluency and Speech in Two Families With High Incidences of Stuttering” appeared in the current issue of the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. 

A native of Logansport, who has returned to her hometown in retirement, Dr. Freeman has published over 500 professional articles, book chapters, papers, and pamphlets.  However, research reports in refereed professional Journals are the primary measure of a scientist’s productivity.  The publication of her centennial article comes exactly 50 years after her first, “Vowel and Nasal Duration as Cues to Voicing in Word-Final Stop Consonants in American English” appeared in the Journal of speech and Hearing Research.

A 1957 graduate of Logansport High School, Dr. Freeman received bachelor and masters degrees from Northwestern State University before working as a speech-language pathologist in the Caddo Parish Public Schools.  During the turbulent 1960’s, she was active in the civil rights movement, and was among the first teachers to integrate Louisiana’s previously segregated schools.  In 1970 she moved to New York to pursue doctoral studies at the City University of New York.  She conducted her doctoral research in electrical activity in laryngeal muscles during stuttering at Haskins Laboratories of Yale University, and was a visiting scholar at MIT, Bell Laboratories, and Tokyo School of Medicine.

Journals in which Dr. Freeman’s previous work has appeared include: Science; Archives of Neurology; the Journal of Voice; the Annals of Otology, Rhinology, & Laryngology; Brain and Language; Transactions of the American Laryngological Association; Archives of Otolaryngology – Head, Neck, Surgery; Journal of Fluency Disorders; Annals of Internal Medicine; Journal of Phonetics; Journal of the Acoustical Society of America; and the Journal of Communication Disorders.  Her work was featured at the Annual Conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 1979 and again in1989.

Coauthors of the August 2015 article are Sheila V. Stager, Ph.D. and Allen Braun, M.D. of the National Institutes of Health.  Dr. Stager directs Voice Research at George Washington University in D.C.  Their research was supported by the Intramural Division of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communications, as part of a genetic linkage analysis in developmental stuttering, which included gene mapping in extended kindred and candidate gene analyses.

            Before retiring from Stephen F. Austin State University in 1998, Dr. Freeman taught at Adelphi University, Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, and the University of Texas at Dallas, Callier Center for Communication Disorders.  From 2010 to 2013, Dr. Freeman returned to academia, serving as Associate Vice President for Faculty Diversity at the University of Texas at Dallas. 

            Dr. Freeman’s research has focused on normal and pathological speech production with particular emphasis on stuttering and neurological voice disorders.  Her earliest research used acoustic, electromyographic (EMG), and laryngeal endoscopic measures to characterize stuttering and spasmodic dysphonia.  In this work, she assisted in the development of first clinical laryngeal fiberoptic endoscopes.  In Dallas in the 1980’s her team at the Callier Center and Southwestern Medical School pioneered approaches in correlating Quantitative Electroencephalographic (QEEG) data with static and dynamic brain imaging.   Their work led to the classification of Spasmodic Dysphonia as a neurologic disorder, and to current treatments, including botox.  In the 1990’s she was involved in genetic studies of stuttering, which eventually led to the research on which her most recent publication is based.

            In retirement, Dr. Freeman is engaged with her husband of 56 years, Charles Freeman, in developing Freeman Farms of Joaquin, TX.  The couple has two daughters and four grandchildren, and are expecting their first great grandson in February.  Dr. Freeman serves on the Historical Committee of the Town of Logansport, on the Board of the Friends of the Mansfield Women’s College Museum, and on the Board of the Logansport Chamber of Commerce.

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