Course Title: CE 08: Harmonizing Evaluations Across Cultural and Linguistic Diversity One Size (Does Not) Easily Fit All! (Shah & Sunderaraman)

Credit Hours: 1.5

Instructor(s) Urvashi Shah; Preeti Sunderaraman

Dr. Urvashi Shah, PhD
Department of Neurology, King Edward Memorial Hospital, Mumbai
Preeti Sunderaraman, PhD
Cognitive Neuroscience Division, Taub Institute and Gertrude H Sergievsky Center,
Department of Neurology, Columbia University Medical Center, NYC

CE Workshop # 8:

Harmonizing Evaluations Across Cultural and Linguistic Diversity One Size (Does Not) Easily Fit All!

Abstract & Learning Objectives:
The concept of a universal neurobiological brain and cognitive processes is currently under scrutiny with a growing body of research suggesting a critical role of culture, language and education in impacting cognition and behavior. Historically, neuropsychology has its roots in the west, in a relatively homogeneous society. But, in the current era of global connectivity, migration and changing demographics, the validity of the neuropsychological evaluation tools in heterogeneous populations is questionable.
Conducting neuropsychological evaluations is challenging in different ethnic populations and there is a high risk of misdiagnosis and mismanagement. There is an urgent need for harmonization of research from across the world to understand the diversity factors that impact test performance. The overarching goal is to create relatively unified, common protocols that ensure fair evaluation in daily clinical practice.
This workshop aims to provide a comprehensive update of research and clinical experiences on these issues. The first part of the workshop will describe the concepts commonly associated with diversity, and then review research comparing the similarities and differences that exist in cognition between those in the U.S. and other countries. The second part will draw upon the most recently published and emerging research, and clinical experiences, from India - one of the largest and most diverse countries in the world.
Upon conclusion of this course, learners will be able to:
  • Demonstrate knowledge of current terminology related to linguistic and cultural diversity
  • Describe key research findings pertaining to diversity and cognition
  • Explain the administration, performance and interpretation issues related to neuropsychological evaluations in individuals from diverse backgrounds

Speaker Biography:
Dr. Urvashi Shah works in the Department of Neurology, King Edward Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, one of the largest public hospitals in India where she set up the first neuropsychology services, the ‘Center for Neuropsychology Studies (C.N.S)’, for socioeconomically deprived populations. For her pioneering work in neuropsychology in Mumbai she was awarded the prestigious Mayor’s Achievement Award. For over twenty years, she has been an integral part of the ongoing, Comprehensive Epilepsy Care Program that has conducted over six hundred epilepsy surgeries. She has also been involved in setting up neurorehabilitation services for traumatic brain injury and has worked as a research consultant on an NIH funded, Indo-US project on ‘Cognitive Changes in the Elderly’ in Mumbai. She has vast experience of evaluating hundreds of cases from the heterogeneous, multicultural, multilingual diverse Mumbai population and has been an expert on the Indian Council of Medical Research ICMR, ‘Neurocognitive Tool Box Project- Standardized Protocols for Cognition in India’. She is on the Board of Studies in Psychology, a reviewer for various academic journals and has published in multiple peer-reviewed journals. She was invited to be a member of the Neuropsychology Task Force of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) and the Scientific Committee of the World Congress for Neurorehabilitation (WCNR) in India. Dr. Shah has also presented at numerous national and international conferences, delivered national neurology orations, spoken at multiple, continuing education (CE) workshops and has conducted several public, patient and family awareness programs. She has mentored over twenty-five graduate psychology students, several of whom have gone on to obtain specialized degrees in neuropsychology from international universities. She completed a Ph.D from Bombay University in 1995 working on implicit and explicit memory systems in neurological populations.
Dr. Preeti Sunderaraman has won the K99/R00 Pathway to Independence research grant from NIH and is currently working as a Research Associate Scientist in the Cognitive Neuroscience Division at Columbia University Medical Center, New York City. Previously, she obtained the F32 Postdoctoral Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from NIH and the Clinical Research grant from the National Academy of Neuropsychology for her work on financial decision making. As a graduate student she obtained funding from the Council on Brain Injury and was awarded the Foundation for Rehabilitation Psychology Dissertation award. Dr. Sunderaraman came to the U.S in 2010 and pursued her graduate training in neuropsychology from Drexel University under the mentorship of Dr. Maria Schultheis. Over the years, she has actively worked in several committees including the NAN Publications Committee, the Ethnic and Minority Affairs Committee, and as the International Liaison Representative for the International Neuropsychological Society's Student Liaison Committee. Currently she serves as the Social Events coordinator for the Asian Neuropsychological Association and as the Science Officer for the Early Career Neuropsychologists Committee that is a part of Society for Clinical Neuropsychology. Dr. Sunderaraman was born and raised in India, and completed her education from Mumbai. After obtaining her bachelors in psychology, she completed her Master’s in clinical psychology and began practicing as psychologist in various government and private hospitals. During this time, she met Dr. Urvashi Shah who introduced her to neuropsychology. She trained with Dr. Shah and conducted neuropsychological assessments for primarily patients with epilepsy. She also worked on research projects related to collecting normative data for a few adapted tests. After immigrating to the U.S., Dr. Sunderaraman has continued work with Asian Indians and seeks to refine their clinical care and improve research related to this group.