Nidhi Mahendra, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Associate Professor

Department of Communicative Sciences & Disorders

(510) 885-3182
TR 653B
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My primary research interest is in the cognitive and communicative changes that result from healthy aging, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), dementia and aphasia. My research aims to precisely document spared and impaired language and memory abilities in persons with MCI, dementia and aphasia.  A related goal of this research is to better design clinical interventions that promote cognitive and communicative wellness and quality of life for older adults with neurologic disease or impairments. As a multilingual speech-language pathologist, I am passionate about diversity issues infuencing the delivery of speech-language pathology services and health care services at large. As an educator, I am committed to the high-impact practices of service learning and research participation for enhancing student learning outcomes.

Professional Focus

My research interests are in two broad areas:

I. Cognition, Communication and Swallowing in Dementia and Healthy Aging

Topics of interest: Cognition and linguistic communication in healthy adults, adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), dementia and aphasia; use of everyday technology to deliver evidence-based interventions; novel approaches to assessment; palliiative care and quality of life in dementia.


My research has been funded by California State University East Bay and externally by the Alzheimer's Association (, the Masonic Homes of California ( and the Hartford Foundation. Current work focuses on:

  1. Variables influencing episodic memory performance in healthy older adults and persons with dementia
  2. Reading comprehension in healthy aging, mild cognitive impairment and dementia
  3. Use of music as a therapeutic tool to improve communication and quality of life for persons with dementia and aphasia
  4. Efficacy of service learning paradigms for better training speech-language pathology students to competently serve adults with neurogenic speech and language disorders
  5. Feasibility and outcomes of computer-assisted cognitive interventions for training fact and procedures in persons with Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, and aphasia
  6. Best practices in re-assessing tube-fed patients in long-term care settings; quality of life related to mealtimes for persons with dementia
To learn more about my research lab, visit us at the Aging and Cognition Research Clinic (ACRC)
II. Multicultural issues in speech-language pathology and audiology
Topics of interest: Bilingualism, health disparities, ethnogeriatrics, minority clients' perceptions of encounters with speech language pathologists, barriers to health care and palliative care access

My research has been funded by California State University East Bay as well as externally by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association ( and The California Wellness Foundation ( Current work focuses on:

  1. Barriers faced by minority clients accessing speech-language pathology and audiology services
  2. Culturally competent and evidence-based assessment and treatment of adults with neurogenic language disorders and dysphagia
  3. High-impact practices for teaching about cultural and linguistic diversity and its relevance for health care practitioners


  • Fellowship in Ethnogeriatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Speech Language Hearing Sciences, University of Arizona
  • Ph.D. in Speech Language Hearing Sciences, University of Arizona


Not teaching this quarter.


Select Publications (Last 5 years)                                           

Book Chapters

Mahendra, N. (2014). Dementia: From concept to clinical practice. In M. Kimbarow (Ed). Cognitive-Communication Disorders. San Diego, CA: Plural Publishing.

Mahendra, N., & Hopper, T. (2013). Dementia and related cognitive disorders. In I. Papathanasiou, P. Coppens, C. Potagas (Eds). Aphasia and Related Neurogenic Communication Disorders. Boston, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Bayles, K. A., Mahendra, N., Hopper, T. (2011). Dementia. In K. Hilari and N. Botting (Eds.) The impact of communication disability across the lifespan. London, UK: J & R Press.

Mahendra, N. (2011). Overview of aphasia and approaches to aphasia intervention. In R. Koul (Ed.) Augmentative and alternative communication for adults with aphasia: Science and clinical practice. London, UK: Emerald Publishers.

Mahendra, N. (2010). An adult with dementia of the Alzheimer type: Screening, assessment, and cognitive-linguistic interventions. In S. Chabon & E. Cohn (Eds). The Communication Disorders Casebook: Learning by Example. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Peer-Reviewed Publications (Last 5 years)                                    names in bold are student authors

Mahendra, N., Spicer, J. (2014). Access to speech-language pathology services for African-American clients with aphasia: A qualitative study. Perspectives on Communication Disorders in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations.

Mahendra, N., Fremont, K., & Dionne, E. (2013). Teaching future providers about dementia: The impact of service learning. Seminars in Speech and Language, 34(1), 5-17.

Mahendra, N. (2012). The logopenic variant of primary progressive aphasia: Effects on linguistic communication. Perspectives on Gerontology, 17(2), 50-59. 

Mahendra, N. (2012). South Asian stories: First hand perspectives on barriers to accessing speech language pathology services. Perspectives on Communication Disorders in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations, 19(1), 29-36.

Crowley, C., Levy, E., Mahendra, N., Deal-Williams (2011). Clinical Education of Students with Accents. Professional Issues Statement of the American Speech Language Hearing Association.

Mahendra, N., Scullion, A., Hamerschlag, C. (2011). Cognitive-linguistic interventions for persons with dementia: A practitioner’s guide to three evidence-based techniques. Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation, 27:4, 1-12.

Mahendra, N. (2011). Computer-assisted spaced retrieval training of faces and names for persons with dementia. Nonpharmacological Therapies for Dementia, 1:3, 1-21. 

Edited Commentaries and Articles (2010-2014)

Mahendra, N., Namazi, M. (2014, November). Becoming Bilingual. Invited by The ASHA Leader.

Mahendra, N. (2011). This careful review points to positive effects of behavioral interventions on verbal communication of persons with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers. Research Commentary, Evidence Based Communication Assessment and Intervention, 1-6.

Mahendra, N. (2010). Preparing learners to become culturally responsive practitioners: Lessons from the classroom. California Speech Language Hearing Association Magazine, 6-7, 22.


Select Presentations (2009-2014)                                            

Select Invited Presentations

Mahendra, N. (July 2015). Keynote Address: Bilingualism across the Lifespan - Time to Redefine Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology. Bilingual Therapies Symposium, St. Maarten.

Mahendra, N., Yu, B. (2015). A language is a terrible thing to waste: Nurturing minority language competence among our clients and ourselves. 3-hour Symposium, 2015 Convention of the California Speech Language Hearing Association. 

Mahendra, N. (October 2014). Culture, Dementia, and Ethnicity: The intersection and its implications for speech-language pathologists. Lynda Campbell Memorial Lecture, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Saint Louis University, Saint Louis.

Mahendra, N. (June 2014). Dementia and Mild Cognitive Impairment: Unpacking Evidence-based Practice for Speech-Language Pathologists, 44th Annual Colloquium in Speech-Language Pathology, University of the Pacific, Stockton, California.

Mahendra, N. (April 2014). Evidence-based assessment and intervention for persons with dementia: Let's do this, Speech-Language Pathologists! Oyer Lecture, Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders, Michigan State University.

Patterson, J.P., Bernstein-Ellis, E. & Mahendra, N. (June 2013). State of the art: Evidence-based treatment, assessment and research in aphasia and dementia. Presentation, Professional Seminar co-sponsored by California State University East Bay and Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Hayward.

Mahendra, N. (May 2012). Adult neurogenic language disorders: Preparing speech language pathologists to work with South Asian clients. 60-minute webinar, San Jose State   University (part of OSEP Grant Curriculum).

Mahendra, N. (September 2010). Evidence-based intervention for dementia management. Live Web Seminar, Invited by the American Speech Language Hearing Association.

Mahendra, N.  & Tomoeda, C. (September 2009). Computerized cognitive interventions for persons with Alzheimer’s disease: Feasibility and outcomes. Everyday Technologies for Alzheimer Care     Research Symposium, Portland.

Mahendra, N. (April 2009). Barriers facing minority clients accessing speech language pathology and audiology services. California State University East Bay Faculty Research Colloquium, Hayward.

Yu, B., Mahendra, N., Huertas, D. (April 2009). Evidence-based assessment with diverse clients: From conceptual framework to everyday practice. San Francisco State University Conference, San Francisco.

Mahendra, N. (April 2009). Beyond Alzheimer’s disease: Mild cognitive impairment and non-Alzheimer     dementias. ASHA Health Care Conference, Washington D.C.

Mahendra, N. (April 2009). Improving the outcomes of dysphagia therapy in cognitively impaired residents. ASHA Health Care Conference, Washington D.C.

Select Peer-reviewed Presentations (2014-2015 only)                                  names in bold are student authors

Mahendra, N., Kashinath, S. (2014). Project R2M2: Recruiting Retaining and Mentoring Minority students – Diversifying the speech-language pathology pipeline. Seminar, 2014 ASHA Convention, Orlando, Florida

Mahendra, N., Murphy, K.(2014). Exploring physician & speech-language pathologist perceptions about recovery from aphasia. Poster, 2014 ASHA Convention, Orlando,             Florida.

Bell, C., Lopez, R., Mahendra, N., Tamura, B., Ahsan S., Masaki, K., Amella, E. (2014). A reassessment protocol for tube-fed nursing home residents. 9th International Academy on Nutrition and Aging, Albuqerque, New Mexico.

Bernstein-Ellis, E., Avent, J., Mahendra, N. (2014). Increasing communicative access for individuals with aphasia at Yosemite National Park: Partnership, advocacy and change. Mini-seminar, Annual Convention of the California Speech Language Hearing Association, San Francisco.  

Spicer, J., Mahendra, N., Lau, L., Carrillo, B., Butler, G. (2014). Barriers influencing access to speech-language pathology services for minority clients with aphasia. Poster, Annual Convention of the California Speech Language Hearing Association, San Francisco.          

Grants and Awards

Current Funding


2015-2016       Change Agents Grant, Hartford Foundation.

                       Title: Intensive Individualized Comfort Care at Mealtimes (IIC-M) (PI: R. Lopez, Massachussetts General Hospital)

2012-2015       Training Grant, The California Wellness Foundation.

                       Title: Project R2M2 - Recruitment, Retention, and Mentoring of Minority Students: Diversifying the Speech Pathology Pipeline (PI: N. Mahendra, Co-Investigator: S. Kashinath) 


2014-2015       Faculty Support Grant for Mentoring Student Researchers, Center for Student Research, CSUEB

2013-2014       Diversity and Social Justice Faculty Fellowship, CSUEB PEIL Grant, CLASS

2013-2014       Research and Scholarly Creative Activity (RSCA) Grant, CSUEB

                       Title: Advancing Diversity in Aging Research

2012-2013       Research and Scholarly Creative Activity (RSCA) Grant, CSUEB

                       Title: No Community Left Behind: Developing multilingual resources about aphasia.


Service: International Level

2008-Present: Member, Editorial Board, Nonpharmacological Therapies for Dementia (Scientific journal published by Nova Publishers)

Service: National Level (Last 5 years only)

2010-Present: Member, Multicultural Task Force (MTF), National Aphasia Association

2014, 2012, 2008: Member, ASHA Convention Program Committee (Language Disorders in Adults)

2008-2014: Member, Alzheimer’s Association Working Group, Benefits of Technology-Assisted Cognitive Exercise for Adults

2010: Member, ASHA Convention Program Committee (Multicultural Issues)

Service: State and Local Level (Last 5 years only)

 State Level

2015: Member, Alzheimer's Congressional Team for Congressman Mike Honda and Representative Zoe Lofgren

2014: Moderator, 2014 California Speech Language Hearing Association Annual Convention

Local Level

2012-2013: Member, South Asian Healthy Aging Initiative (SAHAI)

2012, 2013: Planner and Facilitator, Brain Awareness Week activities, James Leitch Elementary School, Fremont.

2012: Presenter, Therapeutic use of music for persons with dementia (Staff Inservice), Masonic Home for Adults

2011-2012: Instructor, First-grade Math Labs, James Leitch Elementary School, Fremont

Service: University Level (Last 5 years only)

2014-2016: Member, Faculty Affairs Committee (FAC)

2013-Present: Advisory Board Member, Board of Directors, Center for Student Research, CSUEB

2012-2013: Invited Participant, Instructional Programs Task Group, CSUEB Initiative on Program Prioritization: Planning for Distinction.

2009-2012: Member, CSUEB Institutional Review Board (second term)

2010-2011: Member, Committee on Research (CR)

Service: Department Level (2009-2014)

2012-2015: Department Chair, Communicative Sciences and Disorders

2010–2015: CSUEB Chapter Advisor, National Student Speech Language Hearing Association

2011-2012: Co-Chair, Tenure Track Search Committee

2010-2011: Co-director, Aphasia Treatment Program

Service as Reviewer of Policy Documents, Manuscripts and Grants

Policy Document Reviewer

Invited Reviewer, Alzheimer’s Association Practice Recommendations for In-Home Care of Persons with Dementia

Invited Reviewer, Alzheimer’s Association Policy Brief on the Benefits of Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Physical Therapy for Persons with Dementia

Invited Reviewer, ASHA Documentation Template on Cognitive-Communication


Adhoc Reviewer for Journals

American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias, American Journal of Speech Language Pathology, Aphasiology, Clinical Gerontologist

International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, Journal of Medical Speech Language Pathology, Journal of Speech Language Hearing Research

Nonpharmacological Therapies for Dementia, SIG 14 Perspectives on Cultural and Linguistic Diversity


Grant Reviewer

Alzheimer’s Association (2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)

American Speech Language Hearing Association (2005)

Other Accomplishments

2015: Appointed, Faculty Lead, CSUEB Palliative Care Initiative, Part of the CSU-wide Institute of Palliative Care

2014: Appointed Editor, American Speech Language Hearing Association - SIG 14 Perspectives on Cultural and Linguistic Diversity

2012: Recipient, Certificate of Recognition for Significant Contribution to Multicultural Affairs, American Speech Language Hearing Association

2006: Recipient, American Journal of Speech Language Pathology Editor's Award

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