Look beyond the educational credentials of Salus University instructors and some unique outside interests might pop up and catch one’s eye. For example, Amy Lustig, PhD, MPH, CCC-SLP, an assistant professor in the University’s Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) program used to be in a marching samba band.Amy Lustig playing guitar
 
A marching samba band? Yes.
 
When she’s not teaching the next generation of SLPs, Dr. Lustig plays guitar, piano, percussion and sings and for years has had a particular interest in Afro-Cuban and Brazilian folkloric music. She’s performed at local concerts and international dance classes in Boston — where she had the marching samba band gig — and in Oregon and Philadelphia, when she’s lived in those areas.
 
“Music has been a really important part of my life,” said Dr. Lustig. “I’ve always been drawn to the creative arts in general.”
 
But most of the Salus family knows her as an educator who has been part of the SLP program since its inception in 2015. Dr. Lustig initially joined the department as an advisory board member to the program. When the University’s clinical facility, the Speech-Language Institute (SLI) opened, Dr. Lustig provided part-time student clinician supervision. And, then she joined the faculty full-time three years ago.
 
“It’s been a very exciting, challenging and rewarding process,” said Dr. Lustig of helping build the University’s SLP program.  “One thing I love about SLI is that it’s free and available to the community for whoever needs services.”
 
She also believes SLI offers bigger opportunities to the community at large in the areas of diversity and multi-ethnicity.
 
For example, Dr. Lustig teaches a cultural and linguistic diversity course and last summer, students had an assignment where they were asked to consider different ethnic/racial groups that make up the greater Philadelphia area, and how different communication challenges can intersect with unique aspects of one’s cultural heritage.Amy Lustig with student
 
“Students had the opportunity to consider how would they advertise the services of the clinic to these different communities,” she said. “One important challenge of the assignment was understanding the intersection between any given communication disorder and its relationship to key cultural aspects of the different communities in our region. How can we account for these differences, and communicate to individuals of diverse backgrounds that they are recognized and welcome in our clinic?”
 
Certainly, the pandemic presented some challenges for the SLP department, but Dr. Lustig said the faculty and students were determined to make it work and continue the learning process.
 
“We made a very rapid transition from classroom to online teaching and from clinic to remote supervision of clinical services,” she said.
 
As an owner of a private SLP practice, she attributes the tremendous flexibility of the students, the clinical educators and the faculty in the continuation of providing services. “There was always a sentiment of moving forward,” Dr. Lustig said.
 
She had some advantage in that area as her practice involves the use of certain technologies. Dr. Lustig treats adults who have impaired communication and limb function, and she trains these individuals on sophisticated communication devices so she wasn’t uncomfortable transitioning to the remote teaching platforms when the pandemic hit, although she does admit it was challenging to make that transition in a short period of time.Amy Lustig with patient
 
While the pandemic did present challenges professionally, it did open up some more opportunities for her to enjoy music at different levels. She has used the time to explore independent musicians from different countries, ethnicities, and musical styles.
 
During her time at Salus, Lustig has also been involved as a member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee and is the vice chair of the Research Committee.

"I have found the campus community to be friendly, and opportunities to participate in different levels of the Salus community have been interesting and satisfying,” she said.
She envisions herself as a clinician at heart, and if she decides to ever stop teaching, she said she likely won’t stop practicing.
 
“I’ve always been clinically oriented. That’s my bottom line and the passion that cuts through everything else that I do is the gratification of working directly with clients,” she said. “I envision myself as a clinician indefinitely.”