KUWomenofDistinction

Lt. Molly C. Rutledge, M.A., CCC-SLP

Lt. Molly C. Rutledge, M.A., CCC-SLP

Honors, achievements, and special recognition:

  • United States Public Health Service Citation Medal 2013
  • Vice President - Commissioned Officers Association Tséhootsooí Branch 2013-present
  • Member of 10 Professional Public Health Associations
  • National Relief Charities Program Partner 2009-present
  • Hogan Hizhoni Abuse and Neglect Shelter Lecture Series Presenter 2011-present
  • Tséhootsooí Medical Center Bravo Award 2013
  • Certificate of Excellence for USPHS Officer Basic Course 57 Squad Leader 2012
  • Tséhootsooí Medical Center Writing for Hope Award 2009
  • Navajo Nation Breastfeeding Coalition Member
  • Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative Taskforce Member
  • Nominated for AMSUS Allied Health Professional Award 2013 (pending)
  • Nominated for National Indian Health Board Local Impact Award 2013 (pending)
  • Nominated for USPHS Unit Commendation Award 2013 (pending)
  • Mother of two small children

How I became interested in my area of study:

I became interested in speech-language pathology in high school. Both of my parents are educators and I realized I wanted to educate too, but in a health setting helping individuals with access & functional needs. I applied to KU with knowledge that the speech-language pathology (SLP) program was very strong. I was fortunate to start off with SLP classes my freshman year and enjoyed the curriculum so much that I continued and sought my master’s degree in the field. My interest in providing services to the underserved populations started in graduate school when I worked as a research assistant providing services to the local Native American tribes in Kansas. After college I gained experience locally in Lawrence as well as with the native population in rural Waianae, Hawaii and on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona.

It was during my time on the Navajo reservation that I learned about the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) and its mission to promote, protect and advance the health and safety of the nation. This was a true calling for me. I became an active duty officer in 2012 and am the 10th SLP in the nation to be commissioned to the USPHS.

An honor, achievement or accomplishment that is most meaningful to me and why:

Becoming the 2013 Junior Officer Therapist of the Year was a significant accomplishment for me due to the fact that I am the first Speech-Language Pathologist to be recognized for this award in the history of the United States Public Health Service.

Someone who has been a role model for me and why:

My advisor during both my bachelors and Masters programs, Dr. Diane Loeb. Dr. Loeb served as an academic role model and I describe her as strong, courageous, and unselfish. She is gifted at the art of mentoring students from diverse backgrounds. She promoted my interest in multicultural studies and made a significant impact on how I use my skills in the professional field. She demonstrates inspiring and warm leadership.

My favorite KU memory:

Meeting my husband who is also a KU alumni.

When times get tough, something that helps me get through it:

My mother has been the guide to developing my potential for happiness and self-sufficiency. She has respected and disciplined me in a way that established fair and realistic expectations. I often think, “what would my mom do?” when I am faced with difficult situations.

An important life lesson I have learned:

We all have a unique opportunity and platform for serving others. Never underestimate it. Even our smallest gestures that show we care can affect lives profoundly.

If I had a sister just entering college, I would want her to know….

Make every effort to push your mental horizons.

A favorite quote or saying and why it is meaningful to me:

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."
– Helen Keller
"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."
– John Quincy Adams

Both of these quotes have helped me in the ongoing development of my leadership skills.