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{Recording} Meet the Maker: Swallowing Training and Education Portal (STEP)


Ianessa Humbert, PhD & Rinki Varindani Desai, MS, CCC-SLP, CBIS, CDP

Originally Broadcast on October 3, 2023

Join us for our Meet the Makers Series for a chance to hear directly from dysphagia industry leaders on products that can help manage and treat swallowing disorders.

These one-hour webinars will include a 30 minute product presentation, followed by up to 30 minutes of interactive Q&A where you will have a chance to ask all of your questions.

These presentations are geared towards people living with dysphagia and their loved ones. Healthcare professionals that treat people with dysphagia are also welcome to attend.

As with all of our online learning events, registration is free!

Presentation Title:

Advocacy in Dysphagia Management – A Patient-Centered Approach

Presentation Description: Living with dysphagia, or caring for someone who does, can be an incredibly challenging and isolating journey. Navigating the complex healthcare system from diagnosis to treatment can be overwhelming. Join the STEP Community team for an empowering webinar where they delve into the critical topic of advocacy in dysphagia management. They explore real-life experiences and insights, providing strategies for patients and caregivers to become effective advocates and partners in their healthcare journey. They also highlight the vital role that speech-language pathologists play in advocating for their patients’ needs. The goal is to empower all stakeholders to advocate for the best possible outcomes, fostering a collaborative and patient-centered approach to dysphagia management. Join the team at STEP for this insightful discussion – uniting patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals in a shared mission of improving dysphagia care through effective advocacy across the care continuum.

STEP Community Description: The Swallowing Training and Education Portal (STEP) is an all-in-one online learning solution for swallowing and swallowing disorders. STEP was created with the mission to make swallowing training and education affordable and accessible to all. STEP offers 100+ hours of low-cost, high-quality, evidence-based engaging coursework created for SLPs, by SLPs. Learn at your own pace, build your swallowing knowledge base, and advance your skills at any stage – from basics to clinics. We want to foster critical thinking, competence, and confidence in dysphagia management globally. Come join our growing community and let us help you along your swallowing training and education journey – one STEP at a time. Learn more at

Link to website:

Audience: People with dysphagia, caregivers, healthcare professionals, and students learning about swallowing disorders

STEP Membership Discount for NFOSD: Get 20% off any STEP Annual Membership Plan using promo code NFOSD at checkout. Promotional offer valid until October 15, 2023.

Please note: The NFOSD is a nonprofit patient advocacy organization. We do not endorse specific products, treatments, or brands. The NFOSD does not provide person-specific medical advice or treatment recommendations. This presentation is for informational purposes only, and does not intend to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never modify your treatment plan without consulting with your healthcare team. If you need assistance identifying a swallowing disorder specialist, please contact us at

Meet the Presenters:

Ianessa Humbert, PhD

Dr. Ianessa Humbert is a world-renowned scientist, researcher, educator, and highly sought-after speaker with expertise in swallowing and swallowing disorders. With over 100 speaking invitations from around the world, the most common feedback from attendees continues to be “This is the first time a course has really forced me to think about what I’m doing”. Dr. Humbert’s teaching philosophy requires attendees to question everything they think they know before learning can begin. Dr. Humbert’s innovative training style has been funded by ASHFoundation and extends to non-traditional learning formats. She is the co-creator of the popular Down the Hatch podcast and has co-founded STEP. She also does important work to help promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field of speech-language pathology and beyond. Dr. Humbert has been on faculty at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the University of Florida, and the University of Iowa. She has demonstrated her gift for creating images that depict the dynamism of swallowing via her Swallowing Pocket Guide and Swallowing Neuro Anatomy and Physiology Shorts (SNAPS) tutorials on STEP. The content of Dr. Humbert’s courses is supported by scientific evidence from her laboratory, from the larger body of research literature, and of course, common sense! Her education is driven by evidence and the patients we treat. Learn more at

Rinki Varindani Desai, MS, CCC-SLP, CBIS, CDP

Rinki Varindani Desai is an ASHA-certified medical speech-language pathologist, certified brain injury specialist and dementia practitioner, specializing in the assessment and treatment of swallowing disorders in adults for over a decade. In addition to being the co-founder and COO of STEP, Rinki is also the founder of the Medical SLP Forum and co-creator of the Dysphagia Therapy mobile app. She is currently on ASHA’s Scientific and Professional Education Board and is President-Elect of the Mississippi Speech and Hearing Association. She has served as Associate Coordinator of ASHA’s SIG 13 Committee and Co-Chair of the Dysphagia Research Society’s COVID-19 Task Force. She was awarded ASHA’s Media Outreach Champion award in 2022 and 2023 for her work related to dysphagia advocacy. She has written about and presented on topics related to dysphagia management at conferences around the world. Originally an SLP from Mumbai, India, Rinki is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Speech-Language Pathology at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. She enjoys reading, writing, teaching, traveling with her husband around the world, and doing what she can to help advance the profession by paying it forward. Reach out to Rinki on LinkedIn or Instagram.