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NFOSD Dysphagia Webinar series – The Revolution in Swallowing Restoration (July 15, 2014)

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Following the success of our first webinar which was broadcast live to over 100 participants on April 30, 2014, the National Foundation of Swallowing Disorders (NFOSD) has developed an entire series of patient-centered webinars. These webinars, to be scheduled at approximately 6 week intervals, will include the latest research, treatment, and assessment of swallowing disorders. Physicians, PhD researchers, and other experts in this field will be the keynote speaker of each event. If you suffer from a swallowing disorder, care for someone with a swallowing disorder, or are a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) with an interest in this area, these webinars are for you. If you knows someone with dysphagia, please share this web page with those who may benefit. Remember, dysphagia can affect anyone, regardless of age or medical background.

A list of future speakers and topics is listed below!

Series Webinar #1: Adult Human Tongue Stem Cell Research

Keynote presenter: Dr. Peter Belafsky, MD, MPH, PhD; University of California, Davis

Date/Time: July 15, 2014 (Tuesday); 8:00 PM EST (7:00 PM CST, 6:00 PM MST, 5:00 PM PST)

Duration: 1.5 hours (this allows time for Q&A)

Webinar Description: Dr. Belafsky has been preparing for an FDA clinical trial at UC Davis involving the implantation of adult human stem cells into the tongues of patients with swallowing impairments.  While stem cells have been used successfully in the treatment and repair of other human organs and tissue (e.g., restoring sight to the blind), this will be the first time stem cells have been used in a process to strengthen and restore a vital part of one’s swallowing function. During this presentation, Dr. Belafsky will discuss the science behind this trial, the current status of this initiative which began almost a year ago, the Institute for Regenerative Cures (IRC) where the stem cells work is taking place, the process of growing adult human stem cells, and the anticipated target date for when this will become an FDA approved human trial which in turn will allow for the recruitment of human subjects and the actual implantation of their stem cells into tongues which have become compromised due to illness or accident.

Bio: Dr. Belafsky is Professor and the Director of the Voice and Swallowing Center at the University of California, Davis. He holds a joint appointment in the Department of Otolaryngology at the UC Davis School of Medicine and the Department of Medicine and Epidemiology at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. He is the recipient of numerous awards and grants and was the lead investigator on the World’s 2nd laryngeal transplantation. He has authored over 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts, holds numerous patents, has edited and authored 4 books, is the co-founder of two medical device start-up companies, and was the President of the Dysphagia Research Society in 2013. Dr. Belafsky’s primary research focus is the innovative treatment of profound swallowing disorders. He has created a medical device that can manually control the upper esophageal sphincter, is working on an innovative dilator for upper esophageal sphincter stenosis, is developing a comprehensive swallow propulsion system, and is evaluating the use of muscle stem cells for dysphagia rehabilitation. He has dedicated his career to improving the lives of people with profound swallowing impairments. He is also the Medical Director of our foundation, the NFOSD.

Please add this to your calendar. All you need is a computer with sound capabilities, a web browser, and a reasonable Internet connection. To sign up, click the link below. Once you fill out the registration, the page will refresh and there will be a confirmation message at the bottom of the page that your registration was received.

Click here to register. Participation is limited to the number of seats we have available in our GoToWebinar license, so register now to help ensure access to this event.

We hope you are able to attend this event!


Registration is free to everyone and the webinar itself is free to NFOSD members. A nominal fee of $5 to $20 (per webinar) will be charged to non-members. If you register and are a non-member, we will send you an email (within 3 business days of registering) that includes the payment information. If you decide that this webinar is not for you, no problem, we will cancel your registration if payment is not received (within 3 business days after we send the above email) to make room for others who wish to attend.

We hope you are able to attend this event!

Medical disclaimer. This Webinar is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for consultation with an appropriate health care professional, as each individual’s medical situation is unique. It is important that you consult with your medical professional (e.g., physician, SLP) before implementing any course of treatment. Experiences that are new to you should be done with the help of a caregiver and when access to emergency medical care is available.


The NFOSD is an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Our mission is to improve the lives of anyone with a swallowing disorder. We are supported by the generosity of our family, friends, and members. All donations, including membership fees, are tax deductible in line with IRS regulations. Benefits of an annual membership (which begins at a fee of $10) include the following: faster delivery of our “Swallowing Disorders can Affect Anyone” tri-fold, free access to our webinar series, automatic sign-up for our “Small Bytes” e-newsletter, access to our Medical Advisory and select Foundation board members on an as-needed basis, and inclusion of your NFOSD support on your resume or CV.


Future Webinar Presentation Topics:

Webinar – Clinical Trial using External Surface Electrical Stimulation (Dr. Christy Ludlow)

Description: Closure of the true and false vocal folds is a normal part of airway protection during swallowing. Individuals with reduced or delayed true vocal fold closure can be at risk for aspiration and benefit from intervention to ameliorate the problem. Surface electrical stimulation is currently used during therapy for dysphagia, despite limited knowledge of its physiological effects.  Dr. Ludlow’s presentation will provide the newest information about surface electrical stimulation as a therapy technique for patients with dysphagia.

Dr. Christy Ludlow, BS, MS, PhD

Bio: Dr. Ludlow is a Professor at James Madison University (JMU) in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders where her research interests include manipulating neural control for dysphagia rehabilitation. She joined JMU after 25 years with the National Institute of Health (NIH). Dr. Ludlow received a B.S. degree in physiological psychology and an M.S. degree in speech pathology and audiology from McGill University. After completing her clinical training, she received her Ph.D. in speech pathology and psycholinguistics from New York University. Dr. Ludlow moved to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes (NINDS) to initiate laboratory work in speech physiology and joined the NINCDS Intramural Research Program in 1985. Dr. Ludlow received Honors of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in 2005 and the 2006 Award of the American Laryngological Association. Dr. Ludlow’s section studied the neurological organization and control of laryngeal function in voice, speech and swallowing, the pathogenesis of idiopathic voice and speech disorders, and the effects of functional electrical and sensory stimulation in severe swallowing disorders. Ms. Ludlow is a member of the NFOSD Medical Advisory Board.

Webinar – Aspiration Pneumonia in patients with Swallowing Disorders (Tiffany Mohr, MA, SLP)

Description: Pneumonia is a breathing condition in which there is swelling or an infection of the lungs or large airways. Aspiration pneumonia occurs when food, saliva, liquids, or vomit is breathed into the lungs or airways leading to the lungs.  This presentation will cover the risk factors, symptoms, assessment, and treatment for aspiration pneumonia, as aspiration pneumonia can be a serious life-threatening complication for those with swallowing disorders.

Tiffany Mohr, MA, CCC-SLP

Bio: Tiffany Mohr is a speech-language pathologist at the Department of Veteran Affairs in Houston, Texas.  She works with Veterans who require Diagnostic and Treatment services in the areas of communication, cognition, respiration, swallowing, voice, and head and neck cancer.  Tiffany Mohr received her M.A. degree in Communication Disorders from the University of Houston in 1999 and has been providing speech-language pathology services to those of all ages for nearly 15 years.

Webinar – Nutrition and Dysphagia (Laura Michaels)

Description: Managing and maintaining nutritional and hydration needs for someone with dysphagia can be especially challenging.  In this presentation, Laura Michaels will discuss the importance of meeting one’s nutritional needs and how to makes foods and beverages safe, palatable, and pleasing. Ms. Michaels will discuss her first-hand experience of caring for her father when he developed dysphagia due to Lewy Bodies Dementia and how she was able to translate all her industry knowledge and cooking skills to help her mother and others care for her ailing father.

Laura Michaels, BS

Bio: Laura Michaels earned her B.S. degree in Nutrition from the Ohio State University and then trained with one of the authors of the American Dietetic Association’s National Dysphagia Diet. Laura spent more than ten years as a Regional Sales Manager in the healthcare/food industry. During that time she educated and trained hospital, nursing home and rehab facility staffs on how to make foods and beverages safe, palatable and pleasing for their patients with swallowing disorders. In 2011, Laura started her own company, Dysphagia Supplies Direct, to help people with dysphagia live their best lives. She trains professionals and family caregivers in how to manage the food and beverage modifications necessary using techniques and products to meet the needs of each unique client. Her company offers specialty food products, many of which are not readily available outside the acute-care setting, making it possible to receive care at home, in a group home or other care setting. Her specialty is caring for those with Alzheimer’s and other Dementias, ALS, Parkinson’s disease, Stroke and Head-Neck-Oral Cancers. Ms. Michaels is a board member of our foundation, the NFOSD.