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NFOSD reaches out to University Speech-Language Pathology programs

Byline: Katie Winters, 2nd year Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) graduate program student

Over the past year, the National Foundation of Swallowing Disorders (NFOSD) has introduced an initiative to engage university professors and clinical instructors as a means of enhancing education and increasing awareness of the effects of swallowing disorders on patients, family members, and professionals.

The University Outreach Initiative provides the opportunity for students in graduate Speech-Language Pathology and related programs to reflect on the perspectives of patients, parents, and professionals who are touched by dysphagia. To date, the NFOSD has contacted 48 universities and over 65 academic and clinical instructors to share “Swallow: A Documentary – Dysphagia” with their students and facilitate a reflection or discussion on the film.

Initially supported by Dr. Michelle Ciucci, professor of the swallowing disorders course at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and NFOSD board member, the University Outreach Initiative has now received positive feedback from several university instructors who indicate that their students are inspired by the documentary and encouraged to learn how they can help patients with swallowing disorders. Dr. Claudia Mornout of Purdue University provided the NFOSD with feedback indicating her students were more engaged in the dysphagia course material.

The NFOSD currently plans to extend its outreach to graduate and undergraduate chapters of the National Student Speech Language and Hearing Association (NSSLHA) in order to raise awareness and promote interest in working with individuals coping with swallowing disorders before students enter graduate programs. In its mission to enhance education and increase awareness of the incidence and effects of dysphagia on patients across the lifespan, the NFOSD will continue to engage with universities and student organizations to promote future professionals in the field of swallowing disorders.

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