Dysphagia Leadership. Leadership Everyday!

By: Karen Sheffler

September 26, 2016

American Speech-Language Hearing Association's annual convention is in Philadelphia. November 17-19, 2016

#ASHA16 Equaled #Dysphagia

by Karen Sheffler, MS, CCC-SLP, BCS-S of SwallowStudy.com

with Guest Blogger: Rinki Varindani Desai, M.S., CCC-SLP, CBIS

The American Speech-Language Hearing Association’s 2016 convention (#ASHA16) slogan was:

“Everyday leadership. Leadership every day.”

Before and after the convention, I highlighted #dysphagia and the latest dysphagia-related evidence from the leaders in the field of Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (dysphagia). #ASHA16 had the most dysphagia courses I had ever seen at an annual convention. I just didn’t know how I was going to be in 4-5 places at a time! Talk about challenging decision-making in dysphagia!

2021 Editor’s note: the #ASHA16 convention has passed, but every year in November the ASHA Convention comes around again, except for during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. Read below to see Rinki’s impression of the ASHA convention in 2016. This blog may still be helpful for new clinicians who have not been to an ASHA before. It is great to reflect on the theme each year before you go.

#ASHA16. Challenging decision-making with so many great dysphagia courses!

There may be NO wrong way in your decision-making, but seek dysphagia leadership and mentors!

In this #ASHA16 – #Dysphagia segment, Rinki Varindani Desai, M.S., CCC-SLP, CBIS was excited to learn that the theme for the ASHA Convention was Everyday Leadership, Leadership Everyday.

“My SLP journey from East to West (Rinki’s professional journey began in India) would not have been possible without the exceptional leaders in the field, who took the time out to mentor me, particularly in the area of adult dysphagia. I truly admire these dysphagia leaders (many of who will be speaking at this year’s ASHA convention) who go above and beyond to make a difference in the field. That’s leadership to me!”

“It was such an honor for me to be invited to present as part of a panel with 5 leading dysphagia experts in the field.”

Rinki is now paying it forward by being part of a short course panel, and below she will give us some of the inspiration behind the short course. (By the way, ASHA short courses are extra cost, but well worth it, as they are 3 hours and tend to cover material more in-depth.) This short course was developed by and the presenters were invited by ASHA’s Special Interest Group 13: Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders.

Short Course details from the #ASHA16 Program Planner:

  • Session Code: SC10
  • Title: Real-Life Cases Meet Real-world Evidence: Dysphagia Case Studies Across the Life Span
  • Day: Thursday, November 17, 2016 Time: 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM
  • Location: Marriott Philadelphia Downtown Room: TBD
  • Instructional Level: Intermediate

Panel Presenters:

  • Pamela Dodrill, Brigham & Women’s Hospital
  • Molly Knigge, University of Wisconsin, Voice and Swallowing Clinic
  • Joseph Murray, VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System
  • Ann Kearney, Standford University
  • Rinki Varindani Desai, HealthPro Rehabilitation
  • Harrison Jones, Duke University

From ASHA’s Short Course Abstract:

  • Dedicated to case presentations highlighting the ideal sequence of clinical discovery, instrumental assessment and subsequent delivery and measurement of evidence-based care.
  • Cases will be derived from a range of practice settings including pediatric, head and neck cancer, neurologic disease, esophageal disorders and long-term care.

Evidenced-Based Management Across the Lifespan

In the real-world, clinicians are expected to provide care to patients with dysphagia in a systematic way. Clinicians reveal salient history, elicit signs and symptoms through clinical testing at bedside, and then conduct a structured instrumental assessment, when appropriate, to reveal the physiological basis of the presenting disorder.  Following these steps, the clinician is often challenged when trying to choose a treatment method. That course of action needs to be well targeted to the specific disorder and well-supported by scientific evidence, while still being in balance with person-centered care.

Soon after obtaining my Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC-SLP), I thought I had ‘made it!” Then I realized, the CCC-SLP was only the first little step into the dynamic and challenging world of medical Speech-Language Pathology. My career has brought me from acute care to inpatient rehab and now to long-term care. Each setting presented me with a unique set of challenges and struggles. Overcoming those helped me evolve into a better clinician. Dysphagia leaders helped me along the way!

These six dysphagia leaders shared their challenges, struggles and successes in Short Course 10, Real-Life Cases Meet Real-world Evidence: Dysphagia Case Studies Across the Life Span. This was a panel presentation dedicated to real-life clinicians. Attendees will witness case studies presented by dysphagia experts with real-world clinical expertise.

The selected cases included patients from a variety of practice settings including patients with head and neck cancer, neurologic disease, esophageal disorders, dysphagia associated with aging and pediatric feeding disorders encountered in the NICU setting. Attendees learned to utilize strategies to implement evidence-based practice in real-life clinical situations, even when the literature is sparse. The panel sought to simplify the complexities of evidence-based management of dysphagia across the lifespan.


Guest Blogger Bio

Rinki Varindani Desai, M.S., CCC-SLP, CBIS is a Medical Speech-Language Pathologist, Certified Brain Injury Specialist and is currently pursuing Board Certification as a Specialist in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (BCS-S). She specializes in the assessment and treatment of cognitive, communication and swallowing disorders in adults. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology in 2009, from the Ali Yavar Jung National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped (AYJNIHH) in Mumbai, India. She graduated with a Master of Science degree in Communication Disorders from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2011.

Rinki created the Medical SLP Forum, a professional group for medical SLPs on Facebook with over 12,000 members from around the world. She co-created the popular mobile app for clinicians Dysphagia Therapy. Outside of work, she enjoys contributing to the profession and paying it forward by serving on SLP committees such as ASHA’s Program Topic Committee for Swallowing Disorders, SIG 13 Editorial Committee as well as the Website, Communications and Public Relations Committee for the Dysphagia Research Society. She has served as an ASHA S.T.E.P mentor, reviewer for ASHA’s Minority Student Leadership Program, NSSLHA officer, TSHA Chair and a Research Assistant in the Aging and Aphasia Lab at UT-Dallas. Rinki enjoys writing articles for SLP blogs and magazines such as the ASHA Leader, Medbridge, Gray Matter Therapy, Tactus Therapy and Dysphagia Café, collaborating on clinical research projects, speaking on various topics related to adult dysphagia at regional and national conferences and guest lecturing for graduate SLP students.

You can follow her Medical SLP updates on her Facebook page and on Twitter.