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Institute for Education

The DRS Institute for Education (DRSIE) will serve as catalyst to advance the Society’s Research and Educational mission, as well as its long-term goals, in addition to the work that is otherwise being completed by other committees.  DRSIE will provide new ideas and initiatives to "incubate within DRS" that will enhance the society's growth.

The Institute’s scope of work includes:

  • Initially planning the recommended “second” conference
  • Recommend and promote continuing education in an annual webinar series
  • Develop consensus documents and position statements
  • Develop publications from the proceedings of the Society’s meetings in collaboration with the Dysphagia Journal
  • Develop interdisciplinary collaboration among members and enhance data sharing options
  • Develop grant applications to support educational activities
  • Inform the long-term strategic plan by identifying gaps that could be addressed by DRS so as to provide an opportunity to incorporate them into the next 5-year plan

Leadership Structure of the DRSIE: The proposed leadership structure for the DRS Institute for Education would include:

  • A DRS Board of Directors confirmed Chair based on the advice of the nominating committee
  • The DRS President and DRS President-elect as ex-officio voting members for their term on DRS
  • Up to 6 other members recommended by the Institute Chair and confirmed by the board (similar to the committee member plans) for a 3-year term
  • The specific length of terms is to be determined, with the goal of having a sustained and consistent representation on the Advisory Council. All inaugural members of the DRS Institute for Education will have 3-year terms and conclude after the initial evaluation of the Institute.Any of the inaugural members may continue for successive terms, following the review and evaluation of the Pilot Program.One should be a prominent senior clinician. Members would be recognized for their academic and scholastic status and represent a diverse background.Mid-career level academician should be on the committee.
  • Selection of the members of the DRS Institute for Education will include interdisciplinary representation, international representation, equal gender distribution, diversity and all-inclusiveness is strongly encouraged.As this concept is growing, a re-evaluation of the DRS-Institute for Education should be considered at the 3-year review.

Participation in DRSIE events and programming: All Individual in good standing with DRS membership can automatically gain from DRSIE related activities and gain the benefits of continued education upon expressing his/her interest. Individual academic programs related to the science of deglutition, airway and digestive concerns with relevance to swallowing can participate in DRSIE related activities as Program-Participant after formal application for DRS Membership. DRS membership gives individuals access to DRSIE educational and research presentations.


What are the benefits of being a participant of the DRSIE?

  • All those individuals who are not members of DRS but want to benefit from the learning offerings of the DRSIE are encouraged to apply for membership to DRS in order to gain from this new educational venture.
  • Benefits of being a DRS member may include but not limited to access to the educational activities at virtual meetings or in person meetings, networking with clinicians and researchers with shared interests, concessions at webinars and meetings, CME/CEU credits when applicable.
  • Opportunities for mentoring for mid-career and senior-career faculty
  • Faculty who participate in giving lectures, seminars and at the fall meetings will get obvious recognition for their teaching and participation. This can be reflected in evaluations.
  • Opportunities to form collaborative research networks.
Institutional Participation in educational and society offerings:
  • Institutional participation is encouraged so that multiple disciplines within the institution can have access to the state-of-the art educational materials during year-round learning. Currently majority of members are from SLP discipline. This approach will attract individuals in other specialties (Neurology, GI, Radiology, Pulmonology, ENT, Pediatrics, Nursing) to gain knowledge and pursue research and approaches in Deglutology and Aerodigestive sciences.

The DRSIE Advisory Council biographic sketches are stated below:

Sudarshan Jadcherla, MD, DCH, FRCP (Ireland), AGAF, Chairman, 2020-2023
Dr. Jadcherla is a Professor of Pediatrics and Associate Division Chief of Neonatology-Academics, at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Principal Investigator at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Research Institute, and is affiliated with the Divisions of Neonatology, Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. He is the Director of The Neonatal and Infant Feeding Disorders Research Program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio. Dr. Jadcherla’s research is supported by the National Institutes of Health grant funding for the last two decades, and his innovative work focuses on clinical and translational research in infants and is specifically investigating maturational and dysfunctional mechanisms of Gastrointestinal Motility, Neonatal/Infant Feeding Disorders, Swallowing Disorders, Nutritional and Aero-Digestive disorders, and their treatment strategies. He is recipient of Masters Award in Gastroenterology, Research Excellence Award, and Distinguished Mentor Awards. He has authored over 150 manuscripts and book chapters and has given lectures worldwide. He served the DRS over the last 15 years in various capacities, most notably as DRS President-2018-19, Chairman DRS Institute for Education-2020-23, and as Associate Editor-Dysphagia Journal.

Jacqueline Allen, MD, FRACS
Dr. Allen is an international expert in Disorders of the Voice and Swallowing. She is trained in Otolaryngology in New Zealand, and has worked in the United Kingdom and United States. She is the Section Editor for Current Opinion in Otolaryngology, and on the Editorial Board of Dysphagia Research Society.  Dr. Allen is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland and grant funded researcher.  Her research interests include airway stenosis, laser technology, laryngopharyngeal reflux disease and cancer development.  Current collaborations include University of Auckland School of Engineering, School of Psychology and Speech Science, Unitec Engineering School and University of California, Davis Centre for Voice and Swallowing. She is the President-Elect of the DRS, 2020-2021.

Heather Bonilha, PhD, CCC-SLP
Dr. Bonilha is a Professor and Division Director for Speech-Language Pathology at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).  She is also Medical Director for Speech-Language Pathology for the MUSC hospital system and co-Director of an interdisciplinary Health and Rehabilitation Sciences PhD program. Dr. Bonilha’s overarching research goal is to improve diagnostic accuracy and treatment effectiveness for patients with swallowing and voice disorders. Her recent relevant research has included: radiation and cancer risks associated with the Modified Barium Swallow Study (MBSS); diagnostic accuracy in the MBSS; stroke neuroanatomy and other conditions influencing post-stroke dysphagia and recovery.  She is Co-Chair of the Curriculum Development Sub-group of the DRSIE.

Nadine Connor, PhD, CCC-SLP
Dr. Connor is a Professor and Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Policy Compliance at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Dr. Connor is an internationally renowned researcher with specific interests in voice and swallowing disorders, head and neck cancer, aging, and neuromuscular function in the head and neck. Her research is supported by NIH funding. She is the current President of the DRS, 2020-2021.

Stephanie Daniels, PhD, CCC-SLP
Dr. Daniels is a Professor and Vice-Chair in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Houston, and a research speech pathologist at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, Texas. She completed her Bachelor of Science degree at East Texas State University in Commerce, Texas and her Masters of Science degree University of Texas at Dallas-Callier Center, in Dallas, Texas. Stephanie worked as a hospital-based speech pathologist for 17 years prior to focusing on a research career. Her research is focused on neurogenic dysphagia, primarily in stroke. She has pursued an understanding of the neural underpinnings of swallowing as well as evidence-based evaluation and treatment of neurogenic dysphagia. She has published landmark studies that have linked specific brain regions to a risk of dysphagia in acute stroke patients. She has served the DRS in several positions, and notably, as the President of DRS-2016-17.

Caryn Easterling, PhD, CCC, ASHA Fellow
Dr. Easterling is a Senior Clinician, retired professor of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). Prior to joining the UWM, Dr. Easterling did research and patient clinical care in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Medical College of Wisconsin.  Dr. Easterling had faculty appointments in the Department of Neurology and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Medical College of Wisconsin where her research focused on the understanding the pathophysiology of swallowing disorders and the development of rehabilitative exercise techniques for dysphagia. Dr. Easterling has been on the Advisory Board for the Special Interest Division 13, Treasurer for the Board for Specialty Recognition in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders, and a Board Member for the Dysphagia Research Society.  She has published numerous original research articles and contributed to comprehensive textbooks on deglutition and its disorders. She has served as an Associate Editor for the Dysphagia Journal.  Dr. Easterling currently heads the WSHA Foundation, Inc. which awards scholarships to graduate clinicians and researchers in the fields of Speech Pathology and Audiology. She served the DRS in several capacities over the last 2 decades.

Mark Nicosia, PhD
Dr. Nicosia is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Widener University. He earned his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering, both at Penn State University.  This was followed by post-doctoral training at the University of Wisconsin Medical School. Over the past 20 years, Prof. Nicosia’s work has focused on the application of mathematical and computer modeling to better understand physiological systems.  He has applied these techniques to both esophageal and oropharyngeal swallowing. His research is supported by NIH funding. He has served the DRS on the Board of Directors, and in several DRS committees and is the co-chair on the Curriculum Development Sub-Group of the DRSIE.

Reza Shaker, MD
Dr. Shaker is the Senior Associate Dean, and Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology and Director of the Digestive Disease Center, at MCW. His research career includes T1- T3 clinical and translational research, NIH and industry sponsored clinical trials, and development of medical devices and techniques. He has had continuous NIH funding for the past 22 years that has led to seminal discoveries in the area of airway protection against aspiration which has opened new avenues of investigation and treatment including development of the “UES Assist Device” for prevention of aspiration, rehabilitative exercises for treatment of upper esophageal sphincter dysphagia: the “Shaker Exercises” commonly used in clinical practice, and the technique of T-EGD for concurrent endoscopic evaluation of the aerodigestive and upper GI tracts. He developed the field of functional interaction between the upper gut and aerodigestive tract that has resulted in the discovery of several related reflexes. Dr. Shaker is the founder of the DRS, Editor-in-Chief of Dysphagia Journal. He has served the DRS in multiple capacities and has authored over 400 manuscripts. He is the recipient of several awards, notably, the DRS Gold Medal Award for outstanding contribution.

Doug Van Daele, MD, FACS
Dr. Van Daele is a board-certified otolaryngologist and is employed by University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa. He serves as Associate Dean, and Professor of Otolaryngology at The Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine.  He attended the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine where he earned his medical degree. He then went on to complete his internship in general surgery, his residency in otolaryngology, and his fellowship in otolaryngology at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. He has served the DRS in several positions, and notably, as the President of DRS-2015-16.

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