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Pediatric Dysphagia SIG
The Dysphagia Research Society’s Executive Committee (EC, 2019-2020), Board of Directors (BOD, 2019-2020) and Annual General Membership Meeting (AGM, 2020) have approved the formation of Pediatric Dysphagia Special Interest Group (PD-SIG). The intent of the PD-SIG is to grow and retain DRS members specifically interested in swallowing and aerodigestive disorders that present during childhood through the formation of a “community” that:
  • Facilitates inter-disciplinary collaborations among members interested in advancing the science and clinical practice,
  • Fosters research and mentoring opportunities,
  • Provides input for the content of annual DRS and other face-to-face/virtual meetings as deemed appropriate,
  • Advocates for children and their caregivers, and
  • Develops evidence-based clinical guidelines for the improved care of children with dysphagia.

The concept of this SIG and its viability will be reviewed by the EC and BOD in three years. The initial PD-SIG board, as approved by DRS, will be comprised of seven core members with Sudarshan Jadcherla, MD, and Joan Arvedson, PhD, as its founding co-chairs. Their bios and those of the other five members forming the initial core group of the PD-SIG are listed below.

Membership on PD-SIG 
  • All those individuals that practice in the pediatric disciplines and are DRS members in good standing can have automatic membership on the PD-SIG upon expressing interest.
  • All those individuals who are not members of DRS but practice in the pediatric disciplines are encouraged to apply for membership to this new venture, so that benefits of PD-SIG can be accessible.
  • Benefits on being a PD-SIG member may include but not limited access to the PD-SIG 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 applied through proper channel, and opportunity for advocacy at the DRS.

Bios of the Founding PD-SIG

Sudarshan Jadcherla, MD, DCH, FRCP (Ireland), AGAF. Co-Chair, PD-SIG

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 Master’s 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.

Joan Arvedson, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-S, ASHA Honors & Fellow. Co-Chair, PD-SIG
Dr. Arvedson is Program Coordinator of Feeding and Swallowing Services at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. She is Clinical Professor in Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Pediatrics, Medical College of Wisconsin. She has 3 books in publication and numerous articles in peer reviewed journals. Focuses of research, teaching, and patient care include infants and children with a wide range of etiologies for feeding/swallowing disorders. Dr. Arvedson is an internationally recognized expert in pediatric dysphagia. She was awarded Honors of ASHA in 2016 and is an ASHA Fellow. She served the DRS in various capacities on committees and has been a Dodds-Donner Speaker at the DRS Annual Meeting.

Daniele Farneti, MD, ENT
Dr. Daniele Farneti is a Phoniatrician and ENT Specialist in the ENT Department of Rimini Hospital (Italy). He is also Head of the Audiology Phoniatric Center. Dr. Farneti teaches at the Universities of Bologna, Ferrara and Parma. His expertise is in the field of the instrumental assessment (by means of FEES and VFSS) of dysphagic patients of all ages, including a relevant population of children. He is a frequently invited instructor for international, professional courses in FEES. In Italy, he has been organizing international courses on FEES for 10 years and more recently on VFSS.

Rebecca German, PhD
Rebecca German is Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED). The goal of her research is to explicate the biomechanics and neural control of aerodigestive function, particularly in infants. She has developed animal models to address questions and obtain data not possible in human subjects. Her specific work addresses two distinct areas: (1) to determine the specific neurophysiologic pathologies that produce dysphagia and (2) to apply that basic knowledge to design interventions to alleviate these problems. She welcomes both basic scientists and clinicians to collaborate in her lab.

Maureen Lefton-Greif, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-S, ASHA Fellow
Dr. Lefton-Greif is Professor in Pediatrics, Otolaryngology Head/Neck Surgery, and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her clinical work and research focus on standardization of fluoroscopic images from bottle-fed children with dysphagia, characterization of respiratory-swallow coordination in progressive diseases with pediatric origins, improving the understanding of aspiration on the developing lung, and appreciating the impact of pediatric feeding/swallowing disorders on their caregivers. She has authored numerous articles in the field of pediatric dysphagia and aerodigestive sciences and has given lectures internationally. She served the DRS in various capacities on committees and has been a strong advocate of Pediatric Dysphagia.

Deborah Levy, PhD, SLP
Dr. Levy is an assistant professor at the department of health and communication at Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Brazil. She is the head of the Speech and Language Department at Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre (HCPA). She is the Vice coordinator of the Dysphagia Department at Sociedade Brasileira de Fonoaudiologia. She has served Sociedade Brasileira de Fonoaudiologia in the Dysphagia Department for many years. She focuses on research, teaching, and patient care of premature and high risk neonates, infants and children presenting feeding/swallowing disorders. She has authored numerous manuscripts and book chapters in the field of pediatric dysphagia and has given lectures internationally.

Lenie Van den Engel-Hoek, SLT, PhD
Dr. Lenie Van den Engel-Hoek is assistant professor at the department of rehabilitation from the Amalia Children’s’ Hospital of the Radboud university medical center (Nijmegen, the Netherlands). Her research group focusses on the underlying problems of pediatric dysphagia in children with neurologic disorders. She has authored numerous manuscripts and book chapters in the field of pediatric dysphagia and has given lectures internationally.


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