Home Academia & Research Spotlight on Special Interest Group 13, Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia)

Spotlight on Special Interest Group 13, Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia)

by Megan Urban
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clinician examining patient's throat

By Megan Urban

When did you join your SIG—and what made you want to join?

I’ve been a SIG 13 member since at least 2010. At that time, I had recently been promoted from clinician to manager and sought increased opportunities for networking and continuing education to stay current with changes in the field. I found that SIG 13 provides a community for dedicated clinicians who are especially interested in swallowing and swallowing disorders.

How has your involvement with the SIG helped you in your career?

SIG 13 has provided the opportunity to earn low-cost, high-quality ASHA CEUs by reading Perspectives articles and attending SIG 13-sponsored CEU events, which were especially helpful for my application for board certification in swallowing and swallowing disorders. Following the SIG 13 Community page keeps me abreast of professional topics being discussed across the country, helps me identify potential areas to cultivate in my setting, and enables me to learn from others’ experiences. Increased knowledge helps me lead with confidence. 

How do you carve out time to volunteer with the SIG while working in your full-time job and balancing other commitments? What advice would you give to someone who’d like to get more involved in the SIG, including how you get support from your supervisor/institution?

Working with a great team and the ability to prioritize are my essentials for balancing my volunteer position with my full-time job and family. If someone wants to get more involved, I’d recommend applying to ASHA’s Leadership Development Program. The key concepts I learned, such as influencing others and thinking strategically, are especially helpful when pursuing a leadership position.

What upcoming events related to or sponsored by your SIG should everyone know about? Chats, conferences or convention events?

  • Bridging the Gap: Translating Research into Clinical Practice—SIG 13 hosted our first journal club on the SIG 13 Community page in early December. Participants were encouraged to read and discuss an article and at the end of the week, the authors will respond to questions.
  • Dysphagia Competency Verification Tool—This instrument for systematically assessing clinical competency was developed jointly by SIG 13 and the American Board of Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders in response to members’ concerns about when (or if) clinicians feel competent to provide dysphagia services.
  • FAQ on Instrumental Swallow Study Access—This document will outline frequently asked questions related to problems accessing instrumental swallow studies, again, developed based on SIG 13 affiliates’ reported concerns.

What is your favorite recent Perspectives article, and why?

My answer changes based on the month! Many of the Perspectives articles have been helpful at different times, as I have worked toward learning something new or developing a new program. I highly recommend all SIG 13 affiliates read Balaji Rangarathnam and Gary McCullough’s 2017 article, “Swallowing Exercises in Patients Post-Stroke: What is the Current Evidence?” and then participate in our “Bridging the Gap” journal club.

Megan Urban, MA, CCC-SLP, BCS-S, is clinical coordinator foradult speech pathology at Duke University Hospital. She is the coordinator ofthe SIG 13 Coordinating Committee. megan.urban@duke.edu

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