Mary J. Ewing and Rebecca Kadinger, both Clinical Lecturers of Speech Pathology and Audiology, are co principle investigators on a Women of Beneficence Grant that will fund the Dysphagia Clinic and services as part of the Speech Pathology clinic.
The clinic was awarded $30,000, which will support 25 undergraduate students, and 65 graduate students in operating & expanding the dysphagia clinic. Women of Beneficence Grants focus on engaging students in the spirit of Beneficence, scholarship, excellence, integrity, respect, and social responsibility. Funded projects engage and educate students, and are committed to improving the community in some way. The clinic will use these funds for equipment, materials, and the opportunity for ongoing expansion and growth.
“Our primary goal is to ensure we are training our students to provide the most up to date, evidence-based dysphagia practices for our patients,” said Mary.
You might be wondering, what exactly is Dysphagia? In layman’s terms, it is difficulty swallowing. This is a growing issue in Muncie community and beyond. According to several studies from the National Foundation for Swallowing Disorders 22% of the population that are over 50 years of age, results in between 300 to 600 thousand individuals residing in the United States area affected by neurogenic dysphagia each year. Plus, 10 million are evaluated each year for swallowing difficulties.
You might also wonder how student clinicians help patients? They evaluate and diagnose patients with dysphagia. Then they work with patients to discover the best viscosity of liquids to aid in swallowing, and diet modifications. Patients who are unable to swallow properly are poised for health conditions like dehydration, poor nutrition, weight loss, and pneumonia from aspirating liquids.
Mary said, “Our existing clinic has experienced a significant increase in the number of referrals and local service providers have had to put patients on waiting lists that can be weeks in length. This is especially troubling as receiving a diagnosis of dysphagia can be overwhelming and life altering. We can demonstrate to our local community that we are committed to helping where the needs are the greatest. The scarcity of services for dysphagia is one issue we can address in a responsible manner for our community.”
The Dysphagia Clinic is just one part of the College of Health’s Interprofessional Community Clinic which is aimed to improve the health and wellness of the Delaware County Community. You can learn more at bsu.edu/icc