Meet the Mentors

Thank you, thank you, thank you to our mentors!

These men and women are (in my humble opinion) the heart and soul of the MedSLP Collective. I can throw all the top of line, cutting edge resources at you, but sometimes having someone to be that voice of reason that is well-immersed in the literature with LOTS of clinical experience to guide you in your tough day to day cases is just plain invaluable!

I know we've all heard from these incredible people in the forum, but I would love to formally introduce them and allow you to get to know their fun “people” side too 😉

– Theresa

Theresa Richard

“Dysphagia, I am obsessed with food, all of it. I am passionate about advocating for our patients and educating them about swallowing. I am also passionate about educating my fellow SLP colleagues about how really cool this field is.”

Why have you decided to participate in this unique group?

Well I was bored.. haha but really I saw a HUGE need for supplemental education in this field. I don't like to sit and complain about things but rather do something about it, so I did!

If you could only give one piece of advice to others in our field, what would it be?

You and you alone are responsible for your career and your patients. Invest in yourself and your education.

Is there a research paper, technique, class, or moment in your career that was a “game changer” for you?

Susan Langmore's Predictors of Aspiration Pneumonia.

What’s your go-to beverage?

Any and all wine 😉

Dr. Natalie Douglas

“I worked for 10+ years in various settings before returning to school to earn a Ph.D. in implementation science. I was so frustrated by not being able to implement EBP in my every day clinical practice, and I was excited that this was actually a field to focus on! Since then, I've been in an academic position at Central Michigan University, where my job still entails clinical practice and my research agenda aims to merge the gaps between research and practice, mostly in LTC settings.”  

What areas of our field are you most passionate about?

Cognitive-communication, language areas for adults – dementia and related disorders, aphasia, TBI

Why have you decided to participate in this unique group?

I am so inspired by this group of SLPs who are so proactive to give their best to their clients. I remember leaving the hospital and/or nursing home so many times in tears, because I felt so alone, worried and frustrated. I feel like this group is an example of us moving forward to merge research and practice to better us all!

If you could only give one piece of advice to others in our field, what would it be?

We're all in this together as lifelong learners, there's really never an end to our training!

Is there a research paper, technique, class, or moment in your career that was a “game changer” for you?

Implementation science truly changed my life. I had no idea there was a scientific field dedicated specifically to merging research with the realities of clinical practice – thinking about just not the treatments we provide, but us as clinicians, the organizations we work in and so forth. It spans mental health, PT, OT – there's so much amazing work going on out there!

What’s your go-to beverage?

Alcoholic – Skinnygirl Sweetarita, Non-alcoholic – Hint Caffeine Kick Apple Pear

Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you?

Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up. Brene Brown

Kelly Caldwell

“I started my career in acute care and transitioned to a voice clinic, where I am loving my job!”

What areas of our field are you most passionate about?

voice, swallowing, critical care, tracheostomy

Why have you decided to mentor this unique group?

This group has been carefully crafted to keep EBP at the forefront. I can contribute what I know and learn from other experts!

If you could only give one piece of advice to others in our field, what would it be?

Don't be afraid to start learning and be a leader in whatever way you can.

What’s your go-to beverage?

Sweet tea

Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you?

”Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it-yet.” -from Anne of Green Gables

Ramya Kumar

“I started my professional career working in higher ed with college students. I enjoyed what I did, but I knew I was yet to discover my calling! That's when life led me along the path of Speech Pathology. With a prior masters in biological sciences my mind was set on things like Aphasia and Cog. But…pediatric dysphagia was constantly falling into my lap. I finally embraced it, and thanks to amazing mentorship here I am today – A Certified Neonatal Therapist in a Level 3 NICU, a Neonatal Developmental Specialist and most recently I earned by BCS-S! My clinical background spans outpatient and inpatient peds focusing on feeding difficulties and oro-facial myofunctional disorders. Nothing warms my heart more than seeing a family enjoy mealtimes, seeing a mother bonding with her baby as she feeds, helping a child cope and move forward when their chicken nugget brand suddenly changed packing!!!
On my days off from the hospital I'm either seeing kiddos at a local pediatrician's office or soaking in more knowledge.”

What areas of our field are you most passionate about?

Pediatric/Infant feeding and swallowing, NICU based care, Oro-facial Myology, Tethered Oral Tissues, Breastfeeding, Instrumental swallow evaluation in infants/pediatrics

Why have you decided to participate in this unique group?

I have always enjoyed networking, mentoring and sharing. I am the clinician I am today because I had strong mentors who were available every step of the way, and continue to be valuable professional resources. Being part of a high caliber community of clinicians who want to make a difference and do their best is exciting and refreshing! Being part of this group encourages me to keep learning.

If you could only give one piece of advice to others in our field, what would it be?

Stay humble always! before your CCC, after your CCC and even years into the profession. Knowledge is like a vast expansive ocean. There is always something deeper to seek out.

What’s your go-to beverage?

I'm a red wine kinda gal 🙂 Every so often I'll crave a coke

Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you?

“Ask yourself where are you now, and where you want to be instead. Now ask yourself: What are you willing to do to get there?” – Tim Grover

Dr. Alexandra Basilakos

“I've always been interested in research. After working in a psychopharmacology lab and an infant cognitive development lab, I stumbled across an aphasia research lab, and enter my love for the field of speech-language pathology. I completed a Master's at the University of Georgia (go Dawgs!) and then my PhD at the University of South Carolina, where I continue to work as a researcher (doing PRN work at an inpatient facility on the side). ”  

What areas of our field are you most passionate about?

Adult neurologic disorders of speech and language; specifically, apraxia of speech, dysarthria, aphasia, and cognitive communication disorders. 

Why have you decided to participate in this unique group?

This group is a great avenue to merge the latest research with clinical practice, on the front lines. Above all, I decided to participate because I appreciate the fact that this group is incredibly supportive and there's an environment of respect and encouragement. As SLPs, we have a number of unique challenges (e.g., the scope of our field is so big!), and I really wanted to be a part of a group where I can share my knowledge, and also learn from others in return. 

If you could only give one piece of advice to others in our field, what would it be?

Never be afraid to ask questions and seek support when you need it! I can't emphasize that enough; it's how you'll grow as a professional. 

Is there a research paper, technique, class, or moment in your career that was a “game changer” for you?
 
Yes, while working with an individual with aphasia during my first year of my master's. This individual had severe Broca's aphasia and apraxia, and demonstrated gains with Melodic Intonation Therapy. We worked on being able to say “I love you” so he could tell his wife. This was the first time that I really realized the power of communication, the toll it takes on a family after it's compromised, and how we as SLPs can play such an important role in the lives of our patients and their families. This patient really motivated me to continue my work with aphasia, and I still think of him from time to time.
 
What’s your go-to beverage?
 
Can't go wrong with a good red wine. Right now, I'm loving Trapiche vineyards Malbec.
 
Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you?
 
Maya Angelou's quote, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Specifically, that last part, that people will never forget how you made them feel. Applies to so many occasions, SLP-related or otherwise! 

Brenda Arend

“CFY in the schools, transitioning to adults when my own kids showed up on the scene and I had no patients for their childish ways because I spent all my day with other people's kids! I’ve worked in almost every setting, but have stayed put working acute hospital for the past 10ish years. In 2017 I started a mobile FEES business (Puget Sound Swallow Diagnostics) and juggle that on my days off from the hospital.”  

What areas of our field are you most passionate about?

Acute medical setting, dysphagia, palliative care

Why have you decided to participate in this unique group?

Social media and technology is such a great tool and I want to be part of something POSITIVE where we can help each other out.

If you could only give one piece of advice to others in our field, what would it be?

Don't stop learning, join your professional associations, join a SIG, and ask questions!

Is there a research paper, technique, class, or moment in your career that was a “game changer” for you?

The Robbins 2008 study (Robbins, JoAnne, et al. “Comparison of 2 interventions for liquid aspiration on pneumonia incidence: a randomized trial.” Annals of internal medicine 148.7 (2008): 509-518) where we learned thicker is not always better in a group of subjects with dementia and/or Parkinson's who aspirate all liquids.

What’s your go-to beverage?

If you order me a dry red wine, or any type of mule drink, I'll follow you around all day.

Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you?

People are doing the best they can with what they know at the moment.

Tiffany Wallace

“I absolutely love dysphagia although I started my career not ever wanting to touch it.    I have almost every certification in adult dysphagia that is available and have had my BCS-S for nearly 7 years.  I am the owner of Owner and Endoscopist at Hoosier Mobile Dysphagia Solutions.”  

What areas of our field are you most passionate about?

Dysphagia

Why have you decided to participate in this unique group?

I love to teach.   I love to be the person that creates that “ah-ha” moment in other SLPs.

If you could only give one piece of advice to others in our field, what would it be?

Never stop learning.  When you think you’ve learned everything in our field, find something new because you will never know it all!

Is there a research paper, technique, class, or moment in your career that was a “game changer” for you?  

The Susan Langmore paper from 1998 of course.   Also, the VitalStim course was a major click for me of how everything works together!

What’s your go-to beverage?   

Depends on the time of day.   Morning is coffee, through the day I drink a lot of water.   Night is wine of course!

Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you?  

I have many quotes that inspire me!

Hillary Cooper

“I am a second-career SLP who graduated from the University of Houston in 2011 after years of retail management. I’m passionate about educating other SLPs and have extensive experience with pediatrics and adults in private practice, SNF, acute care, and home health.  I currently own a mobile FEES business called North Louisiana Swallow Solutions, servicing North Louisiana & South Arkansas.”  

What areas of our field are you most passionate about?

Dysphagia, Inservices & Interdisciplinary Communication, RHD, Visual Inattention Disorders, Advocacy, Overcoming Adversity

Why have you decided to participate in this unique group?

I love that this is a safe space where SLPs can come to ask questions and be sure to get an answer from someone who really knows the current evidence on the topic at hand. How could I not be a part of that?

If you could only give one piece of advice to others in our field, what would it be?

3 words: Never. Stop. Learning.

Is there a research paper, technique, class, or moment in your career that was a “game changer” for you?

There’s been so many! Recently, my mind was blown by a paper by Nogah Nativ-Zeltzer, Peter Belafksy and others looking at pulmonary injury caused by aspirating thickeners. It made me realize how much we don’t know about how thickeners affect the body and made me jump into reading more research on this topic.

What’s your go-to beverage?

Coffee and water during the day. Wine or whiskey by evening.

Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you?

“Ours not to ponder what were fair in life. But finding what may be, make it fair up to our means.”- Anne McCaffrey. She was one of my favorite authors as a young adult. That quote inspired me to not let life’s crappy moments define who I was but rather to take control and make life what I want it to be.

Jessica Lasky

“I started out in an outpatient clinic, transitioned into a trauma hospital and then started my own mobile FEES company. I have worked in SNFs, LTACs, and LTCs along the way!”  

What areas of our field are you most passionate about?

Adult rehabilitation. Trauma rehabilitation. Swallow, cognition, communication, concussion/TBI, ethics, end of life / palliative care, complex family dynamics, and trach/vent.

Why have you decided to participate in this unique group?

Because I am always looking to learn and I hope others can learn from me and some of the diverse experiences I have had. I believe we are all on a journey to being better clinicians for our patients.

If you could only give one piece of advice to others in our field, what would it be?

Lord, there are sooo many pieces of advice I would give – don’t quit learning, don’t stop reading, don’t stop advocating, don’t stop caring, don’t give up!

Is there a research paper, technique, class, or moment in your career that was a “game changer” for you?

MDTP, and more conferences than I can count. Anything Dr. Coyle says helps mold my perspective on the field.

What’s your go-to beverage?

Unsweetened iced tea! With an occasional Dr. Pepper thrown in!

Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you?

“We move forward when we recognize how resilient and striking the women around us are” Rupi Kaur  — It reminds me to find the good in the others around me!

Dr. Kate Krival

“I earned my clinical degree in 1985, and after working mostly in LTC and rehab, I quit for a few years and made soap for a living. In 2003, I sold the soap company and went back for a PhD, and earned that in 2007 from the University of Cincinnati. I started my academic career at Kent State University, but my first bout with cancer and a bad accident (car vs. golf cart – and my mom and I were in the golf cart!) led me to seek a slower pace, and I’m now at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. I love the parts of my job that let me teach and see clients with my graduate students.”

What areas of our field are you most passionate about?

Voice diagnostics and therapy, motor speech diagnostics (differential diagnosis and patient-centered treatment planning), aphasia therapy, counseling and team communication (palliative care), and dysphagia diagnostics and management planning.

Why have you decided to participate in this unique group?

Two reasons: (1) I really like being able to help clinicians find the information they need to help their clients, and that tends to be a lot of what happens here; and (2) I actually learn more from the other mentors and from the wonderful clinicians here than I do anywhere else.

If you could only give one piece of advice to others in our field, what would it be?

When you know better, do better.

Is there a research paper, technique, class, or moment in your career that was a “game changer” for you?

Not really, but I have some clinical heroes, and most of them are in voice and aphasia, and they’ve shown me ways to help clients that I never would have developed on my own.

What’s your go-to beverage?

Coffee.

Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? – Mary Oliver

Jessica Gormley

“I have been an SLP for 8 years working in a variety of settings such as preschools, assisted living facilities, and skilled nursing facilities; however, the bulk of my career has been working in acute rehab serving individuals across the lifespan. In acute rehab, I developed expertise in AAC, pediatric dysphagia (infants and children), spinal cord injury, and TBI in medical settings. I also have been an instructor of undergraduate and graduate courses in AAC and dysphagia. I have a passion for optimizing the communication experiences of children with limited speech and, since there is a very limited research base to guide clinicians to optimize these experiences, I decided to return to school to gain skills in research to support these children, their families, and their healthcare providers.”  

What areas of our field are you most passionate about?

Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), child language, pediatrics, pediatric dysphagia, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury.

Why have you decided to participate in this unique group?

Being a clinician can be an isolating experience and, honestly, being a researcher can be isolating as well. I firmly believe that the more that SLPs and researchers can connect with each other, the more the field will move forward to make a positive difference in the lives of individuals with communication and swallowing challenges. Being part of the Medical SLP Collective is such a unique opportunity to have clinicians and researchers ask tough questions, identify gaps that urgently need to be filled, share research and experiences, and most importantly move towards implementing solutions to positively impact the individuals we serve!

If you could only give one piece of advice to others in our field, what would it be?

Never stop learning from the research base and from your team (including your patients and their families)! Everybody has a valuable role to play in the rehab process and it is essential that we never stop learning from each other! Start conversations, ask questions, and listen to each other!

What’s your go-to beverage?

Mountain Dew (guilty pleasure) – I need the extra caffeine completing the doc program and I am not a fan of coffee 🙂

Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you?

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou
As SLPs we have the task to ensure that our patients never have to endure this agony. This reminds me how much of a priority it is to empower people to access an effective communication method, especially in a medical setting that is filled with uncertainty and unfamiliarity.

Raquel Garcia

“Speech-language therapy is a 2nd career for me. I went into speech therapy graduate school not knowing which direction I wanted to pursue- just knew I had to run away from the legal field (wanted to be a lawyer). I am an acute care speech-language pathologist and a board-certified specialist in swallowing and swallowing disorders and a current SLP-D candidate from Northwestern University. My clinical interests include pediatric feeding/swallowing disorders, instrumental assessments for swallowing, airway disorders, and velopharyngeal dysfunction.”

What areas of our field are you most passionate about?

Infant feeding/swallowing, Pediatric feeding/swallowing, Infant/pediatric instrumental assessments for swallowing and velopharyngeal dysfunction, Velopharyngeal dysfunction (including cleft palate, craniosynostosis, and non-cleft VPI), Airway disorders in infants and pediatrics, and the Role of the SLP in Acute care and intensive care units.

Why have you decided to participate in this unique group?

Over the course of my career as a student and practitioner, I have had multiple mentors who have embraced my quest to learn how to implement evidence-based practice within the acute care setting and in outpatient clinics. I enjoy teaching and learning on a continuum basis. I appreciate the approach that the MedSLP Collective has taken on, as cultivating evidence based practitioners is vital for our field, patients, and caregivers.

If you could only give one piece of advice to others in our field, what would it be?

You are not on an island – be humble and collaborative with every patient interaction.

What’s your go-to beverage?

Café con Leche (no sugar)

Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you?

“I choose happiness”

Megan Sutton

“I’ve always wanted to help adults with aphasia, and after a long and winding road, I found my way. I've worked in home health, private practice, acute care, subacute, inpatient and outpatient rehab, and in the community. I now work developing apps and resources for adult speech pathology through my company Tactus Therapy.

What areas of our field are you most passionate about?

My comfort zone is stroke rehabilitation, primarily aphasia. I can also speak to cognitive-communication and motor speech disorders post-stroke. I preach patient-centered care, life participation, and harnessing the incredible power of technology to enhance our services and the lives of our clients.

Why have you decided to participate in this unique group?

I love mentoring and sharing what I've learned. I've been using Facebook to help clinicians for years, but I love the dedicated and knowledge-hungry professionals I've met inside this group. The quality of questions and answers are top-notch. It's amazing to share and learn in this environment.

If you could only give one piece of advice to others in our field, what would it be?

Take the time to write good reports. I had a professor tell me “clearer writing leads to clearer thinking,” and I've been amazed how often my diagnosis and plans change once I sit down to write them out.

Is there a research paper, technique, class, or moment in your career that was a “game changer” for you?

Back in 2009 I attended a 2-day aphasia workshop in Chicago that introduced me to actual evidence-based treatments, not just pages of workbooks. Unfortunately, my grad program focused almost entirely on assessment and classification, leaving treatment to whatever could be found on the shelves of my workplaces. When I discovered that “describing” was actually Semantic Feature Analysis, and reading out loud could be done systematically as ORLA, and cueing hierarchies … (well, you get the idea) – it changed my
practice and my patients' outcomes. Once I saw the iPad in 2010, I knew that I had to bring evidence-based treatments to more clinicians and patients through technology (neuroplasticity requires repetition). Eight years later, here I am with 20 app titles and an even stronger passion for aphasia therapy and education.

What’s your go-to beverage?

If I had to pick just one: Aperol Spritz. But I drink red in winter, white in summer, beer of all kinds, cocktails as indicated, and sometimes water.

Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you?

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. –Mark Twain

Stephen Groner

“I’ve stuttered since I was 4 years old and underwent a 2-week intensive stuttering therapy program when I was 17. After graduating from Vanderbilt University in 2016, I went to work in short and long term adult rehabilitation. I opened my own stuttering-focused private practice in 2018 and released “The Ultimate How to Treat Stuttering Package” in 2019 that teaches SLP how to do stuttering therapy like a boss so they can help more clients stress-free.”

What areas of our field are you most passionate about?

Stuttering fo’ sho.

Why have you decided to participate in this unique group?

SLPs say a lot that stuttering is scary to them but to me it’s second nature and I wanna make it easy for them. Plus Theresa Richard is a force of nature;)

Is there a research paper, technique, class, or moment in your career that was a “game changer” for you?

When I learned about Syllable-Timed Speech stuttering treatment for preschool and school-age children and that it can reduce stuttering between 85-95% after just a few minutes of practice every day for a couple months, my mind was blown and it has been my go-to starting technique ever since, even for adult neurogenic stuttering patients!

If you could only give one piece of advice to others in our field, what would it be?

Go to scholar.google.com. Search. Read. Utilize. Breathe.

What’s your go-to beverage?

Agua;)

Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you?

Currently, it’s “It’s NOT about how hard you work; it’s about how much value you provide.” Anonymous 

Edgar Vincent Clark

Vince spent over twenty years working with Integra Rehabilitation of Georgia and currently is employed in his “dream job” as the Brand Ambassador for Carolina Speech Pathology and Altaravision.  He is the past President of the Georgia Speech-Language Hearing Association (GSHA). He has served in various GA association offices and on several boards at the state level. He was the GSHA to AHSA Liaison for the 2012 ASHA convention in Atlanta, GA, a past Georgia Clinician of the Year, a recipient of the Bob Hull Leadership Award and in 2013 was the Alumni of the Year for the Dewar College of Education and Human Services at Valdosta State University, the first speech-language pathologist to receive this honor. In addition, he was appointed in 2018 to the Georgia State Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.

What areas of our field are you most passionate about?

Swallowing and swallowing disorders in general, swallowing diagnostics (FEES specifically). I also enjoy supervision and leadership training within our field.

Why have you decided to participate in this unique group?

To be challenged and maintain my skills while helping others.

If you could only give one piece of advice to others in our field, what would it be?

Do the things that scare you the most.

Is there a research paper, technique, class, or moment in your career that was a “game changer” for you?

Many “game changers” for me, but I will always remember my “Ah-Ha” moment when reading the Aviv editorial “The Bedside Swallow Evaluation When Endoscopy is an Option: What Would You Choose.” It lays out beautifully why we should be using instrumentals.practice and my patients' outcomes. Once I saw the iPad in 2010, I knew that I had to bring evidence-based treatments to more clinicians and patients through technology (neuroplasticity requires repetition). Eight years later, here I am with 20 app titles and an even stronger passion for aphasia therapy and education.

What’s your go-to beverage?

Diet Coke during the day, bourbon at night.

Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you?

A high school mentor made it clear to me that while we should live our lives in service to others, we should also live our lives doing the things that make us happy.

“This above all: to thine own self be true
And it must follow, as the night the day
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”

Need Help?

Click Here to Email Us for Technical Assistance at info@medslpcollective.com