Medical Speech Pathology

Curiosity, Dialogue, and Knowledge

Dr. Debra Suiter


Interview Questions and Answers

1. What got you interested in doing research in this field?

I was interested in finding out if the treatments I was providing to my patients were truly effective. During my clinical fellowship year I began to realize that there was not a lot of evidence for many of the treatment techniques we as SLPs were providing.

2. What was or is your most interesting research project and why?

The research Steve Leder and I have done on the 3 ounce water swallow test has certainly garnered a lot of interest from our field. I think it has helped many clinicians start to think more about what evidence exists for the screening exams we use to identify people at risk for aspiration.

3. What area(s) in medical speech pathology need the most research now?

We need more research on the effectiveness of treatment techniques available for individuals with dysphagia.

4. What is the most important advice you could give to a new clinician starting in the medical field?

Always be open to learning new things. What you think is true today may not be true tomorrow. Be willing to adjust your clinical practice as new information is discovered.

5. Who did you look up to the most as you were beginning your career?

Jeri Logemann, JoAnne Robbins, Barbara Sonies, Bonnie Martin-Harris, Susan Langmore, Jay Rosenbek

6. Do you believe SLPs should move to the Clinical Doctorate for entry level into the medical field?

I’m not sure. I think we need to have a mechanism by which clinicians can become more specialized in a particular area of practice, for instance, dysphagia. I don’t know if a Clinical Doctorate or specialty recognition is the more appropriate mechanism by which to do this.

7. How can we incentivize more therapists to pursue the PhD?

Many clinicians cannot afford to quit their day jobs to pursue a Ph.D. We need to think about alternatives to the traditional on-site doctoral program.

8. What is the most exciting advancement in Speech Pathology that you have seen in the past few years?

There has been a tremendous increase in the amount and quality of research that is being conducted on the assessment and treatment of swallowing. We are developing empirical evidence regarding what works and what doesn’t work so that we can provide better services for the patients we serve.

9. How long have you worked in the field?

18 years

10. What is a good book or research article about medical speech pathology that you would recommend?

Langmore, S.E. et al. (1998). Predictors of aspiration pneumonia: How important is dysphagia? Dysphagia, 13, 69-81.

A link to more information about Dr. Debra Suiter

Click Here!

One comment on “Dr. Debra Suiter

  1. schoolspeechpathology
    May 14, 2014

    I like these interviews. An important service to the field. John Panagos

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