The Center for Voice and Swallowing offers a wide range of services and specialty care for adults and feeding therapy for children. We team up with many disciplines to make sure we are providing a team-based approach to giving you the best treatment possible. Our goal is to deliver high quality care to all of our patients.

Our team of Speech Language Pathologists are trained as specialists in many areas. We treat voice, swallowing, breathing, language, speech problems, and many other issues related to Speech Language Pathology. We can provide services at many different levels of care, ranging from acute problems (for those who need to be seen during an inpatient stay) to ongoing, chronic problems (for those who can be seen in our clinic). Based on a philosophy of using evidence-based practice, team work, and patient-centered approaches, we hope that our comprehensive care will empower our patients through rehabilitation.

To schedule a consult with one of BMC’s speech language pathologists experts, call us at 617.638.8124.

Telehealth Visits

At the Voice and Swallowing Center, we recognize that the pandemic has been, and continues to be, challenging for so many of our patients. But we want you to know that we’re still here for you.

We’re now offering virtual health visits for voice and swallowing therapy through your phone, tablet, or computer. While you stay in the comfort of your own home, we can provide you with:

  • Assistance with breathing issues
  • Troubleshooting for issues with your tracheo-esophageal prosthesis  (TEP, aka voice prosthesis)
  • Assistance with diet modifications
  • Check ins on swallowing exercises
  • Real-time exercises for voice issues, globus syndrome, and swallowing

To schedule an appointment, call 617.638.8124. You can also find out more about telehealth at BMC here.

Contact Us

Conditions We Treat

Diagnostics and Tests

Our Team

Jessica M Pisegna, PhD, MS-CCC-SLP, MEd

Director of Speech Language Pathology

Special Interests

Dysphagia (swallowing problems), Dysphonia (voice problems), Cognitive Deficits and Aphasia (language problems), Reflux-related disorders

Daniel P Buckley, MS, CCC-SLP

Speech Language Pathologist

Special Interests

Dysphonia (voice disorders), professional voice, globus syndrome, muscle tension dysphagia

Hadas Golan, MS, CCC-SLP

Speech Language Pathologist

Special Interests

Professional voice, dysfunctional breathing, muscle tension dysphonia, irritable larynx and chronic cough

Amy Gottlieb, MS-CF-SLP

Speech Language Pathologist

Special Interests

Dysphagia, dysphonia, and neurogenic disorders of language and cognition

Edel M McNally, MS, CCC-SLP, BCS-S

Speech Language Pathologist

Special Interests

Swallowing assessment, FEES, MBS, dysphagia therapy, aphasia, cognitive-communication deficits

Meredith B O'Dea, MS, CCC-SLP

Speech Language Pathologist

Special Interests

Dysphagia (swallowing problems), Dysphonia (voice problems), Reflux-related disorders, Alaryngeal Rehabilitation included Tracheoesophageal (TEP) Voice Restoration/Management

Kerry Pearl, MS, CCC-SLP

Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist

Special Interests

Feeding Difficulty, Selective Eating, Pediatric Dysphagia

Placeholder image for doctor

Kailey Vitale, MA, CCC-SLP

Speech Language Pathologist

Special Interests

Dysphagia (swallowing problems), Alaryngeal rehabilitation including tracheoesophageal (TEP) voice restoration/management, Evaluation and treatment of swallowing problems after head and neck cancer

  • Samantha Ashinoff, MS, CCC-SLP
  • Kim Boscodoss, MS, CCC-SLP
  • Michelle Ganann, CCC-SLP
  • Anna Lifvergren, CCC-SLP
  • Keri Miloro, CCC-SLP
  • Juliet Ochura, MS, CCC-SLP, CLC
  • Jennifer Perez, MS, CCC-SLP, CLC
  • Krystal Radnor CCC-SLP-CFY Clinical Fellow
  • Casey Scott, MS, CCC-SLP-CFY Clinical Fellow

Patient Resources

Conditions We Treat

Voice Problems

Does your voice sound hoarse? Do you want your voice to sound different? Do your throat muscles feel tight when you talk, breath, swallow, or sing? Do you want your voice to match your gender identity? We can help. We treat many voice conditions including:

Diagnostic Tests

Flexible Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES), Modified Barium Swallow exams (MBS), Clinical Swallowing Evaluation (CSE) and Pediatric Feeding Evaluations

Treatments

Voice

During your first visit, we will do a voice evaluation which will include a videostroboscopy, a recording of your voice and airflow during speech, and some other assessments of your voice. Then, we will determine if you need treatment.

Research Overview

Research

Our team has a strong interest in research. Our research aims to make evaluations faster, more accurate, and simpler, and we also study treatment and which methods get patients better.

Why is research important?

  • A research study is a scientific way to improve or develop new methods of health care. Studies are designed to answer specific questions on how to prevent, diagnose, or treat diseases and disorders. Many types of research studies exist. For example, clinical trials test new evaluation processes to make sure we are studying the correct swallowing parts, for example. Other studies use interviews or surveys to understand health or behavior.
  • Research studies are important because they help us understand knowledge and progress on diseases and disorders. Research is the fastest and safest way to find treatments that work. That’s why we value research and have multiple ongoing studies. Research helps:
    • to learn about ways to possibly improve your health
    • to help in the evaluation of medications, tests, or programs that may not be available outside of research
    • to potentially help others
    • to further knowledge of scientific research and medical care
    • to ensure our clinicians are critical thinkers and constantly trying to ensure best practices

What type of research do we do?

  • We are particularly interested in studying swallowing disorders. Some questions we are interested in studying include:
    • What types of swallowing patterns can we observe on Flexible Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES) exams? What types of swallowing patterns can we observe on Modified Barium Swallows (MBS)? Are clinical impression different depending on the type of evaluation? We are currently doing simultaneous studies (FEES/MBS) to investigate this question.
      Parameters of Instrumental Swallowing Evaluations: Describing a Diagnostic Dilemma
    • In stroke patients, does frequent and intensive therapy help improve outcomes? Does it avoid potential poor outcomes like feeding tubes or longer hospital stays?
    • How can we best assess sensation in the throat? In particular, is there a way to best evaluate the laryngeal adductor reflex and what does this information tell us?
    • How can we teach parents to feed their children in a safe way? We are interested in the thickness of liquid and how to make sure this can be carried out at home.
    • Is there a relationship between certain factors in extubated patients and laryngeal sensation?
      Relationship Between Laryngeal Sensation, Length of Intubation, and Aspiration in Patients with Acute Respiratory Failure
  • We also are investigating outcomes in laryngectomy patients.
    • Does the size of the voice prosthesis matter?
    • What types of improvements do we notice in patients who use laryngectomy tubes and heat-moisture exchange devices?
  • We are also looking at voice research.
    • What information can we learn from patient-reports symptoms? Are there influences like language and other socioeconomic barriers?
    • What type of voice evaluation data can inform therapy, for example types of muscle tension and cepstral peak prominence? How can we best rehabilitate the professional voice?
      http://sites.bu.edu/stepplab/lab-members/
    • Does manual therapy help to reduce problems in patients such as breathing, tension, and anxiety?
      http://www.breatheon.com/about-us/
  • Please call our clinic at 617-638-8124 to inquire about ongoing research studies.

Publications

Our dedicated team of clinician researchers have published many scientific papers to help advance our practice and better inform clinical care. Some of our publications from previous research include:

  • McNally E, Krisciunas GP, Langmore SE, Crimlisk JT, Pisegna JM, Massaro J. Oral Care Clinical Trial to Reduce Non-Intensive Care Unit, Hospital-Acquired Pneumonia: Lessons for Future Research. J Healthc Qual. 2019 Jan/Feb; 41(1):1-9. PMID: 29634593.
  • Borders JC, Fink D, Levitt JE, McKeehan J, McNally E, Rubio A, Scheel R, Siner JM, Taborda SG, Vojnik R, Warner H. Relationship Between Laryngeal Sensation, Length of Intubation, and Aspiration in Patients with Acute Respiratory Failure. Dysphagia. 2019 Jan 29:1-8.
  • O’Dea MB, Langmore SE, Krisciunas GP, Walsh M, Zanchetti LL, Scheel R, McNally E, Kaneoka AS, Guarino AJ, Butler SG. Effect of lidocaine on swallowing during FEES in patients with dysphagia. Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology. 2015 Jul;124(7):537-44.
  • Langmore SE, Pisegna JM. Efficacy of exercises to rehabilitate dysphagia: A critique of the literature. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. 2015 May 4;17(3):222-9.
  • Langmore SE, McCulloch TM, Krisciunas GP, Lazarus CL, Van Daele DJ, Pauloski BR, Rybin D, Doros G. Efficacy of electrical stimulation and exercise for dysphagia in patients with head and neck cancer: A randomized clinical trial. Head & neck. 2016 Apr;38(S1):E1221-31.
  • Scheel, R., Pisegna, J. M., McNally, E., Noordzij, J. P., & Langmore, S. E. (2016). Endoscopic assessment of swallowing after prolonged intubation in the ICU setting. Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology, 125(1), 43-52.
  • Krisciunas GP, Castellano K, McCulloch TM, Lazarus CL, Pauloski BR, Meyer TK, Graner D, Van Daele DJ, Silbergleit AK, Crujido LR, Rybin D. Impact of compliance on dysphagia rehabilitation in head and neck cancer patients: results from a multi-center clinical trial. Dysphagia. 2017 Apr 1;32(2):327-36.
  • Pisegna JM, Yang S, Purcell A, Rubio A. A Mixed-Methods Study of Patient Views on Reflux Symptoms and Medication Routines. J Voice. 2017 May; 31(3):381.e15-381.e25. PMID: 27647519.
  • Meyer TK, Pisegna JM, Krisciunas GP, Pauloski BR, Langmore SE. Residue influences quality of life independently of penetration and aspiration in head and neck cancer survivors. Laryngoscope. 2017 Jul; 127(7):1615-1621. PMID: 27861932.
  • Kaneoka A, Pisegna JM, Saito H, Lo M, Felling K, Haga N, LaValley MP, Langmore SE. A systematic review and meta-analysis of pneumonia associated with thin liquid vs. thickened liquid intake in patients who aspirate. Clin Rehabil. 2017 Aug; 31(8):1116-1125. PMID: 28730887.
  • May NH, Pisegna JM, Marchina S, Langmore SE, Kumar S, Pearson WG. Pharyngeal Swallowing Mechanics Secondary to Hemispheric Stroke. J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis. 2017 May; 26(5):952-961. PMID: 27913200.

Residency and Fellowship Information

Education

We realize the importance of education in the field of Speech Pathology. This is why, as a teaching hospital, we often have speech pathology students, medical students, fellows, and interns accompany us during our clinical day. In collaboration with Boston University, we have developed a curriculum as a medical placement for Speech Language Pathology Students. Our goal is to provide advanced knowledge and training for medical speech language pathology. Our team of clinicians provide weekly lectures, seminars, and hands-on learning in addition to mentorship during students’ placement at Boston Medical Center. Further, students observe patient care, when allowed by the patient, which enriches their experience.

Our team is also dedicated to teaching and mentoring other clinicians. The Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES) was developed by Dr. Susan Langmore in 1988. FEES has become a globally recognized gold standard for evaluating oropharyngeal dysphagia and for assessing swallowing function. Dr. Langmore and her team provide two types of FEES courses at Boston University Medical Center – a two day foundation (introductory) course and a one day advanced course. Learn more