Mentorship is an integral component of career advancement in academic medicine. There is also an acute need to mentor and nurture the next generation of career scientists in the area of dysphagia, a prevalent condition that places high burden on patient health and quality of life. The candidate proposes to increase the cadre of POR researchers and team scientists in swallowing disorders and respiratory-swallowing interactions with emphasis on discovery of novel methods of objective assessment and evidence-based, targeted interventions that hasten recovery across the course of a disease or condition and facilitate optimal outcomes. Research and career development will take place in a mentorship structure that provides an environment of support for successful patient oriented researchers transitioning into the early stages of academic careers in the study of swallowing and respiratory-swallowing impairment. These opportunities, in part, will arise from the candidate's own proposed research plan and collaborations. The primary objective of the research plan is to develop swallowing impairment phenotypes that express in three patient conditions with high morbidity and burden related to swallowing impairment (pulmonary, neurologic, head and neck cancer) using turn-key, standardized, valid and reliable measurement and data storage methods, developed by the candidate, and novel statistical mapping techniques. The secondary objective is to demonstrate a link between respiratory-swallow coordination pattern, airway protection, and the nature and severity of swallowing impairment. The long-term goal of this research is to develop prediction models (statistical and dynamic) that will enable clinicians to empirically predict type, severity, and treatment responsiveness of swallowing impairment at early stages of the dysphagia-related disease or condition.
The goal of this application is to provide educational and career development opportunities and mentorship structure to support patient oriented researchers as they transition into the early stages of an academic career in the study of swallowing and respiratory swallowing impairment. This research plan will lead to the development of the first predictive model of swallowing impairment enabling clinicians to empirically predict type, severity, and treatment responsiveness of swallowing impairment, a condition with high health, quality of life and economic burden.
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