James Madison University

New Swallowing Clinic Opens at RMH

By: Sydney Palese
Posted: October 8, 2013

PHOTO: Sharon Lovell
When the community collaborates, innovation and benefits abound.

On Sept. 13, JMU and Rockingham Memorial Hospital officially ushered in a new collaborative effort with a ribbon cutting at the Voice and Swallowing Services clinic located on the RMH Campus. Congressman Bob Goodlatte of the Sixth Congressional District and JMU president Jonathon Alger were on hand to celebrate along with members of the community.

The clinic, which is staffed by JMU speech therapists and run by RMH, was designed for adults who experience voice and swallowing complications due to disabilities, which range in scope from strokes to head and neck cancers.

The services provided include measurement of laryngeal sensation, which is important for assessing cough and swallowing disorders; biofeedback using endoscopic imaging to help patients understand and correct their swallowing problem; and research on new devices for patients to retrain swallowing at home after brain injury or neurological disease.

PHOTO: Ribbon cutting announcement
Dr. Christy Ludlow proposed the idea for the clinic after coming to JMU from the National Institutes of Health, and after almost three years of coordination and planning with Kay Harrison of RMH, the clinic became tangible.

The clinic serves patients locally and from as far as Norfolk, Virginia.

Sharon Lovell, interim dean of the College of Health and Behavioral Studies, said that the collaboration represents the unique relationship JMU and RMH have. Lovell also remarked that the clinic is a symbol of the mutual respect between the JMU and RMH professionals providing care to the patient population.

The clinic mutually benefits the JMU population by offering opportunities for doctoral students in the audiology program to engage in a professional setting by learning through observation and training in some of the procedures.

The clinic usage will be split equally between research and patient services.

View more photos from the ribbon cutting