Miller School Voice Team Has Strong Showing at FLASHA Convention

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Members of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Voice Team, a division within the Department of Otolaryngology, had a strong showing at the annual Florida Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (FLASHA) convention last month in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

From left: David Rosow, M.D., Adam Lloyd SLP-D, CCC-SLP, M.M., Jennylee Diaz, M.S., and Michelle Bretl M.S., CCC-SLP at the recent FLASHA Convention at Lake Buena Vista.

The annual meeting serves as the primary source of those who are, or striving to become, licensed speech-language pathologists and audiologists within Florida. As a leader in otolaryngology and medical speech pathology in the state, the Miller School Voice Team delivered five presentations at FLASHA.

“We have a long history with FLASHA, sharing our clinical expertise, research, and innovation with other professionals in our community and across the state,” said Adam Lloyd, SLP-D, CCC-SLP, M.M., assistant professor of otolaryngology and speech pathology at the Miller School. “It is important for us to bring our colleagues and community together to collaborate, discuss, support, and challenge each other. By doing so, this makes us better clinicians for our patients and gives us the fuel for future innovation.”

Collaborative Approach

Collaboration serves as a backbone of FLASHA, where there are several joint sessions with other voice specialists throughout the state presenting interesting and teachable cases of patients with voice and upper airway disorders. For many years, the Miller School has been represented at this conference by various groups of voice professionals whom lead presentations, discussions, and audience participations.

“Our inspiration for our five presentations at FLASHA corresponds with our recent clinical, research, and teaching experiences over the last year, which we felt would engage our community and ultimately help patients all over the state,” Dr. Lloyd said. “Some of my favorite moments are when the attendees ask questions, and we can discuss and troubleshoot challenging and complex cases. I believe we learn more from hearing about different perspectives and experiences rather than just from prepared content.”

Michelle Bretl M.S., CCC-SLP, speech-language pathologist, and Dr. Lloyd organized the session “Voice 101: Out of the Classroom and Into the Clinic” aimed at students and new clinicians, as well as long-standing professionals with little experience working with voice disorders. They focused on the skills and knowledge necessary to transition from learning in a controlled academic setting to a busy and sometimes unpredictable clinical setting.

Jennylee Diaz, M.S., speech-language pathologist, Bretl, and Dr. Lloyd presented on “The (Breathe) Ins and Outs of Paradoxical Vocal Fold Motion.”

This disorder requires a team approach including collaborative evaluations with specialists in laryngology, speech pathology, pulmonology, allergy, among others. Emphasis was on teaching those in attendance the basics of the disorder and how to perform and implement exercises to help patients manage and recover from this disorder.

"Long-Hauler" Symptom Discussions

Dr. Lloyd and Raquel Garcia, SLP.D., CCC-SLP, presented “Practicing During a Pandemic: Considerations for Swallowing, Upper Airway and Voice,” which covered the effects of COVID-19 on voice and swallowing.

This presentation sparked discussion from Miller School colleagues about “long hauler” symptoms. They also discussed that health care workers are experiencing increased vocal fatigue associated with the usage of personal protective equipment (PPE) and virtual communication, a topic being researched under the leadership of Diaz.

Bretl, Diaz, David Rosow, M.D., director of laryngology and voice at the University of Miami Health System and associate professor of otolaryngology at the Miller School, and Dr. Lloyd along with five other voice specialists around the state presented on “Voice Grand Rounds: All-Star Edition.” Finally, Dr. Garcia showcased “Neonatal and Infant Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing: Thinking Outside the Box,” teaching attendees options for evaluating infants with feeding and swallowing problems.

“We have other colleagues that conduct noteworthy clinical research and provide stellar day-to-day care of patients in the department including Dr. Mursalin Anis, Dr. Donna Lundy, Dr. Mario Landera, and Amanda Demane, speech-language pathologist,” Dr. Lloyd said. “Their leadership and support make it possible for our Department of Otolaryngology and Division of Speech Pathology to succeed as leaders within the state of Florida.”