Congratulations to the 2022-2023 SAC Scholarship Recipients

Speech-Language & Audiology Canada (SAC) is proud to announce the winners of the 2022-2023 SAC Scholarships. A total of $31,750 was awarded to 27 students in speech-language pathology, audiology, and communication health assistants’ programs.

Student winners were selected based on their accomplishments in the areas of academic, community service, and leadership potential.

SAC’s scholarship program is the result of a collaboration between the Elks of Canada, KIDSPEECH, the Beach Family, and donations from our members. The scholarship program is our commitment to helping the next generation of speech-language pathologists, audiologists, and communication health assistants as they pursue their education and career.

“Supporting the future of our profession by helping students with their education elevates us all,” says Victoria McLeod, Aud (C), Chair of the Scholarship Committee. “The talent and creativity these students bring to their academic and clinical experience set them apart as true leaders.”

We would like to thank all the scholarship applicants, our donors, the Scholarship Committee, and the educators at the various schools for supporting their students. Congratulations to all the students – we look forward to seeing what you will accomplish next.

Elks and Purple Fund for Children Scholarships

Gordon Leslie Memorial Scholarship
Olivia Ellard, S-LP, University of British Columbia Quinlyn Johnson, S-LP, University of Alberta Lindsay Kroes, S-LP, McMaster University
Héloïse Lessard-Dostie, AuD, University of Ottawa Julia Montgomery, S-LP, University of British Columbia Olivia Musat, AuD, Dalhousie University
Chris Plimmer, AuD, Western University Isabel Schneider, S-LP, University of Toronto Emma Van Lieshout, AuD, Western University
Mia Vardouniotis, S-LP, University of Toronto
Susan Lane Scholarship
Leen Al-Fayez, S-LP, University of Toronto
Deborah Kully Scholarship
Anusha Khepar, S-LP, University of Alberta

KIDSPEECH Scholarships

Leadership Scholarship Karlee Appel, S-LP, Western University
Doctoral Scholarship Christine Muscat, S-LP, University of Toronto
Travelling Scholarship Hailey Brien, S-LP, Dalhousie University

Beach Family Graduate Scholarships

Lauren Denusik, S-LP, Western University Alyssa DiMarco, S-LP, McMaster University

SAC Scholarships

SAC logo
Isabel Richard Scholarships
Carole Hiew, S-LP, University of Alberta Maissie Hillman, S-LP, University of Alberta Emerald Schreier, S-LP, University of Alberta
SAC Research Scholarships
Matthieu Martin, S-LP, Dalhousie University Simon Pawlowski, AuD, Dalhousie University
SAC Audiology Scholarship
Megan Moore, AuD, Western University
Grace Margaret Harris Scholarship
Kelsi Fry, AuD, Dalhousie University
Communication Health Assistant Student Scholarship
Rebecca De Santo, Georgian College
SAC Student Achievement Awards
Ashley Harvey, Georgian College Chloe Korade, S-LP, University of Alberta

Get a test for swallowing issues at Saskatchewan Swallowing Diagnostics

This article originally appeared in Saskatoon Star Phoenix.

Jennifer Cameron-Turley’s Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing test is available at her Saskatoon clinic with or without a doctor’s referral.

Businesses and non-profit organizations regularly open and move in Saskatoon. Today the StarPhoenix talks to Jennifer Cameron-Turley, a licensed speech-language pathologist, who opened Saskatchewan Swallowing Diagnostics in downtown Saskatoon.

Cameron-Turley, a healthcare worker for almost 30 years, opened her new business at the beginning of May to conduct outpatient tests and provide direction for people with certain swallowing issues.

She says that she is not only the first business in Saskatchewan but actually, the first independent business in Canada to provide the FEES test (Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing), which is an instrumental swallowing test with several unique advantages. FEES is available at her clinic with or without a doctor’s referral, and without having to arrange travel to an outpatient appointment at an acute care hospital.

Part of Cameron-Turley’s mission is to educate people because she has found a general lack of knowledge about what to do about swallowing issues. She is eventually hoping to offer on-site services to remote and rural areas throughout Saskatchewan. For now, she is open by appointment two days a week at Wall Street ENT Clinic.

Related: Saskatchewan seeing shortage of speech pathologists

How common are swallowing problems in Canada?

Swallowing problems are quite prevalent in people over the age of 50, but they can happen at any age. People also might have a neurological issue or an acute or chronic disease that affects their swallowing. I would say probably 10 per cent of people over 50 have dysphagia or swallowing disorder. And the vast majority of people over 80 in nursing homes, probably 70 per cent of them have a swallowing disorder of some kind.

What are some signs that someone may have a swallowing disorder?

Big signs are persistent coughing and choking when you’re eating and drinking, or having food get stuck in your throat. This happens to everyone once in a while, but persistent difficulties are a red flag. Changes in your voice quality while eating or drinking can also be a sign of an issue. Sometimes it can feel like a persistent lump in the throat. When we do the FEES test we can sometimes see that people might be regurgitating some stomach acid or food into their throat.

If I can see what’s going on, I can refer people to different medical specialists who can help them out. Another thing is getting chest infections because you have food going down the wrong way. That can really put people at risk of ending up in the hospital if they end up with chest infections because they’re aspirating, or having food and liquid go into the lungs. Aspiration does not always lead to aspiration pneumonia, but it is certainly a risk factor, especially if you’re elderly, frail, your immune system is compromised, or you have pre-existing lung disease.

What steps can people take if they notice swallowing problems?

A lot of people don’t know where to go. Up to this point, you really did have to get a doctor’s referral to get an outpatient instrumental swallow test at an acute care hospital. But now with Saskatchewan Swallowing Diagnostics, outpatient instrumental assessments won’t need to be hospital-based and people can self-refer. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor anyway because there’s more than one cause of swallowing disorders. But with FEES people can certainly self-refer if they think they are having an issue, and then I can send the report to their physician once the examination is completed. If a person is unsure if this test is for them, I can certainly discuss the situation with them over the phone and see if this is appropriate for them, or tell them if I think a different test or a different medical specialist would be more appropriate.

How does the FEES test work that you conduct at Saskatchewan Swallowing Diagnostics?

FEES involves a slender nasal endoscope that goes into the nose and allows the speech-language pathologist to clearly view the patient’s pharynx (throat) and larynx (voice box) and oesophagal opening while the patient is eating and drinking to see exactly how the muscles are moving. That way we can see if there’s anything we can do in terms of manoeuvres or therapy that will make swallowing better over time. Or there might be diet recommendations for a person to alter their diet to make it safer and have them be less likely to aspirate or have things go down into the lungs.

The test typically takes around 15 to 20 minutes, then I would talk to the person about what I found. I’d make recommendations, introduce any therapeutic exercises and do any teaching that I need to do with them or the family. The visit would be about an hour.

Are other tests available to assess swallowing disorders?

Right now there are two “gold-standard” instrumental swallowing evaluations. One of those instrumental studies is FEES, and the other is a Modified Barium Swallow study (MBS), which is done in radiology in an acute care hospital. That test is excellent for diagnosing certain types of swallowing disorders but there are some disadvantages to it, too. The radiation dose of an MBS is relatively low — and speech-language pathologists and radiologists are always very careful to keep the doses as low as possible — but there are situations in which it’s best to minimize one’s exposure, especially if you have a history of head and neck cancer treatment with prior radiation, for example.

So I think my FEES service will really open things up to centres that do not have acute care hospitals, especially in rural and remote locations, and people in nursing homes and things like that where people might not be so mobile.

How does FEES compare to the other test?

It stands out very favourably. There are different indications and contraindications for each test but there are a lot of advantages to FEES for some patients. If you primarily have trouble chewing or moving food around in your mouth, or if your oesophagus or food tube is the cause of your swallowing problems, doing an MBS (Modified Barium Swallow) is the preferred test for you. There are some contraindications for FEES, such as a history of facial or nasal surgery or trauma, blocked nasal passages on both sides or a history of severe nosebleeds, or a history of vasovagal episodes or fainting.

What training have you had in conducting the FEES test?

Not many speech-language pathologists in Saskatchewan are trained to do FEES yet, but I hope to see the exam become more available over time. I went down to the United States to get trained in the technique and the interpretation. And then there was an ear, nose and throat doctor that oversaw my training in Canada for quite a few months and deemed me competent to scope and interpret results independently.

I’ve been doing FEES with in-patients in the hospital for a few years. I’ve done hundreds of them now but of course, there is always more to learn and I’m always trying to learn more to be a better clinician. There’s only one speech pathologist I know that’s doing this in an outpatient setting in Toronto. It’s certainly not common. But in the U.S., mobile FEES providers are getting increasingly common.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Saskatchewan Swallowing Diagnostics

Owner: Jennifer Cameron-Turley
Address: 140 Wall Street (Wall Street ENT Clinic)
Hours: Mondays and Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Check: Facebook

Exploring the fruits of labour from the career of J.B. Orange

This article originally appeared on

Talented researcher described by many as a friend and selfless collaborator, mentor, advocate and champion for other.

After more than three decades with the Western University family, Communication Sciences and Disorders professor J.B. Orange is retiring; the campus will be saying farewell to a highly respected researcher, teacher, mentor and friend.

“JB” arrived at Western in 1992 as an assistant professor from the State University of New York (SUNY) in Buffalo. A speech-language pathologist (SLP), Orange quickly forged a path as a highly credible teacher and researcher, positions that have afforded him the opportunity to mentor and impact students along with peers with whom he has engaged in research.

In addition to serving three times as director for the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, cumulatively for almost a decade, Orange will perhaps be best remembered as a trusted colleague, friend and champion for the work of others.

“What I’ve learned with those whom I’ve worked with and research participants and students, it’s been nothing short of spectacularly amazing… translating that into knowledge for myself and others. It’s a privilege,” Orange says. “It’s about those who come after you, the students I’ve taught over many decades. I hope some of what I’ve taught them, like spaghetti on the wall, that it sticks.”

Orange says he’s especially proud of his work with older adults, as very few SLPs focus on the geriatric population. He’s also proud of his research on discourse and the examination of language performance beyond single words, specifically the work he’s done with individuals living with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and related cognitive and language problems.

“Communication is the keystone of human interaction; without it, your social interactions are non-existent. Communication is the glue that keeps us all together and reaffirms who we are as humans. When those (skills) are taken through trauma or developmental issues, it’s profound how much is stripped away from someone,” Orange says. “I hope I’ve been able to add a few tiles to the larger mosaic to describe language and communication challenges with older adults.”

Communication is the keystone of human interaction; without it, your social interactions are non-existent. Communication is the glue that keeps us all together and reaffirms who we are as humans.

Angela Roberts, a professor in Western’s School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, has worked with Orange in research used worldwide, exploring changes in language as markers of cognitive function, helping to develop interventions for people living with dementia that she says “work on improving communication and intimacy in relationships.”

“Dementia does not just exist with the person who has dementia. Breakdowns in conversations, in communication… something that is happening at the nexus between them and their partners that both facilitates success and causes challenges. That is the central point in which we need to intervene. It was so paradigm-shifting,” Roberts says. “Intervention isn’t perfect, so we need to drive science to look at implementable strategies.”

Roberts said the impact Orange had on her life goes beyond career support.

“When (JB) took me on as a PhD student, I was going through some tough times personally,” Roberts says. “I can remember sitting in his office and telling him ‘if I make this decision and push away everything I’ve been doing for 15 years for this, can I trust you?’. He knew I was putting my life and future and career and well-being of my family on the line to take this on. I will always remember, he took my hand and said, ‘You can always trust me.’”

This relationship of trust translated into a successful career in academia and research at Western; she is now researching with Orange in these sunset years of his career, and they co-mentor a student together.

“We’ve come full circle together,” Roberts reflects. “We went from being in a student-mentor relationship to working on the same grants together, to me now leading my own research program with him being part of my team. Me coming home to try to fill his awfully big shoes is now part of the story.”

“He never failed me as a student studying under him, and he’s become a friend, colleague, and research partner, and he has always been someone whose integrity to be a person to be trusted, it holds true. His approach has been a guiding force in how I mentor others.”

Lisa Archibald, current director of the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, replaced Orange and said she is grateful for the trust he placed in her. When she joined the school in 2000 as a clinical instructor, her work was overlapping with the classroom teaching Orange was doing, leading to a research project they worked on together.

“He was always willing to step up for us, support us. And yet, he’s very modest about all he’s accomplished and the impact he’s made on the school and at Western,” Archibald says. “He has real integrity; he’s really well-liked and has great interpersonal skills and can build bridges and bring us along with him.”

“It’s not uncommon for (JB) to say ‘how can I help’,” Archibald says. “He was always interested in what you were doing and wanted it to be represented as work of the school. We felt like we could go to him and he would do what he could to support you in that work.”

Orange says he has tried to adopt a broad perspective through a multidisciplinary and multi-profession approach throughout his career, so he could understand other fields of study and research. He says it’s this broad perspective that opened the door to take on the director role with the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

“This role tapped into my ability to be a team builder and bring people together to get them to rise up, acknowledge that we’re in the same boat together with oars, needing to go in the same direction,” says Orange, who currently serves as the scientific director with Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging. “I’ve been able to translate those abilities, skills and knowledge to my colleagues in exercise science to work together and advance the science for how exercise is valuable for older adults. It’s a strong foundation to make our place a little better, connecting those who would not have otherwise worked together.”

Orange says he is particularly grateful for the pillar of his family, especially his wife Nadia Amadio, and his children Evan and Hannah, in supporting his success at Western and in research, describing his partnership with Nadia to be akin to that of Canadian geese, “with one of us starting to lead and then taking turns – one helping the other.”

“You make sacrifices together as a team. I could not have done this without Nadia,” Orange says. “She has supported me unswervingly throughout my entire career – and she has seen me light up with the passion I would have about the work I was doing.”

“It’s been an honour to be a scientist. My job as a researcher is to make people smarter. I hope in my role as a scientist that I’ve been able to do that.”

Saskatchewan seeing shortage of speech pathologists

This article originally appeared in Battlefords Now and features Loredana Cuglietta, chair of Speech-Language and Audiology Canada.

Saskatchewan and the rest of Canada are struggling with a shortage of speech pathologists. Speech pathology is the study and treatment of speech and language problems.

Loredana Cuglietta, chair of Speech-Language and Audiology Canada, says that the number of speech pathologists in Canada is not enough to meet the needs of the population. According to Cuglietta, part of the reason for the province’s shortage is the lack of a master’s program for speech-language pathology.

“There is funding for people to attend the University of Alberta master’s program, but there’s no school in Saskatchewan,” she said. “Saskatchewan needs an in-Saskatchewan type of initiative, and we do know that people are more likely to stay and work in the province that they were educated in.” Cuglietta explained that the shortage is being felt in the rural communities around the province. She said her organization is working to get speech pathology included in a student loan forgiveness program.

“We’re trying to include speech-language pathologists in that program, with a specific incentive for those who to start their practice in a rural area,” Cuglietta said.

She added that there were difficulties in the industry before the COVID pandemic, but the event highlighted the gaps and exacerbated them.

“People are tired, and we do have [fewer] people, definitely speech-language pathologists, in the workforce,” Cuglietta said. She believes having a program in Saskatchewan would have the largest impact when it comes to addressing the shortage. She also noted a lack of human resource data in the industry.

“SAC is advocating for the federal government to collect more of this type of data so that we have a better idea of how to plan from a human resource perspective across the country,” she said.

Let Alberta Elected Officials know about the importance of speech-language and audiology services in Alberta!

The upcoming Alberta election is an opportunity for YOU to add your voice to our advocacy efforts by participating in our Alberta election advocacy campaign. Your participation will allow your representative to understand how vital our professions are not only to the health of Albertans but also to the healthcare and education systems at large.

It is time to change our message about hearing loss and dementia

A commentary piece from the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society

Over the past five years, members of the scientific community, the media, and commercial interests have spread the message that hearing loss is a risk factor for dementia. While true under the strict epidemiologic definition of “risk,” current science is unsettled as to nature of the hearing loss–dementia link. Yet, the lay public is prone to receive the message as a warning that hearing loss is a
harbinger of dementia. It is time to reconsider our message. This is not just because “risk” is so poorly understood or because the evidence is unsettled. It is also because the message has such potential to stigmatize and raise anxieties for people with hearing loss.

Call for Volunteers: The Role of Speech-Language Pathologists in School-Based Literacy Ad Hoc Committee

SAC members and associates have raised concerns that Speech-Language Pathologists’ (S-LPs) role in school-based literacy is inconsistent and often undervalued. There is a lack of awareness in the community and among decision-makers regarding the unique contributions S-LPs can make in this area.

The primary objective of the Role of Speech-Language Pathologists In School-Based Literacy Ad Hoc Committee is to develop an SAC Position Paper for use by members, associates, and the association to respond to issues and build awareness regarding this topic.

For more details, please see the terms of reference.

The deadline to apply is March 31, 2023.