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KITE removing barriers to education, one course at a time

The swallowing science team launches series of online courses to share world-first research discoveries with clinicians around the world

After many years spent launching and then growing one of the leading research labs dedicated to the little-known science of swallowing, Professor Catriona Steele and her team at UHN are now ready to share what they’ve learned with the rest of the world.

The KITE Research Institute’s Swallowing Lab has packaged a series of online courses designed to spreading the word about the important discoveries and knowledge they’ve gained with clinicians practicing in the field.  

The goal? To disseminate best practices far and wide in an effort to help maximize positive outcomes for patients. 

Presenting research findings at international conferences or publishing peer-reviewed papers are two traditional methods that researchers have used to publicize important research breakthroughs. However, Steele is determined to break through those traditional means of knowledge translation and remove any barriers that might stand in the way of assisting clinicians in the swallowing space continue to learn.

In the year ahead, a total of seven short webinars will be made available online at www.kite-uhn.com/e-learning for speech-language pathologists and other relevant medical professionals. These courses are built to equip clinicians with the skills they need to prescribe, prepare and properly conduct and interpret videofluoroscopic swallowing studies – tests that help clinicians see what happens in the mouth and throat when patients swallow. They will also present alternatives to videofluoroscopy and its technical components. 

The first webinar, Radiation Safety and Patient Risk, was released in December, 2020 and is currently available free of charge. It specifically explores the question of radiation exposure and the risks involved with videofluoroscopic swallowing studies. The main focus is on patient risk, but considerations around clinician radiation exposure are also addressed.  

The second webinar, Anatomy and Physiology of Swallowing, is now available to anyone (speech-language pathologists and other clinicians alike) who would like to hone their skills and learn to make appropriate referrals for videofluoroscopy. This webinar is available in both English and Portuguese at a cost of $25. It includes access to a webinar, study guide and quiz. 

Funding the next generation of swallowing researchers  
Anyone who enrolls in these courses can feel good knowing all proceeds are funnelled into KITE and a Swallowing Science fund that supports trainees with seed money for research projects and a budget to attend conferences.

Overall, the swallowing team highly recommends scientists from other labs think about offering courses online. “This is a great opportunity for knowledge translation from your lab to the clinic,” says Steele.

Look out for the next course, “Indicators and Protocols for Videofluoroscopy”, coming soon on June 28. Early registrants will have access to a live question and answer session in both available languages. 

The e-learning platform will not be updated during the summer and releases will resume in September. Follow the Swallowing Lab on Twitter to learn more about research news and upcoming releases and visit www.kite-uhn.com/e-learning for a full list of courses.