Jessica Danley Selected for Dysphagia Awareness Project Board

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University of Arkansas

Jessica Danley, MS CCC-SLP, CBIS

Jessica Danley, Clinical Education Coordinator for the Communication Sciences and Disorders Program, has been selected to serve on the 2022-2024 Board of Directors for the nonprofit National Dysphagia Awareness Project.

Dysphagia is a condition that causes difficulty in swallowing. It affects one in six adults each year, according to an analysis of a national health care survey published in the National Library of Medicine. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, this can lead to choking, malnutrition, dehydration, and aspiration of fluids into the lungs, leading to pneumonia. Many patients require special dietary supplies and some require expensive specialized medical equipment.

The Dysphagia Awareness Project aims to “provide meaningful help to people with dysphagia”. The 100% volunteer-run non-profit organization was founded by Hillary Cooper after noticing that many of her dysphagia patients were unable to thrive at home due to a lack of funds for needed supplies. such as thickeners, respiratory muscle strength trainers and other suitable equipment. This inspired her to start a non-profit organization that would provide dysphagia supplies to those in need, educate others on the proper use of dysphagia supplies, and establish support groups across the country.

Since 2021, the organization has shipped more than 300 care packages, raised more than $50,000 for food, and provided assistance to more than 180 families across the country.

Danley will serve as Director of University Relations. In this role, she will connect undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in National Student Speech Language Hearing Association groups across the United States to raise donations and raise awareness about dysphagia. She will also coordinate specialist-led educational opportunities for participating student groups.

Danley brings to the board more than 10 years of experience working with adult patients with swallowing disorders in a variety of settings, as well as her specialized training as a Certified Brain Injury Specialist.

For more information about the Dysphagia Awareness Project, visit www.dysphagiaoutreach.org.

Additional information about dysphagia is available on the ASHA website.

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