Ashwini Namasivayam-MacDonald
Assistant Professor, Rehabilitation Science

Ashwini Namasivayam-MacDonald is a clinically-trained speech-language pathologist and Assistant Professor in the School of Rehabilitation Science at McMaster. Ashwini completed her doctoral training at the University of Toronto where she explored the relationship between malnutrition and swallow impairments (dysphagia) in long-term care.

Ashwini's overarching research goal is to develop a more comprehensive and collaborative approach to dysphagia management that unites the biomedical and psychosocial aspects of care, in order to improve health and quality of life within the individual and across the family system. Her current research focuses on: 1) understanding dysphagia in older adults with dementia; 2) developing multidisciplinary interventions to prevent impairment and maintain swallowing function in older adults; and 3) understanding dysphagia-related caregiver burden in caregivers of older adults. Ashwini is highly motivated to conduct clinically salient research that impacts patient care. She was the 2020 recipient of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association's Early Career Contributions in Research Award.

Ashwini has also been working on a collaborative project: The STARTED Framework. STARTED stands for STAndards for Rigor and TransparEncy in Dysphagia Research, and has been developed as a collaboration across 6 dysphagia research labs. The associated online application involves a series of questions that can be used to help evaluate rigor and transparency of dysphagia research designs using a variety of different measurement techniques. The beta version of the app can be found here: https://dysphagia-standards.netlify.app/
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