Welcome to the official webpage of the Voice, Swallowing, and Upper Airway-Specialized Speech Language Pathology Clinical Fellowship Program at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist. As the sole interdisciplinary center in the region, we offer unparalleled expertise in the comprehensive management of voice, swallowing, and upper airway disorders. Our program is an integral part of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery with collaboration among nationally recognized experts including head and neck surgical oncologists, laryngologists, physician assistants, and specialized speech-language pathologists. Together, our team provides exceptional quality care to our patients, ensuring their well-being and optimal health outcomes.

Our 12-month full-time clinical fellowship position is designed to provide speech-language pathologists with comprehensive training in the specialized area of voice, swallowing, and upper airway disorders. We offer a unique combination of comprehensive clinical skill training, didactics through the Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, active engagement in research activities, and leadership opportunities in community outreach programs to ensure a well-rounded fellowship experience.

Our Mission

Our clinical fellowship program mission is to empower speech-language pathologists with specialized training in the management of voice, swallowing, and upper airway disorders while equipping them with the knowledge, skills, and leadership abilities to provide exceptional patient care and become valuable contributors to the field of speech-language pathology. We are committed to fostering a collaborative learning environment that combines clinical excellence, advanced interdisciplinary education, research advancements, and community outreach. This mission is driven by our team’s deep dedication to patient-centered care, professional growth, and making a positive impact in the lives of individuals with voice, swallowing, and upper airway disorders and the communities we serve.

Curriculum Overview

Clinical Skill Training

As a clinical fellow, you will receive the highest level of training in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of the full spectrum of voice, swallowing, and upper airway disorders including:

  • Flexible and rigid endoscopic laryngeal imaging and interpretation
  • Acoustic and aerodynamic instrumental voice assessments
  • Advanced voice, swallowing and upper airway evaluation and therapy
  • Administration and interpretation of flexible endoscopic examination of swallowing (FEES) and modified barium swallow studies (MBS)
  • Laryngectomy management (stoma care, TEP, alaryngeal communication)

Academic Opportunities

Our program offers scholarly opportunities to develop a solid foundation in clinical knowledge for speech-language pathologists specializing in voice, swallowing, and upper airway disorders including:

  • Didactic sessions organized by the Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery
  • Interdisciplinary and cross-institutional educational seminars, including regular voice and swallowing team meetings and bi-monthly VASE (voice, airway, swallowing education) meetings with field experts
  • Financial support for the clinical fellow to attend a national conference with access to expert presentations on innovative and emerging trends in the management of voice, swallowing, and upper airway disorders

Research Opportunities

We encourage our clinical fellows to engage in research activities to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the field of voice, swallowing, and upper airway disorders through:

  • Collaboration with our renowned research team who is actively engaged in clinical and translational voice and swallowing research
  • Completion of at least one clinical research project under our experienced researchers' guidance with the following expectation:
    • Participation in data collection, analysis, and dissemination of research findings
    • Development of critical thinking, research methodology, and scientific writing skills
    • Submission of at least one abstract to a national meeting for oral presentation
    • Submission of one manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal during training

Community Outreach Program Leadership

As a clinical fellow in our program, you will have the opportunity to take a leadership role in organizing and implementing a community outreach program of your choice. This may involve developing educational materials, organizing workshops or seminars, and/or collaborating with local organizations to promote voice and swallowing health education and awareness. This aspect of the program will allow you to develop your leadership skills and make a positive impact in the community.

Clinical Fellowship Program Goals

Following completion of this program, the clinical fellow will fulfill all prerequisites for successfully completing the ASHA Clinical Fellowship Year and applying for the Certificate of Clinical Competence.

Winston-Salem Community

Winston-Salem, NC stands out as an exciting destination for young adults due to its vibrant arts, entertainment and cultural scene, as well as its proximity to beautiful travel destinations. The city is a hub of creativity, boasting a rich arts community with numerous galleries, theatres, and performance venues. Winston-Salem is an ideal home base for exploring the region’s food scenes, historical landmarks, music festivals, and more! Situated in the heart of North Carolina, the city also provides easy access to both the Blue Ridge Mountains and the stunning Atlantic coastline with countless opportunities for hiking, camping, and beach trips. 

How to Apply

Applications for the voice, swallowing, and upper airway speech-language pathology clinical fellowship will open in January and close at 11:59 PM EST on February 28. We welcome applications from highly qualified individuals who are driven to excel in the domains aligned with our mission and philosophy.

Required documents for application include:

  • Cover letter (no more than 2 pages) describing why you are interested in the AHWFB clinical fellowship and how this position will help you to achieve your career goals
  • CV/Resume
  • Two letters of recommendation

Contact Information

We would be delighted to answer any questions you may have or provide further information about our clinical fellowship program. Please send all inquiries to: kathryn.ruckart@wakehealth.edu.