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Speech and Swallow Service Team

Erin Aquilino, M.Ed., CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Erin Aquilino was a 5th grade teacher in New Hampshire prior to changing careers to pursue her graduate degree in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Virginia. She completed her Clinical Fellowship Year in 2016 at Lowell General Hospital working with inpatient and outpatient adults and pediatrics. She joined the Speech and Swallow Department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in January 2018, working with adults in the acute care setting.

Darling Batiz
Practice Assistant
Darling Batiz has been the Practice Assistant for the Speech and Swallow Department since 2016. Prior to this, Darling served as a Patient Care Coordinator at Manet Community Health Center. She is a Certified Medical Assistant, bilingual in Spanish and English, and has over 10 years of customer service experience. Darling is dedicated to providing excellent patient care and support in all of her tasks at BWH.

Eleanor (Ellie) Bernstein, MA, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Eleanor (Ellie) Bernstein received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Pittsburgh in 2014 and a Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh in 2016. She completed her Clinical Fellowship in 2017 at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where she continued to work in the acute care setting. She joined the Speech and Swallow Department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the fall of 2019. Her primary clinical interests include evaluation and treatment of dysphagia in medically complex patients.

Elaine Burke, MS, CCC-SLP
Senior Speech-Language Pathologist
Elaine Burke completed the BS/MS combined program at Boston University with her Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders in 1992 and Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology in 1993. Elaine began her career in the subacute setting in CT and quickly transitioned to acute care at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, CT which allowed her to work with inpatient populations including TBI, Neuro, Cardiology, Head and Neck Cancer. She also worked in the outpatient setting and treated the head neck cancer population including laryngectomy patients with TEPs.

Elaine came to the Speech and Swallow Department at BWH in 2004 to work with inpatients and to develop speech and swallow services at Dana Faber Cancer Institute (DFCI). She is skilled in video swallow studies, FEES and working with laryngectomy patients with TEPs. Elaine has been a guest lecturer at Harvard Dental School and presented at the DFCI Annual Head and Neck Conference as well as the DFCI Dysphagia Conference.

Allison Chaffman, MS, CCC-SLP
Senior Speech-Language Pathologist
Allison Chaffman received her Bachelor of Science in Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology in 2010 and her Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology in 2012 at Towson University. She then completed her Clinical Fellowship Year at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. She joined the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Speech and Swallow Department in 2014 in a split role including acute inpatient care at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and outpatient dysphagia management at Dana-Farber’s Head & Neck Oncology Clinic. Allison’s professional interests include instrumental swallowing assessment using videofluoroscopy and fiberoptic endoscopy, management of complex dysphagia cases (particularly in individuals with head and neck cancer or following thoracic surgery), and voice rehabilitation following total laryngectomy. Allison currently works in a per diem capacity.

Pamela Dodrill, PhD, CCC-SLP
Clinical Specialist
Pamela Dodrill graduated as a Speech-Language Pathologist from the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia in 2001. She received her PhD from the Children’s Nutrition Research Centre, Department of Medicine, University of Queensland in 2008. She worked at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Brisbane for over a decade before relocating to Boston to work at Boston Children’s Hospital and then the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). Pamela has worked in the BWH Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) since 2015. She is a Clinical Specialist on the Feeding and Developmental Therapy Team and has more than 15 years of experience working with infants with feeding difficulties and dysphagia. Pamela has numerous publications in this area, and regularly presents at international scientific conferences on this topic.

Lorraine Downey Cuddy, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Lorraine Downey Cuddy received her Master of Science from Boston University Sargent College in 1996 and her Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology in 1997. She specialized in swallowing disorders and radiographic imaging of swallowing (video swallow studies) in both the inpatient and outpatient clinics at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston from 1998-2002 and was promoted to Senior Speech-Language Pathologist during that time.

In 2002, she joined the Speech and Swallow Department at BWH. Over the course of her career, she has headed the student internship program, guest lectured at Boston University, written several of the first Speech/Swallowing Standards of Care at BWH, presented at several national conferences, organized and ran the department continuing education program, and worked closely with the Department of Otolaryngology including participating in research in swallowing disorders. Lorraine is dedicated to providing the highest standard of care for patients with swallowing and speech/language disorders.

Ruth Flaherty, MA, CCC-SLP
Senior Speech Language Pathologist
Ruth Flaherty received a BA in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Connecticut in 2012 and a MA in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Iowa in 2014. She completed her Clinical Fellowship Year in 2015 at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa. She continued to work at Mercy Medical Center until May 2018, when she joined the Speech and Swallow Department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She continues to work in the acute care setting with patients of varying etiologies.

Katherine A. Gibson, MS, CCC-SLP
Clinical Specialist
Katherine Gibson is a Senior Speech-Language Pathologist who has worked in pediatric dysphagia since 2009. She received her Master’s degree at UNC-Chapel Hill where she initiated her training in the NICU. Prior to joining the Developmental Team in the NICU at Brigham and Women’s Hospital she worked at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center and New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center in the NICU and Neonatal Cardiac ICU. During her time at Columbia, Katherine served as a member of the Aerodigestive, Single Ventricle, and Comfort Care teams. She has presented at several national speech pathology conferences and regional perinatal conferences.

Jessica L. Ironman, MS, CCC-SLP
Senior Speech-Language Pathologist
Jessica Ironman received her Bachelor of Science in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology from Northeastern University in 2008 and her Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology in 2010 from New York Medical College. She also holds certification as a lactation counselor from the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice. Jessica joined the rehabilitation staff in the BWH NICU in May of 2018 and enjoys watching babies and families transition from inpatient NICU through the developmental follow-up clinic. Prior to this, from 2010 – 2012, she was a Speech-Language Pathologist at St Mary’s Children’s Hospital in Bayside New York. She most recently worked in early intervention in central Massachusetts where she created and managed a feeding program targeting children with a wide variety of feeding issues.

Brielle Johnson, MA, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Brielle Johnson received a Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders with a minor in American Sign Language from Central Michigan University in 2013. She received her MA in Communicative Sciences and Disorders from Michigan State University in 2016. She completed her Clinical Fellowship Year in 2017 at a skilled-nursing facility in New Hampshire. She then transitioned to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston where she worked primarily with the stroke/neurology program. In April 2019 she joined the Speech and Swallow Department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Olga Kaminski, MS, CCC-SLP
Senior Speech-Language Pathologist
Olga Kaminski is a bilingual, Russian and English-speaking clinician, who received her Bachelor of Science in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences in 2009 and her Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology in 2010, both from Boston University. After completing her Clinical Fellowship Year at New England Rehabilitation Hospital in Woburn, MA, Olga continued working with the inpatient rehabilitation population, specializing in diagnostics and treatment of patients with traumatic and non-traumatic brain injuries. She was an integral part in establishing a specialized Brain Injury Program at the facility. In 2014, Olga joined the Speech and Swallow Department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where she has since specialized in the management of dysphagia in the critically ill inpatient population. Olga has additional clinical interest in aphasia and contributes to ongoing research in this field.

Laura M. Kasparian, MS, CCC-SLP
Clinical Supervisor
Laura Kasparian received her Bachelor of Arts in Cognitive Science from Yale University in 2006 and her Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Boston University in 2012. Laura completed her Clinical Fellowship Year at Whittier Rehabilitation Hospital in Westborough, MA where she worked with both pediatrics and adults in both inpatient and outpatient settings. She joined the Speech and Swallow Department at BWH in September 2013 where she specializes in dysphagia diagnostics and treatment in medically complex patient populations. She has been the Coordinator of the Speech and Swallow Department since October of 2018. In addition to dysphagia, Laura also has clinical interests in facial transplantation, language disorders and aphasia. She is involved in research in both dysphagia and aphasia and has presented at national conferences.

Semra Koymen, MA, CCC-SLP
Senior Speech-Language Pathologist
Semra Koymen earned her Master’s degree in Communication Sciences & Disorders from Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. Her clinical career has focused on providing diagnostic assessment and management of dysphagia in a variety of populations including neurogenic, trauma, surgical, trach/vent dependent, and medically fragile patients. Semra joined the Speech and Swallow Department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 2011 & has been Coordinator of the service since 2015. She has presented at various conferences and seminars throughout her career and has lectured at Harvard Dental School regarding oral physiology of speech.

Allison Ma, MS, CCC-SLP
Senior Speech-Language Pathologist
Allison Ma earned her Master’s Degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Massachusetts General Hospital’s Institute of Health Professions in 2013. Prior to joining the rehabilitation team at the BWH NICU, Allison was part of the Feeding and Swallowing Team at Boston Children’s Hospital. Before that, she worked with medically complex and fragile infants at Children’s Specialized Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey. She has also worked as a pediatric speech language pathologist in Beijing, China.

Yeimy Maldonado
Practice Assistant II
Yeimy Maldonado acquired her Associate’s Degree in Liberal Art and Sciences in 2018 from Bunker Hill Community College. She also completed her Certificate of Accreditation in Medical Interpreting from Language Connections in 2020. Yeimy is an experienced Medical Assistant and has worked in the field since 2014. Prior to joining the Speech and Swallow team in 2020, she worked at Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary as well as Children’s Hospital Boston.

Caitlin McCarthy, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Caitlin McCarthy received a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Pathology & Audiology from Loyola University in 2011 and a Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from Towson University in 2014. After completing her Clinical Fellowship in sub-acute rehab in 2015, she joined Levindale Specialty Hospital in Baltimore, MD, where she specialized in acute neurological rehabilitation, as well as dysphagia and communication management for trach/ventilator dependent patients. She became a Certified Brain Injury Specialist through the Academy of Certified Brain Injury Specialists (ACBIS) in 2018. In 2019, Caitlin relocated to Massachusetts and transitioned to the acute care setting, joining the Speech and Swallow Department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the summer of 2020.

Stacey McCauley, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Stacey McCauley received her Bachelor of Science in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology in 2014 from Towson University. She received her Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology in 2016 from Rush University. She completed her Clinical Fellowship Year at University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center and joined the Speech and Swallow Department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 2018.

Brittany Morris, MA, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Brittany Morris received her Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education from Boston University in 2013 and her Master of Arts in Communication Disorders from the University of Massachusetts- Amherst in 2015. Brittany completed her Clinical Fellowship Year at Regional West Medical Center in Western Nebraska, where she worked with both adults and pediatrics, in both inpatient and outpatient settings. She returned to Massachusetts in 2016 to work at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital. Brittany joined the Speech and Swallow Department at BWH in June 2020, working mainly with adults with dysphagia.

Bridget Perry, PhD, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Dr. Bridget Perry received her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame in 2003, her Master’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Rush University in 2009 and her Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Sciences from MGH Institute of Health Professions in 2018. She joined the Speech and Swallow Department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in 2009, after completing her Clinical Fellowship Year at the Boston VA Healthcare System. She began her post-doctoral research fellowship in 2018 at Tuft’s Medical Center in the Department of Clinical and Translational Sciences.

Her research interests include the evaluation and treatment of neurologically-based speech and swallowing impairments and evidence-based, patient-centered decision-making surrounding feeding management in persons with dysphagia. She has presented her work exploring speech and swallowing impairments in persons following facial transplantation and in persons diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) at several national conventions and has co-authored numerous peer-reviewed publications.

Jessica Shultz, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Jessica Shultz received her Bachelor of Arts in Speech and Hearing Science from University of Maryland in 2014 and her Master of Science from Rush University in 2016. She completed her Clinical Fellowship Year at the Edward Hines Jr VA Hospital working in acute care, acute spinal cord rehabilitation, and outpatient clinics. She has been part of the Speech and Swallow Department at BWH working with adult inpatients since December 2017. Her main clinical interest is in evaluation and treatment of dysphagia.

Zachary M. Smith, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Zach Smith received his Bachelor of Science in Speech, Language, and Hearing Science from Boston University in 2013 and his Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology from the MGH Institute of Health Professions in 2015. He completed his clinical fellowship year at an outpatient clinic in Anaheim, CA. He then transitioned to St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA where he worked with adults in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Zach also operated a company that brought mobile endoscopic swallow evaluation (FEES) to skilled nursing facilities around Los Angeles and Phoenix. He joined the Speech and Swallow Department at Brigham and Women's Hospital in January 2020.

Sofia Vallila Rohter, PhD, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Sofia Vallila Rohter received her PhD in Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology in 2014 from MIT as part of the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology Program. She has been a part of the Speech and Swallow Department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital since 2013 and continues to practice on a per-diem basis in the acute care setting.

Dr. Vallila Rohter is currently an Assistant Professor at the MGH-Institute of Health Professions in Communication Sciences and Disorders and is the Co-Director of the Cognitive Neuroscience Group (CNG) a collaborative research group that uses behavioral and neuroscience methods to examine the relationship between learning, language ability and cognitive factors. More specifically, Dr. Vallila Rohter examines behaviors using computer paradigms, eye-tracking and electroencephalography (EEG) to better understand the underlying mechanisms contributing to relearning in individuals with aphasia. The broad goal of her research is to improve clinicians’ abilities to evaluate and tailor treatment to individuals, improving the predictability and efficacy of treatment for aphasia.

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