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School of Psychology, Speech and Hearing
+64 3 3695126
Coughing and swallowing are crucial to our survival due to their role in protecting our airways. Dysfunction of these two functions frequently co-occurs, critically compromising our respiratory system. Approximately 9,000 New Zealanders will be diagnosed with swallowing impairment each year due to a vast array of medical diagnoses (i.e., stroke, head and neck cancer). Almost one third of these patients will die from secondary complications, such as pneumonia. There is an urgent clinical need to better understand the coordination of these functions, so that diagnosis is improved, and an understanding of the mechanisms by which remediation of impairment is gained. Of the medical diagnoses associated with a swallowing and coughing impairment, Māori are disproportionately represented in burden statistics, indicating increased risk of living with the effects of dysfunction. I have three distinct but related areas of research in the area of upper aerodigestive function: - Defining the role of sensation in upper aerodigestive function- Increasing scientific rigor of outcome measures of upper aerodigestive function- Addressing hauora inequities for MāoriMy research programme utilizes expertise from a range of disciplines to explore the relationship between respiration, swallowing and coughing. This will improve our ability to diagnose and manage dysfunction in any one of these systems. My thorough approach to scientific rigor and sustained productivity in transforming outcome measurement will ensure robust estimates of these functions, significantly impacting our capacity to characterize mechanisms of dysfunction. I am developing Kaupapa Māori research to indigenize management of these disorders, and enhance clinical competence in service delivery.