Tackling Paediatric Dysphagia MHSc to a PhD

Victoria Sherman is a third year PhD student in the Swallowing Lab, under the supervision of  Professor, Rosemary Martino and Assistant Professor Deryk Beal. During her clinical Master’s program at the University of Toronto, Victoria realized her passion for paediatrics and research. Her doctoral research focuses on feeding and swallowing impairment following stroke in children. Victoria continues to work clinically alongside her PhD studies in the hopes of becoming a clinician-scientist.

We asked Victoria why she chose speech-language pathology, how her current research interest came about and what advice she would give her peers who are considering the transition from “the clinical stream” to “the research stream”…

I was debating between Social Work and SLP, but I was very interested in the medical aspects of SLP. I always knew I wanted to be in a helping profession, and was encouraged by the broad scope of the SLP field.  During my clinical Master’s, I worked as a work-study student and was exposed to many aspects of the research process. I knew then that I wanted to participate in both clinical and research aspects of our field.

Paediatric dysphagia is an under-researched area in our field, especially in Canada. I learned so much from my clinical work with adults that I wanted to contribute to the field of pediatrics, and help advance evidence-based practice in this area.  I would encourage students to consider research as it does not necessarily mean closing the clinical door. It is an amazing way to network in our field, learn from experts, travel to state-of-the-art facilities, gain critical appraisal skills, and build capacity to contribute even more to speech-language pathology.