Debra Suiter is the Director of the Voice and Swallow Clinic and Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. She received a Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology in 1993 and a Doctoral Degree in Speech and Hearing Science in 2001, both from The University of Tennessee-Knoxville. She has worked in a number of clinical service settings, including acute care, acute rehabilitation, long-term care, and outpatient settings. Debra has extensive experience in working with adults with swallowing disorders. She is a Board Certified Specialist in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders and currently serves on the Boards of the American Board for Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders and the Dysphagia Research Society.
Debra’s academic focus involves clinical supervision of graduate and undergraduate students both completing rotations and observation hours in the department of Communication Sciences and Disorders who have an interest in the evaluation and treatment of swallowing disorders.
Debra’s specialized training includes the evaluation and treatment of swallowing disorders. She works as a member of the multidisciplinary ALS clinic under the direction of Dr. Edward Kasarskis. Additionally, she is a certified provider of Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) for treatment of voice changes associated with Parkinson Disease and related disorders.
Scholarly Interests & Publications
Debra has presented on the topics of swallowing and swallowing disorders at local, national and international conferences and has published the results of her research in a number of peer-reviewed publications. She is also the co-author of a book on The Yale Swallow Protocol that she and Dr. Steven Leder from Yale University School of Medicine developed.
- Leder, S. B., & Suiter, D. M. (2014). Five days of successful oral alimentation for hospitalized patients based upon passing the Yale Swallow Protocol. Annals of Otology, Rhinology, and Laryngology, DOI 10.1177/0003489414525589 .
- Suiter, D. M., Sloggy, J., & Leder, S. B. (2014). Validation of the Yale Swallow Protocol: A prospective double-blinded videofluoroscopic study. Dysphagia, 29, 199-203.
- Warner, H., Suiter, D. M., Nystrom, K., Poskus, K., & Leder, S. B. (2014). Comparing accuracy of Yale swallow protocol when administered by registered nurses and speech-language pathologists. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 23, 1908-15.
- Leder ,S. B., Suiter, D. M., Murray, J. T., & Rademaker, A. W. (2013). Can an oral mechanism examination contribute to the assessment of odds of aspiration? Dysphagia, 28, 370-374.
- Suiter, D. M., Gosa, M. M., & Leder, S. B. (2013). Intra-oral dwell time results in increased bolus temperature and decreased bolus viscosity for thickened liquids. Topics in Clinical Nutrition, 28, 3-7.
- Leder , S. B., Suiter, D. M., Warner, H., Acton, L. M., & Siegel, M. (2012). Safe initiation of oral diets in hospitalized patients based on passing a 3-ounce (90 cc) water swallow challenge protocol. QJM, 105, 257-263.
- Cannito, M. P., Suiter, D. M., Beverly, D., Chorna, L., Wolf, T., & Pfeiffer, R. (2012). Sentence intelligibility before and after voice treatment in speakers with idiopathic Parkinson's disease. Journal of Voice, 26, 214-219.
- Leder, S. B., Suiter, D. M., Warner, H. L., Acton, L. M., & Swainson, B. A. (2012). Efficacy and success of recommending oral alimentation in acute stroke patients based solely on passing the 3-Ounce (90cc) water swallow challenge. Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation, 19, 40-44.
- Leder, S. B., Suiter, D. M., Warner, H. L., & Kaplan, L. J. (2011). Initiating safe oral feeding in critically ill intensive care and step-down unit patients based on passing the 3-ounce (90cc) water swallow challenge. The Journal of Trauma, 70, 1203-1207.
- Fattal, M., Suiter, D. M., Warner, H. L., & Leder, S. B. (2011). Effect of presence/absence of a nasogastric tube in the same person on incidence of aspiration. Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery,145, 796-800.
- Leder, S. B., Suiter, D. M., Duffey, D., & Judson, B. L. (2011). Vocal fold immobility and aspiration status: A direct replication study. Dysphagia, 27, 265-270.
- Leder, S. B., Lazarus, C. L., Suiter, D. M., & Acton, L. M. (2011). Effect of orogastric tubes on aspiration status and recommendations for oral feeding. Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, 144, 372-375.
- Leder, S. B., Suiter, D. M., & Green, B. G. (2011). Silent aspiration risk is volume dependent. Dysphagia, 26, 304-309.
- Beverly, D., Cannito, M. P., Chorna, L., Wolf, T., Suiter, D. M., & Bene, E. R. (2010). Influence of stimulus sentence characteristics on speech intelligibility scores in hypokinetic dysarthria. Journal of Medical Speech-Language Pathology, 18, 9-13.
- Leder, S. B., & Suiter, D. M. (2009). An epidemiologic study on aging and dysphagia in the acute care hospitalized population: 2000-2007. Gerontology, 55, 714-718.
- Leder, S. B., Suiter, D. M., & Lisitano, H. L. (2009). Answering orientation questions and following single step verbal commands: Effect on aspiration status. Dysphagia, 24, 290-295.
- Suiter, D. M., Leder, S. B., & Karas, D. E. (2009). The 3-ounce (90 cc) water swallow challenge: A screening test for children with suspected oropharyngeal dysphagia. Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, 140, 187-190.
- Cannito, M. P., Suiter, D. M., Chorna, L., Beverly, D., Wolf, T., & Watkins, J. (2008). Speech intelligibility in a speaker with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease before and after treatment. Journal of Medical Speech-Language Pathology, 16, 207-212.
- Beverly, D., Cannito, M. P., Suiter, D., Chorna, L., Wolf, T., Watkins, J., & Pfeiffer, R. (2008). Formant steadiness: Treatment related changes in speakers with hypokinetic dysarthria. Journal of Medical Speech-Language Pathology, 16I, 199-205.
- Leder, S. B., & Suiter, D. M. (2008). Effect of nasogastric feeding tubes on aspiration status. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 89, 648-651.
- Suiter, D. M., & Leder, S. B. (2008). Clinical utility of the 3 ounce water swallow test. Dysphagia, 23, 244-250.
- Suiter, D. M., & Moorhead, M. K. (2007). Effects of flexible fiberoptic endoscopy on pharyngeal swallow physiology. Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, 137, 956-958.
- Suiter, D. M., & Ruark-McMurtrey, J. L. (2007). Oxygen saturation and heart rate during feeding in breast-fed infants at 1-week and 2-months of age. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 88, 1681-1685.
- McCullough, G. H., Rosenbek, J. C., Wertz, R. T., Suiter, D., & McCoy, S. (2007). Defining swallowing function by age: Promises and pitfalls of pigeonholing. Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation, 23, 290-307.
- Suiter, D. M., & Leder, S. B. (2007). Contribution of tracheotomy tubes and one-way speaking valves to swallowing success. Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation, 23, 341-351.
- Suiter, D. M., & Easterling, C. S. (2007). Update on the current state of dysphagia treatment. Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation, 23, 197-210.
- Cannito, M. P., Suiter, D. M., Wolf, T., Chorna, L., Beverly, D., & Watkins, J. (2006). Vowel harmonic amplitude differences in a speaker with hypokinetic dysarthria before and after treatment. Journal of Medical Speech-Language Pathology, 14, 229-234.
- Suiter, D. M., Leder, S. B., & Ruark, J. L. (2006). Effects of neuromuscular electrical stimulation on submental muscle activity. Dysphagia, 21, 56-60.