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USF Health’s Joy McCann Culverhouse Provides Comprehensive Swallowing Care

Whether it’s eating food, drinking water or taking medication, swallowing is one of our most basic functions and something we largely take for granted – until we can’t.

Difficulty swallowing, a disorder known as dysphagia, can profoundly affect a person’s life.

For those suffering from dysphagia in the Tampa Bay region and beyond, the USF Health Joy McCann Culverhouse Center for Swallowing Disorders at the University of South Florida offers hope and comprehensive care as the only endowed swallowing center in the United States.

patient consultation between Jay Jacobs, MD and Jaimie Anderson

Dr. Jay Jacobs (center) and speech-language pathologist Jaimie Anderson (right) consult with a patient. 

"We provide care for patients with everything from A to Z,” said Jay Jacobs, MD, an associate professor of medicine and the director of the USF Health Joy McCann Culverhouse Center for Swallowing Disorders. "We see patients with all sorts of inflammatory conditions, such as eosinophilic esophagitis, or EOE for short. We actually have the largest EOE practice in the state of Florida."

The center takes a multidisciplinary approach to treating swallowing disorders, with speech-language pathologists working closely with physicians and surgeons to develop treatment plans tailored for each patient.

A woman with medium length wavy red and blonde hair using a wooden tongue depressor to treat an older male patient in a clinical exam room.

Speech-language pathologist Jaimie Anderson, MS, CCC-SLP, BC-ANCDS, treats a patient. 

"I find my role working with patients with swallowing disorders to be part advocate, part detective, and, of course, a therapist–somebody who really works with a multidisciplinary team to try and rehabilitate that swallow," said Jaimie Anderson, MS, CCC-SLP, BC-ANCDS, a speech-language pathologist at the USF Health Joy McCann Culverhouse Center for Swallowing Disorders.

For patients like Nancy Gizzi, a retired speech-language pathologist, the center's comprehensive care has made a significant difference in her quality of life.

"From my first visit with Jaimie, it completely turned my swallowing problem around," Gizzi said. "When I went out to lunch with my friends, I was able to order shrimp tacos, which have coleslaw, shrimp, dressing and the taco shell. I was able to eat that. That was the big turnaround. I mean, that was everything."

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About Health News

USF Health News highlights the great work of the faculty, staff and students across the four health colleges – Morsani College of Medicine, College of Public Health, College of Nursing and Taneja College of Pharmacy – and the multispecialty physicians group. USF Health, an integral part of the University of South Florida, integrates research, education and health care to reach our shared value - making life better.