First Bite #150 – June 01, 2021

Dysphagia Awareness with Dysphagia Outreach Project

(.1 ASHA and AOTA CEUs) For more info, click here.

Course Description

In this episode, Michelle is honored to be interviewing the founding board members and several volunteers of Dysphagia Outreach Project, a non-profit whose mission is to raise awareness for individuals with dysphagia across the life continuum, while also placing tangible supplies into their hands! Dysphagia Outreach Project, (DOP), is a 100% volunteer based organization, and in this hour Hillary Cooper, MS CCC-SLP, Michelle Coffaro, MS CCC-SLP, CBIS, Jessica Lasky, MS CCC-SLP, Allie Mataras, MS CCC-SLP, Amanda Weissberg, MS CCC-SLP, and Alyson Ware, MS CCC-SLP, educate all of us as the extraordinary work that DOP does every day to fill the supply and access needs for our patients! Big picture: those needs don’t just stop at formula and bottles…DOP shares how they are involved in caregiver education and advocacy at a local level because they all understand that kindness, compassion, and joy are what drives positive changes for our patients! We hope you enjoy join First Bite and Dysphagia Outreach Project for the perfect combination of laughter and learning to kickoff Dysphagia Awareness Month!


By the end of this PodCourse, participants will be able to identify and describe:

  • The history and mission of Dysphagia Outreach Project.
  • Specific supply/access needs of patients with dysphagia across the life continuum.
  • Strategies volunteering and fulfilling the needs of patients with dysphagia across the life continuum.


Hillary Cooper

Hillary Cooper is a self-proclaimed “dysphagia nerd” who has extensive experience with pediatrics and adults in a variety of settings. She owns North Louisiana Swallow Solutions, a mobile FEES company, works as an Adjunct Clinical Instructor at University of Louisiana at Monroe, is a co-owner of Evolutionary Education Solutions, a CEU company, serves as a peer mentor for the Medical SLP Collective, and is the Publication Chair for the Louisiana Speech-Language Hearing Association (LSHA). She has found a love of all things teaching and shares her knowledge with Universities and state SLP organizations around the country and has been featured on many SLP podcasts. Her love of advocating led her to create The Dysphagia Outreach Project, which is the project that brings her more joy than any other.


Michelle Coffaro, M.S., CCC-SLP, CBIS

Michelle Coffaro, M.S., CCC-SLP, CBIS is a medical speech-language pathologist who has experience in acute care, inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient, and home health. Michelle is founder of a mobile Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES) company located in Ohio. Michelle is a 3-time ASHA ACE award recipient and an active member of ASHA Special Interest Group 13 (Swallowing and Swallow Disorders, the Dysphagia Research Society (DRS), and Ohio Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Michelle serves as VP of Operations of the Dysphagia Outreach project.


Jessica Lasky

Jessica Lasky is a medical Speech-Language Pathologist that specializes in dysphagia and the adult and geriatric populations. Jessica has worked in nearly every setting possible from outpatient neuro rehabilitation, stroke and trauma 1 hospitals, acute rehab facilities, and SNFs. In 2015 Jessica launched her mobile FEES company, Mobile Scope, that provides FEES services throughout the state of Arizona. She has since also launched a CEU company, Evolutionary Education Solutions, focusing on dysphagia and FEES training.

Jessica is passionate about patient advocacy, evidence-based practice and continuous clinical growth, and mentoring. Jessica is a clinical mentor and moderator for the medSLP Collective and enjoys helping fellow clinicians all over the country and the world navigate tricky clinical problems. Jessica is a 4-time ASHA ACE recipient and presents on various topics from dysphagia to delirium all over the United States. Jessica co-founded the Dysphagia Outreach Project along with Hillary Cooper and Michelle Caffaro to help spread education and resources to clinicians and patients working with and impacted by dysphagia. She lives in Phoenix with her husband their three beautiful cats.


Allie Mataras

Allie Mataras has treated patients with dysphagia in the acute, subacute, LTAC and inpatient rehab settings. She is a member of ASHA Special Interest Group 13 (Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders), Dysphagia Research Society, and the New Jersey Speech-Language Hearing Association. Allie is a 3-time ASHA ACE Award recipient for her dedication towards continuing education in the field of dysphagia. Allie has successfully implemented and managed Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES) programs at the corporate level and she is the co-founder of New Jersey-based mobile FEES company, FEESible Swallow Solutions. Allie is especially excited and honored to be a part of the Dysphagia Outreach Project, as she believes wholeheartedly that all persons with dysphagia should have direct access to the tools that are vital in the maintenance of dysphagia, as well as overall improvement of quality of life.


Alyson Ware

Alyson Smith is a pediatric speech-language pathologist with feeding and swallowing experience in infants, toddlers, and young children. She is an advocate for evidence-based practices and has received two ASHA Awards for Continuing Education. Alyson is currently pursuing her Board Certification in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders.


Amanda Weissberg

Amanda Weissberg graduated with her Bachelor’s and Master’s from California State University, Northridge in Los Angeles. She has worked for the last three and a half years across the continuum from a skilled nursing facility, sub-acute facility, outpatient, acute rehab, and inpatient/critical care settings. She most recently works per-diem at an acute care hospital in Los Angeles. Amanda volunteers on Dysphagia Outreach Project’s Public Relations Social Media Team as Instagram Team Captain, ASHA S.T.E.P. Mentor, and Heart2Heart Mentor for two clinical fellows. In January 2021 she received her first ACE Award per her drive and motivation for continuing education to stay up to date with evidence-based practice. Additionally, she created the Instagram platform, @millennialmedslp to help spread evidence-based practice, education, and to continue her own professional development. Amanda currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband, daughter, and her four-legged furry son.