Dr. Giselle Carnaby and Team Receive NCI Grant

Published: November 24th, 2013

Category: Faculty News

Giselle CarnabyDr. Giselle Carnaby, Associate Professor in the Department of Behavioral Science and Community Health, and Co-director of UF’s Swallowing Laboratory, is a Co-Principle Investigator on a recently awarded R21 grant from the National Cancer Institute.

She is collaborating with a team of investigators from various departments in the College of Public Health and Health Professions and the College of Medicine. Principal Investigator, Dr. Michael Crary, is from the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Co-investigators include Dr. Linda Bartoshuk from the Department of Dentistry, Dr. Mike Robinson from the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, and Dr. William Mendenhall from the College of Medicine.

In this two year study they will assess the development of symptom clusters of oral morbidity including pain, swallow frequency, taste, mucositis, xerostomia, and fear, with a focus on how these symptoms are related over time.

They argue that fear of movement and re-injury prior to chemoradiation influences the development of significant oral morbidity and reduces the swallowing efficiency. This results in patients needing to get tubes or be placed on modified diets.

In addition, they will be testing a pilot intervention that is grounded in fear-avoidance models to mitigate fear of swallowing in head and neck cancer patients. Patients will gradually be exposed to fearful situations and thoughts pertaining to swallowing and feeding over time.

Dr. Carnaby, who has also a clinical background as a speech therapist, is an internationally recognized expert in swallowing and quality of life outcomes among head and neck cancer and stroke patients. In 2012 she received a prestigious fellowship with the American Speech Language Hearing Association for her outstanding professional achievements in the discipline of Communication Sciences and Disorders.