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Better Hearing and Speech Month


Meet Michelle "Andrea" Lowrie, MS

 How long have you been employed at UMMC; what is your sub-specialty and why did you choose this area to focus on?
"I have worked at UMMC since March of 2010. I began at the rehab center and transitioned to the adult acute care setting in October of 2014. Most of my time in acute care is spent evaluating and treating patients who have oropharyngeal dysphagia (a swallowing disorder). I enjoy helping patients regain swallowing function after illness or injury because the ability to safely eat and drink is vitally important to quality of life. Seeing a patient's face light up when he or she gets that first sip of water after not being able to eat or drink for an extended period of time is very rewarding."

What is one thing you wish your patients knew about speech?
"It's not all about speech. Speech-language pathologists also address cognitive-linguistic deficits (attention, memory, reasoning, problem solving, executive functioning), voice disorders and dysphagia."

Where did you get you education/degree from?
"I received my undergraduate degree fromMississippi State University and taught special education before attending graduate school at the University of Alabama where I earned my Masters of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology."

Is there anything you would like for your patients to know about yourself?
"I really want all of my patients to be able to eat and drink; so when I recommend a modified barium swallow study for a patient, I'm not doing it so I can proive the patient needs to be NPA (cannot have any food or liquid by mouth). Instead, I want to do the study to see what food and liquid consistencies the patient can tolerate - even if it's only in limited amounts for pleasure / quality of life and not for primary nutrition. Also, it is to help determine if there are any specific precautions or compensatory strategies that improve the patient's safety when eating and drinking.

Last, but certainly not least, I am the proud mother of a 9 year old red tabby, Noble, and a 3 year old Scottish Terrier-Dachshund mix, Gracie, and I love them dearly.