JoAnne Robbins

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Dr. JoAnne Robbins
Residence Madison, WI
Alma mater B.A., Temple University, 1972
M.S., U.W.-Madison, 1973
Ph.D., Northwestern University, 1981
Occupation Speech-Language Pathologist

Dr. JoAnne Robbins, Ph.D. is an American authority on dysphagia and biomedical engineering, and is professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.[1] For more than three decades she has been a leading researcher in the field of swallowing abnormalities. Her work has uncovered correlations among elderly populations who are at increased risk for pneumonia, choking and other serious medical conditions as a result of dysphagia.[2][3] Using grants from N.I.H. and the Department of Veterans Affairs, Robbins developed a medical device designed to help people afflicted with swallowing disorders.[4]

Career highlights[edit]

Robbins is a noted academic, researcher and entrepreneur. She holds teaching positions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and serves as associate director of research at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital.

She has conducted extensive studies on aging.[5] Although motor exercises have been used widely as a treatment for speech problems for many decades, Robbins applied strengthening therapy to swallowing rehabilitation. In 2012, she began a clinical demonstration project which sought to improve swallowing and eating-related care for dysphagic veterans.[6]

In 2013, Robbins introduced a new medical device to provide isometric exercises for treating patients with dysphagia. The product, sold through a company called Swallow Solutions, is an oral mouthpiece which uses sensors to measure pressure at five locations on the tongue.[7]

She frequently speaks via Internet trade portals and at conferences around the United States.[8][9] She is coauthor of a culinary book targeted for those who have difficulty swallowing. First published in 2002, the book is titled, The Easy-to-Swallow, Easy-to-Chew Cookbook.[10]


Robbins earned a B.A. degree from Temple University in 1972, an M.S. degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1973, and a Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 1981. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship program through NIH’s National Research Service Award. She is a Board Certified Specialist in Swallowing (BCS-S) and holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence for Speech-Language Pathologists (CCC-SLP). She has published dozens of research papers involving dysphagia and holds several patents.[11]

Boards, community service[edit]

Robbins serves on numerous medical boards, including the American Heart Association’s Stroke Council.[12] She is a past president of the Dysphagia Research Society, and has served on the editorial boards of several industry publications, including the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, Dysphagia Journal and the Journal of Medical Speech-Language Pathology.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Advances in Swallowing Disorders Therapy". Swallowing Disorder Foundation. June 1, 2013. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Taking Their Chances: As People Age, they Swallow More Slowly". Chicago Tribune. November 22, 1992. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  3. ^ "When the Meal Won't Go Down". New York Times. April 21, 2010. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Tool makes for a well-toned tongue". CNN. March 14, 2003. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  5. ^ "The Nature, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention of Senescent Swallowing". U.W.-Madison, Institute on Aging. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Swallow Stronger-Swallow Safer". Dysphagia Cafe. March 12, 2014. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  7. ^ "New device uses sensors to evaluate and treat patients who have trouble swallowing". MedCity News. March 4, 2013. Retrieved July 27, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Managing Dysphagia: From Compensation for Impairment to Restoring Function and Adjusting for Optimum Outcome". Washington Hearing and Speech Assn. June 21, 2014. Retrieved July 27, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Strength, Endurance and Exercise: Dining with Dysphagia". Speech September 19, 2011. Retrieved July 27, 2014. 
  10. ^ Easy-to-Swallow, Easy-to-Chew Cookbook. John Wiley and Sons. 2002. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  11. ^ "J. Robbins CV" (PDF). November 2008. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Swallow Solutions Founder Appointed to American Heart Association Stroke Council". HomeCare magazine. October 22, 2013. Retrieved July 28, 2014.