Gemma Clunie is an HEE/NIHR Clinical Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial College.
Gemma received her undergraduate degree in English Literature (BA (Hon)) from Durham University in 2002. She went on to receive an MSc in Speech and Language Sciences with distinction from University College London in 2006.
She works as a Clinical Specialist Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust within the National Centre for Airway Reconstruction. She won her Clinical Doctoral Fellowship in 2018 and is currently working towards a PhD under the supervision of Prof. Alison McGregor, Dr Caroline Alexander and Dr Justin Roe with the clinical supervision of Mr Guri Sandhu .
Gemma is investigating the voice and swallowing concerns and outcomes of adults with laryngotracheal stenosis before and after airway surgery. Her systematic review was published in Laryngoscope in early 2020 (see publications).
The first part of this research explored the patient experience of living with airway stenosis and the voice and swallowing changes that occur as a consequence of the disease and reconstructive airway surgery. This used focus groups and semi-structured interviews to talk to patients about their lived experience with a particular focus on their swallowing and voice concerns. This research has already led to changes in our clinical service and has helped to find out what patients want from their care. Part of this work has already been published in Dysphagia (see publication list for details).
The qualitative study identified that mucus and cough are huge problems for patients with airway stenosis but are very under-researched areas. A further piece of research has been carried out to look at this in more detail using an online survey to explore patient experiences of mucus and cough as a consequence of their airway stenosis.
The second part of the research is an observational, repeated measures study looking at a range of swallowing and voice outcome measures completed prior to reconstructive surgery, two weeks post-surgery and six months post-surgery. The aim of this is to identify what actually changes in voice and swallowing ability after an operation and if it improves voice and swallowing or makes them worse. In addition these outcome measures will be related to the cause of airway stenosis and type of operation to find out if swallowing and voice problems vary.
The results of both studies will help to design a care pathway for airway stenosis patients that are individualised and robust, taking into account the likely impact on swallowing and voice of both the diagnosis and the surgery.
During the course of her Clinical Doctoral Fellowship Gemma has become interested in the impacts of COVID-19 on airway, voice and swallowing (whether due to intubation and tracheostomy or as a result of post-COVID syndrome/Long COVID). She is a professional advisor for RCSLT and has been an active member of the COVID-19 Advisory group established to co-ordinate resources and professional guidance for SLTs during the pandemic. She is also a member of the International Ultrasound (US) group who are working to consider the steps necessary to implement US into clinical practice for SLTs.
et al., 2022, Patient and practitioner perspectives on the design of a simulated affective touch device to reduce procedural anxiety associated with radiotherapy: a qualitative study, Bmj Open, Vol:12, ISSN:2044-6055
et al., 2022, Not as simple as “fear of the unknown”: a qualitative study exploring anxiety in the radiotherapy department, European Journal of Cancer Care, Vol:31, ISSN:0961-5423
et al., 2022, Translating ultrasound into clinical practice for the assessment of swallowing and laryngeal function: a speech and language pathology-led consensus study, Dysphagia, ISSN:0179-051X
et al., 2022, An international commentary on dysphagia and dysphonia during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dysphagia, ISSN:0179-051X
et al., 2021, Considerations for speech and language therapy management of dysphagia in patients who are critically ill with COVID-19: a single centre case series, International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, ISSN:1354-8581