Advancing your trismus therapy to skilled and individualized. Are you providing the safest & highest level of evidence based practice in your trismus evaluation & intervention?
Lauren Meffen MA CCC/SLP, CLT
Lauren Meffen is a speech language pathologist with a passion for working with voice and swallow disorders. She has remained local to Gainesville after receiving her schooling with Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of Florida. Lauren has worked in a variety of settings including hospital, skilled nursing, home health and has now found her heart belongs in the outpatient setting. Here she can provide a high level of individualized and quality care for each patient and family.
Over the years, she has developed a love and specialization in working with the oncology population. She has advanced training in management of lymphedema of the head and neck as a CLT, trismus therapy, muscle tension dysphonia, FEES, stroboscopy, MDTP, RMST and myofascial release techniques. She strongly champions a comprehensive approach toward treating the whole patient, with the involvement of a skilled, multi-disciplinary team.
Megan Nosol, M.S.Ed., M.S., PA-S1
Megan is a former medical-based Speech-Language Pathologist who holds a master’s degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Upon graduation from UNC's program in 2013, Megan worked as a clinician in the skilled nursing, outpatient rehabilitation, non-profit organization, and telepractice settings from 2014-2020. Her main areas of interest were head and neck cancer, neurorehabilitation, and counseling.
With her additional master’s degree in Secondary Education, Megan uses her passion for teaching to instruct webinars and courses for SLPs, such as "The ARK-J Program Trismus Intervention Certification Course", “The Evolving Swallow: Managing the Effects of Chemo, Radiation, and Surgery” webinar, and "Filling in the Gaps: Missing Components of Dysphagia Education" course with Ed Bice, M.A. CCC-SLP. She enjoys helping others learn and found mentoring new clinicians one of the most rewarding aspects of her job as a clinician. You can listen to Megan's podcast episodes on Swallow Your Pride to learn more about important considerations when treating HNC patients (episode 8) or read about trismus intervention or using Motivational Interviewing as a counseling approach with dysphagia patients in Megan's blog posts on Dysphagia Cafe. Currently, Megan is currently a Physician Assistant student (graduating class of 2024) at Quinnipiac University in North Haven, Connecticut.
Financial Disclosure: Mrs. Nosol receives an honorarium for teaching this course from Carolina Speech Pathology.
Non-financial Disclosure: Megan is a board member for the Burgundy & White non-profit organization.
Brian Kanapkey, M.A., CCC-SLP
Brian holds a Master’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology for University of Louisiana Monroe. For the past 15 years, Brian has worked as a speech-language pathologist for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) Ear Nose and Throat Clinic with a specialty in the areas of voice restoration and swallowing disorders. He runs a specialty service for coverage of over-sized tracheoesophageal fistula using silicone augmentation of TEP prostheses when surgical closure is not deemed a safe option. His clinical expertise and design has led to the commercial manufacturing of his dual-valved tracheoesophageal voice prosthesis.
Brian has co-authored research articles with ENT physicians who experts in the area of head and neck cancer, supervised numerous graduate SLP students from UNC Chapel Hill, and has taught the Swallowing Disorders course in the UNC Graduate School Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences for twelve years now and is an adjunct professor at North Carolina Central University.
Financial Disclosure: Mr. Kanapkey will receive an honorarium for teaching this course from Carolina Speech Pathology. He also receives compensation for teaching the Dysphagia course at NCCU as an adjunct faculty member.
Non-financial Disclosure: Mr. Kanapkey has no non-financial disclosures to report.
The homemade ARK-J Stretching Device (ARKJSD) was developed by Brian Kanapkey and Byron Kubik, both CCC-SLPs who specialize in head and neck cancer. They created the device in response to an overwhelming need to offer patients a jaw-stretching device because either they could not afford the device or insurance would not cover the cost of a device. The cost of the device was a major barrier to providing effective trismus treatment to their patients. Thus, Kanapkey and Kubik used easily-obtained medical supplies to make a jaw-stretching device that was comfortable for patients, dynamic enough to reduce the pressure on the teeth, gums, and TMJ, could be made more or less challenging for patients, and was easy to make.
The ARK-JSD device is not a competitor to other passive jaw mobility devices on the market, but rather a safer, more effective jaw mobility tool than ineffective method of stacked tongue depressors.
Our hope is that by showing other clinicians how to make this homemade device, we will remove the financial barrier that prevents so many patients from participating in trismus treatment and put an end to the harmful stacked tongue depressors technique.
Learn more about the ARK-J Stretching Device from Brian Kanapkey's video below about how the device is used with trismus patients.