UKSRG Committee Members

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Dr. David Smithard is chairman of UKSRG

David is a stroke physician and director of R&D in London and the South East.

David’s research interests include swallowing control, assessment and treatment post stroke





Prof. Paula Leslie is Committee member and scientific committee chair

Paula supports clinicians and researchers with complex decision-making, ethics, end of life, in vulnerable populations, and non-traditional advanced training. She is a Fellow of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, has received the SWPSHA Honors, and the ASHFoundation Louis M DiCarlo Award for contributions to palliative care and SLT. She works in the North West England

Paula’s research interests include swallow assessment & reliability, healthy ageing swallow, quality of life, ethics & decision making in vulnerable groups and at end of life.



Sue McGowan is committee secretary

Sue works as a Clinical Specialist Speech and Language Therapist in neurointensive care in London. She co-founded and co-runs the hospitals’ multi-disciplinary Tracheostomy Team in 2001. She is on the committee of the Tracheostomy Clinical Excellence Network and has lectured nationally and internationally. She is an RCSLT Advisor in Critical Care and has contributed to and co-authored profession-specific and national guidance documents relating to the care of tracheostomy and neuroscience patients.

Sue’s research interests include tracheostomy and dysphagia and swallowing function of ventilator dependent patients.




Prof. Christine Roffe is a committee member.

Christine Roffe is a stroke physician, trialist and Professor of Stroke Medicine in Staffordshire. She leads the National Institute for Health Research Hyperacute Stroke Research Centre Oversight Group.

Christine’s research interests are acute and hyperacute interventions for stroke, and the prevention of stroke complications, such as hypoxia and pneumonia. She is the chief investigator for the Metoclopramide and for the Prevention of Pneumonia (MAPS-2) trial.



Rebecca Murphy is a committee member.

Rebecca is a highly specialist paediatric Speech and Language Therapist and IBCLC Lactation Consultant in London. She specialises in neonatal feeding and communication development.

Rebecca’s research interests include neonatal feeding and infant communication.





Anita Smith is a committee member.

Anita is a consultant Speech and Language Therapist in the South East where she is dysphagia lead and manages the integrated acute and community services and is a RCSLT Specialist Advisor.

Anita’s research interests include instrumental assessment, therapeutic interventions, complexity classification and outcome measurement.





Alison Smith is a committee member

Alison is a Prescribing Support Consultant Dietitian in a CCG Medicines Optimisation Team working in the community in the East Of England specialising in the care of older adults.

Alison’s research interests include malnutrition; nutrition screening; care homes; dysphagia; dementia; frailty; pressure ulcers and non-cancer end of life.




Sarah Wallace OBE is a committee member

Sarah is Consultant Speech and Language Therapist specialising in Critical care and Dysphagia in the Northwest . She holds national leadership roles for the National Tracheostomy Safety Project, Intensive Care Society and is RCSLT Specialist Advisor and a member of the RCSLT and Global Covid Advisory groups. She is a consultant volunteer for the NGO Speech Therapy Cambodia.

Sarah’s research interests include laryngeal complications and rehabilitation following   intubation and tracheostomy in critical care.


Dr Hannah Crawford is treasurer and scientific committee member

Hannah is the Professional Head of Speech & Language in the North East and her clinical experience is mainly in people with a learning disability and dysphagia.

Hannah’s research interests include Care staff compliance with dysphagia recommendations,  Dysphagia, ethics and risk, Dysphagia in people with profound and multiple disabilities



Lisa Everton UKSRG representative  at UK Stroke Forum Scientific Committee

Lisa is a highly specialist Speech and Language Therapist working in acute stroke and also joint AHP Clinical Academic Lead in the Midlands

Lisa’s research interests are in dysphagia rehabilitation post-stroke, VFSS, FEES and outcome measures.





Alex Stewart is committee and abstract committee member

Alex is a Speech and Language Therapist, specialising in paediatric dysphagia in London.  She is currently undertaking an NIHR funded clinical doctoral research fellowship, investigating swallow physiology and feeding outcomes of children born with oesophageal atresia and trachea-oesophageal fistula. 

Ales’s research interests include high resolution impedance manometry; outcome measurement and dysphagia associated with tracheal abnormalities



Justin Roe is committee and abstract  committee member

Justin is a Consultant Speech and Language Therapist specialising in dysphagia in benign and malignant head and neck disease. He is a service manager for Speech and Language Therapy; an airway service and holds a honorary academic appointment in London.

Justin’s research interests include functional outcomes following interventions to treat laryngotracheal stenosis and head and neck cancers; optimising function in the context of late treatment effects in HNC; co-design of care pathways across the lifespan to enhance care experiences; therapist-led care models to support and enhance healthcare systems.


Russel Walker

Committee member and Coordinator of Sponsors

Russell is a Highly specialist speech and language therapist

Russell’s research Interests include diagnostics; palliative car; end-of-life decision making and frailty issues.





Mr Chad Al Yaghchi is a committee member

Mr Chadwan Al Yaghchi is a consultant Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon in London. He has a subspecialist interest in adult and paediatric laryngology. He manages the full spectrum of laryngeal disorders including airway stenosis, dysphagia and dysphonia.

Mr Chadwan Al Yaghchi research interests include dysphagia; airway stenosis and Paediatric dysphagia


Dr Christine Smith is a committee member

Christina is lecturers and researches in the field of drinking and swallowing in London and the Midlands.  She works clinically with adults with dysphagia across a range of different clinical environments. 

Christina’s research interests include eating drinking and swallowing across the age span. 





Prof Dame Caroline Watkins is a committee member

Caroline is Professor of Stroke & Older People’s Care,  Faculty Director of Research and Enterprise,  and Director of a Clinical Trials Unit in the North West. She is also NIHR Emeritus Senior Investigator.

Caroline’s research interests include stroke assessment and management; psychological adjustment; depression; continence; swallowing ;f recovery; emergency pathways; user involvement and needs assessment.



Jacqui Benfield is a committee member and Joint UK Stroke Forum representative

Jacqui is Clinical Lead SLT for acute stroke and rehab in the East Midlands. She is a clinical academic, her PhD is investigating the assessment and rehabilitation of post stroke dysphagia. 

Jacqui’s research interests include bedside dysphagia assessment; interprofessional dysphagia management; neuro-rehabilitation.; post stroke dysphagia and videofluoroscopy.