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Provost PhD Awards

Re-defining “Success” in Transgender Communication Therapy

Transgender individuals have a gender identity different to that assigned at birth. When a person transitions gender, they may seek help from a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT). SLTs are experts in communication, who help transgender people to adapt their outward communication style to better fit their gender identity. This includes modifying vocal pitch, body postures, facial expressions, intonation and speech patterns. 

The widely held notion that transgender people successfully transition only if they ‘pass’ as male or female is controversial. This belief is likely shaped by societal views of a binary male and female world, into which transgender people are expected to fit. This disenfranchises transgender people and has led (non-transgender) healthcare providers to focus on interventions that aim to measurably convince naïve audiences that the trans person is really a man or woman. 

This project, led by P.I. Dr Ciarán Kenny from Trinity’s Department of Clinical Speech and Language Studies, will re-establish what ‘success’ means in transgender communication therapy. The output will redefine practices and provide more holistic and compassionate care for transgender individuals.





Improving Clinical Trials for Oropharyngeal Dysphagia in Parkinson’s Disease – The COS-ODiPD Study

Parkinson’s disease (PD) affects approximately 7-10 million people worldwide. Associated swallowing disorders (dysphagia) can significantly affect quality of life and increase mortality. Clinical trials seeking effective treatments for dysphagia in PD are costly and trial results (outcomes) are frequently too narrow in focus, dictated by researchers’ own agendas or interests of funders and industry. Furthermore, outcomes may only be assessed at the end of an experiment with no information on longer-term adverse treatment effects. An added problem is that researchers often report only favourable study outcomes. One solution is an agreed standardised Core Outcome Set (COS)  - outcomes that should be measured and reported as a minimum for all clinical trials for dysphagia in PD. Further consensus on how to define and evaluate these outcomes is also required. The aim of this study, led by PI Dr Margaret Walshe, is to develop a COS for clinical trials for dysphagia in PD (COS-ODiPD) and to achieve consensus on how and when to measure these outcomes. This has potential to change how trials are conducted for dysphagia in PD worldwide, maximising return for research investment.