Published on August 24, 2016
Pleased to post an interview with Soraia Ibrahim, a Speech-Language Pathologist from Lisbon, Portugal.
1) Where do you currently practice/teach? What is your main patient population?
I work in Lisbon, Portugal. I work at Hospital da Ordem Terceira, clinics. I work mainly with voice patients.
2) Where did you complete your education/training in voice?
My Bachelor of Science in Speech and Language Pathology in Lisbon, Escola Superior de Saúde Egas Moniz. My Master of Science degree in Voice Pathology in London, University College London.
3) What motivated you to dedicate yourself to the field of voice?
I had my internship at the Portuguese Institute of Oncology and I got really interested in voice. I wanted to provide a better quality of life and to make a difference in a very difficult part of the patient's life. Also it is a very straightforward field where we get results, and it is clinical which I really enjoy.
4) What comes to your mind as one of the most pressing issues in contemporary voice disorders in your country?
First of all, we are still dealing with making ourselves known in the hospitals, clinics...patients or even other clinicians are not aware of our work or what we can provide. However it is improving.
Secondly, we have a long way to go in providing teachers the tools to prevent voice disorders. The main problem is getting to them in the first place because when they come to us they already have a vocal pathology. I believe the challenge is similar everywhere in terms of prevention, education and to change behaviors in patients and also in clinicians as it is very important to be empathetic.
In Portugal we have Fado singing and it's very important to develop the singer’s awareness of vocal pathologies as well.
5) Do you have research interest(s)?
I've joined a research project a few years ago on Fado singing, which is a specific Portuguese singing style. We studied the acoustic and audio-perceptual voice profile, and then we created a perceptual scale of assessment. We still have some work to do on Fado. This will allow us to have better outcomes in the clinical practice with Fado singers while maintaining their specific voice features.
I have some other specific interests but I haven't been able to pursue them, yet. I would also like to study in depth the straw phonation outcomes and to test a few hypotheses.
6) Which vocal myth would you like to dispel?
I have some patients, especially professional voice users, that use some teas (eg. onion, purple flower etc.), some herbal pills and I would love to go through a few of them.
7) Your most memorable voice case?
Cordectomy in a female patient. It was amazing how she got her voice in such good conditions after that surgery.
8) Do you have a pet peeve?
Lack of common sense. And most of all, the lack of team work; sometimes I have the feeling that for some clinicians the patient is not the important issue but just getting to the end of the day. Team work is the golden standard for clinical practice people!
9) As a voice pathologist/educator/researcher, what keeps you on your toes?
- Providing the best quality of life and fast outcomes to patients for that research and clinical practice is the key!
- To know that patients go home in a good mood because of the outcomes and because they had fun.
- The constant feeling that I have a lot to learn and to find out!
- What keeps me off of my toes is the huge problem that we encounter when it comes to funding research in Portugal.
10) What do you think the next steps are in growing the field of laryngology/Vocology/voice rehabilitation in your country?
I don't even know where to start! But I suppose standardized instruments and guidelines are important for clinical practice and for research.
11) What advice would you like to give to the general populace about voice care? How about to the professional voice users?
Balance! Body mind and soul! And of course hard work when it comes to doing what your SLP tells you to!
12) Who are your favorite singers?
Jon Bon Jovi, I'm a teenager inside! Beethoven (I know he is not a singer), Mariza (Fado singer)...I love music. It has the power of changing moods, of making you travel in time, how amazing is that?!
13) What sparks “joy” for you as a person?
- Getting to the end of a workday happy.
- Having an awesome discussion with colleagues (usually research related).
- Realizing something new or just seeing something in a different perspective.
- Being with my family! Going on dates with my husband! Being happy.