About our Society

About our Society - PGD on Swallowing Disorders

The European Society for Swallowing Disorders (ESSD) www.myessd.org is a non-profit European association of health care professionals working, doing research and studying in the field of dysphagia.

Given the high incidence of swallowing disorders and their consequences, it is necessary to increase the awareness and improve knowledge and skills in the area of dysphagia across Europe. It is important to train professionals in this area in order to increase expertise and improve the standards of health care of people with oropharyngeal dysphagia.

In line with the objectives of the ESSD to improve standards of health care, promote research and provide education for professionals in the field, the association deemed it necessary to design and implement this postgraduate course for personnel managing oropharyngeal dysphagia and its complications. The course has been developed and will be imparted by expert clinicians and established investigators in oropharyngeal dysphagia from all around Europe.

Course presentation

Oropharyngeal dysphagia is an under-recognised condition which an estimated 30.000.000 Europeans suffer from, together with its nutritional and respiratory complications. It is very important to increase the awareness on oropharyngeal dysphagia disease because it may give rise to serious complications: aspiration pneumonia, choking and malnutrition and dehydration, all of which can lead to the death of the patient. Dysphagia can also prolong hospital stay and the need for institutional care.

The populations at risk are both adult and paediatric populations suffering from neurodegenerative diseases, stroke and non-progressive neurological diseases, traumatic brain injury, older patients (over 70 years), patients with head and neck diseases, and patients with recurrent pneumonia and respiratory infections.

In conclusion, the early detection and management of oropharyngeal dysphagia is important to prevent complications associated with the condition and decrease the risk of death due to malnutrition and aspiration pneumonia.


This postgraduate diploma is a multidisciplinary and multi-centred course with the objective of increasing knowledge about dysphagia by offering advanced training in the specific area of oropharyngeal dysphagia and including professional practice with clinical cases.

The 57 ECTS course is designed for multidisciplinary personnel in all fields dealing with dysphagia:

- medicine: physicians, radiologists, neurologists, ear-nose-throat specialists/otorhinolaryngologists (ENT), phoniatricians, geriatricians, rehabilitation medicine, pneumologists, surgeons, etc.

- other health professionals: nurses, speech-language pathologists/therapists (SLP/SLT), dieticians and nutritionists, occupational therapists (OT), physiotherapists, physiatrists, kinesiologists, dentists, etc.

The course is run in Spain by Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona and is offered in two languages, one 100% English, and another 75% Spanish and 25% English.

The clinical practice is offered with the support of Fundació Salut del Consorci Sanitari del Maresme and the venue is Mataró Hospital.


The postgrad coordinators are:

Pere Clavé (Spain), Antonio Schindler (Italy), Renée Speyer (the Netherlands), Eric Verin (France), Margaret Walshe (Ireland), Virginie Woisard (France)


Places are limited.

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Academic calendar and Modules

The course follows the academic year (October to June).


Applications for the 2018-2019 academic year are currently OPEN.

For both courses, English and Spanish, classes will start on 15 October 2018 and finish on 31 May 2019.

On-site classes will be mainly for clinical practice and final exams: three weeks in February and one week in May.

Academic calendar and Modules - PGD on Swallowing Disorders