Samantha Shune

Samantha Shune profile picture


Dr. Shune is an Assistant Professor in the Communication Disorders and Sciences Program at the University of Oregon. Her research and clinical interests include the effects of healthy and pathologic aging on swallowing and the mealtime process. She is particularly interested in better understanding the shared mealtime and food-related activities as opportunities to therapeutically target improved quality of life for older adults, healthy and otherwise, and their caregivers. Her work has been recognized by the National Foundation of Swallowing Disorders and the Dysphagia Research Society and funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, and the University of Oregon. She directs the Optimizing Eating and Swallowing for the Elderly Lab (

Prior to returning to school for her PhD and throughout her doctoral program, she worked as an ASHA certified speech-language pathologist in various medical settings (inpatient/outpatient rehabilitation, skilled nursing, acute care), with a particular focus on dysphagia and stroke rehabilitation. In addition to her research, she currently teaches in the area of medical speech-language pathology and organizes a community-based swallowing disorders support group.


PhD (2014) – The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA – Major: Speech and Hearing Science; Additional certification and training: Graduate Certificate in College Teaching; Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship in Aging

MA (2007) – The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH – Major: Speech and Hearing Science

BA (2005) – The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI – Majors: Linguistics; Psychology; Minor: Applied Statistics

Honors and Awards

5/2019 Ersted Award for Distinguished Teaching, University of Oregon

4/2018 Council for Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders (CAPCSD) Leadership Academy Participant (competitive selection)

3/2018 Second Place – Poster Presentation, Dysphagia Research Society Annual Meeting

4/2017 Excellence in Teaching – Early Career Award, College of Education, University of Oregon

3/2017 National Foundation of Swallowing Disorders Award, Dysphagia Research Society Annual Meeting

7/2015 Butler-Williams Scholars Program Participant (competitive selection), Sponsor: National Institute on Aging (NIA)


Namasivayam-MacDonald, A. & Shune, S. (2019). The influence of swallowing impairments as an independent risk factor for burden among caregivers of aging parents: A cross-sectional study. Geriatric Nursing. Advance online publication. doi:10.1016/j.gerinurse.2019.06.008

Shune, S. & Linville, D. (2019). Understanding the dining experience of individuals with dysphagia living in care facilities: A grounded theory analysis. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 92, 144-153. doi:10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2019.01.017

Shune, S. & Namasivayam-MacDonald, A. (2019). Swallowing impairments increase emotional burden in spousal caregivers of older adults. Journal of Applied Gerontology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/0733464818821787

Namasivayam-MacDonald, A. & Shune, S. (2018). Dysphagia-related burden in caregivers of the elderly: A systematic review. Geriatrics, 3, 30. doi:10.3390/geriatrics3020030

Shune, S. (2018). An altered eating experience: Attitudes toward feeding assistance among younger and older adults. Rehabilitation Nursing Journal. Advance online publication. doi:10.1097/rnj.0000000000000147

Shune, S. & *Foster, K. (2017). Goal-directed drinking behaviors can be modified through behavioral mimicry.  Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 60(6), 1535-1544. doi:10.1044/2016_JSLHR-S-16-0328

Shune, S. & Moon, J. B. (2016). The effects of age and non-oropharyngeal proprioceptive and exteroceptive sensation on the magnitude of anticipatory mouth opening during eating. Journal of Oral Rehabilitation, 43(9), 662-669. doi:10.1111/joor.12419

Shune, S., Moon, J. B., & Goodman, S. S. (2016). The effects of age and preoral sensorimotor cues on anticipatory mouth movement during swallowing. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 59, 195-205. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-S-15-0138


Dr. Shune’s research program is aimed at mitigating the deleterious effects of both healthy and pathologic aging on the eating process. Under- and malnutrition, weight loss, dehydration, and declines in the rates of social interaction and social network size are prevalent and debilitating concerns for older adults. The shared mealtime provides a particularly potent opportunity to address the complex relationships between social interaction and health-relevant biopsychosocial symptoms and outcomes. Dr. Shune is focused on integrating the physiologic components of swallowing with a more comprehensive view of the mealtime process (e.g., cognition, communication, socialization/ social relationships). Ultimately, she is interested in translating this research into clinical practices that can improve both safety and quality of life for patients and caregivers across the lifespan.