VitalStim® Therapy Specialty Program
An ICE Accredited Assessment Based Certificate Program
Registration Form
Course Calendar
Private Course
Appropriate Disciplines:
• Speech Language Pathology
• Occupational Therapy
  • Course Description
  • Objectives
  • Instructors
  • Agenda
  • CEU's
  • Reviews
This is an ADULT FOCUSED COURSE. Click HERE for Pediatric Focus.
Scroll down for Renewal Information

VitalStim Therapy is now a Specialty Certificate Program!
On April 3, 2015, the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE) granted accreditation to CIAO Seminars' VitalStim Therapy Specialty Program for demonstrating compliance with ICE 1100 - Standard for Assessment-Based Certificate Programs. ICE 1100 was first published in January 2009 to ensure that assessment-based certificate programs adhere to modern standards of practice for the credentialing industry. More information about ICE is available online at or by calling 202-367-1165

For more information or to register for the 8/13-8/14 VitalStim course in Sao Paulo, BRAZIL:
email: or call (15)32336968

This dynamic and innovative program is revolutionizing dysphagia therapy! Speech-Language Pathologists and Occupational Therapists will bring their facilities to a state-of-the-art-level with this Specialty Certificate Program. VitalStim® Therapy is the only FDA cleared treatment approach that successfully combines Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation and traditional dysphagia techniques. This energetic course will focus on topics such as muscle physiology, kinesiology of the swallowing mechanism and on pathological swallowing mechanisms and processes. The basic principles and concepts of neuromuscular electrical stimulation will be taught and the VitalStim® Therapy protocol will be extensively reviewed and practiced. The participants will receive one-on-one attention from two instructors, a certified SLP and a PT. Through extensive hands-on labs; attendees will apply the theory of neuromuscular electrical stimulation to the treatment of dysphagia. This exclusive program will provide participants with the building blocks to implement a successful VitalStim® Therapy program and will add value to therapists, facilities, and most of all patient care!

NOTE: Successful completion of the pre-requisite online MBS: The Clear Picture and this 2-day VitalStim® Therapy Course will train the participant to utilize VitalStim® technology in the treatment of dysphagia. DJO has developed and patented a licensed technology trademarked as VitalStim. Because there are no other similar products available, course offerings will only cover information that pertains to the effective and safe use of VitalStim.

This is an intermediate level course. Requirements for the course are as follows:
VitalStim® Therapy Specialty recognition will be awarded to those who:
  • Complete the written post-test.
  • Demonstrate the accurate practical application of VitalStim® Therapy
NOTE: If these criteria are not met at the course, additional opportunities to successfully complete the process will be available

Click for VitalStim Therapy Specialty Certificate Program Press Release

Course Pricing
$725 (Group - 10-24)
$625 (Group - 25-99)
$525 (Group - 100 or more)
$350 (Renewal 1.6 CEUs)
The VitalStim Manual will be issued at the live course.

The VitalStim® Therapy Specialty Program includes the online course, MBS: The Clear Picture for 1.2 CEUs (12 contact hours) and the two day hands-on "VitalStim® Therapy Course" for 1.6 CEUs (16 contact hours)

Renewal Options
Live Renewal
Attend the live 2 day VitalStim course again (no online MBS required for renewal)
1.6 CEUs (16 contact hours) will be awarded for successful completion of course.
Entire live course is required for this option.
Register above by selecting the date/city and clicking register.
Choose the price option labeled "Renewal (no online MBS course required)"
You may also renew by attending the Pediatric Focus course.

Online Renewal
0.7 CEUs (7 contact hours) will be awarded for successful completion of course.
Activate course when you're ready
30 days to complete once activated
Click to register for Online Renewal .

VitalStim is a registered trademark of VitalStim, LLC.
VitalStim Therapy Specialty Program© CIAO Seminars
Course Objectives
Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to::
  • Name the anatomical structures relevant to the swallowing function
  • Palpate the structures mentioned under objective 1 that are accessible to palpation
  • Describe the various phases of the normal swallowing movement
  • Describe the neuro-physiological processes involved in normal swallowing, neural pathways controlling swallowing, positive and negative feedback occurring during swallowing
  • Discuss the psychological aspects involved with and their impact on swallowing
  • Describe the main pathological conditions affecting the swallowing function in both the adult and pediatric population
  • Interpret the results of a modified barium study
  • Describe the procedure/protocol to perform a standard MBS
  • Categorize the swallowing disorder based on the result of the evaluation
  • Describe the characteristics of electrical stimulation and the influence of electricity on muscle tissue
  • Identify the pathological conditions for which electrical stimulation is indicated
  • Describe the characteristics of the VitalStim® Therapy electrical stimulation unit and the electrodes used
  • Discuss and demonstrate the application of VitalStim® Therapy technology in the treatment of dysphagia
  • Discuss and demonstrate the use of swallowing exercise during and after the application of VitalStim® technology
  • Discuss the use of other interventions to maximize the impact of VitalStim Therapy
  • Discuss and demonstrate correct use of documentation forms
  • Demonstrate effective communication skills regarding VitalStim therapy with other members of the healthcare team
Yorick Wijting
Yorick was educated in the Netherlands where he received his degree in Physical Therapy. He has practiced physical therapy for more than 20 years in various care settings across Europe, South Africa and the United States. Yorick has extensive training and practical experience in electrotherapy and teaches nationally and internationally to medical professionals on the therapeutic use of electrotherapy. He has been instrumental in promoting and developing the use of electrical stimulation (VitalStim Therapy) by Speech and Language Pathologists in the treatment of dysphagia in the USA and in Europe. He currently lives in California and works with Empi as the Director of Clinical and Market Development, focusing primarily on VitalStim Therapy. In this role he promotes research initiatives, facilitates educational programs and assists in the development of new methodologies and applications for electrotherapy.

Jen Carter
Jen is a medically based speech pathologist with over 20 years of experience and is a board certified specialist in swallowing and swallowing disorders. She currently lives in Denver and has a private practice, the Carter Swallowing Center, where she evaluates and treats patients with dysphagia from around the Rocky Mountain region. She frequently presents at the local, state, and national level on the topic of dysphagia and is also a VitalStimTherapy Specialty Program instructor for CIAO seminars. When she’s not working, Jen enjoys hiking and backpacking in Colorado.

Julie DeVahl
Julie DeVahl, MS, PT, Certified VitalStim Instructor, is an Assistant Professor and the Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education in the Physical Therapy Department at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Julie’s 24 years of clinical and teaching experience in Electrical Stimulation brings an unparalleled expertise, as well as an inviting style of teaching to the VitalStim Certification Course. She continues her clinical practice at St. Paul University Hospital and is a member of the APTA, the Texas Consortium for Clinical Education, and the Professional Advisory Board for Visiting Nurses Association. “I see my role as an instructor to enable the SLPs and OTs to feel as comfortable using electrical stimulation as they do giving verbal instructions for swallowing.”

Joe Gallo
Dr. Joe Gallo earned his doctorate degree in Sport Physical Therapy from Rocky Mountain University, his Masters degree in Physical Therapy from Delaware University and his Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education and Athletic Training from West Virginia University. Presently he is interim Director of the Athletic Trainer’s program at Salem State College in Salem, MA. As a certified United States Tennis Teaching Professional, Joe developed Summer's Edge Tennis School and he is the founder of the school's flagship Swing & Swim® Program for girls and boys 7 to 14 years of age. Joe is currently a Certified Instructor for the VitalStim® Certification Course teaching NMES for the treatment of dysphagia.He is a current member of the National Athletic Trainers Association, the National and New Hampshire Chapters of APTA, the United States Professional Tennis Association and the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Gina Gallo
Gina E. Gallo was educated at the University of Rhode Island where she received her B.S. in Communication Disorders and her M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology. In the past 15 years, Gina has worked as a medical Speech-Language Pathologist across various levels of care, concentrating in swallowing and voice disorders. She is a Certified VitalStim Instructor and uses Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation in her clinical practice at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. She has worked extensively with patients diagnosed with head and neck cancer, and previously served on Head and Neck Tumor Board at Rhode Island Hospital. She has also served as a guest lecturer for the Southern New England Rehab Center annual conference, and as Adjunct Faculty at the University of Rhode Island in the area of Voice Disorders.

Penny Head
Penny Head is an ABPTS Board Certified Specialist in sports physical therapy and an NATABOC Certified Athletic Trainer. With over 17 years experience Penny is currently the Clinical Director of Sports Medicine at Baptist Rehab Hospital in Tennessee. She has also worked as a Sports Medicine Coordinator and Director of Physical Therapy in a clinical setting. Penny is currently a guest lecturer and lab instructor at the University of Tennessee, her alma mater. Penny is also currently a Certified Instructor for the VitalStim® Certification Course teaching NMES for the treatment of dysphagia. She has served as Certified Athletic Trainer, Team Physical Therapist and Rehab Consultant to several athletic programs including the Memphis Redbirds. Penny is a member of APTA, Tennessee PT Association, and Tennessee Athletic Trainers Association.

Tom Holland
Dr. Tom Holland received his physical therapy education and his PhD degree from the Physical Therapy Program of NYU. He is an Assistant Professor at the City University of New York - Hunter College/Program in Physical Therapy. In addition, he is an Adjunct Instructor at New York University, Columbia University, and Dominican College. His practice includes per diem work at Kessler Institute (Saddle Brook NJ). Tom's physical therapist practice and specialty areas include physical modalities and kinesiology. Tom has been a Certified VitalStim Instructor since 2002 and has co-taught dozens of VitalStim Certification Courses across the country

Jodie Lujanschi
Jodie graduated from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL with a Master of Science degree in Communication Disorders. Mrs. Lujanschi has been practicing speech language pathology since 1995. Her experience is extensive in the private practice sector, but she also has clinical experience in hospital, long term care, outpatient rehab, and school settings. Mrs. Lujanschi has been a certified VitalStim® therapist for 7 years and has treated both pediatric and adult patients in treatment of dysphagia with the utilization of this modality. Additionally, she is certified in NOMAS, MDTP and Myofascial Release. She has presented locally and nationally on various topics such as Best Practices, The Benefits of Oral Motor/Feeding Therapy on Articulation/Speech Clarity amongst others. Currently, she serves the Speech Language Pathology profession at a Golisano's Children's Hospital in Southwest Florida as an outpatient therapist and is instructor of the VitalStim® Therapy Certification course for CIAO Seminars.

Susan Mayfield-Cole
Susan is one of a select few Speech-Language Pathologists in this country serving on the Ciao Seminars educational team. She brings to our team an extensive teaching and clinical resume. Susan is a VitalStim Therapy Specialty Program instructor, an online instructor for the MBS: The Clear Picture course and is also a webcast designer/presenter. She serves as a Clinical Specialist providing clinic visits and Making It Work presentations to therapists across the country and consistently receives exceptional ratings for her presentations. Susan previously held clinical and administrative positions at Frye Regional Medical Center, High Point Regional Health System, Graystone Ear, Nose and Throat Associates and Carolina ENT Head and Neck Surgery Center. She is currently the owner of Specialized Therapy Consulting and contracts with a variety of educational and clinical settings.

Karin Mitchell
Karin Mitchell, MA, CCC-SLP, is a worldwide respected Speech Language Pathologist specializing in the care and treatment of pediatric feeding and swallowing, developmental care of the medically fragile infant and child, and pediatric traumatic brain injury. Her love of teaching and helping others drives her to create and deliver fun and empowering continuing education courses across the nation and internationally. Areas covered are Developmental Care in the NICU, Cue Based Feeding, pediatric feeding and swallowing analysis and treatment, including the use of VitalStim, swallow studies, enhancing decision making and clinical analysis, breast feeding the medically fragile infant and child, and developmental milestones supporting feeding skill acquisition.

Beginning her practice in 1995, Karin sought out learning opportunities and creative ways to teach others. She now serves as a lead therapist for the NICU and Feeding Teams at CHOC Children’s Hospital in Orange, CA. With a clinical practice formed by a strong theory base in NDT and SI therapies, Karin is also NOMAS trained and VitalStim certified. She provides ongoing education in-services and hands-on labs for appropriate developmental care, positioning, handling, and feeding skills for clinical staff including medical residents, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech pathologists. Karin was a key player in the development of unit protocols and care plans for evidence-based developmental care in the highly specialized Small Baby Unit (ELBW) at CHOC which includes an ongoing education series required by all medical and support personnel. She is an active committee member for multiple qualities of care committees including Skin to Skin Care, Developmental Care, Infant Driven Feeds, Breast Feeding Coalition, Palliative Care, Neuro NICU Team, Trauma Team, and Family Centered Care.

A dedicated leader, Karin devotes much of her time to the support and development of clinicians, serving as a mentor committed to building therapist's skills in clinical analysis and therapeutic effectiveness with medically fragile patients. She is a strong advocate for her patients and their families and speaks at local associations, community centers, local universities, and school districts to support medically fragile infants and children.

Charissa Moore
Charissa has 10 years experience with dysphagia, MBSS and FEES. Charissa is currently a PhD. Candidate at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. In addition, she travels across the US providing continue education instruction for SLP’s seeking certification for Vitalstim therapy. Charissa has helped implement several Vitalstim programs for pediatrics and adults in North Carolina and acts as a Clinical Specialist for those with VS certification throughout the US. Further experience includes Assistant Director of Rehabilitation Services, Speech-Language Pathology Manager, Acute program manager, and Inpatient rehabilitation manager at FirstHealth of the Carolinas in Pinehurst, North Carolina.

Mary Nylin
Mary is currently the Senior Clinical Specialist in the VitalStim Division for Empi supporting and educating physician groups, administrators and SLPs on Dysphagia management and the implementation of Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation in Dysphagia therapy. This role also includes active work with research, education, and new product development. Mary is one of a select few Certified VitalStim Instructors. She has taught over 300 courses in dysphagia and MBS interpretation. She previously worked at Baptist Memorial Hospital Rehabilitation in the Inpatient, Outpatient and Pediatric departments. Mary was instrumental in developing the Dysphagia program in the outpatient department and the speech department of the Pediatric Rehab. She serves as a knowledgeable resource in Dysphagia to therapists around the country.

Kathy Ramirez
Kathy Ramirez, OTR/L, is a highly regarded clinician who is nationally sought out for her expertise in sensory based, neuro-developmental approach for the medically fragile infant and child. Kathy has dedicated her career to building therapists’ skills in clinical analysis and therapeutic effectiveness with a teaching style that is supportive, empowering, paired with a love of fun and laughter. With a strong theory base in NDT, SI, and CranioSacral therapies, Kathy has taken her passion and expertise in the care of the medically fragile infant to a national level by speaking and offering education opportunities across the country on topics including: Developmental Care in the NICU, Cue Based Feeding, pediatric feeding and swallowing analysis and treatment, including the use of VitalStim, swallow studies, sensory processing analysis and treatment interventions to enhance outcomes, advanced treatment concepts and clinical analysis, breast feeding the medically fragile infant and child, and developmental milestones supporting feeding skill acquisition.

Kathy began building her occupational therapy practice in 1992 and she continues to serve as a lead therapist for the NICU and Feeding Teams at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) in Orange, CA. A leader in her field, Kathy is active in multiple hospital-based committees including Skin to Skin Care, Nutrition and Breast Feeding Coalitions, ECMO, Neurology, Palliative Care, and Family Centered Care. When tasked with the development of a specialized Small Baby Unit for the ELBW preemie, Kathy became an instrumental clinician in the development of unit protocols and care plans including an ongoing comprehensive evidence-based education series on environmental controls, developmental care, and cue-based feeding. In support of maintaining standards of clinical excellence, she continues to provide ongoing in-services and hands-on labs for clinicians of multiple service areas including medical residents, nurses, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, speech therapists, and occupational therapists.

Kathy’s dedication and compassion for her patients and their families has also fueled her community advocacy through speaking engagements at local associations, community settings, and local universities. She has advanced practice certifications in Physical Agent Modalities and Swallowing Assessment, Evaluation and Intervention to practice in the State of California.

Jon Rose
Jon received his Master of Science from Eastern Illinois University in 1992 and his Certificate of Physical Therapy from Ohio State in 1997. Jon currently holds an academic appointment as an Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, TN. He teaches courses in anatomy, pathology, orthopedics, and sports medicine. He continues to treat patients and conduct research at Campbell Clinic. He is pursuing a Ph.D. in educational research at the University of Memphis. Formerly the director of rehabilitation for Samaritan Regional Health System in Ashland, Ohio, Jon has also worked as the Director of Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Coordinator for Campbell Clinic in Memphis, TN. Jon is currently a Certified Instructor for the VitalStim® Certification Course teaching NMES for the treatment of dysphagia. Jon’s professional appointments include Team Physical Therapist and Rehab Consultant for several semi-professional and professional sports teams. He is an NATABOC certified Athletic Trainer and a member of the APTA, Ohio PT Association, and Tennessee Athletic Trainers Association.

Carole R. Roth
Dr. Carole Roth holds a doctorate degree in Communication Disorders from the University of Colorado. She completed postdoctoral training at the Mayo Clinic in the Departments of Neurology and Otolaryngology. She has extensive clinical experience in diagnosing and treating neurologic communication disorders as well as voice, swallowing and fluency disorders. Dr. Roth has authored journal articles in the field and has lectured in the United States, Australia, and Europe. She has directed medical speech pathology programs and has participated on interdisciplinary clinics including: stroke, ALS, neuromuscular disorders and Huntington’s disease. She has sat on medical ethics committees and worked for the University of California, San Diego research ethics program. Dr. Roth holds board certification by the Academy of Neurologic Communication Disorders and Sciences. She teaches part-time at San Diego State University and works as a full-time clinician in a medical center and in private practice. Dr. Roth is married and has two daughters.

  Day 1
  07:30 - 08:00   Registration (Continental breakfast provided)
  08:00 - 10:00   Introduction, Program Overview, Swallowing physiology, anatomy, kinesiology, palpitation of head and neck structures (lab)
  10:00 - 10:15   Break
  10:15 - 12:00   Dysphagia: presentation, evaluation, treatment
  12:00 - 01:00   Lunch (on your own)
  01:00 - 02:30   Dysphagia: presentation, evaluation, treatment (cont.), Electrical stimulation: Basic theory
  02:30 - 02:45   Break
  02:45 - 05:00   Electrical stimulation: Basic theory (cont.), Electrical Stimulation for swallowing (lab)
  05:00 - 06:30   Written Exam

  Day 2
  07:00 - 07:30   Registration (Continental breakfast provided)
  07:30 - 08:30   Review of material day 1, Q&A
  08:30 - 09:30   Electrical stimulation for swallowing: theory
  09:30 - 09:45   Break
  09:45 - 11:30   Electrical Stimulation for swallowing (lab continued)
  11:30 - 12:30   Lunch
  12:30 - 03:15   Treatment progression, diet progression, case studies, integration
  03:15 - 03:45   VitalStim Resource Network, General Q&A

Contact hours pre-approved for:
  • 16 Hours (1.6 CEUs) SLPs
  • 16 Hours (1.6 CEUs) OTs
  • CIAO is an Approved Provider for ASHA #AAWA (SLPs)
  • This course is offered for 1.6 ASHA CEUs (Intermediate level, Professional area).
  • This course meets PDU requirements for NBCOT (20 PDUs Clinical Lab Assessment)
  • CIAO is an Approved Provider for AOTA #4119 (OTs)
  • CIAO is authorized by IACET to offer 1.6 CEUs for this program.
  • CIAO is an IACET Approved Provider
  • VitalStim Providers will receive a total of 28.0 Contact Hours (with MBS Online Course)
  • VitalStim is approved by the CA Board of OT for Advanced Practice:
  • - 7.0 hrs Swallowing CABOT#25-S1
  • - 11.25 hrs Physical Agent Modalities CABOT#25-P4
CIAO is regognized on the NBCOT Provider Registry (meets PDU requirements for NBCOT)
The assignment of AOTA CEUs does not imply endorsement of specific course content, products, or clinical procedures by AOTA.
CIAO has been approved as an Accredited Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET), 1760 Old Meadow Road, Suite 500 McLean, VA 22102. In obtaining this approval, CIAO has demonstrated that it complies with the ANSI/IACET Standards which are widely recognized as standards of good practice internationally. As a result of their Accredited Provider membership status, CIAO is authorized to offer IACET CEUs for its programs that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standards."
Detroit, MI   May 2015
This was a wonderful seminar that not only educated us on VitalStim but also provided so much additional education on evaluation; treatment for patients with dysphagia.
New Orleans - Metarie, LA   Feb 2015
The course was fantastic! I can not wait to benefit my pts at a greater level with this new information.
New Orleans - Metarie, LA   Feb 2015
Amazing! I gained not only more infor/knowledge about NMES but greater understanding of Dysphagia.
San Antonio, TX   Feb 2015
Phenomenal course! I learned so much!! Can't wait to apply what I have learned!!
Baltimore, MD   Feb 2015
I really enjoyed this course. Both presenters were very engaging while moving through a lot of info at an appropriate pace.
Atlanta, GA   Feb 2015
Amazing course! I would recommend the course to anyone even those who remain skeptical of NMES in treating dysphagia. There was a wealth of info!!
Nashville, TN   Jan 2015
This course was excellent! I learned so much and will use this knowledge everyday in my practice to better my patients lives.
Phoenix, AZ   Dec 2014
Great course! Learned so much. Thank you!
Tampa, FL   Nov 2014
I came to this seminar quite apprehensive and a bit stressed. Upon completion, I am now equipped with new knowledge and confidence - ready and eager to apply these skills! Loved this course! Excellent presenters.
Nashville, TN   Feb 2014
Especially liked cranial nerve review. Great info. Switching of speakers was helpful. Presenters answered all questions. Nice hotel/location.
Nashville, TN   Feb 2014
Wonderful intense, coursework. Labs were very helpful with direct feedback from presenters.
Houston, TX   Jan 2014
Great presenters. Thorough explanations helped understand the course material with ease. 100% satisfied.
Houston, TX   Jan 2014
Jodie rocked! Jodie for President! :) Love & appreciated how Jodie used her arms & hands as visual aids to help us learn structurs concepts for anatomy. Was blown away by both Jodie's & John's vast applied knowledge & how well they taught us. Liked having PT perspective. Lynus has the best contagious smile & energy! Thank you!!!
Tampa, FL   Dec 2013
I can apply what I've learned immediately in therapy.
Tampa, FL   Dec 2013
Great class! Fun, interesting, thorough and functionally applicable. Thank you!
St Louis, MO   Oct 2013
St Louis, MO   Oct 2013
A Lot of material in a very short amount time.
Richmond, VA   Sep 2013
Fantastic diagrams that helped facilitate a greater knowledge of muscles and placements!
Minneapolis, MN   Apr 2013
Course was very informative. I liked that case studies were presented as well as hypothetical patient cases - to help w/ application
Little Rock, AR   Mar 2013
Enjoyed the course. Presenters with excellent knowledge and teaching methods. Ready to put the VitalStim to use with patients.
Columbus, OH   Mar 2013
Excellent course- the best CEU course I have taken. I can’t wait to start using VitalStim in my practice.