Ashwini Namasivayam-MacDonald

Phone: (905) 525-9140 ext: 22685
Fax: (905) 524-0069
Office: IAHS Rm. 420


Dr. Namasivayam-MacDonald is a clinically trained speech-language pathologist and Assistant Professor in the Speech-Language Pathology Program with the School of Rehabilitation Science.  She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Waterloo and both graduate degrees at the University of Toronto.


Keywords:  swallowing, dementia, caregiver burden, older adults

Dr. Namasivayam-MacDonald’s research specializes in understanding the physiological features of disordered swallowing (known as dysphagia).  Swallowing function is commonly disrupted after many conditions including dementia, stroke, ALS, brain injury and head and neck cancer.  Her over-arching research goal is to produce clinically-relevant research to inform front-line clinical practice.  Her research focuses on understanding swallowing physiology in patients with dementia in order to design targeted interventions to prevent or reverse any changes, as well as dysphagia-related caregiver burden.

Graduate Students

Dr. Namasivayam-MacDonald is not currently accepting graduate students.

Lab/Research Institute

Aging Swallow Research Lab

Recent Publications

Namasivayam-MacDonald, A.M. & Shune, S.E. (2019). The influence of swallowing impairments as an independent risk factor for burden among caregivers of aging parents: A cross-sectional study. Geriatric Nursing.

Namasivayam-MacDonald, A.M. & Riquelme, L.F. (2019). Presbyphagia to dysphagia: Multiple perspectives and strategies for quality care of older adults. Seminars in Speech and Language. 40(3), 227-242. DOI: 10.1055/s-0039-1688837

Namasivayam-MacDonald, A.M., Steele, C.M., & Keller, H.H. (2019). Swallow function and perception of dysphagia in residents of long term care. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. 28, 1198–1205.

Steele, C.M., Peladeau-Pigeon, M., Barbon, C.E.A., Guida, B.T., Namasivayam-MacDonald, A.M., Nascimento, W.V., Smaoui, S., Tapson, M.S., Valenzano, T.J., Waito, A.A., & Wolkin, T.  (2019). Reference values for healthy swallowing across the range from thin to extremely thick liquids. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. 62(5), 1338-1363.

Namasivayam-MacDonald, A.M., Steele, C.M., Carrier, N., Lengyel, C. & Keller, H. (2019). The relationship between texture-modified diets, mealtime duration and dysphagia risk in long term care. Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research. 80, 1-5.

Shune, S.E. & Namasivayam-MacDonald, A.M. (2019). Swallowing impairments increase emotional burden in spousal caregivers of older adults. Journal of Applied Gerontology.

Namasivayam-MacDonald, A.M. & Riquelme, L.F. (2019). Quantifying airway invasion and pharyngeal residue in patients with dementia. Geriatrics. 4(1),13. doi:10.3390/geriatrics4010013

Namasivayam-MacDonald, A.M. & Shune, S.E. (2018). The Burden of Dysphagia on Family Caregivers of the Elderly: A Systematic Review. Geriatrics. 3(2), 30

Steele, C.M., Namasivayam-MacDonald, A.M., MacKichan, B.T. Cichero, J.A., Lam, P., Hanson, B., Duivestein, J. & Riquelme, L.F. (2018). Creation and initial validation of the IDDSI Functional Diet Scale (IDDSI-FDS). Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 99(5):934-944.

Namasivayam-MacDonald, A.M., Slaughter, S., Steele, C.M., Morrison, J., Lengyel, C., Carrier, N. & Keller, H. (2018). Inadequate fluid intake in long term care residents: prevalence and determinants. Geriatric Nursing. 39(3):330-335.

Namasivayam-MacDonald, A. M., Barbon, C.E.A. & Steele, C.M. (2018). A review of swallow timing in the elderly. Physiology & Behavior. 184: 12-26. DOI: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2017.10.023

Namasivayam-MacDonald, A. M., Burnett, L., Nagy, A., Waito, A.  & Steele, C.M. (2017). The effect of tongue strengthening to improve mealtime outcomes in long term care. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. 35(5): 1-78-1083. DOI: 10.1016/j.clnu.2015.08.001

Namasivayam-MacDonald, A. M., Morrison, J.M., Steele, C.M. & Keller, H. (2017). How swallow pressures and dysphagia affect malnutrition and mealtime outcomes in long term care. Dysphagia. 32(6): 785-796. DOI: 10.1007/s00455-017-9825-z

General Information

Mailing Address:

School of Rehabilitation Sciences
Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University
Institute of Applied Health Sciences,
Room 403, 1400 Main St. W. Hamilton, ON L8S 1C7


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