Meet our Team
Multidisciplinary Swallowing Disorders Center
Clinical Associate Professor of Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery, Director of the Head and Neck Speech and Swallowing Rehabilitation Program at Stanford Cancer Center
Heather Starmer is a Clinical Associate Professor and Director of the Head and Neck Cancer Speech and Swallowing Rehabilitation Center. Prior to joining the faculty at Stanford University, Heather served as the lead of the head and neck cancer rehabilitation program at Johns Hopkins University. Heather graduated from California State University at Long Beach in 1998 with a BA in Communicative Disorders. She earned her MA from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. She completed her fellowship at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Pittsburgh with a focus in head and neck cancer and rehabilitation of swallowing disorders. Heather specializes in the rehabilitation of speech, voice, and swallowing in patients with head and neck cancer. She has particular interest in prevention of communication and swallowing disorders associated with radiation and chemotherapy. She has a strong interest in head and neck cancer survivorship and helping patients to accomplish their personal goals and to optimize their quality of life long term. She is a board certified specialist in swallowing disorders. Heather’s academic goals include improving communication and swallowing outcomes following a diagnosis of head and neck cancer through clinical research. She was a key member of a collaborative research group at Johns Hopkins resulting in multiple publications and presentations on strategies to minimize speech and swallowing difficulties. Recent advances in pain management during radiation therapy developed by this research collaborative have already shown great promise in protecting patients from potential swallowing difficulties during and after their cancer treatment. She works closely with colleagues in surgery, radiation oncology, and medical oncology to tackle the often difficult problems encountered by patients with head and neck cancer. She has particular interest in investigating the role of innovative surgical techniques such as Transoral Robotic Surgery (TORS) in minimizing long term functional deficits. Heather is involved in the education of future speech pathologists as well as residents and fellows in the Otolaryngology program. She regularly lectures on issues regarding rehabilitation of patients with head and neck cancer at multiple universities as well as at the national level. She is a member of multiple professional societies including the American Speech Language Hearing Association, the Dysphagia Research Society, and the American Head and Neck Society.
Clinical Professor, Medicine - Gastroenterology & Hepatology
Dr. John Clarke recently joined the Gastroenterology & Hepatology Division at Stanford University as Director of the Esophageal Program. He previously spent 17 years in Baltimore, including 9 years on the faculty at Johns Hopkins University where he was an Associate Professor and at various times Director of Esophageal Motility, Director of Gastrointestinal Motility, Clinical Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterology, and Clinical Director of the Gastroenterology & Hepatology Division at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. His career has combined research, education and clinical care. His clinical areas of expertise include achalasia, dysphagia, eosinophilic esophagitis, esophageal dysmotility, gastroesophageal reflux disease, gastroparesis, GI-manifestations of scleroderma and GI dysmotility. While at Johns Hopkins University, he was inducted into The Miller-Coulson Academy for Clinical Excellence, an institutional honor society for master clinicians at the time limited to 50 members across the entire university. From an education standpoint, he has lectured in over a dozen countries, authored over 25 textbook chapters and serves on the educational affairs committee of the American College of Gastroenterology. He has also won several major teaching awards, including The Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association Award for Excellence in Teaching, given to one faculty member per year in the entire School of Medicine. His research has focused on optimization and characterization of diagnostic studies to evaluate motility disorders, as well the relationship between therapeutic endoscopic techniques and treatment of motility disorders. He was an investigator on the NIH Gastroparesis Consortium and is also a former recipient of the AGA Don Castell Award.
Astrid Shapiro, MS RD, CSO
Astrid is a registered dietician with expertise in providing nutrition support and care for patients experiencing swallowing disorders. She offers innovative and comprehensive assessment and counseling for patients having difficulty maintaining adequate nutrition.