Memorial Speech-Language Pathologist Holds Distinguished Board Certification

Memorial Speech-Language Pathologist Holds Distinguished Board Certification

Heather Lazarides, MS, CCC-SLP, BCS-S, CKTP+, a speech-language pathologist at Memorial Hospital Belleville, is board certified in swallowing disorders.

According to the American Board of Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders, speech-language pathologists (SLPs) who have advanced knowledge, skills, and experience are recognized by the designation of BCS-S or board-certified specialist in swallowing and swallowing disorders. This certificate is akin to board certification that qualified physicians hold. While BCS-S is voluntary, it is becoming the standard for identifying an SLP who is an expert in dysphagia, or swallowing disorders.

To qualify as board certified, SLPs need to meet the following basic requirements:

  • Establish a clinical practice that specializes in dysphagia with a specified minimum number of contact hours per year.
  • Accrue a substantial number of continuing education hours in the area of swallowing disorders.
  • Distinguish yourself via research, administrative, and/or educational accomplishments.

Hard work and dedication

Heather’s journey to obtaining her BCS-S took approximately five years total including additional work, leadership activities, community involvement, and education.

It’s a rare accomplishment for SLPs to earn their BCS-S, as it takes so much extra work. Including Heather, there are only seven total in Illinois (with the other six residing in the Chicagoland area) and only four in Missouri. Heather is the only board-certified specialist in swallowing and swallowing disorders across the BJC network.

"It is a well-respected designation within our field, and I hope it benefits Memorial, BJC, and my patients," Heather said. "I also have been trained to be a BCS-S mentor for other SLPs working towards this designation, so I can also help SLPs achieve this certification."