About Erin Sundseth Ross, PhD, CCC-SLP

Feeding FUNdamentals, LLC was founded in 2009 by Erin Sundseth Ross, Ph.D., CCC-SLP to advance the practice of infant feeding using evidence-based methods, with an emphasis on neuroprotective caregiving and family inclusion. Dr. Ross applies her knowledge and experience from working in Neonatal Intensive Care settings as well as after discharge, to improve the practice of supporting feeding skill development for infants born prematurely, medically fragile infants and young children. She also uses her expertise in program development and evaluation, biostatistics, research methodology and outcome measurement to drive meaningful and positive change in health system processes and professional practice. Her consultation and professional development services enable both professionals and systems to work towards improving feeding outcomes in medically-fragile infants and young children.

Feeding FUNdamentals, LLC offers live (in-person and via ZOOM) and recorded video trainings for individuals and system-wide staff. These trainings include SOFFI®: Supporting Oral Feeding in Fragile Infants where professionals may become a SOFFI® Certified Professional. Evidence to support the implementation of SOFFI® within a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was published by Horner, et al., in 2014. Additional trainings are offered in specialized topics, with more webinar and video products in development. Ongoing support for clinicians and staff is also provided through membership, and includes blogs, research reviews, and free downloadable handouts.

Ross0621-18-scaled-364x570
Ross0621-18-scaled-364x570

Feeding FUNdamentals, LLC was founded in 2009 by Erin Sundseth Ross, Ph.D., CCC-SLP to advance the practice of infant feeding using evidence-based methods, with an emphasis on neuroprotective caregiving and family inclusion. Dr. Ross applies her knowledge and experience from working in Neonatal Intensive Care settings as well as after discharge, to improve the practice of supporting feeding skill development for infants born prematurely, medically fragile infants and young children. She also uses her expertise in program development and evaluation, biostatistics, research methodology and outcome measurement to drive meaningful and positive change in health system processes and professional practice. Her consultation and professional development services enable both professionals and systems to work towards improving feeding outcomes in medically-fragile infants and young children.

Feeding FUNdamentals, LLC offers live (in-person and via ZOOM) and recorded video trainings for individuals and system-wide staff. These trainings include SOFFI®: Supporting Oral Feeding in Fragile Infants where professionals may become a SOFFI® Certified Professional. Evidence to support the implementation of SOFFI® within a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was published by Horner, et al., in 2014. Additional trainings are offered in specialized topics, with more webinar and video products in development. Ongoing support for clinicians and staff is also provided through membership, and includes blogs, research reviews, and free downloadable handouts.

Education

Dr. Ross received her Master’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology in 1988 from California State University, Stanislaus. She earned her Certificate of Clinical Competency in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) in 1989.

Dr. Ross has since been awarded nine “ACE” Awards (Award for Continuing Education) by ASHA for her efforts and dedication to learning, as well as teaching and educating practice professionals in neonatal feeding and pediatric feeding development and disorders.

In 2007, Dr. Ross received her Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Clinical Sciences –  Health Services Research.

Her doctoral thesis, entitled “Early Growth Velocity Predicts Longitudinal Growth Failure,” focused on using weights collected during well-child visits from birth to six months to identify infants at risk of later growth faltering.

Dr. Ross remains steadfast in her mission to develop clinical pathways and mechanisms that best support the overall growth and development in the developing neonate and newborn infant.

In 2009, Dr. Ross completed a two-year Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the Section of Nutrition, Department of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado. This additional training allowed her to gain practical experience in formulating and conducting research, and a greater understanding of clinical nutrition.

Clinical and Research Expertise

Dr. Ross’ research interests remain focused on investigating oral feeding skill development and growth in medically fragile and premature infants. She continues to collaborate and consult with many colleagues and peers throughout the world to support the use of best practice.

Dr. Ross has been a consultant on several research grants and pursues her passion to conduct research and publish important evidence about feeding development and early intervention focused on assessment and intervention.

Dr. Ross developed SOFFI®: Supporting Oral Feeding in Fragile Infants, and formally launched this program in 2009. As part of the training program, she developed the SOFFI® Algorithm, a clinical pathway for supporting premature and medically fragile infants learning to eat orally.

This algorithm was endorsed by the National Association of Neonatal Nurses in 2013, when it was incorporated into their Infant-Directed Oral Feeding for Premature and Critically Ill Hospitalized Infants: Guideline for Practice (Sables-Baus, S., et al., 2013).

“To optimize the use of this guideline, it is recommended that the Supporting Oral Feeding in Fragile Infants (SOFFI) Feeding Algorithm ((C) 2013 by Erin Ross) be used concurrently.”

“The use of the SOFFI in conjunction with this guideline is highly recommended. The SOFFI algorithm is grounded in similar principles as described in this guideline.”

Dr. Ross offers SOFFI® both virtually through “live” ZOOM conferences as well as in video training using the SOFFI® Online Certificat Courseto professionals, clinical care teams, hospitals, and healthcare systems throughout the US and abroad. She continues to provide opportunities for ongoing mentoring and education through memberships and hospital-wide trainings.

Publications

Consensus Committee on Infant & Family Centered Developmental Care (2020). Browne, J. V., et al. (2020). “Executive summary: standards, competencies, and recommended best practices for infant- and family-centered developmental care in the intensive care unit.” J Perinatol 40 (Suppl 1): 5-10.

Fuhrman, L. & Ross, E. (2020). Parental Concerns about Newborn Feeding Post Hospital Discharge. MCN Am J Matern Child Nurs, 45(1), 34-40.

Toomey, K.A. & Ross, E.S., (2019). Behaviorally based feeding problems. In Suiter, D.M. & Gosa, M. (Eds.), Assessing and Treating Dysphagia: A Lifespan Perspective. NY: Thieme. Pages 249-263.

Ross, E. (2017). Eating Development in Young Children:  Understanding the Complex Interplay of Developmental Domains. In J. Saavedra & A. Dattilo (Eds.), Early Nutrition and Long-Term Health:  Mechanisms, Consequences, and Opportunities (pp. 230-264). London, UK: Elsevier Ltd.

Ross E, Fuhrman L. (2015).  Supporting oral feeding skills through bottle selection. Perspectives in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders. 24(2):50-57.

Ross, E. (2015).  Contributing Author:  Feeding Issues in the NICU Graduate.  In W.F. Malcolm (Ed.), Beyond the NICU: Comprehensive care of the high-risk infant. 812-834. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, Inc.

Horner S, Simonelli AM, Schmidt H, Cichowski K, Hancko M, Zhang G, Ross E.  (2014).  Setting the Stage for Successful Oral Feeding: The Impact of Implementing the SOFFI Feeding Program With Medically Fragile NICU Infants. J Perinat Neonatal Nurs. Jan-Mar 2014;28(1):59-68.

Ross, E. & Browne, J.V. (2013). Feeding outcomes in Preterm infants after discharge from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU):  A Systematic Review. Newborn and Infant Nursing Reviews. 13(2), 87-93.

Ross, E. (2013).  Development of Feeding Progression. In K. VanDahm (Ed.), Pediatric Feeding Disorders:  Evaluation and Treatment (pp. 35-54).  Framingham, MA: Therapro, Inc.

Ross, E. (2013).  NICU and Beyond:  Advanced Practice Interventions. In K. VanDahm (Ed.), Pediatric Feeding Disorders:  Evaluation and Treatment (pp. 299-321).  Framingham, MA: Therapro, Inc.

Ross, E. & Philbin, M.K. (2011).  SOFFI: An evidence-based method for quality bottle-feedings of preterm, ill, and fragile infants.  ­Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing, 25(4), 349-357.

Philbin, M.K. & Ross, E.  (2011).  The SOFFI Reference Guides: Text, Algorithms, and Appendices: A Manualized Method for Quality Bottle Feedings. ­Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing, 25(4), 360-380.

Browne, J. & Ross, E. (2011).  Eating as a neurodevelopmental process for high risk newborns.  Clinics in Perinatology, 38(4), 731-743.

Toomey, K. & Ross, E.  (2011).  SOS Approach to Feeding. Perspectives in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders, 20(3), 82-87.

Ross, E.  (2009).  Don’t be a “Babies R Us” Therapist:  Thinking past the bottle in the NICU.  Pediatric Feeding Newsletter, June, 2009.

Ross, E., Krebs, N., Shroyer, AL., Dickinson, LM., Barrett, P., Johnson, SL.  (2009).  Early growth faltering in healthy term infants predicts longitudinal growth.  Early Human Development, 85, (9), 593-8.  (PMIC 19608359; NIHMS ID:  127686)

Ross, E.  (2008). Feeding in the NICU and factors that influence success.  Perspectives in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders, 17, (3), 94-100.

VandenBerg, K. & Ross, E.  (2008).  Individualized developmental care in the neonatal intensive care unit.  Perspectives in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders, 17, (3), 84-93.

Ross, E. & Browne, J.  (2003).  Developmental Progression of Feeding Skills:  An approach to supporting feeding in preterm infants.  Seminars in Neonatology, 7 , (6), 469-475.

Browne, J., Langlois, A., Ross, E., Smith-Sharp, S.  (2001).  BEGINNINGS:  An Interim Individualized Family Service Plan for Use in the Intensive Care Nursery.  Infants and Young Children, 14, (2), 19-32.

Browne,J., VandenBerg, K., Ross, E., & and Elmore,A.M.  (1999).  The newborn developmental specialist:  Definitions and qualifications for an emerging role in the neonatal intensive care unit.  Infants and Young Children, 11, (4), 53-64.

Ross, E.  (2015).  From Task-Oriented to Infant-Led Feedings:  State of the Science. (3-part Webinar Series).  Dr. Brown’s Medical Division.