LIAISONS: Moving Collaborative Care from Idea to Reality

Stacy Larkin, RDH, OMT, writes about LIAISONS — a group of experienced AAPMD members who are ready to collaborate with colleagues on airway, sleep, and breathing issues.

LIAISONSby Stacey Larkin, RDH, OMT

Public and practitioner interest in airway, sleep and breathing issues (ASB) is growing like wildfire. ASB issues affect health, performance, learning, and behavior of men, women, and children of all ages across all social and economic strata. The increasing awareness has attracted practitioners of different disciplines to offer treatment ranging from medication, CPAP, oral appliances, orthodontics, myofunctional and physical therapy, nutrition, and surgery. In many cases treatment is limited in focus, determined by what the treating practitioner offers. As a result, patients may receive incomplete diagnosis and treatment. Best treatment outcomes for ASB are often achieved through a collaborative interdisciplinary diagnostic and treatment approach. Practitioners who have committed to this approach of being part of a networking community have been gratified by patient results and have seen their practices flourish.

But developing an ASB collaborative practice is challenging. Practitioners ask, “What additional diagnostic and consultations does my patient require? Who is available in my community? How do I find them and learn to communicate? Who will be the quarterback?” The demographics of one community may differ from another. Specialists may not be available. Social and economic factors also come into play.

Best treatment outcomes for airway, sleep and breathing issues are often achieved through a collaborative interdisciplinary diagnostic and treatment approach.

The American Academy of Physiologic Medicine and Dentistry, AAPMD, realized these obstacles to collaboration and with the guidance and support of Leyli Norouz-Knutsen, created the LIAISONS.

Who We Are

The LIAISONS are AAPMD members who have committed to raise awareness and to connect and collaborate with other like-minded practitioners to provide better ASB care for their community. LIAISONS represent a variety of specialties including:

  • Physicians, Osteopaths – Pediatricians, ENTs, Pulmonologists, Sleep Medicine Specialists, Cardiologists, Gynecologists, Functional Medicine Doctors
  • Dentists, Dental Hygienists – Orthodontists, Prosthodontists, Sleep Medicine Specialists, TMJ Specialists
  • Physical Therapists, Orofacial Myofunctional Therapists, Speech Language Pathologists, Chiropractors
  • Breathing Practitioners, Clinical Massage Therapists, Acupuncturists, Psychotherapists, IBCLCs
  • Additionally, Non-Practitioner Supporters (i.e. teachers, parents, etc.) are welcome to participate!

What We Do And How We Do It

  • Working together with other practitioners to better serve patients
  • Advocate to enlighten the public about airway issues and treatment options
  • Collaborate to develop screening tools
  • Educate and share information between practitioners with monthly meetings
  • Organize AAPMD satellite study clubs that meet virtually or in-person to collaborate on patient case studies, discuss challenges and successes, invite guest speakers
  • Liaisons are able to join other virtual study club meetings to continue collaboration
  • Quarterly CoLAB webinar meetings are held for the Liaisons to discuss what the Liaisons’ needs are for their local communities in outreach, supporting each other by networking along with brainstorming on how to improve public awareness
  • Through the LIAISON Section page on the AAPMD website, LIAISONS can share information, successes and obstacles, protocols, and view recorded local meetings

In 2023 the LIAISONS, along with the Foundation for Airway Health, will raise more awareness and provide more extensive knowledge to the public – reaching out to schools, houses of worship, social media groups, childcare facilities, community public health events, and others.

Want to be a leader in your community? Network, cross-refer, and collaborate? Become part of our growing community by signing up directly on the AAPMD website. If you are already an AAPMD member and want to learn more about the Liaison group, feel free to reach out to

The AAPMD, leader in interdisciplinary collaboration and education for optimal airway growth and function, has grown to a world-wide network approaching 1,000 members across 6 continents.

LIAISONS raises awareness of airway, sleep, and breathing issues, and Dental Sleep Practice strives to keep other experts who keep sleep-breathing disorder issues in the spotlight as well. Read about Board Member Jyotsna Sahni, MD, who focuses on dentist-physician collaboration.

LIAISONSStacey Larkin is a Registered Dental Hygienist and Orofacial Myofunctional Therapist located in east Texas. With more than 20 years of dental experience with adults and children, and also being a MyoMasterminds graduate with The Breathe Institute, she is passionate about helping people improve their quality of life. She is the AAPMD Liaison Coordinator, helping Liaisons network, increase outreach in their local community, and nurture AAPMD satellite study clubs across the globe.

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