Debbie Sell

Dr Debbie Sell is a Principal Speech and Language Therapist and Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Outcomes and Experience Research in Children’s Health, Illness and Disability (ORCHID) at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).

Her areas of special interest include speech disorders associated with cleft lip and palate and their management, nasal sounding speech in general, perceptual and instrumental assessment, speech prosthetics and 22q11 Deletion Syndrome/Velofacialcardiac Syndrome. She is trained in medico-legal work.

Publications and speaking

Dr Sell has been published in over 50 peer-reviewed publications, has written 14 chapters and is the co-editor of two textbooks. She has co-produced three teaching videos. She has also spoken at over 150 conference presentations within the UK and internationally.

“I have been very lucky to have had a very diverse career. Nowadays I am focusing on research and clinical practice, together with teaching, mentoring and supervising colleagues. It is a privilege to continue to help our patients as we strive to improve the evidence base so that our patients get the best treatments.”

Debbie Sell

Qualifications and training

Dr Debbie Sell holds the following qualifications: PhD, LCST, MRCSLT. She qualified as a speech and language therapist and gained her PhD in a study of speech outcomes on the unoperated/late operated patient within the context of the Sri Lankan Cleft Lip and Palate Project. This led to the development of the first Speech and Language Therapy Training Course in Sri Lanka with colleagues at the University of Kelaniya, and International Child Health, University of London. As a result there are now more than 60 practicing speech and language therapists in Sri Lanka. She is an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the UCL Institute of Child Health, Visiting Professor at City University and Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Sheffield.

Dr Sell has received many awards including an OBE for services to the NHS, Fellowship of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, featured as one of The Independent on Sunday’s top ten speech and language therapists and was a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the University of Melbourne in Australia.

Research interests

Dr Sell’s research interests include the development and testing of perceptual speech outcome tools in cleft palate adopted nationally (GOS.SP.ASS.) and internationally (CAPS-A). She has been involved in multicentre studies of speech outcome including the Eurocleft, national CSAG and more recently the national CCUK studies, and the Americleft study. Her research has also focused on speech outcomes following speech related surgery and prosthetics. Two strands of her current research, together with Dr Triona Sweeney, is the investigation of parent led speech therapy intervention in preschool children with cleft palate, and a study of speech outcomes in 22q11DS.