Current Research Projects and Foundation News

The Foundation for Facial Recovery is currently engaged in key research to help in the treatment of Facial Palsy and TMJD.

Below is an overview of our current research projects, as well as news about the Foundation:

Marriott Foundation Awards Groundbreaking Grant to Foundation for Facial Recovery

Grant Seeds Work Dedicated to Treatment of Facial Palsy and TMJ Dysfunction (download press release)

The Foundation for Facial Recovery, Georgetown University Hospital-Department of ENT, ROSM-Regenerative medicine practice along with Dr. Gerd Fabian Volk-ENT from the University of Jena, (Jena, Germany) held their first international meeting to launch a joint research project evaluating the process of synkineedling, IBBS and other interventions to address Synkinesis in facial palsy patients.

The Effect of Facial Palsy on Perceived Attractiveness and Personality

Studies have found facial features to influence the perception of one’s personality. Changes to facial structure have the potential to alter these perceptions, both favorably and unfavorably. Minimal research exists regarding the effects of facial palsy on personality perceptions. The objective of this study is to evaluate and quantify the changes in personality perception that occur with facial nerve paralysis. Personality perception will be captured using the following traits: attractiveness, aggressiveness, extroversion, likeability, trustworthiness, risk seeking, social skills, and naturalness. Quantifying the change in perception of facial nerve paralysis patients to those around them will expose another aspect of this condition that may warrant psychosocial treatment. Contact Johanna Wickemeyer at for more information.

The TMJ-Bell’s Palsy Connection?

We will conduct a retrospective study to determine if there is a relationship between Temporomandibular Joint Disorder and slow-to-recover Bell’s Palsy among pregnant and postpartum patients. Contact Saarah Bokhari at for more information.

Ultrasound Guided Needle Therapy for Treatment of Synkinesis

Studies have shown that muscle-pump paralysis also reduces venous tone and therefore may raise the hydrostatic pressure within tissue. This can lead to fibrosis of the subcutis and trophic skin changes. Ultrasound guided needle treatment is being studied in its effectiveness to treat fibrosis and synkinesis. Contact Saarah Bokhari at for more information.

Standardized Instruction Video to Record Different Facial Expression

Presently, medical professionals have no standardized method for recording facial expressions. Establishing standardizations will allow treatment regimens to be evaluated by multi-center providers. This study will be conducted in partnership with Dr. Fabian Volk of the University of Jena in Germany. Contact Rebecca Schaede at or Saarah Bokhari at for more information.

Top left: Carl Chua, P.T., Gincy Stezar, P.T.A, the late Victor Ibrahim, M.D., Jodi Barth, P.T.
Seated: Michael Reilly, M.D. and Gerd Fabian Volk, M.D.


Jodi Barth, Carl Chua, Gincy Stezar with Dr. Nate Yokel of ROSM at the 13th International Facial Nerve Symposium.

Jodi Barth and Gincy Stezar attending the ARCM 2017 Annual Conference

The Impact of Eyelid Weight Implantation on Time to Recovery and Quality of Recovery, after Acute Idiopathic Facial Palsy

Many patients list the difficulty of closing the eye after the diagnosis of facial palsy as one of their chief complaints. The use of eyelid weights to assist with this closure is a widely acceptable treatment. However, determining when this procedure should be performed to optimize recovery has not been established. Dr. Michael Reilly of Georgetown University is the lead investigator.  Contact Johanna Wickemeyer at for more information.

Evaluation of a New Assessment Tool for Patients with Slow Recovering Facial Palsy

We are currently assessing various evaluation tools to determine the best method to track patients’ recovery. We aim to introduce a tool which addresses the multitude of symptoms associated with facial palsy and plan to standardize the evaluation method of facial palsy. 

We are currently conducting a survey to determine which of the current questionnaires best address the symptoms and issues related to facial paralysis.  Please feel free to take this brief survey:

Let's Make A Difference Together 

Do you know that Bell’s Palsy affects approximately 40,000 Americans each year? The Foundation for Facial Recovery is looking for Bell’s Palsy patients with a family history of the condition to volunteer for a research study investigating this disease at a genetic level. Your participation would involve answering questions.

Our main objective is to find out why Bell’s Palsy affects different people in different ways. Some patients recover from this disease within a few weeks while others take months and years to recover. The positive genetic finding can help in designing personalized treatment that varies from patient to patient. This volunteer study may apply to you or someone you know. If you’d like to participate or can help us in finding volunteers, please contact the study team with questions or to volunteer: or

The study is taking place at the Foundation for Facial Recovery in Rockville, MD.

Jodi Barth, PT, and Gincy Stezar, PTA, were honored with the 2018 Outstanding Physical Therapist/Physical Therapy Assistant Team Award by the Board of Directors of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). This award recognizes Jodi and Gincy’s exceptional contributions to the association and its components.