Our Voice Care Experts
When you visit the UPMC Voice Center, a team of voice care experts will be available to you. A comprehensive voice care team is able to provide specialized care and can include:
An otolaryngologist, often referred to as an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) physician, is medically trained in the evaluation and treatment of voice disorders. Otolaryngologists specializing in voice care are often fellowship trained in professional voice and laryngology (the study of the larynx or voice box). Otolaryngologists typically have medical and surgical practices and provide comprehensive care for disorders of the head and neck. Your physician likely addresses problems ranging from hearing loss to ear infections to sinusitis and head and neck cancer. Many otolaryngologists also perform cosmetic facial surgery.
The speech-language pathologist is a key member of the voice care team, and is a certified, licensed healthcare professional, ordinarily with either a masters or doctoral degree. Speech-language pathologists complete a two-year masters degree program, followed by a 9 to 12 month, supervised "clinical fellowship," similar to a medical internship. At the conclusion of the clinical fellowship year, speech-language pathologists in the United States are certified by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association.
Some speech-language pathologists sub-specialize in voice, which includes care of the voice. The speech-language pathologist affiliated with a voice team is usually such a sub-specialist, and is often referred to as a voice pathologist.
Singing Voice Specialist
The singing voice specialist is a singing teacher with special training equipping him or her to practice in a medical environment with patients who have sustained vocal injury. Singing voice specialists may also evaluate singers for the healthy singing technique. Most singing voice specialists have a degree in voice performance or pedagogy. Some have extensive performing and teaching experience, but without a formal academic degree. Nearly all have professional performance and physiology of phonation, training in the rehabilitation of injured voices, and other special education.
The singing voice specialist must acquire knowledge of anatomy and physiology of the normal and disordered voice, a basic understanding of the principles of laryngology and medications, and fundamental knowledge of the principles and practices of speech-language pathology. This information is not part of the traditional training of singing teachers.
Ideally, the team works together to evaluate and treat you with the best possible level of care.
Click on the experts' names to read more about their specialties and backgrounds.
- Clark A. Rosen, MD
- Christina Dastolfo, MS, CCC-SLP
- Robert Fire, BFA, MM, AGMA, AEA
- Jackie Leslie Gartner-Schmidt, BA, MA, PhD, CCC-SLP
- Amanda I. Gillespie, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
- Rita Hersan, MS, CCC-SLP
- Libby J. Smith, DO
- Tracey L. Thomas, MS, CCC-SLP
- VyVy Young, MD