Vocal Wellness Program
The Vocal Wellness Program (VWP) in the School of Music at Ohio University is a collaboration between the Voice Division and the Division of Hearing, Speech, and Language Sciences in the College of Health Sciences and Professions. This innovative program was initiated in 2023 through an 1804 grant from Ohio University’s Research Division.
The VWP operates in Glidden Hall, and provides baseline voice examinations as well as acute and post-acute examinations free of charge for students in the College of Fine Arts enrolled or participating in voice, choral or acting coursework in the college. Examinations are conducted by licensed Speech-Language Pathologists (SLP) and include perceptual, aerodynamic and acoustic analyses, as well as indirect imaging of the voice using laryngoscopic video stroboscopy. The program is voluntary and all resulting student information is protected under FERPA guidelines.
The mission of the Vocal Wellness Program at Ohio University is to elevate the vocal development of voice performers in the College of Fine Arts by providing comprehensive voice examinations for the education and advisement of students, therapy for functional or rehabilitative voice disorders, and referral for medical diagnosis and treatment planning.
The Vocal Wellness Program will support the success of all voice performers in the College of Fine Arts, as well as enhancing the national recognition of Ohio University’s performance and speech language pathology programs, by providing evidence-based voice evaluation, care, medical referral and rehabilitation within the School of Music.
- Vocal performance students (singing and speech) at Ohio University are vocal athletes and need support equivalent to physical support for athletes on sports teams.
- Since Ohio University is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and the National Association of Schools of Theater (NAST), the institution has agreed to comply with all accreditation standards, including ongoing education and safety protections for student performing artists, which includes provision for understanding and preventing voice disorders.
- Students in rural southeastern Ohio need and deserve direct and timely access to care for voice disorders.
- The resources of the Vocal Wellness Program enhance the training of future singers, actors, voice teachers, speech language pathologists, and researchers, providing cutting edge interdisciplinary preparation for entry into competitive fields.
- The Vocal Wellness Program provides a context for new collaborative initiatives for students and faculty in the two sponsoring colleges.
Margaret Kennedy-Dygas, D.M., CCC-SLP, Chair, School of Music
Youngsun Kim, PhD, CCC-SLP, Co-Chair, School of Rehabilitation and Communication Sciences
Matthew Talbert, PhD, Director, School of Music
Debra Rentz, M.M., School of Music
Daniel Stein, D.M.A., School of Music
Justin Swain, M.M., M.A., School of Music
Martin Spencer, M.A., CCC-SLP, Ohio ENT & Allergy Physicians
Michelle Toth Soummers, M.A., CCC-SLP, Ohio State University Voice & Swallowing Clinic
John McCarthy, PhD, CCC-SLP, FNAP, Dean, College of Health Sciences and Professions
Matthew Shaftel, PhD, Dean, College of Fine Arts
One exciting new initiative in the Ohio University School of Music brings innovative vocal preservation technology to support students and performers whose voice is their instrument.
The new vocal wellness program hosted a guest lecture by Ingo Titze, an internationally recognized expert in voice science in October of 2022.