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University Ear, Nose, & Throat Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists

Audiologists

Debra S. Eisner, MS

Ms. Eisner has worked as an audiologist at UPMC since 1979. She received her bachelor's degree in hearing and speech from the University of Maryland and her master's degree in audiology from Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. Her special areas of interest include diagnostic testing and hearing aid fittings. She is a member of the American Academy of Audiology and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, and is licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Jenifer Fruit, MA

Ms. Fruit joined UPMC in 2010 at our Seven Fields, PA office. She is currently completing her clinical doctorate of Audiology at the University of Pittsburgh and received her Master of Arts in Audiology from the University of Pittsburgh and Bachelor of Arts from the College of Wooster. Her special areas of interest include diagnostic testing and hearing aid fittings.

Renee M. Garvin, AuD, CCC-A

Dr. Garvin has been practicing in the field of audiology since 1989. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees from Clarion University of Pennsylvania and her doctorate from A.T. Still/ Arizona School of Health Sciences. She is a member of the American Academy of Audiology, ASHA certified and licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Dr. Garvin's special interests have focused on evoked potentials, intra-operative monitoring and vestibular evaluation. She also provides hearing aid related services. She is currently one of our audiologists staffing our UPMC St. Margaret location and our UPMC Mercy Hearing and Balance Center.

Kathleen Gilmartin-Vesco, AuD

Dr. Gilmartin joined the staff of audiologists at the UPMC Eye & Ear Institute in 1980. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Pittsburgh, and received her doctorate in audiology from the University of Florida. Dr. Gilmartin’s clinical duties include audiologic evaluations of adults and children, special tests, hearing aid dispensing, and cochlear implant assessment and programming. Dr. Gilmartin is a member of the American Academy of Audiology and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. She is licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Rick Hyre, MA

Mr. Hyre has been an audiologist with UPMC since 1981. He received his bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and his master's degree in audiology from the University of Pittsburgh. His special interests include diagnostic testing, hearing aid fitting, electrophysiology, and intraoperative monitoring. He is a member of the American Academy of Audiology and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and is licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Randall Kesterson, MA

Mr. Kesterson is the senior audiologist at the UPMC Center for Audiology and Hearing Aids. He joined the group in 1972. He completed both his undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Iowa, and is licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the American Auditory Society. His special interests are tinnitus treatment, diagnostic testing, and amplification.

Susan R. Klein, MA

Ms. Klein has worked as an audiologist at UPMC since 1981. She received both her bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Pittsburgh, and holds a license to practice in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Her special interests include diagnostic testing, hearing aid fitting, and facial nerve testing. She is a member of the American Academy of Audiology and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Virginia Milne, AuD

Dr. Milne joined UPMC in 2010 at our Seven Fields and St. Margaret's offices. She received her bachelor's degree in communication disorders and psychology and her doctorate of audiology degree from Kent State University as part of the Northeast Ohio Au.D. Consortium. She is a member of the American Academy of Audiology and is licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Her special areas of interest include diagnostic testing, hearing aid fittings, and auditory processing disorders.

Catherine V. Palmer, PhD

Dr. Palmer joined the University of Pittsburgh in 1990 and became director of Audiology and Hearing Aids in the Department of Otolaryngology in 1998. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and her master's degree and doctorate at Northwestern University. She worked as a clinical and research audiologist in the Veterans Administration for two years. Dr. Palmer specializes in rehabilitative audiology including the use of hearing aids and other assistive devices to improve communication for individuals with hearing loss, and hearing protection for specialized situations. Dr. Palmer also manages a research laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh where her research focuses on matching technology to individual needs and examining adaptation in the human auditory system.

Jillyn Roxberg, MA

Ms. Roxberg received her bachelor's degree in Speech and Hearing Science from University of Iowa, and her master's degree in Audiology from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Prior to joining UPMC in 2007, she worked as both a clinical and research audiologist in the Department of Veterans Affairs and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her primary interests are diagnostic evaluations, vestibular testing and hearing aid fitting. She is a member of the American Auditory Society, American Academy of Audiology and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, and is licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Laurel Steele, MS

Ms. Steele has worked as an audiologist at UPMC since 1997 at the Indiana, Pa. office. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees from West Virginia University. Her special interests include diagnostic audiology, treatment of vestibular disorders, and tinnitus treatment. She is a member of the American Academy of Audiology and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and is licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Claire Tempel, AuD

Claire joined UPMC in 2010 at the Monroeville, PA office. She received her doctorate of audiology degree from Ball State University and her bachelor's of science degree in speech pathology and audiology from Miami University. She is a member of the American Academy of Audiology and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and is licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Her special areas of interest include diagnostic and vestibular testing, as well as hearing aid fittings. Services also include hearing and ear protection, selection of assistive listening technology (such as alerting devices), as well as tinnitus therapy.

Sharon Tiesi, MS

Ms. Tiesi has been an audiologist at UPMC since 1978. She received a bachelor's degree in speech pathology and audiology from Clarion University, and a master's degree in audiology from the University of Pittsburgh. Her special interests include cochlear implants, diagnostic testing, and hearing aid fitting. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology, a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, and is licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Speech-Language Pathologists

Keely Anthony, MA, CCC-SLP

Ms. Anthony received her bachelor’s degree from The Pennsylvania State University and her master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh. She is experienced in the evaluation and treatment of speech, language, cognitive-linguistic, and swallowing disorders in the acute care setting, with a special focus on neurological, neurosurgical, and head and neck cancers. Ms. Anthony also provides voice restoration for individuals following total laryngectomy and works closely with patients who have long-term swallowing disorders in the Swallowing Disorders Center.

Ashley Bardyn, MA, CCC-SLP

Ashley Bardyn is a speech-language pathologist at UPMC, with a master’s degree from Duquesne University. She has experience in the diagnosis and treatment of individuals in acute care, rehabilitation, and outpatient care settings. She specializes in working with swallowing, speech, and language disorders.

Brooke Baumann, MS, CCC-SLP

Ms. Baumann received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Duquesne University and completed her fellowship training with the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System. Ms. Baumann has experience in evaluating and treating swallowing disorders in the acute care setting, which includes work with tracheostomized and ventilator-dependent patients, patients with neurologic diseases, geriatric disorders, cardiothoracic surgeries, and head and neck diseases. Other experience includes evaluating and treating voice, motor, speech, language, and cognitive disorders. Ms. Baumann also specializes in providing acute augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) strategies for critically ill non-speaking patients. She has participated with the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing in the Study of Patient-Nurse Effectiveness with Assisted Communication Strategies (SPEACS). She has also participated in several conference presentations to promote patient-provider communication.

Terri L. Bowser, MS, CCC-SLP

Ms. Bowser is a speech language pathologist at UPMC St. Margaret. She earned her bachelor degree from Thiel College and master degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Throughout her career, she has specialized in the provision of diagnosis and treatment of speech, language, cognitive-linguistic, and swallowing disorders with adults in the acute rehabilitative setting. Her experience includes working with tracheostomized and ventilator dependent patients. She has also worked closely with ear, nose, and throat physicians in the completion of instrumental swallow studies through Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES).

Joan Bucholtz, MS, CCC-SLP

Ms. Bucholtz is a speech-language pathologist at UPMC St. Margaret. She received her master’s degree from Case Western Reserve University. She has extensive experience in the diagnosis and treatment of individuals in acute care, rehabilitation, and outpatient care settings. She specializes in working with children and adults with a wide range of swallowing, speech, and language disorders including dysphagia, aphasia, dysarthria, apraxia, dementia, neurological disorders, and developmental disorders. She is involved with interdisciplinary hospital activities and is a member of UPMC St. Margaret’s Stroke Team, Interdisciplinary Plan of Care Team, and Education Team.

Sara Byers, MA, CCC-SLP

Sara Byers is a medical speech pathologist in department of otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. She received her bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders and her master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Pittsburgh. Ms. Byers’ clinical and educational training is in adult acute care speech-language pathology with emphasis on dysphagia, tracheostomized and ventilator-dependent patients, and cardiothoracic surgery populations. She is also certified in and works with clients seeking foreign accent modification.

Danielle Columbe, MA, CCC-SLP

Ms. Columbe is one of the clinical practice managers in the Division of Speech Pathology in the Department of Otolaryngology. She graduated from Penn State University and earned her master’s Degree from the University of Akron. Ms. Columbe completed her fellowship at UPMC in the Department of Otolaryngology. She is experienced in evaluating and treating speech, language, voice, and swallowing disorders in the acute care setting and is a member of the UPMC Swallowing Disorders Center team. She works closely with the ear, nose, and throat physicians performing fiber optic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) studies to diagnose swallowing disorders, and often sees these patients for swallowing therapy. Danielle is also very involved with voice restoration for patients following total laryngectomy.

James L. Coyle, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, BRS-S

Jim Coyle is an assistant professor in the Communication Science and Disorders Department at the University of Pittsburgh, where he teaches Dysphagia, Medical Speech Pathology and Neuroscience coursework, performs adult inpatient and outpatient dysphagia consultations, and trains student SLP’s in acute and intensive care practice in the University’s Medical Center. At Pitt, he has co-developed a Clinical Doctorate program in medical Speech Language Pathology. His interests include evidence based practice, single subject methodology, and dysphagia outcomes measurement. He is a Board Recognized Specialist in Swallowing Disorders.

Jim Coyle teaches Dysphagia, Medical Speech Pathology and Neuroscience coursework at the University of Pittsburgh, where he also works with dysphagic patients and trains student SLP’s in the University’s Medical Center. His interests include evidence based practice and dysphagia outcomes measurement. He is a Board Recognized Specialist in Swallowing Disorders.

Robert Fire, BFA, MM, AGMA, AEA

Robert Fire is a sought-after voice teacher, therapist, and coach who specializes in building solid vocal technique and analyzing and correcting impediments to vibrant, healthy singing. His clients perform in theaters and concert halls across America and around the world, and his students have been accepted to many of the nation’s most prestigious programs for voice, theater, and musical theater. An honors graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, Robert has taught and performed in western Pennsylvania for nearly twenty years. He is a versatile singing actor and has extensive experience in opera, oratorio, musical theater, sacred music, and concertizing.

Jackie Gartner-Schmidt, PhD

Jackie Gartner-Schmidt is the associate director of the UPMC Voice Center and assistant professor of Otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Dr. Gartner-Schmidt received her undergraduate degree in psychology and voice performance from Queen’s University in Canada and a master’s degree in speech-language pathology from Michigan State University. She then joined the Vanderbilt Voice Center in Nashville, Tenn., where she specialized in care of the professional voice before earning her doctorate from the University of Maryland in hearing and speech sciences. Dr. Gartner-Schmidt specializes in care of the professional voice and in psychological issues in the assessment and management of patients with voice disorders.

Roxann Diez Gross, PhD

Dr. Gross is the director of the UPMC Swallowing Disorders Center and assistant professor of otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Communication Science and Disorders. She received a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology from Duquesne University and a master’s degree in speech pathology from the University of Pittsburgh. Her doctoral studies focused primarily on swallowing disorders and were completed at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Gross has more than 22 years of clinical experience, is an active researcher, lectures extensively, and gives workshops on tracheostomy, ventilators, and swallowing rehabilitation. She is a member of the American Physiological Society, the Dysphagia Research Society, the Geriatric Otolaryngology Society, and the American Speech-Language Hearing Association.

Rita Hersan, MS, CCC-SLP

Ms. Hersan received her master's degree in Speech pathology in Brazil in 1978. Her work dedicated to patients with voice disorders has inspired a special interest in serving children and adolescents. She has presented at several schools in Pennsylvania and recently lectured to the Children's Festival Chorus in Pittsburgh at their summer residency workshop. She is the co-author of Lessac-Madsen Resonant Voice Therapy for Kids. Ms. Hersan has worked at the UPMC Voice Center since its inception in 1995.

Deanna Pasekoff, MS, CCC-SLP

Ms. Pasekoff earned her master’s degree from the University of Miami. She works with adults in the areas of neurogenic speech, language, cognitive-linguistic, and swallowing disorders in the acute care, acute inpatient rehab, and outpatient rehab settings. She is certified in brain injury rehabilitation by the American Academy for the Certification of Brain Injury Specialists. She is qualified to assess and treat patients with traumatic brain injuries and acquired brain injuries in the areas of speech, language, cognitive-linguistic, and swallowing

Douglas F. Roth, MA, MM, CCC-SLP

Douglas Roth holds music degrees from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and Arizona State University and a degree in speech pathology from Indiana University. He is currently pursuing a PhD in speech pathology at the University of Pittsburgh. In addition to serving as a voice clinician and singing voice specialist at the UPMC Voice Center, he continues to sing professionally in the Pittsburgh area and maintains an active private voice studio. His current research interests are with the laryngeal effects of allergy and how people learn skilled vocal behaviors. In particular, he is interested in how instructions and directed attention can be used to facilitate improved and expedited learning.

Lindsay Savinda, MS, CCC-SLP

Lindsay Savinda is a medical speech pathologist in the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. She graduated from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio and earned her master's degree in Speech Language Pathology at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Lindsay is experienced in evaluating and treating speech, language, and swallowing disorders in an acute care setting with exposure to the rehabilitative setting. She works closely with acute and long term swallowing disorders and has experience with Modified Barium Swallow studies. Her population of focus is with adults and geriatric patients.

Tracey L. Thomas, MS, CCC-SLP

Ms. Thomas has been a speech-language pathologist for 15 years. She spent six years devoted to adult brain injury rehabilitation before joining the UPMC Voice Center staff. Ms. Thomas has experience in graduate level course instruction and clinical supervision. Her background in music provides a creative foundation for an integrated approach to voice therapy. She has been at the Voice Center for nine years.

Nicole Veydt, MA, CCC-SLP

Ms. Veydt received a Master’s degree in speech pathology at Ohio University. Her experience focuses on the acute rehabilitation setting, which includes treating patients with a variety of speech, language, and cognitive disorders, as well as dysphagia. She is the primary therapist in the Select Specialty Hospital of UPMC Montefiore, where she evaluates and treats primarily tracheostomized and ventilator-dependent patients with dysphagia and cognitive-communication disorders. Ms. Veydt is also certified in the Comptom P-ESL program and provides instruction in the Foreign Accent Modification Program.

Tamara Wasserman-Wincko, MS, CCC-SLP

Ms. Wasserman-Wincko is one of the clinical practice managers of the Speech Pathology Division and a clinical instructor in the Department of Otolaryngology. She earned her master's degree at Nova Southeastern University in speech pathology and completed her fellowship at UPMC. She also serves as the coordinator of the UPMC Swallowing Disorders Center. Ms. Wasserman-Wincko has co-authored a text book chapter on the management of swallowing disorders in patients with tracheostomy tubes and has participated in conference presentations. Her area of expertise is in evaluating and treating patients with all types of swallowing difficulties in the outpatient and acute care setting, including patients with head and neck cancer.

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