Navigate Up

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

Audiologists

Debra S. Eisner, MS

Debra S. Eisner, MS, 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

Jenifer Fruit, MA, 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

Renee Garvin, AuD, CCC-A, 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

Kathleen Gilmartin-Vesco, AuD, 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

Rick Hyre, MA, 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.

Susan R. Klein, MA

Susan Klein, MA, 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

Virginia Milne, AuD, 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

Catherine Palmer, PhD, 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

Jillyn Roxberg, MA, 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

Laurel Steele, MS, 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 Tempel, AuD, 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

Sharon Tiesi, MS, 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

Keely Anthony, MA, CCC-SLP, 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, MA, CCC-SLP, 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

Brooke Baumann, MS, CCC-SLP, 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

Terri Bowser, MS, CCC-SLP, 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

Joan Bucholtz, MS, CCC-SLP, 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, MA, CCC-SLP, 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

Danielle Columbe, MA, CCC-SLP, 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, PhD, CCC-SLP, BRS-S

James Coyle, PhD, CCC-SLP, BRS-S, 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.

Christina A. Dastolfo, MS, CCC-SLP

Christina A. Dastolfo, MS, CCC-SLP, is a Speech-Language Pathologist, specializing in voice disorders at the UPMC Voice Center. She received her master's degree in Communication Science and Disorders from the University of Pittsburgh and her bachelor's degree in Music from Allegheny College. Her vocal training background is primarily classical; however, she enjoyed the opportunity to be a regular soloist with the Allegheny College Jazz Band. She actively participates in the evaluation and treatment of singing and speaking voice disorders, research in the singing and speaking voice, and sings as an avocation. Her clinical specialties are rehabilitation of the singing voice, and tele-voice therapy. She is currently conducting voice therapy for the Bedford, PA, area through the UPMC telemedicine program. She became interested in the treatment of voice disorders from her experience as a collegiate singer, and learning about voice science from excellent vocal professors.

Robert Fire, BFA, MM, AGMA, AEA

Robert Fire, BFA, MM, AGMA, AEA, 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 more than twenty-five 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, PhD, CCC-SLP, is co-director of the UPMC Voice Center, director of the Speech-Language Pathology-Voice Division and associate professor of otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She holds a secondary appointment in Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Pittsburgh. After receiving her master’s degree in speech-language pathology, she joined the Vanderbilt Voice Center in Nashville, Tenn., and later earned her doctorate in hearing and speech sciences from the University of Maryland.

Dr. Gartner-Schmidt's clinical research specializes in care of the performing voice, as well as clinical effectiveness of voice therapy and psychological considerations in the assessment and management of patients with voice and breathing disorders. Dr. Gartner-Schmidt is also a singing voice specialist and sings locally with the Pittsburgh Concert Chorale. Amongst her frequent national and international speaking engagements, she currently directs two of the country's largest conferences related solely to voice and breathing therapy.Dr. Gartner-Schmidt's federally-funded research focuses on the development and efficacy of different voice therapy programs.

Amanda Gillespie, PhD, CCC-SLP

Amanda Gillespie, PhD, CCC-SLP, is the director of clinical research at the Voice Center and an assistant professor of otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Dr. Gillespie received her undergraduate degree in speech-language pathology and audiology at New York Universit and a master's degree in speech-language pathology from the University of Pittsburgh. Following her clinical fellowship year at UPMC, she worked at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. She later returned to the University of Pittsburgh to complete her PhD in Communication Science and Disorders. Dr. Gillespie specializes in the evaluation and treatment of voice and breathing problems. Her research interests are in the relationship between voice and breathing, particularly how the respiratory and voice systems interact in the development, and then treatment, of voice disorders. Dr. Gillespie is the principle investigator on a research grant from the National Institutes of Health for her voice therapy research.

Leah Helou, PhD, CCC-SLP

Leah Helou, PhD, CCC-SLP, is a voice-specialized speech-language pathologist at the University of Pittsburgh Voice Center. She entered the field as an amateur singer with vocal fold nodules and earned her bachelor's degree in communication science and disorders from East Carolina Unviersity. Since obtaining her master's degree in speech and hearing sciences at George Washington University, she has followed two clinical passions: treatment of "functional" voice disorders (e.g. muscle tension dysphonia) and voice and communication training for people who identify as transgender. In 2011, Dr. Helou founded the Transgender Voice and Communication Training Program at the UPMC Voice Center. Dr. Helou completed her doctoral studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Her broad areas of research interest involved "mind-voice" pathways, vocal motor control and how psychological states and traits impact the voice and vocal behaviors. In addition to her role as a clinician, Dr. Helou is a postdoctoral scholar at the Systems Neuroscience Institute, where she investigates the neroanatomical circuitry underlying volitional control of breathing muscles in the context of vocalization.

Rita Hersan, MS, CCC-SLP

Rita Hersan, MS, CCC-SLP, received her undergraduate degree in speech-language pathology and a master's degree in communication science and disorders from the Universidade Federal de Sao Paulo in Brazil. Ms. Hersan is a master clinician and her work has inspired a special interest in assisting the young and elderly population with voice disorders. She is a certified clinician for Lee Silverman Voice Treatment, an innovative and clinically-proven method for improving voice and speech in individuals with Parkinson's Disease. Ms. Hersan is also the co-author of Adventures in Voice, a specific program for children with voice disorders. She has worked at the Unviersity of Pittsburgh Voice Center since its inception in 1995, and has presented nationally and internationally.

Ali Lewandowski, MS, CCC-SLP

Ali Lewandowski, MS, CCC-SLP, received her master's degree in speech-language pathology and her bachelor's degree in communication science and disorders from the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to joining the UPMC Voice Center team, she completed her clinical fellowship with Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and worked as a graduate research assistant in the University of Pittsburgh Voice Lab, where she became interested in the evaluation and treatment of speaking and singing voice disorders. Her work at Children's Hospital has also inspired a passion for working with children and adolscents with voice disorders. She is also currently providing voice therapy services through the UPMC telemedicine program.

Lindsay Savinda, MS, CCC-SLP

Lindsay Savinda, MS, CCC-SLP, 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

Tracey Thomas, MS, CCC-SLP, is a senior clinician who has been a member of the UPMC Voice Center team for 17 years. Prior to specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of voice disorders, she worked in adult brain injury rehabilitation. Ms. Thomas earned both her bachelor's degree in speech and hearing science and her master's degree in speech-language pathology from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, where she was honored for academic excellence. She first discovered her passion for the science of communication while studying voice and diction in a theater program. She currently provides therapy services at the UPMC Voice Center-Mercy, as well as with University ENT Specialists at the Cranberry, PA, satellite office. She is a trained clinician in tele-voice therapy and delivers telemedicine services to the Hermitage, PA, UPMC facility. Her clinical areas of interest are respiratory re-training, telemedicine and preventative voice care. Ms. Thomas has instructed graduate level courses, spoken at national conferences, directed collegiate singers and led children's singing groups.

Tamara Wasserman-Wincko, MS, CCC-SLP

Tamara Wasserman-Wincko, MS, CCC-SLP, 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.

©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by Healthwise, Incorporated. To learn more, visit www.healthwise.org

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com