The UAB Voice Center is a state of the art interprofessional center providing innovative diagnostic and therapeutic care for people with voice, swallowing, and airway problems. The mission of the center is threefold, including providing the best care to people who seek diagnosis and treatment at the center, researching novel methods in the treatment of voice, swallowing and airway disorders, and teaching tomorrow’s physicians and clinicians. The center is the only voice center in the state of Alabama and is recognized as one of the few truly interprofessional centers in the US.

Our co-directors are a fellowship-trained physician/laryngologist, Dr. C. Blake Simpson and a PhD Speech Language Pathologist/voice specialist, Dr. Edie R. Hapner, who are nationally and internationally recognized for their clinical and surgical expertise, research and teaching in disorders of voice, swallowing and airway with over 50 years of combined experience. The center is staffed by speech language pathologists with specific expertise in care of the voice. For people who sing, the center has singing voice specialists who provide care for the professional voice user in a safe environment that emphasizes collaboration with singing teachers and voice coaches. Speech language pathologists with expertise in swallowing problems improve the safety of swallowing and the quality of life for those with any degree of swallowing impairment.

Research shows that a team approach to care improves outcomes. People who come for treatment to the UAB Voice Center benefit from this interprofessional team care and will be seen by both the laryngologist and speech language pathologist at most visits. Our laryngologist, Dr. Simpson, provides minimally invasive office-based procedures under local anesthesia eliminating the need for trips to the operating room. Innovative procedures like office-based vocal fold injections for vocal fold paralysis, paresis, and aging voice; botulinum toxin (Botox™) injections for spasmodic dysphonia, tremor, and other spastic muscle concerns; KTP laser treatments for vocal fold lesions and papilloma; and serial injections of steroids for airway problems reduce time and cost while improving outcomes. One such procedure, superior laryngeal nerve block for intractable chronic cough that was pioneered by Dr. Simpson has changed the face of cough treatment around the globe. In addition, when a trip to the operating room is essential, Dr. Simpson uses surgeries that quickly change the lives of people with vocal fold paralysis like laryngeal framework surgery (medialization laryngoplasty and arytenoid adduction) or those that spare the delicate vocal fold tissues and improves voice outcomes (phonomicrosurgery).

Our voice and swallowing speech language pathologists provide complementary care with the laryngologist that reduces the need for surgery, improves outcomes from surgery when needed, and improves voice and swallowing quality of life. Dr. Edie Hapner is the co-developer of PhoRTE™ voice therapy providing brief voice therapy that improves vocal loudness and reduces vocal effort in response to the changes in the voice most people experience as due to aging. Janice Sullivan, CCC-SLP, holds dual degrees in speech pathology and music and has an active performance career while William Boswell, CCC-SLP also has an active performance schedule making both of them the ideal clinicians to treat the vocally injured singer. Duane Trahan, CCC-SLP, holds specialty certification in swallowing and both he and Caitlin Stone, CCC-SLP, speech pathologist, have expertise in swallowing and are trained to use the MBImp™ to improve the diagnostic accuracy of their assessments.

Dr. Simpson’s and Dr. Hapner’s strong clinical research backgrounds underlie the UAB Voice Center’s mission towards research and teaching. They have over 120 peer-reviewed publications in medical journals and both have authored books and online teaching curricula. They are frequently invited to serve as keynote speakers and symposium speakers at national and international meetings and serve on editorial boards of several medical journals.

The UAB Voice Center is dedicated to education for medical students, residents, fellows, colleagues, as well as providing outreach to local universities and communities. We believe that the education of tomorrow’s leaders is key to our success. The UAB Voice Center has two highly sought-after fellowship training opportunities each year in both Laryngology and Speech and Language Pathology.

The UAB Voice Center is bringing care of voice, swallowing and airway disorders to the highest level for the residents of the State of Alabama and the rest of the country. We look forward to serving your needs.

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Our Specialists

Blake Simpson, M.D.

BSProfessor
Co-Director, UAB Voice Center
Director, Laryngology Division

Edie Hapner, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

EHProfessor
Co-Director, UAB Voice Center
Director, Speech and Hearing Services

Janice Sullivan, MS, CCC-SLP

JS

Speech Pathologist

William Boswell, MCD, CCC-SLP

WBSpeech Pathologist

Duane Trahan, MS, CCC-SLP

DT

Speech Pathologist

Caitlin Stone, CCC-SLP

CSSpeech Pathologist