Yolanda D. Heman-Ackah, MD is an otolaryngologist, certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology, who subspecializes in professional voice care and laryngology. Her background as a trained musician, dancer, and singer makes her uniquely qualified to understand the vocal demands of the performing artist, and to tailor treatment of professional voice disorders based on this understanding. Her primary practice focus is in treating the professional voice user (singers, actors, public speakers), but she also treats other voice and airway problems such as reflux, spasmodic dysphonia, laryngeal papillomatosis, airway stenosis, vocal fold paralysis, arytenoid dislocation, and laryngeal cancer. Her approach to the care of the professional voice is multidisciplinary and includes the active
involvement of a speaking voice therapist, acting voice therapists, singing voice therapists, gastroenterologists, neurologists, pulmonologists, general surgeons, and other healthcare professionals, as indicated by the individual patient's needs.
Dr. Heman-Ackah received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and her Doctor of Medicine degree from Northwestern University as part of the Honors Program in Medical Education. She completed a residency in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Minnesota and then completed a fellowship in Professional Voice Care and Laryngology under the preceptorship of Robert T. Sataloff, M.D., D.M.A. in Philadelphia, PA. Following her fellowship, she was the founder and Director of the Voice Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she brought professional voice care to the Chicago voice community and was Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. She has also held the position as Head of the Section of Laryngology at Cleveland Clinic and Co-Director of the Voice Center at Cleveland Clinic. She was in private practice with Dr. Robert Sataloff for almost 10 years, where she was the Medical Director of the Voice Center at Philadelphia Ear, Nose, and Throat Associates, the American Institute for Voice and Ear Research, and Drexel University College of Medicine. She currently has an appointment as Clinical Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Drexel University College of Medicine and Adjunct Associate Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Thomas Jefferson University Medical College here in Philadelphia. Dr. Heman-Ackah is known nationally and internationally for her pioneering research on the laryngeal chemoreflex, which has furthered our understanding of how laryngeal reflexes can contribute to sudden infant death syndrome, as well as for her research in developing measures for voice analysis, particularly the cepstral peak prominence and in describing strobovideolarngoscopic findings in singers. Dr. Heman-Ackah has received numerous awards and grants for her research, including awards from the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, the American Laryngological Association, and the American Laryngological Voice Research and Education Foundation. She has been elected to membership in the International Association of Phonosurgeons, the American Laryngological Association, the Triologic Society, and the American Broncho-Esophagological Society. She is also a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), the Voice and Speech Trainer's Association (VASTA), the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, the Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and of the Voice Foundation. She is the current National Medical Advisor for VASTA, as well. She has written numerous publications, including co-authoring the first textbook on laryngeal electromyography. She is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Voice and the Voice and Speech Review and a reviewer for Laryngoscope, Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Journal, and Annals of Otology, Rhinology, and Laryngology. She has been recognized by the state and Federal governments, and was appointed to the Physicians' Advisory Board by the National Republican Congressional Committee and to the Pennsylvania Hearing Aid Sales Registration Law Advisory Council by Governor Rendell. She has been named a Best Doctor in America by America’s Best Doctors. She continues to pioneer advancements in voice care through her basic science and clinical research, as well as through educational programs for medical students, residents, singing teachers, speech-language pathologists, otolaryngologists, and other physicians and voice professionals. She is the author of "The Voice: A Medical Guide for Achieving and Maintaining a Healthy Voice", the first medical guide for voice care written by a laryngologist specifically for professional voice users. It is available for purchase online at http://sciandmed.com/voice/ and at Amazon.com.
Philadelphia Voice Center
Professional Voice Care, Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
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