Expert on voice disorders to present lecture in Alumni Speaker Series

September 14, 2011

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Robert E. Hillman, research director of the Center for Laryngeal Surgery and Voice Rehabilitation at Massachusetts General Hospital, will present a lecture at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, in the Bennett Pierce Living Center, 110 Henderson Building, on Penn State's University Park campus. The lecture is the fifth in the Distinguished Alumni Speaker Series sponsored by the College of Health and Human Development Alumni Society. Hillman's lecture is titled "Preserving and Restoring the Human Voice: Current Innovations and Future Directions." The lecture is free and open to the public.

Hillman is widely recognized as one of the foremost clinical voice scientists in the world. His research has produced new technologies, including an ambulatory monitoring and biofeedback system for treating voice disorders (featured on the National Geographic Channel show “The Incredible Human Machine”) and the first voice neural prosthesis for laryngectomy patients (featured in Newsweek magazine). He currently is helping to lead a large multi-institutional research effort to develop bio-implants that will restore voice and speech to patients whose vocal cords are damaged by trauma or disease.

Hillman also serves as an associate professor of surgery and health sciences and technology at Harvard-MIT and a professor of communication sciences and disorders and associate provost for research at Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions. He has won numerous professional awards for his research publications and accomplishments, is a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, and is one of only six speech pathologists inducted into the American Laryngological Association. He received Penn State’s Alumni Fellow Award in 2008 and will be awarded the Honors of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, that organization’s highest award, at its annual meeting later this year.

Hillman received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in speech pathology and audiology from Penn State. While there, he was co-captain of the cross-country team and the recipient of the 1974 Ernest B. McCoy Award for the outstanding senior scholar-athlete. He also received a doctoral degree in speech science from Purdue University.

Hillman’s presentation will describe the groundbreaking work of an award-winning interdisciplinary team of surgeons, speech-language pathologists and scientists at the Center for Laryngeal Surgery and Voice Rehabilitation of the Massachusetts General Hospital. The team has spent over 20 years creating more effective ways to prevent, diagnose and treat some of the most challenging laryngeal voice disorders.

The Distinguished Alumni Speaker Series was established by the Board of Directors of the College of Health and Human Development Alumni Society in order to feature prominent graduates of the college who are leaders in their field. The board’s mission is to facilitate and promote the participation of alumni in activities that support the college’s pursuit of excellence.

For additional information, contact Abby Diehl, director of college relations for the Penn State College of Health and Human Development, at 814-863-2207 or


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Last Updated January 09, 2015