March 1, 2013 Departments

Spotlight on Special Interest Group 3: Voice and Voice Disorders

When was SIG 3 founded?

Special Interest Group 3, Voice and Voice Disorders (formerly Special Interest Division 3) was launched in 1990 with the appointment of Frank Wilson as the interim chair. Wilson's leadership helped establish the SIG's mission, and he oversaw the election of the original steering committee and the first coordinator of SIG 3, Diane Bless, who served from 1991 to 1994.

How many members are affiliates of SIG 3?

As of August 2012, SIG 3 had 1,872 affiliates.

Why should ASHA members affiliate with your SIG?

SIG 3 provides members with advocacy and awareness about issues related to voice and to head and neck cancer, and continuing education about new developments in the field of voice disorders. The SIG provides a mechanism to collaborate with other professional organizations and colleagues interested in voice and head and neck cancer, including the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the Voice and Speech Trainers Association and the Voice Foundation.

The SIG also provides resources for locating and identifying a range of people with special expertise in the area of voice (for example, speech-language pathologists, voice teachers and vocal coaches), as well as timely information about research, clinical activities, reimbursement issues, and meetings and educational opportunities related to voice and head and neck cancer.

How does SIG 3 affect the membership at large?

SIG 3 supports and nurtures clinicians and researchers interested in delivering high-quality care for patients with voice disorders and head and neck cancer. Because these disorders are not always the focus of a clinician's caseload, SIG 3 offers valuable expertise for clinicians who may not have extensive experience in the specialty. SIG 3 also offers more specialized clinicians and researchers a valuable forum for collaboration, communication and professional networking while maintaining a connection to the wider scope of practice and the profession as a whole.

What are two benefits of affiliating with SIG 3 that everyone should know about?

SIG 3 provides continuing education opportunities from basic to advanced practice in our newsletter, Perspectives on Voice and Voice Disorders. Additionally, we provide access to a network of colleagues-many of them leaders in the field-with focused interest in voice.

Which of your recent Perspectives articles is a must-read for CSD professionals and why?

We covered broad issues in Perspectives in the past year, ranging from head and neck cancer to emerging technologies in voice care to neurogenic voice disorders. Our latest issue (November 2012) features updated information on vocal fold paralysis, spasmodic dysphonia and vocal tremor. All these articles feature some sort of controversy in evaluation, diagnosis and management, and include up-to-date information that clinicians can readily apply in their everyday settings—we recommend this issue highly!

Mark Courey also contributed an article related to diagnosis and management of unilateral vocal fold paralysis/paresis from the perspective of a laryngologist. Courey's article not only provides a historical context and an excellent review of the material, but also identifies potential discrepancies that may arise in evaluating and managing this patient population. All multidisciplinary team members must be aware of these factors when caring for patients with vocal fold motion impairments.

Edie Hapner, PhD, CCC-SLP, is an associate professor in the Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery at Emory University and the director of speech language pathology at the Emory Voice Center in Atlanta. Hapner is an affiliate of Special Interest Group 3, Voice and Voice Disorders. She can be reached at

cite as: Hapner, E. (2013, March 01). Spotlight on Special Interest Group 3: Voice and Voice Disorders. The ASHA Leader.


Advertise With UsAdvertisement