Jeffrey Lehman, M.D.
I became interested in voice at a very young age. My second grade music teacher had each child in the class sing a song one day. I recall thinking that if I just breathe deeply and let the sound flow out, a good performance would result. I was right, and began singing solos at school concerts as well as in my church.
As I reached my high school years, I was drawn to rock music, and sang in a number of bands up through my undergrad college years. I became personally acquainted with vocal strain resulting from voice overuse, and found little in the way of helpful resources to help me cope at that point in time.
I’ve always had a keen interest in science, as well as a techno geek tendency, and decided to pursue a degree in molecular biology at the University of Wisconsin. I earned my BS degree with honors, but decided that life in the lab was not for me. I opted instead for medical school as a way to blend my scientific interests with more personal interaction.
As I completed my MD degree at the University of Wisconsin, I discovered that I the specialty of Otolaryngology was not only very surgically interesting and challenging, but would allow me to become involved in voice from a different angle. I graduated second in my class, and accepted a residency position at the UW.
The care of voice problems was undergoing a revolution at that time, and the UW was one of the hotbeds of change. Charles Ford MD and Diane Bless PhD were helping to refine the use of new technology in voice evaluation and treatment, and I was very fortunate to have them as mentors. The multidisciplinary voice center was a new concept at the time, and I became resolved to develop and incorporate it in my clinical practice.
After years of cold Wisconsin winters, I decided to move to the warmth of Orlando Florida to join The Ear, Nose and Throat Surgical Associates. This single specialty group practice was very receptive to my idea of a voice care center, and the Orlando area had a large population of vocal performers working in some very challenging venues. Along with David Ingram PhD, a progressive and energetic speech pathologist at the University of Central Florida, I put together The Voice Care Center, and began offering professional voice care to the area.
In the course of our clinical activity, Dave Ingram had speech pathology students rotate through the practice for exposure to voice care. One of those students was Bari Ruddy, who went on to complete her PhD and join in the clinical practice, as well as maintain a full academic appointment at UCF. When Dr. Ingram retired, Dr. Ruddy was there to take on his leadership role, and has become a great asset to our program. With her help, I have been able to build a regional center of excellence and an active clinical research program.
As our voice program has grown, Dr. Ruddy and I have identified a need to incorporate therapeutic vocal performance instruction into our prescriptions. We have allied with local voice teachers in the past, and will continue to make use of their services, but are very fortunate to have a master's trained voice teacher and speech pathologist, Adam Lloyd, on our staff since 2012. With his unique perspective and broad training, Adam has become a dynamic part of our in house voice team, and can communicate effectively with other instructors to provide excellent continuity of care.
I currently hold clinical professor appointments at the University of Central Florida and Florida State University. I am chairman of otolaryngology at Florida Hospital, a seven campus system in the Orlando metro area. I am actively involved in technological advancement within the field of laryngology.