Dr. Jennell Vick returned to the renowned Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center as executive director in 2015 after having trained as a speech-language pathologist at the Center nearly two decades earlier during her graduate studies at Case Western Reserve University. As the first woman executive director since the Center was founded by Helen Newell Garfield in 1921, Dr. Vick's leadership and vision will enable the Center to enter its second century with a plan for sustained and expanding impact on the community.
The development and implementation of a strategic plan for the new century has shaped the organization's future to ensure the vision of "…a community where all people can communicate effectively" becomes a reality. This has required dramatically bold thinking and action to catapult innovation, awareness, and access. The achievements of this strategic action have been diverse and far-reaching, with expansions in programs, services, and geographic reach. CHSC established a Research Department in 2018 to help advance the state-of-the-art in clinical science in communication disorders through translational research to implement evidence-based approaches in the extraordinarily diverse clientele of CHSC. CHSC American Sign Language interpreters were on the stage with the candidates at the 2016 Republican National Convention creating unprecedented communication access to information for the Deaf community across the country. A comprehensive marketing approach was developed and implemented to expand accessibility and awareness of communication disorders and services through the creation of high quality digital content to consumers around the globe. A program focused on the therapeutic needs of aging adults who lose speech or language as a result of stroke was created, Northeast Ohio Adults Communicating Together (NEO-ACT). A "Deaf Serving Deaf" model was introduced where members of the Deaf community provide vocational rehabilitation, case management, and advocacy services to members of the Deaf community. Most notably, CHSC established its first site on the west side of Cuyahoga County, opening its Westlake office in 2018 and creating unprecedented access to programs and services. Altogether, the introduction and expansion of these diverse programs and services create great societal impact while also expanding revenue and philanthropic support for ongoing viability.
After completing her graduate training in speech-language pathology in 1996, Dr. Vick was appointed as a research scientist in the Speech Communication Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Working with the most technologically advanced and innovative speech scientists in the world, including a recipient of the National Medal of Science, Dr. Vick headed a project that studied the speech of deaf adults who received cochlear implants to better understand the role of hearing in speech production. Her doctoral work was subsequently completed at the University of Washington in Seattle in Speech and Hearing Sciences. She was in the inaugural class of post-doctoral fellows at the Callier Center for Communication Disorders in Dallas, Texas. Finally, in 2010, Dr. Vick returned to Cleveland to join the faculty at Case Western Reserve University in the Communication Science program. Housed in the CHSC headquarters, the program relies on CHSC for the clinical training of its speech-language pathology students. The opportunity to serve as executive director of CHSC afforded Dr. Vick the ability to focus her leadership and vision on the very grave needs of the community in Northeast Ohio. She stepped down from her CWRU faculty role in 2018,,
Dr. Vick's research uses advanced motion capture technology to study the movements of speech. She is co-inventor of a state-of-the-art treatment, Opti-Speech, that creates a real-time display of tongue movement to enhance speech therapy for people whose speech errors have been resistant to improvement via traditional therapy. An NIH-funded clinical trial of Opti-Speech was completed at CHSC and demonstrated that the technology provides clinically significant improvements, positively improving the lives of the patients. Dr. Vick has received the prestigious Individual Biomedical Research Award from The Hartwell Foundation for her work and she has been funded by the National Institutes of Health on multiple projects. She continues her research engagement, collaborating and advising on projects at Case Western Reserve University.
Dr. Vick is originally from Maumee, Ohio, and currently resides in Solon with her husband and two young daughters.