Lecture Remembers U Otolaryngologist, Marks World Voice Day

Lecture Remembers U Otolaryngologist, Marks World Voice Day

Apr 10, 2003 6:00 PM

The international medical community lost a singular voice when University of Utah otolaryngologist Steven D. Gray, M.D., died last fall.

To honor the international voice expert, Grays colleagues at the U of U and throughout the country, along with the Howard Foundation in Provo, established the Steven Gray, M.D., Memorial Distinguished Lecture at the University of Utah and Primary Childrens Medical Center. Fittingly, the lecture will coincide with the first annual World Voice Day on Wednesday, April 16.

Gray, an authority on the larynx (voice box), was professor of surgery in the U School of Medicines division of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery and specialized in voice problems in children and adults. He suffered from Wegeners Granulomatosis, an auto-immune disease, and died at 49 from cancer.

His research ranged from examining the difficulties elementary school teachers face with prolonged voice use each day to understanding the extracellular matrix of the vocal cord (the proteins and molecules that make the voice sound the way it does).

The lecture honors not only Grays commitment to his field, but also the excellence of his work, according to otolaryngologist Harlan R. Muntz, M.D., professor of surgery.

"Steve Gray was known nationally and internationally as a splendid researcher," Muntz said. "He was doing important work recognized by people the world over."

Grays colleagues from the University and across the country contributed money to fund the lecture that bears his name.Diane Bless, Ph.D., a speech scientist from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who worked extensively with Gray, will deliver the inaugural lecture on the evening of April 16. Bless will speak to community speech pathologists and physicians on "Recent Advances in Imaging of the Larynx."

The following morning at 8 a.m. she and Muntz will address Primary Childrens grand rounds to talk about Grays work in voice and pediatric ear, nose, and throat.

Gray also was a pioneer in the establishment of multi-disciplinary centers dedicated to care of those with voice disorders, according to Marshall E. Smith, M.D., associate professor of surgery and medical director of University Hospitals Voice Disorders Center.

Gray established the University of Utah Voice Disorders Center in 1990, which is now staffed by a team of professionals in speech pathology, laryngology, voice science, and singing. Gray recruited nearly all of them.

"Steve Gray had a talent for bringing people together to share his enthusiasm for combining research and clinical efforts in care of the voice," according to Nelson Roy, Ph.D., a speech pathologist at the Voice Disorders Center and assistant professor in the Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences at the University of Utah.

World Voice Day is on April 16th, the first-ever observance of the importance of the human voice.

"The voice is important to so many who depend on it to make a living, and its normal function is basic for our need to communicate as human beings," Smith said.

Smith, Roy, Muntz and others in the Division of Otolaryngology /Head and Neck Surgery hope that World Voice Day educates the public about the importance of proper voice care.

"Its a day to celebrate the importance of the human voice and to acknowledge the need for both preventive care and treatment when necessary," Smith said.

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