Voice science is an interdisciplinary area of study involving scientists in genetics, bioengineering, speech pathology, laryngology and voice science. It is an important area of study because disruption of laryngeal structure or function result in vocal disorders. Voice disorders are disabling and can have severe social, economical and personal consequences. To date, the laryngeal system has been understudied presumably due to the complexity of the mechanisms involved, and the fact that the small laryngeal structures are difficult to access. This has resulted in inferences about how the laryngeal mechanism works from other sensorimotor systems. Because the laryngeal system is unique, the inferences often do not work resulting in failed treatments. In order to understand the causes of voice disorders and how they can best be treated, it is necessary to directly study the laryngeal mechanism. The results of these studies can then translate directly into clinical practice, thus benefiting patients with voice disorders. Both laboratory and clinically based studies are critically needed but require scholars well grounded in basic and voice science, laboratory methods, and voice disorders. There is a dearth of well trained individuals, which is the basis for this training program.
Our goal for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Voice Research Training Program is to foster the development of translational research skills in future leaders in the field of voice science. We provide promising pre-doctoral and post-doctoral trainees with comprehensive laboratory and clinical research experiences, as well as an exposure to an established curriculum in clinical trials, hypothesis-based research design, management, ethics, and data analysis. The training program fosters the development of knowledge, competence, skills, professional attitudes, and experiences required for successful academic careers in laboratory or clinically based translational research. We hope to encourage our students to innovation and exploration in the field of voice science.