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Staff & Advisors

  • Betty R. Vohr, MD
    Betty R. Vohr, MD PROFESSOR OF PEDIATRICS, ALPERT MEDICAL SCHOOL; BROWN UNIVERSITY DIRECTOR, NEONATAL FOLLOW-UP CLINIC; WOMEN AND INFANTS HOSPITAL Dr. Betty Vohr’s research focuses on prospective studies examining the impact of interventions on the comprehensive neurodevelopmental, cognitive, motor, growth, functional, educational, and behavioral outcomes of high-risk infants, especially very low birth weight infants and infants with permanent hearing loss. Dr. Vohr has been Medical Director of the Rhode Island Hearing Assessment Program since 1990, and Coordinator for the NICHD Neonatal Research Network Follow-up Studies since 1997. Dr. Vohr has used LENA technology since 2008 to investigate the language environment of premature infants in the NICU and children with congenital hearing loss. Investigations with colleague Dr. Melinda Caskey have demonstrated ... Read More
  • Charles R. Greenwood, PhD
    Charles R. Greenwood, PhD PROFESSOR OF APPLIED BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE, SENIOR SCIENTIST AT THE INSTITUTE FOR LIFE SPAN STUDIES, DIRECTOR OF JUNIPER GARDENS CHILDREN’S PROJECT; UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS Dr. Charles Greenwood’s research is focused on evidence-based interventions. He has received KU’s highest award for research (the Irvin Youngberg Research Achievement Award in Applied Science) and is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association. He directs Kansas City’s Juniper Gardens Children’s Project, which earned the Research Award of the Council for Exceptional Children for contributions to evidence-based practice, measurement, and for the training of researchers. Dr. Greenwood is also Co-Director of the Bio-Behavioral Measurement Core in the Kansas Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center. He is currently Co-Principal Investigator of a Research ... Read More
  • Christine Yoshinaga-Itano, PhD
    Christine Yoshinaga-Itano, PhD Research Professor, Professor Emerita; University of Colorado-Boulder Dr. Christine Yoshinaga-Itano’s research focuses in the areas of language, speech, and social-emotional development of deaf and hard-of-hearing infants and children. She is both a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing and an audiologist. She has concentrated on the impact of early-identification and early intervention on the developmental outcomes of children with significant hearing loss. Dr. Yoshinaga-Itano was the first to demonstrate that when infants with hearing loss are identified in the first few months of life and provided with appropriate intervention services, that 80% are able to maintain age-appropriate language development and intelligible speech in the first five years of life. She also studies the development of ... Read More
  • D. Kimbrough Oller, PhD
    D. Kimbrough Oller, PhD Professor and Plough Chair of Excellence; University of Memphis Dr. D. Kimbrough Oller’s research focuses on vocal development and acquisition of spoken language. In over 200 articles and books, his work addresses infant vocalizations, early speech production, multilingualism, and evolution of language. In addition to his position at the University of Memphis, Dr. Oller is an External Faculty Member of the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research, Klosterneuburg, Austria. In 2013 he was awarded the Honors of the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association, its highest honor. His bilingualism research includes Language and Literacy in Bilingual Children. His research in evolution and development of language includes The Emergence of the Speech Capacity, The Evolution of ... Read More
  • Jess Simmons
    Jess Simmons DIRECTOR OF GROWTH STRATEGY Jessica Simmons is the Director of Growth Strategy at LENA and is thrilled to work with organizations across the country to support parents, children, educators, and communities in closing opportunity gaps. She brings over 14 years of experience in program design and replication, fund and partnership development, and program operations. In her recent past, Jess helped Reading Partners grow from eight locations to over 15 locations nationally and launched new program designs for Outward Bound across the Rocky Mountains. Jess has regularly consulted with local and national organizations on how to build systems to scale operations and increase impact. From her experience as a classroom teacher in North Carolina and Maine, she knows firsthand ... Read More
  • Jill Gilkerson, PhD
    Jill Gilkerson, PhD Senior Director of Research and Evaluation Dr. Jill Gilkerson is the Senior Director of Research and Evaluation at LENA and leads all research and analysis activities. Since joining the team in 2005, Jill has been instrumental to just about every major initiative involving LENA. She manages a team of researchers responsible for collecting and analyzing the spontaneous speech data used for software development, the LENA normative scales, and a wide range of academic research studies. Jill is a recognized expert in the relationship between parent talk and child language development, and her research has focused on the relationship between early language environment and demographic variables such as birth order, gender, and TV exposure. Jill led LENA’s efforts ... Read More
  • John H.L. Hansen, PhD
    John H.L. Hansen, PhD ASSOCIATE DEAN FOR RESEARCH AT THE JONSSON SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND COMPUTER SCIENCE, PROFESSOR OF ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING, PROFESSOR OF SPEECH AND HEARING SCIENCES; UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS – DALLAS Dr. John H. L. Hansen’s research focuses in the field of speech processing and hearing science. He holds the University Distinguished Chair in Telecommunications Engineering, and is a Fellow of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), Fellow of ISCA (International Speech Communications Association), and received the Acoustical Society of America’s 25th Year Award. He has graduated 66 PhD/MS thesis candidates in speech and language processing (as well as in speech and hearing science) and is an author/co-author of 495 journal and conference papers and 11 textbooks. ... Read More
  • Judith K. Montgomery, PhD, CCC-SLP
    Judith K. Montgomery, PhD, CCC-SLP Professor and Director of the Communication Sciences and Disorders Program; Chapman University Dr. Judith Montgomery’s research focuses on the effects of hearing loss on adults and children; child language and vocabulary development; and response to intervention models for speech language pathologists in schools. She worked for 23 years as an SLP, elementary principal, and then Director of Special Education in school districts in southern California. A Board Certified Specialist in Child Language, she is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Communication Disorders Quarterly. She received the Annie and John Glenn Award for Outstanding Leadership in School-Based Speech Language Services and has received honors from California Speech Hearing Association and the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA). She ... Read More
  • Keith J. Topping, PhD
    Keith J. Topping, PhD Director of the Centre for Paired Learning; University of Dundee, Scotland, UK Dr. Keith Topping’s research interests are in the development and evaluation of methods for non-professionals (such as parents or peers) to tutor others one-to-one in fundamental skills (such as language, reading, or math) and higher order learning across many different subjects, contexts, and ages. He also has interests in electronic literacy and computer-aided assessment and in behavior management and social competence in schools. He is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts. He has extensive experience working with teachers, children, and parents in numerous school districts, as well as with government and non-governmental organizations, ... Read More
  • Soyeong Pae, PhD
    Soyeong Pae, PhD Professor and Program Director of Speech Language Pathology & Audiology; Hallym University, S. Korea Dr. Soyeong Pae focuses her research on language acquisition across life span, development of culturally and linguistically fair Korean assessment tools of language and communication, evidence-based language/reading intervention in monolingual and multicultural contexts in consideration with low social economic status and language environment, and clinical markers for language/reading difficulties from dyslexia to language learning difficulties in transparent orthography. Dr. Pae is former president of the Korean Academy of Speech Language Pathology and Audiology and chief supervisor for language facilitators in Korea for children with multicultural backgrounds. She is an associate editor of Communication Sciences & Disorders.
  • Stephen M. Hannon, PhD
    Stephen M. Hannon, PhD President, LENA Dr. Stephen M. Hannon is the President of LENA, a national nonprofit focused on increasing adult-child talk to improve child outcomes. Steve is privileged to lead a talented team in the shaping and scaling of the organization’s caregiver-directed initiatives that integrate LENA’s “talk pedometer” technology. Steve leverages a wealth of technical and leadership skills honed over a 25-year career spanning multiple industries. He has been instrumental in transitioning LENA from an organization known solely for its research on early language to one known for putting research into action and positively impacting children and families around the world. An expert in optical remote sensing and statistical signal processing, he played various strategic roles with laser ... Read More
  • Steven F. Warren, PhD
    Steven F. Warren, PhD University Distinguished Professor of Speech-Language-Hearing: Science and Disorders, Investigator with the Institute of Life Span Studies; University of Kansas Dr. Steven Warren’s research has focused on communication and language development in children with developmental delays and disabilities. Much of this work has focused on the effects of different types of communication and language interventions as well as the way that children with specific disorders (e.g., Down syndrome) respond to different approaches. Over the past 15 years he and his colleagues have conducted several randomized clinical trials on the effects of these interventions on children’s language development. For the past 10 years Dr. Warren has been investigating the impact of parenting on the development of children with ... Read More