Dr Debbie Phyland is a speech pathologist having primarily worked for the past 31 years in acute hospital settings, part-time lecturing at Latrobe, Melbourne and James Cook Universities in voice, neurological and dysphagia subjects and running her private voice practice. Debbie is also a music theatre singer-performer combining her love of performance with her speech pathology career, bringing voice medicine to the performing arts. In 2002, she was the recipient of a Churchill and Kilpatrick Fellowship and travelled to the USA and Europe to study performance fitness for professional voice users. She is currently the grateful recipient of a Garnett-Passe and Rodney Williams 2-year Research Fellowship to investigate the relationship between vocal load and inflammation and swelling of the vocal folds.
As well as being part of the MVAC team, Debbie is the principal speech pathologist (SP) for her private practice Voice Medicine Australia (a SP team providing assessment and therapy for voice, cough, swallowing and other laryngeal and neurological conditions). She also currently works part-time as the Clinical Research Coordinator for the ENT Head and Neck Department of Monash Health. Along with Fellowship category (2014), Debbie has been honoured with the prestigious Speech Pathology Australia Association’s Elinor Wray Award(2010) for ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Profession’and an Australian Voice Association Award for ‘Outstanding contribution to the Australian voice community’ (2014).
For twenty years Debbie has been the resident voice consultant for Melbourne Theatre Company and countless professional productions including Matilda, Kinky Boots, Mary Poppins, WarHorse, King Kong, Lion King and Les Misérables. She was the recipient of a Victorian Green Room Award ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Melbourne Stage’ in 2012 and is currently voice consultant and speech pathologist for the national productions of MammaMia the Musical and Aladdin. Due to her unique blend and expertise in the performing arts and vocal health arenas, Debbie is in high demand and has been regularly invited to give presentations in Australia and overseas. She has authored numerous journal publications and book chapters and in 2014 completed her doctoral thesis through the Department of Surgery, Monash University researching ‘The impact of vocal load on the vocal folds of professional music theatre singers’.
In addition to her experience in all things voice-related, Debbie has a keen interest in the medical and functional aspects of other inter-related aspects of laryngology particularly upper airway dysfunction, cough and irritable larynx syndromes and neurological speech disorders.