Dr. Ehud Yairi receives Certificate of Distinction and Appreciation

Dr. Ehud Yairi, professor emeritus of the Department of Speech and Hearing Science, has received the Certificate of Distinction and Appreciation from Tel Aviv University’s Steyer School of Health Professions and Sackler Faculty of Medicine. The award, bestowed in conjunction with the 50thanniversary of the School’s Department of Communication Disorders, recognizes his continuous commitment, dedication, and eminent contribution to the advancement of research in speech and hearing science, as well as the establishment in 1998 of the Ehud and Janie Yairi Fund to support doctoral student research in the Department.

Dr. Yairi, who completed his undergraduate degrees at Tel Aviv University, was a graduate student at the University of Iowa when the Department of Communication Disorders was founded. Over the years, he contributed to the Department in various ways: giving lectures, delivering short courses, directing master’s theses and serving on doctoral dissertation committees, co-authoring scientific publications, participating in faculty promotion and supporting faculty in obtaining external research grants, establishing a formal branch of his own NIH-funded research in the Department of Communication Disorders, and promoting the Department internationally. Eventually, he received a formal professorship appointment to the Faculty of Medicine at Tel Aviv University.

Dr. Yairi and his team conducted the most comprehensive hard data-based investigation of the onset of stuttering in young children, as well as the largest longitudinal investigation of the development of the disorder.  The International-Illinois Stuttering Research Program, which was directed by Dr. Yairi from 1977 to 2005, included several universities and medical centers in the United States and abroad.  It pursued several avenues of research including disfluency analyses and acoustic speech analyses, brain imaging and genetic testing, as well as tests of speech, language, hearing, motor skills, personality, and more. The project was funded continuously for 25 years by the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Yairi also was active in conducting nationwide programs related to head and neck cancer, including tutorial workshops and conferences for speech clinicians and intensive residential therapy programs for individuals with laryngectomies and glossectomies. For these initiatives, he earned the 1989 Outstanding Service Award from the American Cancer Society.

In 2002, he received Honors of the Association from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the highest honor in the field. Additional honors include the 2013 Garcia Award from the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics for the best scientific article in Folia Phoniatrica, the 2012 Lifetime Achievement in Publication Award from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, and the 2005 Malcolm Fraser Award for Excellence from the Stuttering Foundation of America. He was the first to receive the Researcher Award of Distinction from the International Fluency Association, and also received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology at the University of Iowa in 2001. In 1995, he received the King James McCristal Distinguished Scholar Award from the College of Applied Health Sciences, the highest award given by the College.

Dr. Ehud Yairi

Dr. Yairi was the first to earn bachelor’s degrees in 1965 from new departments in Psychology and in African and Middle East Studies at Tel Aviv University. His master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Speech Pathology and Audiology are from the University of Iowa. In addition to the endowment at Tel Aviv University, Dr. Yairi and his wife established the Ehud and Janie Yairi International Graduate Student Award in the Department of Speech and Hearing Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The award recognizes outstanding international doctoral students. They also established a local fund supporting programs for senior citizens.

Although retired, Dr. Yairi has an active presence in the Department of Speech and Hearing Science at Illinois. “Dr. Yairi continues to make important contributions to the field through his publications and presentations at scientific conferences,” shared Dr. Karen Iler Kirk, head of the Department of Speech and Hearing Science at Illinois.  “He also serves as a valuable resource to faculty and students in SHS, and we are grateful to Ehud and his wife Janie for endowing a scholarship awarded annually to a Ph.D. student in SHS and for their continued involvement in our department.”