Skip to main content

Professor who revolutionized treatment of swallowing disorders dies

Jerilyn Ann Logemann, Ph.D., the Ralph and Jean Sundin Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders in the Northwestern University School of Communication and Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, and Neurology in the Feinberg School of Medicine, has died. The three-time university alumna, internationally recognized research pioneer and teacher passed away June 19. She was 72. She had taught at Northwestern University since 1978.

Between 1963 and 1968, Logemann earned her bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. in speech pathology from Northwestern. She taught briefly at local universities before joining the research staff at Feinberg School of Medicine and then the faculty of both Feinberg and the then-named School of Speech.


Logemann as a faculty member in 1982. Photo courtesy of University Archives


Logemann as a Northwestern student in 1962. Photo courtesy of University Archives

Logemann was a pioneer in the study of dysphagia, or swallowing disorders. Her research interests include the management of voice disorders, normal swallowing physiology, the assessment and treatment of speech and swallowing dysfunction in treated head and neck cancer patients and neurologically impaired individuals. Logemann developed the modified barium swallow test, a less stressful alternative to a typical radiographic study of swallowing that is now a standard diagnostic tool. A recent interest centered on compliance counseling for patients undergoing neck and throat surgery.

Logemann served as the department chair of the Roxelyn and Richard Pepper Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders for many years and taught in Northwestern’s Dental School with a specialty in cleft palate. She was a Fellow of the Institute of Medicine, Chicago, and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, of which she was also past president.

She was also an active researcher and an oft-published and honored scholar, said Barbara J. O’Keefe, dean of the School of Communication.

“Jeri Logemann was a leader in her department, this university, and the field of speech and hearing science,” said O’Keefe. “She worked tirelessly to advance our knowledge of swallowing as well as treatment for those suffering from swallowing disorders. She developed groundbreaking new assessments and treatments; her clinic on the Chicago campus helped thousands of people. She was an extraordinary teacher and a distinguished department chair. She will be sorely missed.”

Logemann helped shape the department’s top-rated program in speech language pathology, said Viorica Marian, professor and department chair of communication sciences and disorders.

“Jeri was a brilliant scientist, clinician and teacher,” Marian said. “She was a generous colleague, committed fully to the department, the school, the university, and the profession. She overcame tremendous challenges to live life to the fullest and ultimately move her profession forward.”

The funeral will be on Thursday, June 26, visitation at 10 a.m., service at 11 a.m. at Scott Funeral Home on Greenleaf in Wilmette. The interment will follow in Woodland Cemetery in Forest Park.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Communication Sciences and Disorders Research Group and mailed to
Dr. David Lilienfeld, Treasurer, CSDRG
13412 Pantera Road
San Diego, CA 92130-1022

Online memorial messages may be given through Dignity Memorial.