By Jennifer REESE
It is the role of the not-for-profit organization to seek to meet the needs of
the community in a quality way. Providing services to people brings with it a large degree
Our purpose should always be to serve the community in the best possible way.
These words, from Janet Maher, President of Buffalo Hearing and Speech Center,
exemplify her philosophy for the Center, and the hearing and speech-language profession in
general. With a strong commitment to maintaining a high standard of quality and dedicated
to meeting the unmet needs of the community, Maher has helped Buffalo Hearing and Speech
Center to achieve a remarkable degree of expansion and development in just a little over a
At the time of her appointment in 1986 by the Board of Directors, Buffalo Hearing and
Speech Center had a staff of only 17 people and an annual budget of $500,000. Today,
Buffalo Hearing and Speech Center employs over 150 clinical and professional staff members
and has an annual budget of $5,000,000.
In her tenure at the Center, Maher has worked to carry on a long-standing tradition of
outstanding service and commitment to the community. With a mission of helping men, women
and children with speech-language and hearing impairments achieve their maximum
communication potential, Buffalo Hearing and Speech Center is dedicated to meeting the
needs of the community by providing quality services and fostering research for the
prevention, habilitation and rehabilitation of communication disorders.
In the 44 years since its founding, Buffalo Hearing and Speech Center has expanded to
meet the growing needs of the community and remain at the cutting edge of advances in the
diagnosis and treatment of speech-language and hearing impairments. Since its formation,
the Center has helped over 60,000 individuals in the Western New York community overcome
their communication disorders and achieve a better quality of life.
Hearing loss affects an estimated 75% of
people age 50 and over. Here,
While a busy mother of three, Janet Maher returned to college to seek a masters
degree in speech-language pathology. As a graduate student in 1971, Maher served an
externship at Buffalo Hearing and Speech Center. It was at that time that she developed a
genuine affection for the Center. I found Buffalo Hearing and Speech Center to have
a uniquely wonderful atmosphere, said Maher. The small staff at that time not
only had strong professional talents, but also cared very much about each patient, and
about each other.
Following graduation from the State University College at Buffalo in 1972, Maher began
her professional career as a speech-language pathologist with Niagara County Speech,
Hearing & Learning Center. In just two years, she was presented with the opportunity
to become director, and it was then that she developed her love for administrative work.
Says Maher, While I was no longer able to work with patients on a one-to-one basis,
I soon realized that sound management decisions, while indirect, can have a very positive
impact on the quality of life for those with speech-language and hearing disorders.
From 1984 to 1986, Maher was enrolled in a doctoral program at the State University of New
York at Buffalo for the study of organization and administration.
In 1986, Maher was delighted to return to Buffalo Hearing and Speech Center as
president of the organization. As an administrator and a native Buffalonian, she was
pleased to have the opportunity to develop new programs and strengthen existing services
at the Center, while continuing to uphold the highest standards of quality and commitment
to the community.
One of the very first goals Maher achieved upon her arrival at Buffalo Hearing and
Speech Center was the formation of its Early Childhood Program in 1987. Encompassing both
early intervention and preschool services, the Program provides treatment for children
from infancy to 5 years of age who are affected with hearing and speech-language
Janet shares a book with children in the
In addition to this achievement, Maher advocated the development of therapeutic support
groups for adults with communication disorders. According to Maher, One of the most
important roles for a community hearing and speech center is to encourage ongoing
participation from family members. The active involvement of family, through support
groups, has been shown to considerably increase the amount of progress made by patients
during and after their therapy.
Celebrating the wedding of her daughter in
1988 are Janet and, from left,
While strongly convinced of Buffalo Hearing and Speech Centers status as a
quality organization, Maher was also aware of the need for recognition of the Center
within the professional community, as well. Through her foresight and direction, and the
dedication and support of the Centers board and staff, Buffalo Hearing and Speech
Center was honored to receive national accreditation from the American
Speech-Language-Hearing Association in 1994. The Center is one of only 350 of the 2,500
hearing and speech centers in the United States to receive this distinction.
It was in 1995, however, that Mahers ultimate vision was achieved. To meet the
growing demands of the Western New York community and provide the optimal setting for the
diagnosis and treatment of those with communication disorders, Buffalo Hearing and Speech
Center constructed and now occupies a new 47,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility at
50 E. North Street in the Downtown Buffalo Medical Corridor.
|Joining Janet in celebrating the Grand Opening
Buffalo Hearing and Speech Centers new facility are, from left, Councilman James Pitts, Senator Anthony Nanula, Steven Truesdale, Legislator George Holt, James Julian, Assemblyman Robin Schimminger and Mayor Anthony Masiello.
|Janet Maher greets visitors
in front of the Center
at 50 E. North Street.
With this new facility, Buffalo Hearing and Speech Center is able to continue to
develop new programs and acquire new technology to enhance both the quality and scope of
its services. The new facility provides the optimal setting for the diagnosis, treatment
and rehabilitation of those with communication impairments.
Most recently, Buffalo Hearing and Speech Center has been reaching beyond the walls of
its facility and providing services out in the community in patients homes,
at child care centers, at senior centers, in hospitals and at nursing homes. The Center
has also added a new day care program, Great Beginnings, A Child Care Learning Center.
This program provides a safe, nurturing day care environment for infants, toddlers and
preschool children and is open to all children, not just those with speech-language or
With the achievement of her initial goals, including national accreditation and the
construction of a new facility, Mahers long term vision for Buffalo Hearing and
Speech Center is to have it remain as a center of excellence, at the cutting edge of the
profession, and continue to reach out to those in need. The Center must always be an
integral part of the fabric of the community, says Maher. Wherever there are
people in need, Buffalo Hearing and Speech Center will be there for many years to
Jennifer Reese works at the Development Office of Buffalo Hearing and Speech Center.
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