Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Samantha Elandary is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Parkinson Voice Project. She holds a BA in communication disorders and English and an MA in speech-language pathology from the University of North Texas.
Since 1999, Samantha has worked exclusively with individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s and related movement disorders. She has devoted her life to making quality speech therapy accessible to this patient population.
Early in her career, Elandary recognized individuals with Parkinson’s responded remarkably well to speech therapy and vocal exercise, but they struggled to maintain their improvements. Patients who had the capability to improve were losing their voices, ending up with feeding tubes, and dying of aspiration pneumonia. The medical community attributed this to the progressive, degenerative nature of the disease. But, Elandary came to discover this was not the biggest problem.
Since dopamine impacts motivation and drive – and people with Parkinson’s have lost 80% of their dopamine-producing cells – the desire to continue with speech therapy that could help is diminished.
With compassion and determination, Elandary set out to develop a comprehensive speech therapy program that would not only be effective in strengthening the speech and swallowing mechanism, but would provide the support and encouragement this patient population needed to “stay the course.”
She created “The LOUD Crowd®,” a maintenance program consisting of speech and singing groups that also served as a support system for her patients and their families. People with Parkinson’s and related movement disorders were being treated at Elandary’s home. They would complete individual speech therapy and then attend speech and singing groups. would receive individual speech therapy, attend The LOUD Crowd met at Elandary’s home. In 2005, Elandary founded Texas Voice Project for Parkinson Disease, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the voices of those with Parkinson’s. In 2011, the name of the organization changed to “Parkinson Voice Project” when the Board of Directors recognized the program could be replicated to help people with Parkinson’s beyond Texas.
Many ask what motivated Samantha to start Parkinson Voice Project. While she does not have a family history of Parkinson’s, she was born with a cleft palate and struggled with her speech from childhood until she was a young professional. She understands how vulnerable someone who has a communication disorder feels and how other people judge a person’s intelligence and competence based on the ability to communicate. She considers it an honor and a privilege to help people with Parkinson’s and regain and retain one of God’s most precious gifts.
Samantha is licensed in the state of Texas and is an out-of-state telehealth provider for the state of Florida.
On a personal note, Samantha is married and has two children. She enjoys cooking Italian and Lebanese food and hosting dinner parties.