Howard Head Sports Medicine offers new speech therapy program
New services are supported by $1M donation from family that helped make Vail Health into what it is today
Vail Health is now offering a speech therapy program at Howard Head Sports Medicine with evaluation and treatment services available for a variety of conditions.
The program’s launch in November marked the first time Eagle County has had its own speech therapy program, according to a Vail Health news release issued Monday.
Speech therapy services are provided by speech language pathologists Betty Neal and Erin Liegel. Neal and Liegel treat children and adults with disorders in the areas of speech, language, cognition, voice and swallowing.
One local family is already benefiting from the new program.
“Recently, our son was diagnosed with autism, and he’s currently nonverbal,” said Brittany Ramos, whose son receives treatment at the Howard Head Sports Medicine location in Edwards.
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“This program is helping him learn communication and functional play, amongst other things, that will help him have a successful transition into school,” Ramos said in the news release. “We are so grateful for the program and all it provides.”
The speech therapy program was made possible by a $1 million donation from Charlotte and Kent Brittan.
Gordon and Thelma Brittan, Kent Brittan’s parents, were “instrumental” in helping form Vail Clinic, now known as Vail Health Hospital, according to the release.
Kent Brittan said he wanted to follow in the philanthropic footsteps of his parents by supporting a program inspired by his own experiences with a speech disorder.
“My dad understood that Vail needed a real hospital facility where bones broken and tendons torn on the mountain could be healed without driving to Denver,” Kent said in the release. “I wanted to keep the memory of my parents alive, because without their ideas, initiative and hard work, along with all their friends, the hospital would never have been built.”
Howard Head Sports Medicine’s new speech language pathologists will also provide post-trauma or post-illness services within Vail Health Hospital, such as swallow studies and feeding assessments. They will assist in supporting patients’ needs following head and neck cancer diagnosis, as cancer treatment can impact a patient’s ability to communicate or eat.
“We are grateful for Charlotte and Kent’s giving, which allows us to meet the changing needs of our community,” Vail Health Foundation President Dan Pennington said in the release.
“This gift is providing much-needed specialty care for our community, and we are grateful to have such dedicated and generous benefactors,” Acting Vice President of Howard Head Sports Medicine Mary Ellen Broersma said in the release.