NMT Academy Faculty


Dr. Michael H. Thaut     

Michael H. Thaut received his PhD in music with a cognate minor in movement science in 1983 and his masters in music 1980, both from Michigan State University. He also studied at the Mozarteum Music University in Salzburg, Austria. He holds a German Diploma degree in psychology/education. At Colorado State University (CSU) he was Professor Music since 1986-2015 and Director of the School of the Arts 2001-2010. He received a joint appointment as Professor of Neuroscience in 1998. He was Director of the Center for Biomedical Research in Music since 1994. Since 2016 he is Professor of Music with cross appointments in Neuroscience and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Toronto where he directs the Music and Health Research Collaboratory (MaHRC) and the Masters/PhD programs in Music and Health Sciences. He has been a Visiting Professor in medical and music schools around the world (Germany, Italy, USA, Japan), and 2010-2012 was chancellor of the SRH University System in Germany.

Over the past decade he and his co-investigators have received over 4 million in prestigious and highly competitive research funding from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and private foundations. He has received the American Music Therapy Association’s National Research Award 1993 and its National Service Award 2001. His recent publication (with Volker Hoemberg), The Oxford Handbook of Neurologic Music Therapy (2014), was second overall in the British Medical Association (BMA) 2015 Book Awards for ‘Best New Book in Neurology’ (60 entries), an unprecedented achievement for a work in music therapy/medicine. Dr. Thaut has authored/co-authored abpout 250 scientific publications in multiple fields. His publications have appeared in journals like Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Brain Sciences, Neuroimage, Music Perception, Biological Cybernetics, Movement Disorders, etc. His books have been translated into Korean, Japanese, and Chinese. He is globally in demand as a keynote speaker on music, brain, and neurorehabilitation.

His research career has been focused on the neural and psychophysical basis of music and rhythm perception and clinical application of music and rhythm to motor, speech/language, and cognitive training in neurologic disorders. He is the founder of the evidence-based treatment system of Neurologic Music Therapy whose certificate training has been endorsed by the World Federation of Neurorehabilitation. He is President of the International Society for Clinical Neuromusicology, Vice President of the International Society for Music and Medicine, a Management Board Member of the World Federation of Neurorehabilitation, and an elected Overseas Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine (U.K.). In addition to his groundbreaking work as a researcher and clinician, Dr. Thaut is an accomplished musician and violinist in the classical and folk genre, having toured and recorded extensively, especially in folkmusic. His anthology of European and North American Fiddle Music (Das grosse Fiddlebuch) has been in print since 1981.


Dr. Corene P. Hurt-Thaut

Corene P. Hurt-Thaut received her master’s in music therapy, and her PhD with an interdisciplinary focus of music, neuroscience and statistical design, from Colorado State University. At Colorado State University she served as a special assistant professor of music therapy from 1997-2014, teaching classes in piano technique, music therapy methods and counseling for psychiatric populations, music therapy methods in neuro-rehabilitation, research in music therapy, advanced techniques in neurologic rehabilitation, and seminars in neurologic music therapy. She was a research associate at The Center for Biomedical Research in Music at Colorado State University from 1997-2015.  She is the co-founder and Program Director for The Academy of Neurologic Music Therapy since 1997, and is currently assistant professor and research associate at the University of Toronto, and associate professor at the ArtEZ School of Music – ArtEZ Conservatorium.   She is nationally and internationally recognized for her clinical expertise in the evidence based practice of Neurologic Music Therapy, with clinical experience including 3 ½ years as a music therapist at Wesley Woods Geriatric Hospital and the Center for Rehabilitation Medicine at Emory University Medical School in Atlanta, 4 years as a Neurologic Music Therapist at Poudre Valley Hospital and The Center for Neurologic Rehabilitation in Fort Collins, Colorado, and 10 years of private practice and community outreach Neurologic Music Therapy session.  Her work has included a diverse range of clinical populations including: stroke, Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, and psychiatric disorders.  She served on the exam committee for the National Certification Board for Music Therapy (CBMT) as both a member and Committee Chair from 2001-2006, as an elected member of the CBMT National Board of Directors from 2009-2013, and more recently on the Practice Analysis Committee (2015) and as a co-author of the Self-Assessment Exam (2016) .  She has also served as President and Vice President of the Midwestern Region of American Music Therapy Association.   Dr. Hurt-Thaut has numerous research publications in the area of music and motor control as well as ten book chapters highlighting specific applications of neurologic music therapy to her credit.


Suzanne Oliver

Suzanne Oliver is the Founder and Executive Director of Neurologic Music Therapy Services of Arizona (NMTSA), a nonprofit organization that has provided clinical music therapy services to the Phoenix community for over 40 years.  She also founded a school for students with autism, approved through the Arizona Department of Education, in 2007. Suzanne is a Board Certified Music Therapist who received her NMT training in 1999, and a Neurologic Music Therapist Fellow, having completed four Fellowships to date through the Academy. Suzanne assisted in developing the Academy for Neurologic Music Therapy and co-authored the Medical Coding and Records Manual: Neurologic Music Therapy. Her passion is to educate the community on current research regarding the impact of rhythm on the brain and how this knowledge can positively impact the treatment of individuals with neurologic differences and improve their everyday life.


Dr. Gerald McIntosh

A neurologist and neurorehabilitation specialist serves as the medical director for the Center for Biomedical Research.  Dr. McIntosh currently has his own practice, Neurology Associates of Northern Colorado, and is also affiliated with many local hospitals and clinics, including the Center for Neurorehabilitation Services, Poudre Valley Hospital, Medical Center of the Rockies, and Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital.  Dr. McIntosh has published over 45 studies, several of which have been done in conjunction with the Center for Biomedical Research.  In addition, Dr. McIntosh has served as an Ad Hoc Reviewer for the journal Neurology on multiple occasions and has been a clinical assistant professor at the University of Colorado in both neurology and family medicine.

Ruth Rice, DPT

Ruth Rice, Physical Therapist, has been involved with research on the effects of rhythm and music for neurological rehabilitation techniques for the last 20 years and has also been a clinician treating orthopedic and neurological diagnoses for the last 22 years. Ruth received her Masters’s degree in Physical Therapy in 1988 and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2008.  She has been a clinician at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins for the last 20 years and also is an instructor/facilitator for 3 Neurologic Music Therapy community exercise groups per week, she also continues with research projects with the Center for Biomedical Research in Music at Colorado States University.

NMT Assistant Faculty

Dr. Stefan Mainka

Dr. Stefan Mainka works as a music therapist and researcher at Parkinson’s Center Beelitz-Heilstätten/Germany. His work focuses on sensorimotor rehabilitation and therapeutic musical sonification. He teaches at the Kunst-Uni Graz in Austria.

Kathrin Mertel

Kathrin Mertel earned her diploma in music therapy in 2003 and completed her Master’s Degree in Neurological Music Therapy in 2005.  2006 – 2011 she was working full-time at a Neurological Rehabilitation Center in Dresden where she mainly treated patients suffering from TBI and cerebral palsy. Since September 2011 she works at the Cochlear Implant Center of the University Hospital Dresden. Her work focuses on auditory perception training and cognitive training.
In addition to her clinical work, Kathrin Mertel is the author of publications, gives lectures and workshops. Since 2007 she has a teaching assignment at the Music Therapeutic Institute of the University of the Arts in Berlin. 

Laurien Hakvoort, PhD.

Laurien Hakvoort, PhD., is a Dutch-registered music therapist and Neurologic music therapy fellow. She is a lecturer of music therapy approaches at the music therapy department of ArtEZ University of the Arts in the bachelor and (pre)master program and runs the on-campus Parkinson-NMT-group. In addition, she is a freelance researcher and guest lecture at University Palackého in Olomouci, Czech Republic. For 17 years she was a music therapist in forensic psychiatry and currently runs her private music therapy practice, Muzis.net.

Brian Harris

Brian Harris is the Co-Founder and CEO of MedRhythms.  MedRhythms provides Neurologic Music Therapy services across the care continuum and builds digital therapeutics based on Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation. Brian is a Neurologic Music Therapist Fellows whose clinical work is focused at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, USA where he created and implemented their first inpatient full time Neurologic Music Therapy program, specializing in Traumatic Brain Injury, Stroke, and neurologic disease and built this program to be the most comprehensive NMT program in the country.  Brian is also the Chair of the Arts & Neuroscience group at the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and sits on the Advisory Council of the Academy of Neurologic Music Therapy. He has been an invited speaker at venues throughout the world including: the American Academy of Neurosurgeons, Harvard Medical School, the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine, Stanford University, Berklee College of Music, The Neurology Foundation of India, and Google.  Brian is an author on multiple publications related to music and rehabilitation and is listed as an inventor on several patents related to MedRhythms digital therapeutic platform.  His work has also been featured in Forbes, CNBC, The Huffington Post, Pitchfork, Mashable, The Boston Herald, XConomy, MedTech Boston and on Chronicle Boston. Brian has been named to MedTech Boston’s 40 Under 40 Healthcare Innovators.

Carolyn A Dobson, CMDCP, AAP-BC, MT-BC

Carolyn is a Neurologic Music Therapy Fellow providing clinical services, program consultation, and professional supervision in the Dallas, TX metroplex. Carolyn’s primary clinical focus includes older adults with neurodegenerative diseases and those with acquired/traumatic brain injuries. She serves as the U.S. Liaison on the NMT Academy International Council and is a current member of the NMT Academy Advisory Council. 

Cheryl Jones 

Cheryl Jones RP, MTA, PhD is an accredited music therapist and a registered psychotherapist.  She has been a teacher in the music therapy departments at Wilfrid Laurier University and Concordia University and is regularly an invited guest lecturer at universities and conferences.  In addition to teaching, she has also provided clinical supervision for student internships. She has served on the accreditation board for the Canadian Association for Music Therapy. Cheryl maintains a private clinical practice working on rehabilitation goals with individuals who have sustained an acquired brain injury.  She also has clinical experience with other populations including Alzheimer’s and dementia, autism, Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s, palliative care, and a range of mental health disorders. Cheryl was one of the first NMTs in Canada and was the first Canadian NMT fellow. She currently serves on the Advisory Council for the NMT Academy. 

Caitlin Hebb, MT-BC, Neurologic Music Therapist Fellow, Clinical Operations Manager, MedRhythms, Inc.

Caitlin Hebb is the Clinical Operations Manager for MedRhythms Inc. She graduated from Berklee College of Music with a degree in Music Therapy, and received her fellowship in Neurologic Music Therapy from The Academy for Neurologic Music Therapy. Caitlin is also the Internship Director for MedRhythms, Inc. at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital where she primarily works with patients on the traumatic brain injury, stroke, and spinal cord units. She is passionate about education and advocacy, and has spoken at several regional and national conferences. Caitlin has been involved in creating several new initiatives in the Boston Area that focus on the intersection of research, clinical application, and education including MedRhythms Meeting of the Minds and the New England Region Neurologic Music Therapy Chapter meeting. In addition, she leads cutting edge groups, including the Boston University Aphasia Community Chorus. Caitlin also serves on the board of The New England Region of The American Music Therapy Association as the Interprofessional Collaborative Resources Representative.


Chrissy is the Business Development Manager and NMT for MedRhythms Therapy. Chrissy has an undergraduate degree in music education from The Catholic University of America, a graduate degree in music therapy from SUNY New Paltz, and a Master of Social Work degree from Boston University.Chrissy has supervised music therapy interns from Anna Maria College and Berklee College of Music. She is responsible for overseeing and shepherding the growth of MedRhythms clinical services. Chrissy also provides neurologic music therapy services for groups and individuals across a variety of settings. She serves on the Academy of Certified Brain Injury Specialists Board of Governors, and has been working in the field of brain injury for the past 7 years. Chrissy presents for MedRhythms at many conferences and brain injury events, speaking to the life changing neuroscience on how music is processed and perceived in the brain. Chrissy is currently working to establish MedRhythms NY, offering world class NMT services to patients with neurologic injury and disease in the Capital Region. In her free time, Chrissy enjoys spending time with family and friends, taking walks with her husband and dogs, reading, singing, and doing puzzles!

Nicole Richard

Nicole Richard has been an NMT since 2016 and an NMT-Fellow since 2019. She is enthusiastic about NMT, having witnessed its efficacy with many clinical populations. Nicole loves to teach and has supervised a number of students in their practicum placements in the clinical master’s program (with an NMT focus) at the University of Toronto. Currently, a Ph.D. candidate studying with Dr. Michael Thaut, Nicole’s research will promote the ongoing development and application of NMT interventions addressing movement in autistic individuals. She has also done research on the efficacious use of NMT via online platforms and assisted with a number of NMT clinical studies focused on TIMP, RAS, APT, and more. 

Dr. Charlene Santoni 

Charlene Santoni received her Master’s Degree in Vocal Pedagogy and her Ph.D. in Music and Health Science with a specialization in voice from The University of Toronto. Her doctoral research explored ways of influencing oral-nasal balance in speech and singing in typical speakers and speakers with hypernasality. Her work earned publication in the Journal of Voice, Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica, and The International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology. She also co-authored a chapter on music-inspired speech and language rehabilitation that is featured in the Oxford Handbook for Music and the Brain. She is currently a guest lecturer at The University of Toronto and a sessional singing voice instructor at McMaster University. She also maintains a private studio where she provides advanced singing training, singing voice rehabilitation services, and vocal intonation therapy. In 2014, she was awarded The National Association of Teachers of Singing Voice Pedagogy Award. Charlene is a Neurologic Music Therapy Affiliated Professional that specializes in vocal intonation therapy. For more information about Dr. Santoni, you can visit her website: www.charlenesantoni.com

Sarah Melton, MA, MT-BC, NMT Fellow

Sarah Melton, MA, MT-BC, NMT Fellow got her initial NMT training in 2015 and completed her fellowship process in 2018. Some of her favorite work in her career so far has been supervising interns and updating clinical staff resources at Neurologic Music Therapy Services of Arizona — she loves teaching, mentoring, and making sure others feel empowered to do their jobs well.  She completed a Master of Arts in music therapy at Berklee College of Music with thesis work on music and multisensory integration in the brain.  She doesn’t have a favorite client population yet and has worked with clients using NMT to address goals from cognitive motor control to memory, to emotional well-being, to speech and language development, to balance, and improved gait parameters. Sarah also loves dance, yoga, and hiking all over Arizona’s mountains with her husband. 

Maegan Morrow

Maegan Morrow graduated from Sam Houston State University and received her advanced fellowship training in Neurologic Music Therapy at the Robert F. Unkefer Academy of Neurologic Music Therapy. She is a Board Certified Music Therapist and member of the American Music Therapy Association and currently works at Houston Methodist hospital in the Woodlands, TX. For the past 17 years, Maegan had been practicing Music Therapy at TIRR Memorial Hermann is the largest medical center, the Texas medical center in Houston. Her primary area of expertise is using Neurologic Music Therapy techniques for interdisciplinary work in a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation setting.

Amy Marroquin

Amy Marroquin, a graduate from Sam Houston State University,  has had a long career as a Senior Music Therapist at TIRR Memorial Hermann hospital in Houston.  She began her employment at TIRR in 2000 after working for several school systems and contracting with several nursing homes in Houston and surrounding areas.  At TIRR she is part of an interdisciplinary team that treats patients who have sustained Traumatic Brain Injury, Stroke, Neurologic disorders, and Spinal Cord Injury.  She is a Board Certified Music Therapist and a member of the American Music Therapy Association. She received her initial Neurologic Music Therapy training in 2000 and then received her advanced fellowship training in Neurologic Music Therapy in 2002, and she remains in good standing with the Unkefer Academy of Neurologic Music Therapy.   In 2002, she also assumed the role of Internship Director for the National Roster Music Therapy Internship Program at TIRR Memorial Hermann. To date, they have guided over 25 interns into the music therapy profession.