Dr. Leora Cherney

Leora R. Cherney, PhD, CCC-SLP, BC-ANCDS

Scientific Chair, Think + Speak Lab
Director - Center for Aphasia Research and Treatment
Professor, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, and Communication Sciences & Disorders
Coleman Foundation Chair

My Lab

My Lab

Center for Aphasia Research & Treatment

The Center for Aphasia Research & Treatment was created in 2001 to respond to the challenge of living with aphasia.

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About Me

Dr. Cherney's career working with adults with aphasia and neurogenic communication disorders spans more than 35 years. Clinically, she founded and currently directs Shirley Ryan AbilityLab's specialized Intensive Comprehensive Aphasia program. She also is responsible for the weekly aphasia community conversation groups and classes. Dr. Cherney has a continuous record as Principal Investigator on federal, private, and industry-sponsored research grants focusing on novel treatments and evaluating their efficacy. Topics of her research include: using state-of-the-art software with a digital therapist given face-to-face and over the internet; evaluating the addition of a pharmacologic agent, L-dopa, to behavioral language therapy; and examining the effects of cortical stimulation (epidural cortical stimulation and transcranial direct current stimulation) combined with speech-language therapy for persons with aphasia. Additionally, she is examining treatment variables (e.g. cuing, feedback) that affect the acquisition, maintenance, and generalization of skills and how acquisition can be optimized and forgetting minimized by manipulating the time distribution of treatment. Dr. Cherney has published four books, and presents her work nationally and internationally.


Shirley Ryan AbilityLab

355 East Erie

Chicago, IL 60611

Education & Training



    1975 - 1978
    University of Cape Town, South Africa, Logopaedics
    1979 - 1980
    Northwestern University, Communication Sciences and Disorders - Speech and Language Pathology
    Northwestern University, Communication Sciences and Disorders - Speech and Language Pathology

Recent Publications

Validity, reliability and sensitivity of the NORLA-6: Naming and oral reading for language in aphasia 6-point scale.
Pitts LL, Hurwitz R, Lee JB, Carpenter J, Cherney LR
International journal of speech-language pathology
doi: 10.1080/17549507.2016.1276962
Communication Partner Training in Aphasia: An Updated Systematic Review.
Simmons-Mackie N, Raymer A, Cherney LR
Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation
doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2016.03.023
Guidelines for Adult Stroke Rehabilitation and Recovery: A Guideline for Healthcare Professionals From the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.
Winstein CJ, Stein J, Arena R, Bates B, Cherney LR, Cramer SC, Deruyter F, Eng JJ, Fisher B, Harvey RL, Lang CE, MacKay-Lyons M, Ottenbacher KJ, Pugh S, Reeves MJ, Richards LG, Stiers W, Zorowitz RD, American Heart Association Stroke Council, Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing, Council on Clinical Cardiology, and Council on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research
doi: 10.1161/STR.0000000000000098

Honors & Awards

  • Women in Rehabilitation Science Award
    American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM) , 2021
  • ACRM - American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine
    National Stroke Association Award for Excellence in Post-Acute Stroke, 2017
  • Honors of the Association
    Illinois Speech-Language Hearing Association, 2014
  • Fellow
    American Speech-Language Hearing Association, 2001
  • Fellow
    Illinois Speech-Language Hearing Association, 2001
  • Board Certified
    Academy of Neurologic Communication Disorders and Sciences, 1994


  • Executive Board
    Academy of Neurologic Communication Disorders and Sciences, 2015 - 2016
  • Founding Member
    AphasiaAccess, 2011
  • Steering Committee
    Clinical Aphasiology Conference, 2009
  • Chair - Continuing Education Committee
    Clinical Aphasiology Conference, 2013
  • Certification Board - Member, Associate Chair and then Chair
    Academy of Neurologic Communication Disorders and Sciences, 2003
  • Executive Board and VP - Professional Relations
    Illinois Speech Language and Hearing Association, 1998
  • Nominations Committee
    American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine, 2015
  • Advisory Board
    National Aphasia Association, 2008
  • Section Editor - Editorial Board
    Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 2013
  • Member - Editorial Board
    , 2013

Research Interests

  • Rehabilitation approaches for a variety of neurologic cognitive and communication disorders, with a special emphasis on aphasia
  • Investigation of optimum dosage and scheduling of treatment
  • Development, evaluation, and implementation of computer-based treatments using state-of -the art technology including "virtual therapists"
  • Neuromodulation for aphasia recovery after stroke
  • Neurophysiology of language and the neurophysiologic changes that occur following treatments for aphasia

Selected Grants

  • National Institutes of Health (NIDCD)
    1R01DC011754, 2011 - 2017
    90AR5015 (formerly H133P120013)., 2012 - 2018
    90IF0034 (formerly H133G120123)., 2012 - 2016
    90RT5027 (formerly H133B140012) - subproject 3, 2014 - 2019
    90RE5013 (formerly H133E130019) - subproject 2, 2013 - 2018
  • Evergreen Invitational Women’s Health Grants Initiative
    2015 - 2017
  • Catalyst Award - RIC & McCormick School of Engineering
    2016 - 2017