Jackie received her degree in occupational therapy at the University of Wisconsin (UW) and began her work in facial NMR at University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, Neuromuscular Retraining Clinic in 1986. There, she was mentored by Richard Balliet, Ph.D., and Paul Bach-y-Rita, M.D., both pioneers in the field of brain plasticity and rehabilitation and among the first to develop a comprehensive clinical program for treating facial nerve paralysis. After almost 32 dynamic years as the facial retraining specialist at UW, Jackie transitioned into full-time private practice in 2017.
In addition to a robust private practice, Jackie consults extensively with physicians and therapists worldwide with particular emphasis on developing strategies for treating synkinesis and specific conditions after facial reanimation surgery. She works very closely with the Facial Paralysis Institute in Los Angeles as well as several physician groups in the Midwest and along the East Coast.
Jackie lectures frequently to patient support groups, physicians, and therapists, and she trains therapists in the U.S. and abroad. She is actively involved in ongoing research and has authored numerous book chapters and articles. Ms. Diels served on the medical advisory board of the Acoustic Neuroma Association (www.anausa.org) from 2002-2017 and currently serves on the medical advisory boards of the Facial Paralysis Foundation, the Bell’s Palsy Information Site, and the scientific advisory board of the Moebius Syndrome Foundation. She is a founding member and past secretary of the Sir Charles Bell Society, an international consortium of medical professions dedicated to the treatment of facial paralysis.
Jackie’s mission is to empower patients and medical professionals to improve function and quality of life for people affected by facial paralysis through education, insight, and training.