Amanda Ortmann, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Washington University School of Medicine
BS: Mathematics/Communications, Missouri Baptist University, 2001
MS: Speech and Hearing, Washington University in St. Louis, 2003
PhD: Audiology, University of Pittsburgh, 2012
Why are you interested in serving on the Academy board?
As a clinician, I am always looking for innovative ways to provide both excellent and evidence-based patient care. However, as a researcher I know the importance of establishing a solid foundation that will outline specific goals for my work, aligning with the oft-quoted line that “to know your future, you must know your past.” I realize that I owe many of my current privileges and opportunities to the past professionals who have dedicated their career to shaping the field of audiology. These leaders realized that we, being a relatively young profession, had the opportunity to define who we are, whom we serve, and how we may best serve. Our profession grew exponentially due to a strong adherence to evidence-based practice, a keen focus on the education of future Audiologists, a push for advocacy, and effective leadership. While the health-care climate is dynamic with transitions occurring in the model of hearing health-care delivery, as well as reimbursement for our services, the foundation of our profession should be solid and rooted in education and guided by evidence-based research. I believe strongly that this foundation is crucial to the advancement of our profession. It is an exciting time for our profession as we not only adjust to our growth and success but also prepare for the health-care transitions ahead. I am honored to be nominated for the Member-at-Large position, as it is an opportunity to address the challenges that face our profession directly.
What challenges or key issues do you see for the audiology profession in the next five years? What would you hope to accomplish about these challenges during your term on the board?
We are members of a growing and dynamic profession; we are fortunate to be in a position where we, as an audiology community, can determine our future. Our past leaders have worked tirelessly to make decisions that would lead us to autonomy. One of these decisions led to a paradigm shift in the education of Audiologists with the development of a viable clinical doctoral level degree. Secondly, our past leaders led multiple campaigns to advocate for access to audiology services. We need to build upon our past work by continuing to raise these standards.
With each goal, we achieve, more goals are set so that we can keep pushing our profession forward. Now that the AuD is our entry-level degree, we must ensure that proper standardization of excellent training is maintained. However, we cannot lose sight on the importance of the Ph.D. research degree. We must keep a solid base in evidence-based principles and provide opportunities for new research to flourish. We need to add clinical researchers to gain credibility within both granting agencies and academic research institutions. Also, strong collaboration with other allied health professions with the goal of promoting opportunities for relevant translational research would benefit our Academy, our members, and our patients alike. Our profession needs to be at the forefront of advancement in both technology and programs such as telehealth that improve patient access to our services.
As the Academy focuses on improving the training of both AuD and Ph.D. level Audiologists, attention must be given to the professional development of our current members. We must provide opportunities for excellent and diverse continuing education. Also, we must be progressive in the training of other individuals in hearing health care, such as audiology assistants. We need to remain involved in defining the role and the educational requirements of these health-care assistants.
Audiology must evolve in response to changes in government regulations, industry shifts, and demands of the hearing health-care consumer. Hearing healthcare delivery is changing dramatically and will continue to do so. We, as a collective voice, must be proactive and continue to self-advocate for the provision of excellent care for those with hearing and/or vestibular disorders. Current and past leaders have done tremendous work in laying the foundation of establishing a presence on Capitol Hill. We now must build upon this foundation as we transition through the changing landscape of hearing health-care delivery.
It is an exciting time for audiology, and I am both humbled and grateful to be part of it. I believe that we will grow stronger as an autonomous profession by 1) concentrating our efforts in solidifying our foundation of clinical, research, and professional education, 2) developing collaborations for innovative research, and 3) continuing to advocate for ourselves in this changing health-care environment.
What experience do you have in the planning, evaluation, and implementation of a strategic plan?
Throughout my career as a researcher, I have spent considerable time and effort planning, investigating, evaluating, and executing protocols that will arrive at an answer to a carefully worded research question. Competitive scientific research requires a careful acknowledgment of past work, a thirst for the investigation into areas we do not fully understand, and meticulousness as we design, evaluate, execute, and sometimes re-evaluate methods to arrive at a conclusion. Research practice involves collaboration and intense teamwork to complete a project from securing funding to the publication of results. Research grant proposals, like strategic plan documents, are the product of long hours spent in collaboration, planning, and writing. I have been involved on research teams promoting the work of others, and have also successfully competed for my research funding. I hope to carry this experience into the areas of professional development as we promote the field of audiology.
List any experience in Financial Management. Describe your experience in developing and implementing a budget for practice, business, department, or organization?
A large part of my career trajectory took place in a clinical setting. As a clinical audiologist, I managed a clinical site within a larger division. At the helm of this clinical site, I learned how to operate on a limited budget, while increasing the overall revenue. Financial management requires a careful analysis of expenditures versus revenue, as well as an examination of the needs and demands of your consumer. Organizations must be fiscally responsible in adjusting for the present, and future needs to succeed.
Select three competencies you feel best to represent your leadership strengths.
Commitment, Problem Solving, Teamwork
Based on the three competencies you selected that best represent your leadership strengths, comment on how these qualities would positively affect your ability to serve on the Academy board.
I will be honored to serve on the Academy board should I be elected to do so. I am a firm believer that each person, bringing his/her unique perspective and skill-set, is a valuable member of a team. As you vote on incoming nominations for the member-at-large slate, I trust that the process will yield a field of cohorts that will have complementary strengths. My leadership qualities that will positively affect the function and cohesiveness of the board are those of commitment to the purpose, problem-solving to further the cause and the establishment of teamwork along the way. I have been committed to the field of audiology since I was 17 years old working part-time in private practice. I’ve come a long way since then, but have never veered from the field. I will take the role of public service to the field seriously, like so many who served before me. I owe it to both my past mentors and my future colleagues to make them proud of and passionate for our profession.