Devon Weist, AuD
2019 Nominee Member-at-Large
Clinical Instructor and Hearing Clinic Director University of South Florida
BA: Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Pittsburgh, 2002
MA: Audiology, University of Pittsburgh, 2004
AuD: Audiology, University of Pittsburgh, 2006
Why are you interested in serving on the Academy board?
For the past 12 years, it has been a privilege to practice audiology. Reflecting back 12 years, I was among the first generation of students to graduate with the doctorate of audiology degree. I am thankful every day for my advanced level of education. My training has provided me with opportunities to serve those with hearing and balance problems while educating future audiologists in my role as a clinical instructor.
Along my journey, I have learned from mentors and colleagues the significance of being involved in my profession beyond the everyday nature of the job. I have come to recognize the significance of my involvement at both state and national levels. I am proud to be a member of the American Academy of Audiology and Florida Academy of Audiology where I have served on numerous committees and volunteered in many activities. Being a member of these organizations, I am able to see firsthand the challenges and opportunities our profession faces in the future. I welcome the opportunity to serve and will continue to work as a voice for our membership and those individuals we serve. I will continue to promote the mission of the Academy to “advance our profession through leadership, advocacy, education, public awareness, and support of research.”
What challenges or key issues do you see for the audiology profession in the next five years? What would you hope to accomplish relative to these challenges during your term on the board?
I believe the biggest challenge audiology faces in the coming years is keeping an openness and understanding that change is coming. Change doesn’t need to be the scary elephant in the room. I would argue it is the most important reason to stay involved and be members of both our national and state professional organizations! These organizations exist to keep members informed of challenges, educate members on best practices, support research driving data, technology, and protocols, and advocate for the profession and those we serve.
One of the first challenges we face is adapting to a new and everchanging healthcare system. We as Audiologists need to stop relying on the motto of this is how it’s always been done. We can’t keep hiding behind X’s and O’s. We must realize that today’s hearing loss and balance problems exist in complex, educated human beings who are able to receive care from websites or apps on their smartphones. Therefore, we have to provide audiologic services that are patient centered and evidenced based!
If we want to be respected and treated like the doctoral level profession that we are, collectively everyone needs to practice to the highest level of our scope of practice. The days of not doing hearing aid verification or testing speech in noise need to be vanquished to give way for audiologists to spend time reviewing medications and performing balance screenings routinely. Through continuing education opportunities, we can continue to educate audiologists on protocols and clinically relevant practices so they are able to perform all these tasks during daily appointments.
A large catalyst for this change in practicing to the highest level of our scope begins with the educational standards of our AuD programs. AuD programs need to be held to the highest standards to ensure students are graduating prepared to be the main providers for hearing and balance healthcare. The Academy needs to continue to support its accreditation process, grow the number of universities accredited to these highest standards, and promote and mentor both PhD and AuD Audiologists working within Universities. In addition, the Academy also needs to look at ways to support universities at the undergraduate level to generate interest in audiology. This means creative marketing campaigns to students not only interested in becoming audiologists but also generate interest in
becoming audiology assistants. Our profession, as a whole, needs to embrace using assistants so we as doctors are free to spend time evaluating, counseling, and recommending the best course of treatment for each individual we serve. I understand the responsibility of accepting the nomination for the Academy Board of Directors as an opportunity to work with national, state, and other professional organizations. I truly believe the changes we face can be tackled if we keep an open, positive mindset that always has the clear goal of furthering the profession.
What experience do you have in the planning, evaluation, and implementation of a strategic plan?
I have been involved with strategic planning both through my role as the hearing clinic director at the University of South Florida and as a board member for the Florida Academy of Audiology. Successful strategic plans are developed with an understanding that the plan must reflect the organization’s vision and mission so that anything carried out always relates back to the core values. Recently the Academy has restructured leadership and committee oversight with the goal that everything done relates back to Audiology being the leaders of hearing and balance healthcare. AAA is a large organization with many moving parts, therefore having a detailed plan for structure and implementation will allow the organization to bring about the positive changes needed to move forward.
List any experience in Financial Management. Describe your experience in developing and implementing a budget for a practice, business, department, or organization.
As the clinic director at USF, I am responsible for overseeing all clinical services and providers in our hearing clinic. We provide all audiologic services across the lifespan in addition to serving as a training clinic for USF AuD students. In the three years that I have been the clinic director, we have added 2 full time providers, 1 part time provider, 1 additional support staff, as well as a fourth-year extern to facilitate our growth while maintaining a positive budget.
I have also been a part of helping a state organization develop a financially sound strategic plan. The organization was originally running a deficit, which in the past four years has been erased. During these four years I have served as the treasurer, president elect, and president.
From the list below, select three competencies you feel best represent your leadership strengths.
Commitment, Organizational Knowledge, Teamwork
Based on the three competencies selected above, comment on how you feel these qualities would positively affect your ability to serve on the Academy board.
“Leadership is not a position or a title, it is action and example.” –Cory Booker
I think all the competencies listed are attributes needed to serve as a member of a professional board. The three competencies I chose to describe my strengths are commitment, organization knowledge, and teamwork.
Commitment: I feel a strong commitment to Audiology. This is our profession and I feel very strongly about giving back to something that has allowed me to meet many wonderful colleagues, patients and future audiologists, travel to places I would have never imagined, and accomplish things I would have never thought possible. I hope that by working at a University, volunteering to serve on national and state boards, and committing to continuing to learn new things about this profession I am contributing to Audiology being a vital part of healthcare. I am also committed to the Academy and its steadfast efforts to tackle not only the challenges but the many opportunities that present themselves.
Organizational Knowledge: In order for any initiative to be implemented it begins with having an understanding and knowledge of organization. Great ideas never go anywhere unless they are carried out and implemented. Through my role as a clinic director and serving as a state academy board member I have learned the importance of realizing and relying on the talents of many individuals. Everyone has something to offer and finding a way to use their strengths for the betterment of a project is what allows for organizations to flourish. I look forward to the opportunity to work with and learn from all the individuals that serve on the Board of Directors as well as the many committees throughout AAA.
Teamwork: Audiology can’t move forward without the group as a whole working together. One of the greatest things about our profession is the diversity that exists in regard to areas of practice, research, and technology. No one can say Audiologists aren’t passionate! However, that passion needs to be channeled into remembering why we became Audiologists in the first place-to help those we serve. We need to work together collectively and realize that when differences do exist, we need to maintain professional dialogue and foster open communications. I have worked on many “teams” and the most rewarding situations were the ones in which everyone contributed, and all opinions and ideas were used constructively to help the team succeed. I would welcome the opportunity to work as a team member on the Board of Directors.