Joshua Huppert, AuD
2019 Nominee Member-at-Large
Board Certified in Audiology
Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology/Pediatric Audiologist University of Miami Ear Institute-Children's Hearing Program
BFA: Musical Theatre, Western Illinois University, 2009
Post-Bacc: Audiology, Northern Illinois University, 2014
AuD: Doctorate in Audiology, Pacific University, 2017
Why are you interested in serving on the Academy board?
Receiving the opportunity to represent and serve the Academy membership through tenure on the Board of Directors would truly be an honor, particularly so, as a young professional. While I believe the future of audiology is bright and full of promise, I, too, recognize the number of challenges on the horizon as we are forced to re-evaluate our present service, care, and delivery models as a result of the dynamic changes impacting the current health-care system, the ever-evolving needs of patients and their increasingly-complex diagnoses, rapid advancements in technology, inadequate reimbursement for the time, services and level of expertise audiologists provide, and disproportionate patient-to-provider ratios-to name a few.
As convoluted and daunting as these obstacles may seem, they are anything but unconquerable. I know this because I’ve seen our profession prosper time and again over the last 5 years of my active engagement through various leadership roles within the Academy. With a dash of optimism, the efforts of dedicated, passionate volunteers, access to a diverse mind-trust, and a sound, strategic direction moving forward, we will continue to grow and flourish as a profession. I would welcome and embrace the opportunity to help influence and shape the future of our profession through service to the Academy Board of Directors, Academy membership, and by extension, the patients we serve daily.
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?
Of the many challenges currently impacting the profession of audiology, I find three to be most concerning: 1) lack of public and professional awareness about the scope of the audiological practice, and furthermore, how the services provided by an audiologist can positively impact patient quality of life, 2) failure of audiologists to utilize evidence-based, best-practice guidelines and practice across the entire scope of their practice, and 3) disparity in the quality of academic and clinical education in audiology programs across the United States.
Despite data describing hearing loss as a chronic health care condition (WHO, 2017) and identifying falls as the leading cause of injury and death in older Americans (CDC, 2016), Audiologists, throughout most of healthcare, are still not recognized as the primary provider for hearing and balance healthcare, as such, diagnosis, intervention, and management for these chronic health conditions are often delayed, if not over-looked entirely.
As current Academy President-Elect, Dr. Catherine Palmer, so poignantly stated in her platform for the Academy Board last year, “We need to get out of the booth and attack the impact of hearing loss and balance issues…so that we become the experts that other healthcare providers turn to when these issues start to impact patient quality of life.” Making pointed, dedicated efforts to provide education and outreach in our surrounding local, state, and national healthcare arenas about the scope of our practice, and how our services can positively impact patient quality of life, will not only benefit the provider’s own practice, but, more importantly, help to reduce the length of time patients suffering from hearing and balance issues receive proper diagnosis, and therein, appropriate treatment/management. In essence, we have to stop seeing said outreach opportunities as “decreased revenue time” in our clinics and, instead, view them as investments in helping to ensure our profession’s future prosperity.
On a similar note, we must practice what we preach. If we claim to be the expert provider of hearing and balance healthcare, it is essential that we practice across our entire scope and do so in accordance to evidence-based, best practice guidelines. For example, utilization of real-ear verification, despite ample support for such practices to improve the quality of device fitting in the literature, is only done so by an abysmally small percentage of those individuals currently in practice. Additionally, query regarding/screening for balance dysfunction in patients presenting with concern for hearing, despite knowledge of increased risk for balance impairment in those with sensorineural hearing loss (Cushing, 2014), is rarely performed. Though some of these practices may require extended appointment slots or additional equipment for testing, adhering to them will only aid in further supporting the quality, validity, and value of the services we provide.
Finally, delivery of quality, clinical care begins in the classroom. If students are graduating from academic institutions ill-prepared and unequipped with the training and tools they need to provide quality patient care, we are not only failing the student, but the patient as well. Developing universal standards for academic and clinical education in audiology would not only influence our ability to graduate competent clinicians capable of exceeding patient expectations for quality of care, but also, better ensure that our training of young audiologists better supports our aim to be seen as the primary provider for hearing and balance healthcare.
What experience do you have in the planning, evaluation, and implementation of a strategic plan?
During my tenure as SAA President, Rachael Sifuentes, Director of the SAA and Volunteer Engagement, and I created and implemented a new governance structure and 3-5 year strategic plan. The 3-5 year plan aimed to provide a strong foundation for future strategic planning among the SAA Board and its partner organizations and established broad, long-term goals that will remain relevant over the course of the next few years that can be refined and re-defined by successive SAA Boards according to the current organizational climate and/or needs of membership. The new governance structure aimed to eliminate redundant efforts occurring within the SAA so that leadership could better anticipate the needs of membership and still remain proactively engaged in associated professional communities. I am pleased to say that the past two SAA Boards are successfully operating under this new governance structure and their efforts are driven by the global goals outlined in the aforementioned 3-5 year plan.
List any experience in Financial Management. Describe your experience in developing and implementing a budget for a practice, business, department, or organization.
As an audiology intern at Children’s Hospital of Alabama in Birmingham, I helped lay the foundational groundwork for their pediatric vestibular program. The groundwork for the program included a 20-page business plan that I composed, complete with an executive summary, market research and analysis, service line, marketing plan, and financial projections for the program based upon seeing 10, 15, and 20 patients per month. I also authored the capital equipment requests for the diagnostic testing equipment that would be utilized in the clinic. I am delighted to say that the program officially opened to the public in the Spring of 2017 and the program is running successfully based upon my contributions as an intern.
From the list below, select three competencies you feel best represent your leadership strengths:
Governance Experience, Problem Solving, Relationship Building
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.
First Competency: Problem-Solving
By nature, I am restorative and strategic. I am skilled at identifying deficiencies, knowledge gaps, and/or performance shortcomings and even more determined to conquer and enhance them. In particular, I am fascinated by problems that puzzle, confound, and/or frustrate others. I not only revel in a good challenge, but I also appreciate how perplexing problems force me to venture beyond the “commonplace,” familiar, or obvious, and see the problem from an angle I may not have considered otherwise. As a result, the solutions I often entertain are innovative, inventive, original, and resourceful. I strongly believe that my unique approach to problem-solving and perspective as a new professional would not only enrich Academy Board discussions, but also diversify them, as there are currently no new professional members serving on the Academy Board.
Second Competency: Governance Experience
I am now in the midst of my 5th year serving in a leadership position with the Academy, as I initially served as the SAA Advocacy Committee Chair, the SAA President in 2016/2017, the SAA Immediate Past-President and Academy Outreach Council Chair-Elect in 2017/2018, and now, the AAA Outreach Counsel Chair. Not only has my extended board service allowed me the opportunity to grow as a leader, but it has also helped me to develop and fine-tune my ability to think globally, particularly about the overarching goals of the organization(s), and how we could better anticipate and exceed the needs of the membership. In my opinion, global perspective serves as the very foundation to strategic planning, development, and implementation, which would be valuable skills to possess with the implementation of a new governance structure on the horizon.
Third Competency: Relationship Building
I have always excelled socially and revel in the opportunity to meet new people and learn from other’s perspectives. Additionally, through my background/training in theatre I have developed a unique sense of empathy that has allowed me to embrace all walks of life, even though I may not share a particular experience(s). For these reasons, I have an excellent track record of developing lasting, salient relationships with others, a skillset that would be handy to utilize, particularly since the Academy Board aims to explore partnerships with organizations outside of audiology.