Samantha Kleindienst Robler, AuD, PhD
Director of Audiology
Norton Sound Health Corporation
Samantha Kleindienst Robler, AuD, PhD, is the director of audiology for Norton Sound Health Corporation located in Northwest Alaska. She provides clinical care from newborn to elder for both hearing diagnostics and rehabilitation. She leads the advancement of telemedicine utilization where nearly half of all encounters are done remotely. Dr. Robler also is a co-PI for a large cluster randomized trial funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) looking to address childhood hearing loss disparities in the rural Alaska Native population. Dr. Robler publishes in the area of telemedicine and access to hearing health care, lectures at the graduate-level, as well as presents nationally and internationally.
In addition to her clinical and research work, she currently serves as a member on the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Political Action Committee (PAC) Board. She is a reviewer for the Technology and Telepractice Committee for ASHA Convention, and is also a reviewer for several journals, including ASHA Perspectives, American Journal of Audiology, Otology & Neurotology, and Pediatric Otolaryngology. She is a previous committee member for ASHA Government Relations and Public Policy Board, International Issues Board, and the American Academy of Audiology Professional Development Committee for Continuing Education. She received her BA in communication science and disorders from University of Pittsburgh, AuD in audiology from Gallaudet University, and PhD in audiology from Gallaudet University.
Nominee Position Statement
Why are you interested in serving on the Academy Board?
The profession of audiology is facing a changing landscape. We see increased market penetration for hearing technology while simultaneously experiencing decreased reimbursement for our clinical services. We are at a time in our profession where we can define who we are and the standard of clinical care we practice. This redefining will require a continued focus on innovation and clinical research to drive evidence-based practice and to position our profession as leading experts in hearing health care. It starts with our graduate programs and the recruitment of young researchers and extends to how we advocate for the profession and influence policy change. I am honored to be nominated as a potential Member-at-Large for the Academy and would draw from my varied clinical and research experience and leadership to date to help guide the Academy and its diverse membership through these turbulent times.
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?
During my tenure with the Academy, I would focus on cultivating an environment where we can work together to advocate for the profession from academic programs to policy change. Our profession is being challenged by policy and market changes, to redefine our practice models and our standard of care. We have an opportunity to define our profession as the leading experts in hearing healthcare and to be the “go-to” profession for those seeking services. This will require advocacy and continued evidence that ensures the profession is practicing at the top of our scope and adapting to grow with new services and innovative models of care, such as telemedicine.
In addition to addressing collaboration amongst our profession, I would focus on the promotion of high standards in the academic training of clinical AuD programs and on the recruitment of PhD researchers to the field. Ensuring excellence in our profession starts with the continued development of excellent standards of our academic programs in the classroom, but particularly for the mentored practicum experiences. We also need to address shortages in PhD researchers and promote the research doctorate to ensure evidence-based practice continues to be at the heart of our service delivery.
What experience do you have in the planning, evaluation, and implementation of a strategic plan?
I have experience with strategic planning in program development, in research, and in hospital administration. As early as in my graduate student teaching days, we used strategic planning with an emerging profession to promote and guide entry into the marketplace. I have also sat on committees tasked with helping to develop a new academic program and curriculum in an international environment that required thoughtful strategic planning to ensure success. In research, we are asked to define, plan, design, implement and evaluate and this is something I do regularly. Lastly, I have experience with strategic planning at the hospital administration level, where I am a member of meetings that review not only larger overarching strategic initiatives but also smaller department-executed quality projects that evaluate the implementation of program change using methods, such as the Plan-Do-Study-Act.
List any experience in financial management. Describe your experience in developing and implementing a budget for a practice, business, department, or organization.
As a leader in my current position, I operate an annual budget for my department and must implement and maintain that budget. I have also executed many grants that required foresight into planning costs and mastery of expenditures. I am fiscally responsible and will thoughtfully consider decisions to ensure we maximize Academy resources.
From the list below, select three competencies you feel best represent your leadership strengths:
Communication Skills, Problem Solving, 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.
I am known for my strong commitment to finding the answer. If the answer is not known I use logical problem-solving to design a solution. I pride myself on the ability to view a situation from multiple vantage points, a strength I believe is important for members who serve on the Academy Board and represent an organization of diverse professionals. I also think critically and creatively about complex situations, a skill required of any good leader.
As a leader in my current role, I have placed high value on my team and believe the benefit of teamwork extends beyond job satisfaction and performance, leading to a higher quality of care and more productive staff. As an Academy Board member, my strength in fostering teamwork will enable productive and fruitful conversation and execution of the Board’s charge.
Lastly, I have high social intelligence, and having lived in and served several diverse populations, including native Alaskan populations, I have acquired an intuitive understanding of a variety of cultures and perspectives and the active listening skills necessary for leadership and communication.
These are strengths I possess and can bring to the table during my tenure as a member of the Academy Board.