Let Me Hear From You
Summer was off to a busy start as the Academy supported our Preferred Futures to ensure that audiologists are known as the preferred health-care providers for hearing and balance wellness (PF1) and expanding the availability and accessibility of hearing and balance care (PF2). Within two weeks we had representation at the HLAA, AGBell, and NAAHP conventions.
Patti Kricos (then Academy past president) attended the Hearing loss Association of America (HLAA) convention in Rhode Island (June 20-24). Attendees showed a great deal of interest in our exhibit booth, which highlighted Academy initiatives and provided informational brochures related to hearing loss, tinnitus, and balance. Over 1,150 attendees were present for lectures on advocacy, technology, hearing aids, and communication. David Myers, PhD, founder of Let's Loop America received accolades for his keynote lecture on hearing loops. Researchers from Johns Hopkins presented a well-attended research symposium on How the Brain Makes Sense of the World of Sound, including a discussion of how the representation of speech within the brain breaks down with sensorineural hearing loss. Next year's HLAA convention is June 27-30 in Portland, Oregon.
The Academy participates on a 19-member advisory council for the National Association of Advisors for Health Professions (NAAHP). The NAAHP mission is to serve as a resource in the professional development of health professions advisors. At their biennial convention in Baltimore, also June 20-24, the Academy participated as an exhibitor on the showroom floor and provided a health professions update to nearly 300 health professions advisors. Therese Walden (then Academy president) joined the Maryland Academy of Audiology president and past president in enlightening college advisors about the profession of audiology, including the attributes, concepts, hallmarks, and descriptors that students should know about audiology. The relationship with NAAHP will ensure that students at the college level recognize audiology as a career choice.
At the end of June, I attended the AGBell biennial convention in Scottsdale. Also in attendance was one of our A4 partners, Torryn Brazell, managing director of the American Board of Audiology. The AGBell meeting is the largest gathering of families, professionals, and adults with hearing loss. The audience is diverse and an amazing amount of insight is gained from the sessions attended jointly by families of those with hearing loss, individuals with hearing loss, as well as fellow health-care and education providers. The attendees span the full lifespan, with activities for young children, and even courses aimed at high school students. A special highlight during the meeting was the installation of fellow member and colleague Donald Goldberg, PhD, as AGBell president. We congratulate Don who will serve in this leadership capacity for two years. We look forward to our evolving relationship with the AGBell Association and the opportunity for partnerships in outreach efforts to those we serve.
I encourage you to consider submitting sessions, attending, or volunteering to help staff an Academy exhibit at these or similar meetings. The perspective gained in enhancing and recognizing the scope of our services is invaluable.
Moving into July, the Academy board had our first meeting of FY13. Prior to the board meeting, the executive committee met with our A4 partners (the AAAF, ABA, ACAE, and SAA) and discussed updates, upcoming opportunities, and collaborations. A few highlights from the board meeting included: approval of the audit and nominations committees for this year; discussions of future steps to enhance patient outcomes (an outgrowth from the 2012 Audiology and Industry Forum); review of governance and core documents; and a Higher Logic presentation of our upcoming online communities and Web site transition.
In keeping with our Preferred Futures of policymakers recognition of the value of audiologists' full scope of practice (PF3), the board spent time on Capitol Hill visiting our Senators' offices and seeking support for the recently introduced direct access Senate bill (S. 3242). Another A4 group, our Student Academy of Audiology Board members, made Hill visits the following week, focusing on the House direct access bill (H.R. 2140). Given this recent stream of personal visits to our congressmen and women, now is a good time for you to seek the support from your representatives on this important legislation.
Please visit our Legislative Action Center and/or make arrangements to visit with your congressional representatives when they are back in their districts during August Recess. Alternatively, are you headed to DC for a vacation this month? Contact our Academy Government Relations office and let them arrange a meeting with your representative's office on Capitol Hill. While you're at it, don't forget to seek support for the Hearing Aid Assistance Tax Credit Act (H.R. 1479 and S. 905) in addition to the direct access legislation referenced above. Remember, working together we will make a difference.