Let Me Hear From You

Let Me Hear From You

It’s a Wonderful Academy!

By M. Patrick Feeney, PhD

The Frank Capra film It’s a Wonderful Life is a holiday classic and was recognized by the American Film Institute as number one on their list of the most inspirational American films. On Christmas Eve 1946, George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart, is suicidal over the pending collapse of the family business, the Bailey Savings and Loan Association of Bedford Falls that provides home loans for the working poor. George wishes he had never been born and wants to jump off a bridge, but his guardian angel, Clarence, is sent to show him the miserable shape his town would have been in if George had never existed. For example, his brother, Harry, who went on to be a war hero, would have drowned as a child had George not been around to save him (during which George sustained a hearing loss, which serves as a segue to audiology…). I was thinking of all the wonderful things that have happened with American Academy of Audiology that wouldn’t have happened if YOU, our Academy volunteers, had never been born.

More than 300 of you serve as committee members for the Academy’s standing committees and task forces. If you had never been born, the Academy could not have used your expertise in the areas of the

  • AudiologyNOW! Program Committee,
  • Business Enhancement Strategies & Techniques Committee (BEST),
  • Coding and Reimbursement Committee,
  • Education Committee,
  • Ethical Practices Committee,
  • Government Relations Committee,
  • Honors Committee,
  • International Committee,
  • Membership Committee,
  • PAC Advisory Board,
  • Professional Development Committee,
  • Professional Standards and Practices Committee,
  • Public Relations Committee,
  • Publications Committee,
  • Research Committee,
  • State Network Committee,
  • Strategic Documents Committee, and
  • The dozen or so Academy Task Forces.

Click here to learn more about the Academy’s Committees and Task Forces.

Your contribution to the life of the Academy is tremendous. Without you the Academy could not possibly accomplish its mission: To promote quality hearing and balance care by advancing the profession of audiology through leadership, advocacy, education, public awareness and research.

I was also thinking about some recent accomplishments of the Academy that could not have occurred without you. In September, the Academy hosted the first Future Leaders of Audiology Conference (FLAC). The goal was to bring together a group of audiologists with 7-10 years of experience in the profession to help develop leadership skills. Learn more about this incredibly successful event made possible by task force volunteers working with volunteer chair, Carmen Brewer, and staff liaison Ed Sullivan.

In January 2009, the Academy is hosting Gold Standards Summit 2009: Transforming Clinical Education in Audiology, in Orlando, FL. This meeting will have participation from over 60 of the 70+ AuD training programs in the United States to look at ways we might improve our model for clinical training in audiology. Planning for this event was accomplished by a host of volunteers working with volunteer Program Chair Therese Walden with staff liaisons Victoria Keetay and Meggan Olek. Learn more about the Gold Standards Summit 2009.

The inaugural Academy Research Conference (ARC) will be held on April 1, 2009, the first day of AudiologyNOW! in Dallas, TX. For 2009, this day-long conference features presentations summarizing research on otoacoustic emissions and their impact on clinical practice. The conference program committee, a subcommittee of the Research Committee, was chaired by volunteer Brenda Lonsbury-Martin with the help of Beth Preve, chair of the Research Committee, a group of volunteer Academy experts in the area of otoacoustic emissions, and staff liaison Meggan Olek. This ARC brings together leaders in the field such as David Kemp, Michael Gorga, Chris Shera, and others. For 2010, the ARC volunteer program chair is Larry Humes and the topic of the conference will be “Aging.” Learn more about the Academy Research Conference 2009.

Finally, you may have heard that over the last few months the National Association of Future Doctors of Audiology (NAFDA) has merged with the Academy's newly formed Student Academy of Audiology (SAA). The SAA is dedicated to the development of qualified professional audiologists through education, research and leadership opportunities. For this to happen, the SAA Task Force co-chaired by volunteers Carmen Brewer, Alison Grimes and Gary Jacobson and has been a wonderful collaboration of Academy and student volunteers, including NAFDA President Brian Vesely. Learn more about the Student Academy of Audiology[[[FIX]]].

When Clarence showed George Bailey the miserable town Bedford Falls would have been had he never been born, George realized he actually had a wonderful life and that he had helped many of his neighbors. I sincerely thank you volunteers for the wonderful life you are giving to the Academy to help fulfill its mission. If you have not volunteered for the Academy but are considering it, it will be an opportunity that you will look back on with satisfaction, just as George did with his life. We need your help for the Academy to fulfill its mission to promote quality hearing and balance care by advancing the profession of audiology. Sign up to be a volunteer by May 31, or let me hear from you on how you would like to volunteer for the Academy.