I hope 2020 is full of people responding to you with “of course.” The world needs more people saying “…of course.” Whether it is “of course you are welcome here” or “of course I’ll help.” Even “yes” isn’t as good as “of course.” “Yes” means it could have been “no”—“of course” means there was never any question. 

The Oxford English Dictionary indicates that the phrase “of course” first appeared in the mid1500s and was used to mean “belonging to the ordinary procedure; customary, natural.” The use of “of course” within the phrase “as a matter of course” appeared in the 1700s and had the same meaning. The use of “of course” as a standalone phrase emerged in the 1800s when the definition, “customary; natural,” was modified slightly to become, “naturally; obviously.” 

In the role of president of the Academy, I reach out to members and ask them for their time and energy. Every request I have made has been met with “of course I’ll help.” I should not have been surprised because this is what we do as audiologists, we show up and we say “of course” when we are asked to help; whether in our role as clinicians, educators, researchers, or industry representatives. We are people who say “of course” when people need our help. 

Drs. Lori Zitelli, Lindsey Jorgensen, and Sarah Sydlowski are working with our AAA 2020 + HearTECH Expo meetings team to create Hands-On Pavilions in the exhibit hall. The goal of these stations is to provide the hands-on support and education members need to move guidelines into practice. These pavilions will be staffed by Academy members willing to donate their time to help their colleagues with practices related to hearing-aid output verification and establishing cochlear implant candidacy. 

When these three individuals sent out e-mails looking for volunteers who would donate their time and talent to this effort, the response was an overwhelming “of course we’ll help” with more than 50 individuals responding within the first hour. These people are saying “of course we’ll help” and in doing so, they are not only helping their colleagues and ensuring the integrity of our profession, they are helping our patients by ensuring the best possible care is delivered when a person sees an Academy audiologist. 

I hope you hear “of course” throughout 2020 and you’ll think of responding with this phrase so that people know you will help them, cheer them on, and include them. 

Catherine Palmer, PhD 
President, American Academy of Audiology