In an article by a graduate student at the University of Maryland-Baltimore (UMB), Amanda Labuza spoke to the importance of outreach and relayed her experience with UMB’s Neuroscience Outreach and Volunteer Association (NOVA). 

Through this experience, Amanda noted,

With pseudoscience surrounding us, a limited NIH budget, and news media that’s constantly overstating and over-simplifying scientific conclusions, it is hard for the public to differentiate scientific fact from science fiction. It is up to our generation of scientists to fix this.

Separating scientific fact from science fiction is an important endeavor that applies to messaging to both consumers and providers alike. Outreach to allied health-care providers to facilitate awareness of audiology as the authority in hearing and balance care has been an ongoing goal in the Academy’s strategic plan. As such, the Academy’s Health-Care Relations (HCR) Committee was formed in 2017 to focus on endeavors to promote audiology to medical and allied health-care providers and to engage those providers in meaningful conversations about hearing and balance disorders. To that end, the HCR Committee recently formulated the Outreach Grant Program with generous monetary support from the AAA Foundation.  

The purpose of the Outreach Grant Program is to support members’ development of, and participation in, outreach to allied health and other health-care-related providers. The grants will be awarded by the HCR Committee for outreach activities that support the Academy’s priority focus of outreach to referring providers and can include (but is not limited to) travel and registration support for presentations of audiology-related content at non-audiology conferences, development of a referring provider informational podcast, state or local provider outreach activities, and/or development of implementation science endeavors, etc. 

Non-audiology conferences are considered those in which the main audience are health-care providers outside of the fields of audiology, speech and hearing, communication disorders, otolaryngology, neurotology, hearing science, or other ear and balance-related professions. Special consideration will be given to activities proposed to engage referring providers, such as primary-care physicians, nurse practitioners, family physicians, gerontologists, and pediatricians.

Outreach continues to be an important part of field recognition and will serve to improve perceptions of audiology to both consumers and allied health providers. The HCR Committee will welcome applications for the inaugural cycle of this grant mechanism this summer (due August 30). 

We welcome your proposals for innovative approaches to outreach. The application instructions and forms can be found on the Academy’s website, search keywords “outreach grant.”

We hope that you become an Academy member who helps us differentiate scientific fact from science fiction.