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Kari Morgenstein, AuD

Kari Morgenstein, AuD

Member-at-Large

Director, University of Miami Children’s Hearing Program

Education  
BS: Speech and Hearing Sciences, Indiana University, 2009
AuD: Audiology, University of Florida, 2013
                        
Why are you interested in serving on the Academy board?

Like many other health-care professions, audiology currently has many challenges facing us. With teamwork and collaboration, we can turn these challenges into opportunities. As a collective unit, audiology can continue to move in the right direction. We must start by doing a better job of engaging all our members including new professionals. While it is cliché, the reality is that these new professionals are the future of audiology. We need to invest in new professionals early in their careers and capitalize on their passion, enthusiasm, and unique perspectives. As a past president of the Student Academy of Audiology, a member of the New Professionals Subcommittee, and of the New Professional Audiology Conference Steering Committee, I have been fortunate to see firsthand the dedication that this group of professionals has and their unwavering desire to elevate the profession. As a 2013 graduate, I am interested in serving on the Academy Board so that I can be the voice of new professionals on the national level. I have several innovative ideas on how we can cultivate and engage all members including new professionals. While this may not be an easy task, it is one I am ready to conquer through hard work and perseverance.

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?

One of the biggest challenges that I see for audiology is our ability to adapt as a profession over time—whether this is adapting to the newly approved over-the-counter hearing aids or changes in health-care reimbursement to audiology education. In order to continue our success, we must be willing to evolve, be open to new ideas, and ready to get our hands dirty—all of us.

We need to identify creative ways to perceive over-the-counter hearing aids as a benefit to our practices rather than a threat. We need support from our leadership in shaping our response and use this support to attract these patients into our offices. Public education is crucial to our success and maximizing this opportunity. As a profession, it is essential that we think creatively about the services and devices that we offer to our patients and our methods of delivery. We need to highlight the vast array of services we offer beyond a mere product, this includes showcasing aural rehab, counseling, verification, and hearing assistive technology. A public education campaign will require the support of all Academy members, professional staff, consumers, and other healthcare professionals.

In addition, health-care reimbursement rates continue to be an issue for our profession, particularly in the face of rising health-care costs and audiology student loan debt. In order to determine realistic solutions, all professional organizations must come together to brainstorm how audiology fits into this ever-changing health-care system.

Moreover, audiology education has developed and improved over the years. However, we need more uniformity among AuD programs to ensure we are graduating highly trained, well-rounded, competent audiologists. We need to devote more attention—both at the University and Academy levels—to the increased need in helping students identify their worth, negotiate salaries and refine their leadership skills. In addition, the current process for applying to externships and selecting externs is suboptimal. We must critically review this process and do our part to improve it so students are not forced to make decisions due to time constraints or fear of externship rejection.

We can overcome these challenges if we work together, engage all members, and remain open to innovative ideas. I am honored to be nominated for the Academy Board of Directors. I am hopeful that I will have the opportunity to serve the Academy and assist in achieving our common goals.

What experience do you have in the planning, evaluation, and implementation of a strategic plan?

As director of the University of Miami Children’s Hearing Program, I lead the development and planning of a multi-disciplinary program that provides care to children (age 0-21) with hearing loss and their families. Over the past four years, our team has grown to include a program coordinator, pediatric support specialist, psychologist, deaf educator, social worker, auditory verbal therapists, and pediatric audiologists. Last year alone, we served approximately 7,000 children. Since the program’s inception in December 2013, we raised $20 million. This has allowed us to serve families that are uninsured, or waiting for insurance authorization, and educate communities about the impact of the pediatric hearing loss. As a young program, it is my job to make sure we are loyal to our mission and vision as we consistently review and evaluate our strategic plan to foster growth and continued progress.

For the past year, I have also been involved in the planning and implementation of our strategic plan as a board member of the Florida Academy of Audiology (FLAA). I look forward to continuing to plan, evaluate, and implement future strategic plans as the president-elect of FLAA.

List any experience in financial management. Describe your experience in developing and implementing a budget for practice, business, department, or organization?

In my role as the director of the University of Miami Children’s Hearing Program, I am responsible for the development and implementation of our entire program’s operating budget. Since our program’s inception in 2013, I have appropriated funds to hire a collaborative team, develop a community outreach program, and provide loaner hearing devices to ensure no child is without sound. Along with our finance department, I work tirelessly to guarantee our program is a profitable and sustainable year after year.

From the list below, select three competencies you feel best to represent your leadership strengths.

Accountability, problem-solving, and 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.

"Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision, the ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results." --Andrew Carnegie

The competencies of teamwork, problem-solving, and accountability all contribute to my strong candidacy to serve on the Academy board.

Teamwork: It is through teamwork that all great things are accomplished. The Academy board has to work together as a team, but most importantly we need all Academy members active and contributing to the team’s success. As a former Division 1, Big Ten athlete at Indiana University, I keenly understand the importance of teamwork. My strong desire to be part of a team striving toward a common goal will make me a valuable board member.

Problem-solving: Identifying the problem in any given situation is only the beginning. Problem-solving and creating solutions is an area I excel in. In my current leadership role with the University of Miami, I am often faced with problems that require immediate and long-term solutions, which involve outside-the-box thinking and challenging the status quo.

Accountability: I am someone you can count on. If I say I will do something, I will do it. A team needs to depend on its members and hold each individual accountable for the success of the whole. I will accept full responsibility for my position on the board. I am dependable and always ready and able to assist others in achieving our common goals.