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SAA, AudiologyNOW!, AAA Foundation, Direct Access, and More: Interview with Therese Walden, AuD, President, American Academy of Audiology

SAA, AudiologyNOW!, AAA Foundation, Direct Access, and More: Interview with Therese Walden, AuD, President, American Academy of Audiology

February 02, 2012 Interviews

Douglas L. Beck, AuD, speaks with Dr. Walden about virtual board meetings, the Student Academy of Audiology (SAA), AudiologyNOW! 2012 in Boston, American Academy of Audiology Foundation, Hearing Aid Tax Credit, and more.

Beck: Hi, Therese. It’s always good to speak with you.

Walden: Thanks, Doug. I appreciate the opportunity to update the Academy members.

Beck: Okay, well let’s start with the recent board of directors “virtual board meeting.”

Walden: Yes, well to get everyone up to speed, we held the third annual “virtual” board of director’s (BOD) meeting in January, and that went very well—many topics were covered. The board holds four meetings each year—July, October, January, and in March or April at AudiologyNOW!

The January board meeting, for the past three years has been virtual. It’s great to use video and audio conferencing technology, etc., that allows us to get our work done without having to get to/from the meeting, while saving travel time and expenses all around. The Academy staff has stayed on top of the technology that allows effective virtual meetings to occur, so it’s very efficient and very exciting. There’s no question that face-to-face meetings remain an important part of the “human experience” but for our January meeting, going virtual has a lot of appeal.

Beck: Sounds great—I’ll bet it saves literally thousands of dollars. Therese, what can you tell me about AudiologyNOW! 2012 in Boston? I assume the planning and scheduling must be paramount right about now?

Walden: Absolutely. AudiologyNOW! 2012 in Boston will be nothing short of amazing. The first thing people should know are the meeting dates. AudiologyNOW! starts Wednesday, March 28 with a multitude of educational choices from half-day and full-day learning labs to afternoon learning modules, exhibitor courses, and research podiums to the third annual Academy Research Conference (ARC). This year’s ARC addresses noise-induced hearing loss. Additionally, Celebrate Audiology happens on Wednesday night, as do the open houses and the Foundation’s Happy Hour fund-raiser. The full conference runs through Saturday afternoon, March 31 with many events in between including the PAC event (beer and chowda—of course!) on Wednesday evening, the Honors and Awards Banquet and General Assembly on Thursday, and much more!

In fact, because of all the hard work by the Program Committee under Chair Karen Jacobs, AuD, and the Academy Meeting Planning Staff under Senior Director Lisa Yonkers, CMP, it’s a full four days of continuing education (CE) opportunities and fun times with friends and colleagues! We will set another attendance record in Boston. It’s easy to get to, there’s a great bang for your educational buck, and with all the educational opportunities and the unique, world-class exhibit hall (Audiology Solutions), I feel pretty comfortable saying whatever you’re interested in relating to audiology, we’ve got it at AudiologyNOW! Of course, the details for the meetings are available on the website.

Beck: Seems to me the SAA presence and participation seems to be growing each year. I should note that the SAA Annual Membership meeting will be held Thursday afternoon at 3:30pm; all students are invited to find out more about the student activities under SAA program events on the AudiologyNOW! Web site.

Walden: Absolutely. During AudiologyNOW!, the Student Academy of Audiology will have their board meeting, chapter advisors meeting, and advocacy summit, which helps focus the students on governmental issues and how things get done politically across the states as well as in Washington, DC.

There’s also a Student Research Forum and PhD Fair to find information on programs of study. Don’t miss SAA Central, which is a great venue where new students can meet their officers and find out about new initiatives and how to get involved in their profession. And, Doug, as you know from your many annual presentations at the SAA, we’ve got many course offerings dedicated specifically to audiology students.

Beck: Yes, and I have to say the energy in those SAA courses is amazing and their questions, insights, and knowledge is astounding. One thing I notice every year is that the audiology students aren’t afraid to ask questions—and it really is fun working with them. I think all of us who present at the SAA courses get more out of it than you can imagine.

Walden: Absolutely. They’re totally invigorating.

Beck: And what can you tell me about one of my personal favorite events—the American Academy of Audiology Foundation (AAAF) Happy Hour?

Walden: The AAAF is offering the “Happy Hour with a Boston View. This year, it’ll be held on Wednesday evening (March 28) at the Lighthouse at the Seaport Hotel from 5:30 to 7:30pm. In fact, details for all the special events can be found at on the AudiologyNOW! Web site.

Beck: Excellent. Okay, and if you don’t mind, let’s switch away from AudiologyNOW! for a few moments and let me ask you for a quick update on the direct access?

Walden: The Direct Access Bill (H.R. 2140) continues to build widespread support as the legislators learn more about it and what it means for their constituents. Of course, Congress has lots going on as it’s a presidential election year, but we’re making terrific progress. I do want to encourage all Academy members to spend five minutes supporting the initiative through our advocacy Web site as well as making a contribution to the PAC.

It’s very quick and easy, and again, it takes only five minutes to do each activity! We have close to 50 bi-partisan cosponsors and things are really progressing nicely for this common sense legislation—but we all need to do our part and the legislators need to hear from their constituents – our members, their patients, family, friends, coworkers. It really does take each of us contributing a little to make a huge impact!

Also of interest to our members and the public is the Hearing Aid Tax Credit bills in the House and the Senate, and they’re progressing with bi-partisan support, too. I think the last numbers I saw included just about 60 House members and nearly 12 supporters in the Senate—so this legislation has a solid foundation of support and we expect that to continue to grow as well.

Beck: Fabulous! For people who’d like to learn more about the specifics, I would also direct them to the interview you and I did on that particular topic in 2011 where we reviewed the cost and time savings and the efficiencies associated with direct access.

Walden: Right—and cost savings is something we don’t hear very often in Washington! And Doug, I’d like to mention that the Academy has been working with the American Medical Association (AMA) to build a mutually beneficial and respectful relationship and I’m very happy to remind everyone that we now have a “seat at the table” with regard to the CPT-HCPAC.

Beck: Thanks, Therese. I know you have to run…but thanks very much for your time, energy, and leadership, and I’ll see you in Boston!

Walden: Thank you, too, Doug. See you (and everyone) there!

Therese Walden, AuD, Board Certified in Audiology, is the president of the American Academy of Audiology.

Douglas L. Beck, AuD, Board Certified in Audiology, is the Web content editor for the American Academy of Audiology.

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