What’s Research Got to Do With It? Everything Scientific research shows the difference that our professional work makes—so at a time of emphasis on outcomes, it’s more important than ever that we foster it. From the President
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From the President  |   October 01, 2014
What’s Research Got to Do With It? Everything
Author Notes
  • Elizabeth McCrea, PhD, CCC-SLP, is a clinical professor emerita of the Department of Speech and Language Sciences at Indiana University. She continues her work in clinical education with the externship program at Nova Southeastern University. mccreae@indiana.edu
    Elizabeth McCrea, PhD, CCC-SLP, is a clinical professor emerita of the Department of Speech and Language Sciences at Indiana University. She continues her work in clinical education with the externship program at Nova Southeastern University. mccreae@indiana.edu×
Article Information
Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Professional Issues & Training / ASHA News & Member Stories / From the President
From the President   |   October 01, 2014
What’s Research Got to Do With It? Everything
The ASHA Leader, October 2014, Vol. 19, 6-7. doi:10.1044/leader.FTP.19102014.6
The ASHA Leader, October 2014, Vol. 19, 6-7. doi:10.1044/leader.FTP.19102014.6
The knowledge base for practice in audiology and speech-language pathology is not fixed. It is constantly evolving. It has been constructed and refined across several generations of research in the discipline by a community of accomplished scientists. Their contributions have developed the discipline and provide the basis for much of our professional practice.
Not only does this research work inform the services we provide, it also bolsters the credibility of our work. Most important, research helps build evidence-based systems of accountability to underpin our clients’ and students’ communication outcomes.
Credibility during change
Audiology and speech-language pathology practices are undergoing challenging transformation in most settings. Effects of the Affordable Care Act are being felt in health care settings, and effects of the Common Core State Standards are being felt in public schools. These public policy and governmental initiatives propel us to think about the need to:
  • Refine our documentation of outcomes.

  • Develop measurement systems for these new documentation protocols.

  • Negotiate productive interprofessional relationships.

  • Document the value-added that audiologists and speech-language pathologists bring to the outcomes achieved by clients, students and their families.

The need for basic science research in the discipline will always be fundamental to its continued growth. However, in response to the demands of contemporary service delivery and practice, the discipline’s research agenda is likely to expand to include increasing activity in applied clinical research, as well as research initiatives that will include clients and students in the context of their families, schools and communities and in interprofessional service delivery.
Policymakers and payers want to know not only what treatment works, but where it works best, for how long, and what might compromise a treatment’s effectiveness. These questions are challenging to answer from an experimental perspective. However, last March, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation sponsored the Implementation Science Summit to begin a dialogue about implementation science and its application in communication sciences and disorders. In fact, the ASHFoundation, as part of its planning for the future, is developing a strategy to support an emphasis on implementation science in its funding structure.
Ensuring our future
Equally as important, ASHA continues to support the development of the discipline and its expanding and very important research agenda. Through its Academic Affairs and Research Education unit, ASHA has a number of support mechanisms for PhD students and junior-level researchers. The Research Mentoring Network includes three programs: Pathways, Lessons for Success, and the Clinical Practice Research Institute. Other offerings include the Mentoring Academic–Research Careers Program and several award programs. More recently, ASHA launched Clinicians and Researchers Collaborating, which serves as a clearinghouse for matching clinicians and researchers to support their collaborative research efforts.
Most exciting is ASHA’s PROGENY (PROmoting the next GENeration of Researchers) program—an initiative that engages undergraduate students who are first authors of posters at the ASHA convention to encourage their burgeoning interest in research.
Throughout this year, I have written numerous times about the importance of professional community. As our work environments ask us for more efficient, effective and cost-conscious solutions to the problems of communication disorders and their effects on others’ lives, it is important for ASHA, the ASHFoundation and the (interprofessional) research community to jointly develop answers. Collaborating will help demonstrate our value, while helping us to attain our vision of “Making effective communication, a human right, accessible and achievable for all.”
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FROM THIS ISSUE
October 2014
Volume 19, Issue 10