Health Care, Business Topics Draw 600 to Seattle Conference More than 600 speech-language pathologists from all parts of the country—from California and Alaska to Florida—flocked to Seattle April 24–25 for ASHA’s annual Health Care Conference/Business Institute. The event, now in its seventh year, has become an annual destination for clinicians in health care and private practice who seek networking ... ASHA News
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ASHA News  |   June 01, 2010
Health Care, Business Topics Draw 600 to Seattle Conference
Author Notes
  • Janet Brown, MA, CCC-SLP, director of health care services in speech-language pathology, can be reached at jbrown@asha.org.
    Janet Brown, MA, CCC-SLP, director of health care services in speech-language pathology, can be reached at jbrown@asha.org.×
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Professional Issues & Training / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   June 01, 2010
Health Care, Business Topics Draw 600 to Seattle Conference
The ASHA Leader, June 2010, Vol. 15, 1-9. doi:10.1044/leader.AN1.15072010.1
The ASHA Leader, June 2010, Vol. 15, 1-9. doi:10.1044/leader.AN1.15072010.1
More than 600 speech-language pathologists from all parts of the country—from California and Alaska to Florida—flocked to Seattle April 24–25 for ASHA’s annual Health Care Conference/Business Institute. The event, now in its seventh year, has become an annual destination for clinicians in health care and private practice who seek networking opportunities and in-depth topic sessions.
Beginning with the Friday evening speed-networking event, participants enjoyed the opportunity to make professional and social connections. After an hour of spending six minutes with each of 10 other attendees, the 36 participants were reluctant to stop talking. Some attendees had made plans to reconnect with SLPs whom they had met from last year’s networking event. “We’ve stayed in touch all year,” said Sheryl Amaral about Mary Below, whom she met at last year’s event. Amaral, chair of the topic committee on swallowing for the 2010 ASHA Convention, invited Below to join the committee based on the professional connection they made.
The opening plenary session focused on the universal challenge of maintaining work-life balance. Judy Stone-Goldman, previously a lecturer at the University of Washington, described how she started a private practice after leaving the university. She described her difficulty making progress with one of her young clients and establishing a relationship with his mother, and how the situation created doubts and anxiety about her competence as a clinician, eventually spilling over into her personal life.
She used that example to describe the cycle of work stressors affecting personal balance and personal stressors—such as caring for elderly parents or tensions within a family—affecting work performance. In addition to the use of conventional stress relievers, Stone-Goldman recommended reflective writing as a way to increase awareness and deal with stress.
Business Institute speakers presented on business management topics as well as on supervision and web-based marketing. In a new Institute feature, presenters and participants had the opportunity to interact at roundtable sessions. Stone-Goldman led a session on reflective writing; other Business Institute roundtable sessions addressed brainstorming techniques, marketing, and coding and reimbursement.
Each clinical track (dysphagia, adult neurogenics, and pediatrics) included a grand rounds session in which participants reviewed and discussed cases. The pediatric track included sessions on apraxia and oral motor issues, feeding, and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). The adult neurogenic track addressed cognition, aphasia, voice, and respiratory support. Dysphagia track topics included endoscopy, swallowing screens, ethics, the Frazier water protocol, and managing tracheotomies.
The speakers commented on the high level of engagement of the participants and how much they enjoyed presenting at the conference. In addition to presenters from a variety of areas within speech-language pathology, two speakers provided perspectives from other disciplines. Albert Merati, an otolaryngologist from the University of Washington and author of several textbooks, co-presented with his SLP colleague Tanya Eadie, associate professor at the University of Washington, on benign vocal fold disorders and participated in a grand rounds session on specific cases.
Tannus Quatre, an Oregon-based physical therapist and health care consultant, presented sessions on marketing and the use of financial projections and cost benefit analyses to guide business decisions. Session participants commented that they looked forward to the prospect of applying the marketing tool in their settings.
Member Forum
The ASHA Board of Directors conducted a member forum on Sunday morning. ASHA Executive Director Arlene Pietranton gave a brief presentation on the results of a member survey about the impact of the economy and provided resources for members on a variety of topics. In the question-and-answer session with the Board, members asked about clinical and reimbursement issues, advocacy, continuing education, salaries, and other issues.
The conference also included an ASHA bookstore and an exhibit hall. Eighteen exhibitors represented different aspects of the profession, including recruiters and organizations for SLPs, publishers of assessment and treatment materials, and distributors of dysphagia and alternative and augmentative communication products and devices.
Division Sponsors
Each of the four ASHA special interest division co-sponsors introduced a featured speaker: Division 2, Neurophysiology and Neurogenic Speech and Language Disorders; Division 11, Administration and Supervision; Division 13, Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders; and Division 15, Gerontology. These divisions, along with Division 16, School-Based Issues, which also provided support for the conference, staffed tables to interact with their affiliates and provide information for conference attendees interested in joining.
Members representing the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation sold raffle tickets to support the ASHFoundation’s grants and scholarship programs.
“A Unique Experience”
In addition to attending the conference, participants also had the opportunity to explore the downtown Seattle area, including Pike’s Market, and to try out the many local restaurants and coffee shops.
“What is so appealing is that you can get a little bit of everything [health care and administration] in one place,” said Kim Irby from the Duke University Health System. “It was a unique conference because of the opportunity to hear so many high-caliber speakers. Instead of having to go to multiple conferences on multiple topics, you can achieve your professional education goals in one place.”
Irby and coworker Megan Urban spent their flight back to North Carolina reviewing their anthology of conference handouts and discussing how to apply the information in their practice and disseminate it to their colleagues. “It was the best conference I’ve ever been to,” Urban said. “The information was so clinically relevant. We attended sessions in all the tracks.”
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June 2010
Volume 15, Issue 7