Meet New Members of the Board of Directors President-elect ASHA’s 2010 president-elect, Paul Rao, spends day and night with speech-language pathologists. During the day he is vice president of clinical services, quality, and compliance, at National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, D.C. His free time is spent with his wife and daughter, both SLPs who offer frequent feedback, ... ASHA News
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ASHA News  |   August 01, 2009
Meet New Members of the Board of Directors
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Hearing Disorders / Professional Issues & Training / ASHA News & Member Stories / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   August 01, 2009
Meet New Members of the Board of Directors
The ASHA Leader, August 2009, Vol. 14, 3-20. doi:10.1044/leader.AN1.14102009.3
The ASHA Leader, August 2009, Vol. 14, 3-20. doi:10.1044/leader.AN1.14102009.3
Paul R. Rao, PhD, CCC-SLP
President-elect
ASHA’s 2010 president-elect, Paul Rao, spends day and night with speech-language pathologists. During the day he is vice president of clinical services, quality, and compliance, at National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, D.C. His free time is spent with his wife and daughter, both SLPs who offer frequent feedback, Rao says, on “schools, private practice, and pediatric rehab practice.”
Teamwork energizes Rao. “My 24 years as a leader in a rehabilitation hospital has taught me to think and act as part of a team,” he said. “I value process improvement and data gathering to achieve a successful solution, and understand the role of emotional IQ and integrity to gain consensus and lead an organization to meet new challenges.”
An expert on reimbursement issues and a longtime advocate for the professions on Capitol Hill and in his home state of Maryland, Rao hopes to support ASHA “in this momentous national debate on health care policy.” He has served on a number of ASHA boards and committees, including the Board of Ethics.
Ethics have become even more important during the current recession, when corruption has surfaced in areas of the economy, he said.
“We need to reinforce education and training on the ASHA Code of Ethics in every area of the professions,” Rao said. “Professional integrity is the keystone for what we do for others and for our credibility as professionals in audiology and speech-language pathology.”
Rao will serve on the BOD for three years—in 2010 as president-elect, in 2011 as president, and in 2012 as past president. With ASHA work ahead, his fondest hope is that his wife and fellow SLP Martina “will tell me at the end of this three-year stint that these were some of the best years of our married life!”
Jeanne Wilcox, PhD, CCC-SLP
Vice President for Academic Affairs in Speech-Language Pathology Jeanne Wilcox knows she has big task ahead of her. As she acknowledges the ever-evolving scope of practice in speech language pathology, ASHA’s newly elected vice president for academic affairs in speech-language pathology also wants to infuse academic programs with fresh faces more quickly. Despite the dwindling numbers of doctoral students, she wants to help ensure that there are high-quality academic programs that continue to produce a future supply of highly qualified faculty researchers and educators.
“I want our university training programs throughout the country to offer high-quality, cutting-edge learning opportunities at the undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral levels,” she said. “I hope to be able to work with all stakeholders toward maintaining the quality of current programs, while also exploring opportunities for targeted enhancements to meet pressing needs. We must continue to think about ways to address this problem, both to preserve and promote science within the discipline and to ensure access to a quality education for future SLPs.”
Wilcox, director of Infant Child Research Programs and professor in the Department of Speech and Hearing Science at Arizona State University, comes from a perspective of 30 years’ experience in academia. She has trained countless undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral students and has been involved in state, regional, and national communities of practice, all of which have contributed to her well-honed vision for practice excellence.
“I hope to lead by ‘guided participation,’” Wilcox said. “I see my role as one of listening, clearly articulating strengths and needs, and then recruiting key participants so we can collaboratively develop and implement strategies to build on strengths and systematically address needs. I have reached a point in my career at which I feel that I can make a contribution at a national level and am gratified that ASHA’s membership chose to provide me with this opportunity.”
Karen I. Kirk, PhD, CCC-SLP
Vice President for Science and Research
Karen I. Kirk will become vice president for science and research in 2010, and also assumes a new position as professor in the departments of Communication Sciences and Disorders and Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Iowa this month.
Kirk has leadership and research experience that spans both speech-language pathology and audiology and conducts translational research to develop a technique to diagnose hearing loss in a way that more accurately reflects real-world situations. The goal of her research is to develop new tests of sentence recognition that will reflect natural listening situations with audiovisual cues and different talkers. “Throughout my career, I have found that clinical insights motivate new research and research results directly impact clinical care,” she said.
Kirk is also passionate about educating the next generation of scientists and clinicians and is committed to reversing the declining enrollment of PhD students. “We must reverse this trend if we are to continue to build the scientific bases of our discipline,” she said. “I hope to enhance ASHA’s research agenda by promoting programs to recruit and train future scientists, to encourage clinicians to implement evidence-based practice, and to identify new research initiatives in communication sciences and disorders.”
One of the most pressing challenges facing scientists and academicians is obtaining extramural research funding, noted Kirk, who hopes to further the work of ASHA and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation in developing workshops to enhance the grant-writing and grant-reviewing skills of young scientists.
The keys to effective leadership, Kirk believes, are communication and mutual respect. She plans to work with ASHA committees and boards to facilitate their efforts to advance the scientific basis of the discipline.
Jaynee A. Handelsman, PhD, CCC-A
Vice President for Audiology Practice
Jaynee Handelsman believes now is a critical time for audiology. The profession, she said, “is in the midst of completing the transition to a doctoral-level profession, a process that is driving changes in audiology certification standards and other areas.” To navigate this turbulence, “effective communication between the certification and accreditation bodies of ASHA is critical,” Handelsman said, and added that “informing our consumers of these changes is also important.”
A practicing audiologist throughout her career, Handelsman is assistant director of the Vestibular Testing Center at the University of Michigan Health System. She will join the 2010 BOD as vice president for audiology practice after serving in many leadership roles, including the Board of Ethics, the Professional Services Board, and the Council for Clinical Certification, which she currently chairs. She participated in the development of ASHA’s preferred practice patterns document. Her previous ASHA positions “provided an opportunity to see audiology from many different points of view,” she said.
The current health care debate could affect “how and where audiologists practice and how we are reimbursed,” she said. “We must work together to market the importance of our services effectively, particularly in this time of economic challenge.”
Effective advocacy is increasingly important. “We must represent ourselves well to our colleagues within and outside the profession,” she said. “We already know that access to care for hearing and balance disorders is limited by some insurance companies, and direct-access legislation and health care reform may provide some relief.”
What are some of the top priorities for ASHA audiologists in 2010? Handelsman’s list includes “access to affordable continuing education, association documents that provide guidance for practice when needed, improved patient access to care, equitable reimbursement, and recognition as competent and well-trained professionals.”
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August 2009
Volume 14, Issue 10