Meet the New ASHA Board Members Four newly elected members of the ASHA Board of Directors will begin their three-year terms on Jan. 1, 2016. Here, the Leader offers their answers to “What was your ‘magic moment’ when you knew you had chosen the right profession?” and an excerpt from their answers to four additional questions: ... ASHA News
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ASHA News  |   August 01, 2015
Meet the New ASHA Board Members
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Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Hearing Disorders / Professional Issues & Training / ASHA News & Member Stories / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   August 01, 2015
Meet the New ASHA Board Members
The ASHA Leader, August 2015, Vol. 20, 75-77. doi:10.1044/leader.AN9.20082015.75
The ASHA Leader, August 2015, Vol. 20, 75-77. doi:10.1044/leader.AN9.20082015.75
Four newly elected members of the ASHA Board of Directors will begin their three-year terms on Jan. 1, 2016. Here, the Leader offers their answers to “What was your ‘magic moment’ when you knew you had chosen the right profession?” and an excerpt from their answers to four additional questions:
  • What do you hope to accomplish in your new position?

  • How have your professional background and experiences shaped your vision for the position?

  • What are the most important issues facing the discipline?

  • How would you describe your leadership style?

President-Elect
Gail J. Richard
Autism Center Director and Professor Emeritus, Eastern Illinois University
“ASHA has a huge responsibility to help members understand, prepare for and navigate the changing work environment.”
Magic moment: One of my first positions was in a therapeutic preschool setting for children ages 2–6 with unusual developmental behaviors. As the speech-language pathologist, I worked with the classroom teachers and aides and consulted regularly with support staff, which included a play therapist, psychologist, pediatric psychiatrist and nurse. The caseload was interesting, including autism, selective mutism, Tourette’s, childhood schizophrenia, stuttering and various syndromes. I loved the challenge of playing detective to diagnose the problem and design a treatment plan! The full team met monthly, headed by the psychiatrist. I was always a little intimidated when he called on me to share my report.
I had developed a desensitization program to use with two little boys who were selectively mute. The psychiatrist held off prescribing psychological or medication treatment (the norm in those days), pending results from my therapy. I was very pleased to report that both boys had begun voicing single-word responses within six weeks. The esteemed psychiatrist looked at me, smiled, and called me a “miracle worker” who had disproved the experts, who at the time believed you couldn’t resolve the problem without medication and counseling. I knew then that this profession would always challenge and stimulate me—I had found my true calling!
Vice President for Academic Affairs in Speech-Language Pathology
A. Lynn Williams
Associate Dean and Professor, College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences, East Tennessee State University
“I like to see our best ideas carried through to implementation, because anything less is just a good idea that could have been.”
Magic moment: Perhaps like many people, I rolled into the profession in college, but it wasn’t until I had my first job that the magic moments came and affirmed my choice of profession. I started my career in a southern West Virginia hospital working with patients across the spectrum of communication disorders. An early magic moment was the late identification of a severe bilateral hearing loss in a 4-year-old boy. I worked with the local Quota Club to purchase his bilateral hearing aids, which changed his world. He became the poster child for Better Hearing and Speech Month to promote early detection of hearing loss.
Another magical experience was providing preoperative counseling to a 68-year-old retired coal miner before he had a laryngectomy. As I went with him to surgery, he told me I would be the last person to hear his voice. I told him I would be the first person to hear his new voice.
The magic continues today with children who are highly unintelligible and have a language of their own. It’s exciting to find the “order in the disorder” and talk to parents from a strength-based perspective rather than a deficit viewpoint.
Vice President for Audiology Practice
Robert C. Fifer
Director of Audiology and Speech Language Pathology, Mailman Center for Child Development, University of Florida
“Key issues focus on the changing technology for diagnostics, hearing aids, cochlear implants and tinnitus interventions. The task will be to decide which of these ‘advances’ warrant displacing older techniques or devices.”
Magic moment: I knew in high school that I wanted to be an audiologist. I was born with cleft palate that required three surgeries in the 1950s, when surgical procedures are not what they are today. After the third surgery, my palate did not close the velopharyngeal gap, necessitating a total of 12 years of speech-language treatment. So I had a very good idea of what communication disorders were all about from the receiving end. Add to the mix, my parents were “hearing-aid dealers,” as they were called back then. I literally grew up in the business and had many deaf friends who lived in my hometown of Council Bluffs, Iowa. So the stage was set in my early years.
The route to audiology in the 1970s was through speech-language pathology. I earned a bachelor’s degree when, at that time, it was equivalent to today’s master’s degree. During that time I took all the deaf education courses that were available to be as close to audiology as I could be. I moved on to audiology at the master’s level and eventually a PhD. And as the old saying goes, the rest is history.
Vice President for Science and Research
Nadine Martin
Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders, College of Public Health, Temple University
“We need to develop diagnostic and treatment approaches that are both theory- and evidence-based and to find ways to implement these approaches in clinical and school settings.”
Magic moment: In college, I discovered speech-language pathology and decided this profession would engage both my interests: health care and studying the brain. As a clinician, I worked with children with neurologically based language impairments and adults with acquired neurogenic speech and language disorders. During this period I experienced the “magic moment” of knowing I was on the right path. My two motivating interests were being met, but I also experienced what I had learned in my clinical education: Communication is more than just using speech and language. This somewhat stunning revelation served as a foundation for my research career in adult neurogenic language impairments. To help restore a person’s ability to communicate, I draw from cognitive, neurological and social models of speech and language impairments to develop theory-driven and empirically supported rehabilitation approaches for aphasia and other neurogenic language disorders.
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August 2015
Volume 20, Issue 8