Meet the New ASHA Board Members Five newly elected members of the ASHA Board of Directors will begin their three-year terms on Jan. 1, 2018. Here are their answers to five questions: Provost’s Associate for Academic Programs and Planning and Professor, Indiana University of Pennsylvania Despite being raised by an outstanding speech-language pathologist mom, ... ASHA News
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ASHA News  |   August 01, 2017
Meet the New ASHA Board Members
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Professional Issues & Training / Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / ASHA News & Member Stories / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   August 01, 2017
Meet the New ASHA Board Members
The ASHA Leader, August 2017, Vol. 22, 79-81. doi:10.1044/leader.AN7.22082017.79
The ASHA Leader, August 2017, Vol. 22, 79-81. doi:10.1044/leader.AN7.22082017.79
Five newly elected members of the ASHA Board of Directors will begin their three-year terms on Jan. 1, 2018. Here are their answers to five questions:
  • What was your “aha moment” when you knew you had chosen the right profession?

  • 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 -Shari Brand Robertson
Provost’s Associate for Academic Programs and Planning and Professor, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
What was your “aha moment” when you knew you had chosen the right profession?
Despite being raised by an outstanding speech-language pathologist mom, an admitted unreasonably high level of adolescent rebellion kept me from even considering following in her footsteps. I was determined to do my own thing. (Hey, it was the 70s). But, fate intervened. I had to fill an elective in my pre-dentistry program and the only one that really fit my schedule was an intro course in communicative disorders. Despite the 8 a.m. time slot and my slow recovery from a recent bout of mononucleosis, I sat mesmerized through each class period. I literally couldn’t wait to get up and go to class. Aha! It felt like coming home.
Since then, I have experienced a number of aha moments as I took new steps into exploring different aspects of our profession. Aha! An unexpected job opening led me into the schools rather than a medical setting. I quickly realized that was exactly where I belonged. Aha! A world-class PhD program within driving distance of our new home. Aha! A job offer at a university where I could grow in teaching, leadership and scholarship.
We each have our own aha stories, but they all end the same. We are doing what we were meant to do.
What do you hope to accomplish in your new position?
Current political, social and financial influences have created a professional landscape that can be difficult to navigate. Just as in the classic “whack-a-mole” arcade game, it sometimes feels as if, no matter how many challenges we “whack,” two more pop up somewhere else. It’s almost impossible to win the game on your own, but add more people to your team and the pesky rodents don’t stand a chance. We are stronger when we work together to overcome challenges and reach common goals.
In the same way, the power of ASHA lies in the engagement of its members. So, I will strive to create a culture of communication and collaboration in which all ASHA members feel connected, valued and inspired to work together to find solutions that will protect the integrity of our professions and ensure clinical excellence for current and future clients. So, everyone, grab a bat and let’s start whacking moles!
How have your professional background and experiences shaped your vision for the position?
I am fortunate to have experienced the profession from diverse perspectives—as the daughter of an SLP and the mother of a AuD, a school-based clinician, a special-education supervisor, a professor, a university administrator, a businesswoman, and a previous member of the ASHA Board of Directors. This professional mosaic helps me consider a problem or a challenge from multiple viewpoints and communicate openly with all stakeholders. I believe it will help me lead our diverse organization through a changing and challenging professional landscape without losing sight of the people who are part of it. I am committed to treating others as I would like to be treated—with full attention, genuine respect, no hidden agendas and an unwavering belief that together we can make a difference.
What are the most important issues facing the discipline?
ASHA members are a diverse group and the issues we face are wide-ranging as well. Because the relative importance of any given issue is influenced by the personal and professional paradigm of each individual member, it is important to work collaboratively to identify common goals and potential solutions. ASHA has worked hard to do just this through the Strategic Pathway to Excellence, which provides us with a roadmap toward a shared envisioned future.
Embedded in this plan are strategies for enhancing service delivery across the continuum of care, advancing interprofessional education and interprofessional practice (IPE/IPP), enhancing the generation of knowledge, expanding data available for quality improvement, demonstrating the value of our services, and increasing international engagement, membership diversity, and members’ cultural competence. It is critically important that we engage in thoughtful and purposeful movement forward on these common goals.
In addition, there are two areas to which I am personally committed: 1) helping members develop and implement strategies to manage stress, meet personal goals and reduce burnout, and 2) nurturing aspiring leaders from a variety of backgrounds who can offer fresh ideas and perspectives to lead us confidently in the years and decades to come.
Vice President for Finance -Mel Cohen
Executive Consultant, Healthcare Management WorkshopsWhat was your “aha moment” when you knew you had chosen the right profession?
I became a speech-language pathologist back in the days when our profession consisted primarily of articulation, voice and stuttering. One of my first outpatients was a rookie traffic officer from a local police department. His presenting problem: “When I pull a driver over and tell him ‘You were thpeeding,’ my authority goes right down the drain. I need your help to say my /s/ sounds correctly or I could lose my job. I’ve had this lisp all my life, but my family and friends always accepted it so it hasn’t been a problem until now.”
I scheduled my highly motivated patient for therapy three times a week, expecting that he would soon be wielding his ticket book with authority and normal articulation. Following three therapy sessions plus his dedicated transfer of learning carryover compliance, he was consistently using the /s/ sound correctly in conversational speech at home and on the job, and he was discharged following three more weeks of one follow-up visit per week.
I knew that I had chosen the right profession when I realized that I had helped that man to save his career. (This was 1973 and his insurance paid 100 percent of the bill.)
What do you hope to accomplish in your new position?
My top priority is to improve financial communication with the ASHA membership. It can be challenging for financial professionals to translate complex budget procedures and fiscal reports into informal English for communicating with members of the association, especially those who volunteer to serve on committees, advisory councils and boards. Members would like to understand how the cost of dues, convention registration and other fees is determined and feel confident that those dollars are being strategically disbursed to benefit the members and our professions.
How have your professional background and experiences shaped your vision for the position?
As director of a hospital speech-language pathology department, I realized after several years that I needed self-defense training in preparation for my annual budget battle. My colleagues in the budget department had won the budget cut game for five straight years because they had the checkbook, and I didn’t speak their language.
Three years later, carrying my new degrees in accounting and finance, I moved to another hospital, as financial manager for the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation. One of my first accomplishments was to cross-train the physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech-language pathology directors in finance for non-financial managers, so that rehab no longer suffered from “failure to communicate” with the budget personnel.
As vice president for finance, I plan to translate ASHA’s budget procedures and fiscal reports into informal English for seminar presentations, so that every member who is interested will be able to understand the excellent information generated by ASHA’s financial staff and appreciate the status of our association’s financial position.
What are the most important issues facing the discipline?
During the first decade of my career as a hospital SLP, I was devoted to providing habilitation services for children with developmental delays and rehabilitation services for teenagers and adults. As each year passed, I was under increasing pressure from hospital administration to improve my department’s productivity to compensate for continuous reductions in insurance reimbursement. In retrospect, that monthly budget meeting with my administrator was a minor inconvenience in comparison with today’s reimbursement issues and our constant fear that third-party payers could further reduce or even eliminate coverage for our services.
To provide our patients (and ourselves) with the best chance for speech-language pathology and audiology services to remain included in health care insurance—one of the most important issues facing our profession today—each of us should take part in the development of ASHA’s Annual Public Policy Agenda, continually follow up on ASHA Take Action emails for advocacy participation, and financially support the work of ASHA’s political action committee.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I’ve never thought of myself as a leader. As vice president for finance, I consider my role to be one that provides support to ASHA’s elected and appointed volunteer leaders.
My Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is ISTJ.
I = Introversion: Although many of my friends and colleagues have convinced me that I’m really a shy extrovert.
S = Sensing: Taking in information and focusing on details rather than abstract information.
T = Thinking: Making decisions based on logic and objective data rather than personal feelings.
J = Judging: Carefully planning things out well in advance.
According to an article “ISTJ Personality Type Profile” published June 7, 2017, on www.verywell.com, accounting is an ideal career choice for an ISTJ. As fate would have it, I completed my PhD in speech-language pathology and audiology when I was 25, but I was 41 when I first learned about the MBTI.
Despite serendipity, I am in good company. Famous people/characters with ISTJ personalities include Warren Buffett, Joe Friday, Cliff Clavin, Darth Vader and Eeyore.
Vice President for Government Relations and Public Policy -Katheryn L. Boada
Director, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Aurora
What was your “aha moment” when you knew you had chosen the right profession?
There was not one “aha moment,” but rather as series of experiences that confirmed that I had chosen the right career path. I have always been intrigued by biology and psychology, especially the study of behavior and the neural changes—those that precede emerging behaviors and those that result from our learning. For as long as I can remember, I knew that I wanted to do something in science, but when I was growing up, the only careers I had heard of were physician, dentist or “scientist”—and that last one was a bit fuzzy to me. What did it really mean to be a scientist? When I happened to take a sign language class in my third year of undergrad, I learned about the field of communication disorders. That led me to graduate school and slowly the idea of a clinician-scientist evolved, where both clinical work and investigation came together. To this day I am always learning, find myself challenged, and am completely satisfied with my career choice!
What do you hope to accomplish in your new position?
In my role as vice president of government relations and public policy, I plan to stay abreast of pending legislation and regulations so that I can appropriately inform our membership of potential effects on the clients and families we serve and on our professional practice. I intend to establish collaborative relationships with legislators and our government affairs team in order help our national leaders make educated, conscious decisions with respect to audiology and speech-language pathology. In this way, we can best advocate for appropriate coverage and access to our services.
How have your professional background and experiences shaped your vision for the position?
Over the years, I have taken an active role in understanding regulatory requirements and public policy as they relate to our professions and access to our services. This began early in my clinical fellowship, when I served on a quality and compliance committee and joined my local and state professional associations. I believe that active involvement in our work settings and with our professional associations are key to remaining informed and effective as a leader. Most recently, my tenure on ASHA’s Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Council, work at my state capital, and training from ASHA’S Leadership Development Program have helped to shape how I approach legislators in person and via email. These experiences have helped me to more effectively engage with and be received by members of both political parties.
What are the most important issues facing the discipline?
Related to government relations and public policy, I believe that the most important issue for our professions is inclusion in basic health care coverage and education policies. We clearly must be active participants in decisions regarding the control of health care and education costs, and some level of audiology and speech-language pathology diagnostic and intervention services should be included in basic policy. Additionally, telepractice is fast becoming an essential service-delivery model option especially for our rural and underserved areas. Audiologists and SLPs must be recognized as qualified service providers and our services included in any telepractice policy.
How would you describe your leadership style?
My leadership style centers around creating and articulating a shared vision. To do so well, it’s important to gather the data needed to make informed decisions. Enlisting the help of the team and relevant experts—using appreciative inquiry techniques, asking probing questions and listening carefully to fully understand their perspectives—provides a leader with a strong foundation from which to strategically plan. It is also essential to communicate frequently, measure your progress, and course-correct swiftly when needed. Finally, I feel that it is critical to recognize and celebrate individual and team accomplishments. This helps to keep us connected to our purposes and passions, and motivates us toward continued success.
Vice President for Standards and Ethics in Audiology -Arlene Carney
Professor, University of Minnesota
What was your “aha moment” when you knew you had chosen the right profession?
I was a first-semester graduate student at the University of Massachusetts in my first audiology and first speech and hearing science classes. Two different professors, Harry Tokay and Gib Tolhurst, began talking about the problems that individuals with hearing loss face on one hand, and the concept of the just-noticeable difference in pitch perception on the other. I was hooked and changed my major area from speech-language pathology to audiology—it was the third week of classes. About a year later, in my first practicum with infants and young children, I was able to measure hearing thresholds by conditioning a 7-month-old to turn her head and receive a flashing light as a reinforcer, under the guidance of my talented supervisor Carol Tomesetti. It was a defining moment for me. I wanted to do this every day and I wanted to investigate more about hearing loss in children. As a professor, I get to relive that moment regularly when I teach students about hearing loss and watch some of them have their own “aha” moment. I also get to ask and answer questions about hearing loss in the laboratory.
What do you hope to accomplish in your new position?
Our field is distinguished by its high standards for certifying clinicians and by its recognition that ethical behavior is the foundation of good practice and research. We are constantly moving into new areas of practice that challenge us. I want to have our members embrace the concepts behind our standards and Code of Ethics when they make decisions every day. It is too easy to think of standards as a checklist or a barrier rather than as a guide. I want to engage our members in discussion and to move to mandatory continuing education for ethics for renewal of certification.
How have your professional background and experiences shaped your vision for the position?
Throughout my career, I have worked in universities and clinical and research centers as a professor, clinician, researcher and administrator in speech, language and hearing sciences. I also served as an associate dean and vice provost. These experiences have broadened my perspective on many levels. I believe that making changes in any system is successful only when change is preceded by listening and understanding the issues from multiple points of view. To me, a vision is a hypothesis, a frame. The dialogue is the data collection and the final conclusion may be a changed but mutual vision.
What are the most important issues facing the discipline?
One key issue facing us is educating the next generation of the professoriate so that we can maintain the excellence of our clinical preparation at the graduate level and the research base of the discipline. The baby-boomer generation of professors is retiring and the demand for audiologists and speech-language pathologists is increasing. We need to address this gap. Our emphasis on evidence-based practice not only ensures the validity and importance of our clinical practice, but allows us to present data to those who pay for our services. It is vital that we continue and expand these data.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe in a consultative style of leadership where I rely on input from many individuals, including those with different viewpoints. This entails being willing to have difficult discussions at times and understanding that not all decisions will be embraced by everyone. I spend time on developing relationships so there are not “winners” and “losers.” I am committed to transparency and evidence-based decision making, so that my decisions are constantly re-evaluated and updated as necessary.
Vice President for Speech-Language Pathology Practice -Marie Ireland
Specialist, Virginia Department of Education
What was your “aha moment” when you knew you had chosen the right profession?
For me it was not a single moment, but rather a series of experiences that confirmed I had chosen the right profession. After two years of undergraduate studies in biology at the University of Pittsburgh, I enrolled in an American Sign Language course taught by a professor who was deaf. In class, I met many communication sciences and disorders students and began to learn about the profession. That summer, I volunteered at a camp for young children who were deaf and hard of hearing. That experience sparked my passion for working with persons with communication disorders and I began exploring a change of major to communication sciences and disorders. The next fall, I started taking undergraduate prerequisite classes and continued my study of American Sign Language. Soon, I was replicating research in child language with Dr. Christine Dollaghan, and serving as an undergraduate research fellow in aphasia with Dr. Connie Tompkins. My coursework and extensive hands-on experiences in undergraduate training made clear that speech-language pathology was the career for me. I continue to enjoy a lifetime of learning, participate in research, and make connections with people of all ages!
What do you hope to accomplish in your new position?
While serving as vice president for speech-language pathology practice, I hope to be able to address issues facing professionals and the clients, patients and students we serve, regardless of the practice setting. I believe it is important as a member of the ASHA Board of Directors to continue to work with state associations that are facing licensure challenges, develop high-quality professional development that focuses on evidence-based practice, and address policy and funding challenges at the national and state level. I hope to work with leaders in our field and other related disciplines to advance issues and address barriers.
How have your professional background and experiences shaped your vision for the position?
My vision for the position is shaped by a combination of 20 years of work experience in school-based practice, years of volunteer work with my state association, and extensive service on various ASHA committees, boards and councils. I have witnessed the impact of volunteer service and advocacy efforts. I have seen the importance of data-based decision-making and strategic planning. I have been blessed to have many role models who have reinforced my belief that this position requires a love of learning, a commitment to listen to others, strength to address difficult issues, and a passion for service.
What are the most important issues facing the discipline?
Our discipline faces not one, but many important issues that have the potential to impact professionals and the clients, patients and students we serve. Advocating for legislation and funding at the national level is critical to protect important programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, IDEA, and early intervention. Using the most effective and efficient assessment and treatment practices that are rooted in evidence and yield positive outcomes will help us demonstrate our value to others as we work to address challenges at both the state and national level.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I would describe myself as a collaborative leader with a commitment to focusing on the big picture, while not losing sight of the details involved with implementation. I enjoy opportunities to learn from and encourage others on my team. I see value in hearing different perspectives and don’t shy away from differences of opinion or addressing difficult issues. I believe that these rich interactions strengthen the team and lead to improved outcomes. While my goal is to produce work that is highly effective and meets timelines and budgets, it is also important to me to build relationships along the way.
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August 2017
Volume 22, Issue 8