Meet ASHA’s New Board Members ASHA voters elected five new members to the Board of Directors in the May elections. The association’s newest Board members will take office on Jan. 1, 2012. President-Elect Patricia Prelock, dean and professor in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at the University of Vermont, brings a wealth ... ASHA News
ASHA News  |   August 01, 2011
Meet ASHA’s New Board Members
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Professional Issues & Training / ASHA News & Member Stories / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   August 01, 2011
Meet ASHA’s New Board Members
The ASHA Leader, August 2011, Vol. 16, 8-9. doi:10.1044/leader.AN1.16082011.8
The ASHA Leader, August 2011, Vol. 16, 8-9. doi:10.1044/leader.AN1.16082011.8
ASHA voters elected five new members to the Board of Directors in the May elections. The association’s newest Board members will take office on Jan. 1, 2012.
Patricia Prelock, PhD, CCC-SLP
Patricia Prelock, dean and professor in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at the University of Vermont, brings a wealth of leadership experience to her role. Positions with local and national professional organizations (including ASHA vice president for standards and ethics in speech-language pathology), institutions of higher education, and service groups have “enhanced my perspective on effective ways to establish a shared vision, to engage in dialogue around critical issues, and to follow through on goals,” she said.
Prelock views several issues as critical to the discipline: the needs of children in the schools who have complex disorders; health care reform, which demands evidence of treatment effectiveness; preparation of a sufficient urban and rural workforce that can meet the needs of various populations, including children with neurodevelopmental disabilities, veterans returning from combat with traumatic brain injury, and an aging population with illnesses that affect communication; enhanced efforts to prepare and support diversity in the discipline; and increased numbers of doctoral students.
Prelock’s commitment to maintaining her scholarship, teaching, and clinical practice while taking on leadership roles allows her to “take the pulse of our discipline and ensure decisions are informed by the real experiences of clinicians, educators, and researchers,” she said. “I am able to engender loyalty and enthusiastic support, even when I have to take unpopular, but necessary, stands in defense of quality academic and clinical work and ethical practice. I have fostered leadership within my colleagues, instituted effective decision-making processes, gathered sufficient data to make informed decisions, and ensured immediate but thoughtful follow-through on critical issues, which will guide my role as future ASHA president.”
Carolyn Wiles Higdon, EdD, CCC-SLP
Vice President for Finance
Carolyn Wiles Higdon, professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Mississippi, brings deep and broad experience to the position of vice president for finance. She has worked in schools and medical centers, and has developed a comprehensive international private practice. Higdon has served in leadership roles on ASHA committees and boards and three state associations, and as chair of state licensure boards. She brings strong financial and policy foundations that will help her serve ASHA’s financial needs.
By working in almost every speech-language pathology practice setting, Higdon has experienced the challenges faced by audiologists and speech-language pathologists.
A critical responsibility of the vice president for finance, she said, is helping members better understand how their dues are spent and finding creative ways to approach projects. “It is important for members to work toward a more global perspective with the association’s financial planning,” she said. “A global mindset is a prerequisite to effective business leadership in this decade.”
Higdon sees several issues as critical: the current economic climate; health care changes; speech-language pathology and audiology needs in schools; increased visibility in legislative issues; more research toward evidence-based practice and improved clinical treatment outcomes; increased understanding of international practice issues; ways to address the expanding scope of practice ethically; and how changes in higher education affect members’ practice.
Higdon’s leadership style includes an ability to listen to members, a desire for openness and transparency in all business of the association, collaboration, and hearing all sides of issues. Her motto is: “Let us not be stopped by that which divides us, but look for that which unites us!”
Theresa H. Rodgers, MA, CCC-SLP
Vice President for Government Relations and Public Policy
Theresa H. Rodgers brings years of expertise to her new position, including various leadership roles at the state and national levels. “Even at the beginning of my career,” Rodgers said, “I advocated for school-based practices and practitioners through my involvement with the state speech-language-hearing association. Eventually I served as president of the Louisiana Speech-Language-Hearing Association and then became president of the Council of State Association Presidents, an experience that provided me with renewed insight into the various local, regional, and national issues facing the professions. Since the mid-1990s I have been involved with regulation and credentialing through service on the state licensure board, the National Council of State Boards of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and also ASHA’s Council for Clinical Certification.”
Rodgers believes the most important issues facing the discipline involve reimbursement and encroachment by other professionals on audiology and speech-language pathology scopes of practice. Rodgers pointed to “attempts by other allied health organizations to restrict the scope of practice for audiology and speech-language pathology. Unfortunately, there are also individuals who maintain that they are qualified to work with language disorders although their background, training, and credentialing are not in the area.”
Additionally, “reimbursement continues to be an issue, particularly with expanding models for health care delivery and ever-changing regulations and policies governing the services provided by audiologists and speech-language pathologists. It is crucial that reimbursement policy be reflective of current practices and appropriate standards.”
Rodgers is eager to build on ASHA’s strong grassroots advocacy and member involvement. “We all know that policy change does not happen without advocacy efforts,” she said. “Advocacy is the key to public policy change.”
Gail J. Richard, PhD, CCC-SLP
Vice President for Speech-Language Pathology Practice
Gail J. Richard, chair of the Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences at Eastern Illinois University, views her role as ASHA vice president for speech-language pathology practice as an opportunity to “represent the issues and challenges that confront practicing speech-language pathologists. I want to provide a voice that clearly advocates on a national level to ensure quality and integrity in service delivery and to apprise the members of situations that compromise services, as well as to inform them of positive advances in speech-language pathology practice.”
Richard brings a visionary style coupled with pragmatism. “I am always focused on the practical reality,” she said. “How does this initiative impact practicing professionals who are in the trenches every day working with clients? How will this research study shape service delivery to be more efficacious? What modifications will help this student be more productive and less disruptive in a classroom setting?”
To see all sides of an issue, “I listen carefully to ascertain the primary message or issue, and then begin generating an action plan to address the problem. I am compulsively organized, which means I try to anticipate every contingency so I can be prepared to address any ‘domino effect’ that might occur. I am efficient and goal-directed, which translates into maintaining focus within a group and continually monitoring outcomes toward resolution or closure on the task.”
Richard said that “the aspect of our profession I enjoy most is the diagnostic puzzle—trying to determine what the problem is and generating options to address it. That represents my leadership style: clearly define the specific charge or objective that needs to be accomplished, and then facilitate progress toward the goal.”
Robert E. Novak, PhD, CCC-A
Vice President for Standards and Ethics in Audiology
Robert E. Novak, professor emeritus at Purdue University and founding director of the Center of Excellence in Communication Science and Disorders, University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, describes his leadership style as “collaborative, inclusive, consultative, forward-thinking, grateful, problem-focused, and decisive.”
Novak enters his new office with more than three decades of involvement in the discipline. “I have been in the business of audiology education and university-based audiology practice for 34 years,” he said, “and throughout that time have advocated for audiology and people with hearing loss and their families as well as for the recognition and compensation of the full scope of practice of audiologists in their role as independent hearing health care providers. I helped develop model programs in audiology education, and through that venue voiced the need for academic programs to develop the skills in audiology graduates that will enable them to meet demands for service delivery across the full scope of practice and to contribute to the science of hearing and audiology practice critical to the ongoing development of our profession.”
Novak sees challenges ahead, but is poised to meet them head-on. “We are challenged to examine the current hearing health care delivery system and develop new approaches to expand access to and bring down the cost of hearing health care in a way that will positively affect the lives of people with hearing loss and their families. Audiologists must join together with others in hearing health care to take a leadership role in creating a delivery system that works for the majority of the vast and growing number of people with hearing loss who need it.”
Advisory Council Election Results

The Committee on Nominations and Elections is pleased to announce that the following members were elected to the Audiology Advisory Council and Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Council. Their three-year terms begin Jan. 1, 2012.

Audiology Advisory Council

Frederick Britten, Kansas

Barbara Bush, Alabama

Hala Elsisy, Indiana

Donna Fisher Smiley, Arkansas

Linda Guenette, Connecticut

Jennifer Holst, Idaho

Colleen O’Rourke, Georgia

Nathan Rhodes, Florida

James Yates, Hawaii

Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Council

Barbara Amster, Pennsylvania

Christiane Dechert, Wyoming

Derick Deweber, Oklahoma

Jean Herauf, North Dakota

Dawn Merth-Johnson, Wisconsin

Jill Moore, International

Donise Pearson, Texas

Laura Peterson, Rhode Island

Melinda Richards, Tennessee

Jennifer Schultz, South Dakota

Susan Singleton, Virginia

Susan Thomas Frank, West Virginia

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August 2011
Volume 16, Issue 8