State Associations Chart Their Course Leaders Take Fresh Look at Volunteerism, Share Progress and Challenges ASHA News
ASHA News  |   June 01, 2003
State Associations Chart Their Course
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Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Special Populations / Early Identification & Intervention / School-Based Settings / Practice Management / Professional Issues & Training / Regulatory, Legislative & Advocacy / ASHA News & Member Stories / ASHA News
ASHA News   |   June 01, 2003
State Associations Chart Their Course
The ASHA Leader, June 2003, Vol. 8, 1-23. doi:10.1044/leader.AN.08122003.1
The ASHA Leader, June 2003, Vol. 8, 1-23. doi:10.1044/leader.AN.08122003.1
Maryland clinicians recently scored two wins for the state’s children with the passage of legislation that provides insurance reimbursement for children’s hearing aids and an agreement to study the availability of speech, language, and hearing services in the schools. State volunteer leaders celebrated these victories and the value of volunteerism last month in Omaha, NE, at ASHA’s State Policy Workshop and the annual Council of State Association Presidents (CSAP) conference, held jointly each spring.
At the State Policy Workshop on May 15–16, ASHA President Glenda Ochsner welcomed this year’s participants, who represented 33 states. As always, participants spent most of their time in roundtable discussions. This year’s topics, determined by popular demand, included reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, licensure, health care reimbursement, state Medicare issues, and an insurance company’s view of mandated health care benefits. The group also brainstormed about the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the CCC in state laws and regulations, and efforts by ASHA’s State Education Action Team to build momentum on salary supplements.
Ann Bird of the Nebraska Department of Education and James Potter, ASHA’s director of government relations and public policy, presented a session on IDEA reauthorization and its state and local implications. They discussed the influx of federal funding into IDEA, expanded use of IDEA funds for pre-referral screening, and the shifting of control for personnel standards to the states under the current congressional proposals. Bird and Potter encouraged state associations to work closely with state education agencies in developing personnel standards and to play a key role in helping to alleviate any personnel shortages.
A session on network partnering explored the resources and role of ASHA’s State Education Advocacy Leaders (SEALs) network, as well as new licensure and reimbursement networks. In discussing the vital role that SEALs play in advocating for education issues, Eileen Crowe, ASHA’s director for state association relations, reported that at least 21 states have proposals pending that would negatively impact funding for K–12 education. An April report of the National Conference of State Legislatures noted that up to 26 states are considering cutting funds for higher education, she added.
In sessions, state association managers learned about the wealth of ASHA resources, examined working with volunteer committees, and reviewed print pieces used for conventions. CSAP participants discussed compiling ideas by region, mentoring fellow professionals, understanding financial reports and political action committees, planning an effective board meeting and retreat, evaluating Web sites, examining states’ use of ASHA grant funds, establishing a foundation, and exploring the issue of caseload/workload.
The Value of Volunteerism
At the CSAP meeting following the state policy workshop, Ron Bender, the group’s president, invited the 83 state leaders who participated to think seriously about the conference theme of “Growing Vital Associations Through Active Volunteerism.”
The state association presidents—themselves volunteers—listened intently to a keynote address by Gerard Caracciolo, chair of the Task Force on ASHA’s Year of the Volunteer. Caracciolo has researched the challenges facing professional associations, both state and national, which rely on volunteer energy and expertise.
Recruitment, retention, and recognition—the “three Rs” of volunteerism—are key components in developing effective volunteer programs in associations. He reviewed data on why people volunteer, as well as why they don’t (see sidebar).
“We need to energize leadership to rethink volunteerism and move beyond ‘business as usual,’” Caracciolo said. He emphasized the need for associations to be open to everyone’s talents, to match their interests with the association’s, and not to exclude potential recruits. “Volunteer opportunities should be considered a benefit of membership and should not be exclusive,” he said.
To strengthen retention, Caracciolo suggested developing an effective volunteer management program to ensure that volunteers’ donated time is productive. Training and recognition are also important components.
“Exchange volunteering” reflects the truth that, when successful, volunteering offers benefits both to the organization and to the volunteer, who can use their work as peer reviewers, committee members, or other activities to network professionally and build their resumes.
Caracciolo reviewed ASHA’s 2003 Year of the Volunteer celebration, which is being coordinated by a seven-member task force. The celebration will culminate in festivities at the ASHA Convention in Chicago. State associations are invited to join ASHA in the year-long tribute to volunteerism and to recognize an outstanding state volunteer.
“Beyond our professional volunteerism, we also join millions of Americans every day in responding to the needs of our community, state, country, and our world,” he said. “It is fitting that we celebrate the spirit of volunteerism as a grand American tradition.”
Following Caracciolo’s address, participants formed small groups to explore strengths in the professional association volunteer force with an eye to regional influences, and identified priorities for volunteerism and strategies to enhance the “three Rs.”
Bender said state leaders reaped some fresh ideas from the session. “Through Jerry’s guidance, we walked away with some new concepts,” he said. “We certainly need to abandon the idea of ‘advertise and they will come,’ but rather adopt an active, ongoing plan of recruiting, consistently assessing our efforts, and follow-through with appropriate recognition.”
As in past years at the CSAP conference, participants had the chance to “bring, brag, and moan” about trials and triumphs faced by state associations in states, including:
  • Indiana, where the state association is addressing shortages in school districts by working with school administrators to host interviews at the state association convention

  • California, where the speech-language pathology scope of practice was revised to include endoscopy

  • Delaware, where state association leaders testified before the Joint Finance Committee on salary supplements

  • Idaho, where the state association is participating in Year of the Volunteer activities

  • Illinois, where caseloads have been reduced from 80 to 60, and speech-language pathology assistants are now licensed

  • Louisiana, where state association leaders are working on insurance mandates related to hearing aids for children

  • Mississippi, where a salary supplement now in effect has helped recruit and retain school-based clinicians, and where a bill was passed to bolster qualifications for school providers

  • Rhode Island, where the state association lobbied successfully for a “parity” bill allowing access for speech-language pathologists to a professional investment fund to upgrade skills and obtain their CCC

  • New Jersey, where the state association has produced three brochures and held a strategic planning meeting

  • Oregon, where a newborn hearing screening bill passed; and where problems still exist with unqualified providers “Our CSAP conferences continue to get better each year,” Bender said, adding that he had no doubt that the conference met the organization’s mission of “enabling and empowering leaders.”

Visit CSAP’s Web site at  for more information and ideas on volunteerism generated at the CSAP conference.
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June 2003
Volume 8, Issue 12