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, 2019. Here are their answers to five questions: Theresa H. Rodgers Speech-Language Pathology Consulting Services, Prairieville, Louisiana What was your “aha moment” when you knew you had chosen the right profession? ... ASHA News
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ASHA News  |   August 01, 2018
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, 2018
Meet the New ASHA Board Members
The ASHA Leader, August 2018, Vol. 23, 64-65. doi:10.1044/leader.AN7.23082018.64
The ASHA Leader, August 2018, Vol. 23, 64-65. doi:10.1044/leader.AN7.23082018.64
Five newly elected members of the ASHA Board of Directors will begin their three-year terms on Jan. 1, 2019. 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
Theresa H. Rodgers
Speech-Language Pathology Consulting Services, Prairieville, Louisiana
What was your “aha moment” when you knew you had chosen the right profession?
I planned to major in medical technology until a teacher who had taken some of the new “speech and hearing” courses offered locally recommended that I consider the field of speech therapy (language was not a component of the terminology at that time). She remarked on the quality of the faculty and courses, and described a profession unknown to me as a high school senior. I was not only intrigued, I was hooked. While there was not one particular “aha” moment, being selected co-recipient of NSSLHA graduate student of the year was probably the first formal affirmation that I was on the right track. After only four years of professional experience, I was asked to become the state education consultant, another validation that I had chosen the right profession. I did not accept the position—instead, I embarked on developing a specialty in language-learning disabilities as I was continually intrigued with diagnostics and how to best put the puzzle pieces together in providing services to students with academic difficulties. Following years as a diagnostician, I held various administrative jobs. My career as an SLP has been validated on many levels and each position has been a privilege!
What do you hope to accomplish in your new position?
My “wish list,” which is not exhaustive or necessarily in order of priority, includes the following actions and achievements:
  • Increased member engagement and responsiveness to member needs.

  • Nimbleness in issue consideration, decision-making, and action as an organization.

  • Strong advocacy for the professions and those we serve.

  • Increased visibility of the role and value of audiologists and speech-language pathologists in the lay community.

  • Additional collaboration among audiology groups.

  • A more diverse cadre of professionals.

  • Sufficient data to demonstrate outcomes and service delivery value in all practice settings.

  • Equitable reimbursement and coverage of services including those delivered via telepractice.

  • Support for practice-based evidence and implementation science.

How have your professional background and experiences shaped your vision for the position?
While I’ve been a member of numerous ASHA committees, councils and boards, serving as vice president for government relations and public policy was an invaluable experience of engagement with members, volunteer leaders and staff, enabling me to formulate a comprehensive perspective of our association. Throughout my career as a practitioner, consultant, special education administrator, and chief administrative officer for a government entity, collaborative work has been instrumental in accomplishing goals and achieving a level of excellence which otherwise would not have been obtained. I am committed to building upon these experiences to meet member needs, advance the professions, and uphold the ideals and high standards long associated with ASHA.
What are the most important issues facing the discipline?
Audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language and hearing scientists are confronted with unprecedented change, and to an extent, considerable uncertainty. With implementation of alternative reimbursement models in an unpredictable health care reform environment, insufficient funding across work settings—including schools, universities and research—practice constraints such as unreasonable productivity demands, the advent of over-the-counter hearing aid sales, scope of practice challenges, and reauthorization of the Higher Education Act and IDEA looming on the horizon, effective leadership is essential to address these issues and others within the professional landscape.
How would you describe your leadership style?
My style is predominantly collaborative with a strong drive toward being analytical, focusing on data and relevant information as well as the needs of the team and organization. I am instinctively a problem-solver and am driven by issues. Successful leadership, though, encompasses the ability to change styles based on the task at hand and other factors. An environment which supports colleagues, inviting open discussion with multiple and diverse perspectives shared freely, is critical to effective decision-making. I ultimately strive to practice the principles of servant leadership blending leadership with service. As leadership gurus Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller have indicated, “A person can serve without leading, but a leader can’t lead well without serving.”
Vice President for Academic Affairs in Speech-Language Pathology
Elizabeth (Betsy) Crais
Professor and coordinator of PhD studies, Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences, University of North Carolina School of Medicine
What was your “aha moment” when you knew you had chosen the right profession?
I was a junior education major and communications minor at the University of Alabama when I took an elective (Introduction to Communication Disorders) in speech and hearing sciences with Eugene Cooper. As his passion for the field, and the many possibilities in terms of job settings, client populations and disorders became evident, I was irrevocably converted! Within days of starting the course, I called my parents to tell them I had finally found my passion. After visiting Vanderbilt that summer to identify the courses I should take my senior year to get into its master’s program, I returned to Alabama and went from mediocre grades to all A’s. Fortunately, Vandy accepted me and the rest is history! How very fortunate I was to have stumbled onto a lifelong love affair with my career.
What do you hope to accomplish in your new position?
I am excited to work with both the Board and the many academic programs across the country. There are numerous challenges facing colleges and universities in these changing times. I hope to be a strong advocate and agent of change to listen, gather information and then collaboratively mobilize resources to work toward addressing key issues important to our field.
How have your professional background and experiences shaped your vision for the position?
My three years spent as a member and then chair of ASHA’s Academic Affairs Board alerted me to many of the issues confronting CSD programs across all types and levels. The two reports we completed—focused on CSD undergraduate and PhD programs—helped me realize there are more similarities than differences across our programs and, therefore, key issues faced by many of us.
What are the most important issues facing the discipline?
Some of the major issues include: changing student demographics and especially the increases in mental health and stress issues; our efforts to recruit and support diverse students, including first-generation students; an increasing competition for practicum sites (and fewer available adult sites); and identifying funding for students as state dollars decline and student debt increases; the need to recruit, support and encourage PhD students to take academic positions, while also preparing them to be successful in the highly competitive grant world they are entering.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I am a consensus-builder who appreciates the process to gain consensus, but who is also motivated to identify, develop and disseminate products and policies that can make a difference. Given that all of us are typically “over-busy” professionals, I believe that our time together (and apart) should be focused on completing identifiable, manageable and realistic goals. After goals are consensually identified, I like to divide up tasks among small working groups, which then report back to the larger group for discussion and modification. In this way, we share our expertise, but also can accomplish our goals in a timely manner.
Vice President for Audiology Practice
Sharon A. Sandridge
Director, Audiology Clinical Services, Health and Neck Institute, Cleveland Clinic
What was the ‘aha moment’ when you knew you had chosen the right profession?
My road to becoming an audiologist was filled with curves. It wasn’t until I had been a student at several different academic institutions and tried several different majors—from education to economics to business to nursing—that I finally “fell” into audiology. I say “fell” because as I flipped through the course offerings to return to school after dropping out for a few years, I thought that the courses in communicative disorders looked interesting. Once I began the coursework at the University of Akron, I knew immediately that I had finally found my profession. The major—specifically audiology—fit me like a glove. Professionally, my aha moment came when I received a letter from the daughter of one of my older patients, whom I had fit with amplification. In that letter, she thanked me for giving her back her mother. It was that moment that I realized I was doing what I needed and wanted to do for a career. That was in 1988, and I continue to have my decision to become an audiologist reaffirmed when patients are grateful and appreciative of how you have returned their quality of life to them.
What do you hope to accomplish in your new position?
Audiology is always facing challenges. During my term, it is my goal to face those challenges and turn them into opportunities. These challenges include the availability of PSAPs (personal sound amplification products) and OTCs (over-the-counter hearing aids), as well as the influx of third-party administrators; the issues that limit the use of telehealth; turf battles with other allied health professions; and, most important, finding ways that all our audiology organizations can work together as allies and not opponents. These are just a few examples that I hope to tackle during the early part of my term.
How has your professional background and experiences shaped your vision for the position?
For the past 25 years, I have been in a leadership role at the Cleveland Clinic. During this time, I have worn many hats and juggled many activities. One role is the director of the Audiology Clinic, which includes overseeing the Hearing Aid Program. I understand firsthand the opportunities that we have as we change and adapt our hearing-aid model to meet today’s outside threats. As a clinician, researcher, preceptor and manager, I have had the opportunity to see the bigger picture from most sides.
What are the important issues facing the discipline?
One of the most critical issue facing audiology is in the arena of amplification. The availability of PSAPs and OTCs needs to be embraced and included in our practices. A more significant threat, however, is the increase in third-party administrators, which are definitely having an impact on how we do business. Outside of the amplification arena, we face turf wars in the vestibular arena. And as telehealth becomes more mainstream, we need to address licensing issues that facilitate and optimize the use of telehealth.
How would you describe your leadership style?
As I have become older, I have gained a greater appreciation for the benefits of collaboration. No one has all the answers—and by including others, you ultimately achieve the best outcome. I have also been trying to embrace the skill of listening fully to others before acting. In the past, I often reacted instead of acted to comments or situations. This is a skill I am definitely working on improving. Over the years, I have tried to lead by example, demonstrating how to accomplish tasks and working to deadlines. I encourage and mentor as I work alongside of co-workers, students and volunteers.
Vice President for Science and Research
Elena Plante
Professor, University of Arizona
What was your “aha moment” when you knew you had chosen the right profession?
This question assumes that there was an “aha moment.” I’m not sure I had one. What I did have was training at the undergraduate level that really encouraged me to appreciate the problem-solving nature of the profession and how much creativity has to go into finding solutions to problems. This is true in terms of clinical practice, where every client presents a new puzzle. It is also very much true in research. As an undergraduate, I discovered the power of asking a simple question and finding a way to answer it. This opportunity occurred while working on a class assignment for my evaluation methods class. My first research publication grew out of this course activity. It showed me that research could provide concrete, actionable information that impacts not just my practice but, we hope, the practice of the profession. What could be better than that?
What do you hope to accomplish in your new position?
A number of trending issues have the potential for enormous impact on our professions. Changes at the federal level are going to affect the research of our members and the up-and-coming researchers being trained now. It is important for ASHA to both have a voice in advising funding agencies and to actively assist our members in navigating the new research landscape. I am also very concerned about current discussions around the clinical doctorate in speech-language pathology. I think the implications for whether this remains elective or becomes required are enormous. It has the potential to impact who and how many choose to enter the profession, the research training of people with clinical research interests, and who will actually be providing the bulk of services on the front lines as well as the quality of those services. These issues require careful consideration to avoid serious unintended consequences for all of us.
How have your professional background and experiences shaped your vision for the position?
This is my 32nd year in the profession. The gift of longevity is that you can see the arc of change for the better over time. When I joined the field, some of my older colleagues were still complaining about having to take on child language disorders when their caseloads were full with articulation and fluency cases. Today new practitioners are entering the field with a strong grounding in the language basis of literacy. I see this growth not so much as an expansion of our scope of practice, but a deeper understanding of the nature of communication disorders and what it takes to serve our clients well. Much of this has come from our research base. On the other hand, you can also see a recycling of old issues, even when they resurface in new guises. This is helpful because it makes it easier to avoid repeating the less-positive trends of the past. This is equally true in the domains of professional practice, research, and professional education and development. Given this, it is important to keep my eye on the long game for the professions.
What are the most important issues facing the discipline?
I think the visibility of the professions is the single most important issue facing all of us. The lack of public understanding of what we offer has ramifications from Congress to local practice sites. As the incoming vice president for research, I am also deeply concerned with maintaining the research base of the professions. Without it, we will become the professional equivalent of the poor relations of psychology and of ear, nose and throat. Critical to this is promoting the pipeline to research careers. We need more research-trained and research-active members, which is a different problem from simply needing more people with doctorates. We also need more multilingual and multicultural people active in all aspects of the professions. Therefore, it is critical to consider the potential impact of decisions that may create unintended barriers to their entry and full participation.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I would describe it as adaptable. Goals are a lot like clients. What works for one does not necessarily work for another. It takes work to figure out where the degrees of freedom are and what the concerns and expectations of the stakeholders are. I’ve also learned that the best arrangement is to have excellent people on the team and then trust them to be excellent. I think the membership has selected among an excellent panel of candidates and I look forward to working with them.
Audiology Advisory Council

Kentucky

Thomas “Tommy” Evans

Louisiana

Annette Hurley

Maryland

Donna L. Pitts

Massachusetts

Sandra S. Reams

Michigan

Katie Kuboushek

Minnesota

Kristi Gravel

Missouri

Susan Fulton

Nebraska

Sherri Jones

Nevada

Megan H. Swank

New Mexico

Rachel Lingnau

New York

Joseph Pellegrino

North Carolina

William Eblin

Speech-Language-Pathology Advisory Council

Alabama

Tamara Davis Harrison

Alaska

Nancy Lovering

Arizona

Maria Hase

Arkansas

Jennifer M. Fisher

California

Maria L. Munoz

Colorado

Donna Boudreau

Connecticut

Shawneen Buckley

Delaware

Liz Merrick

Florida

Robin Edge

Georgia

Ruth H. Stonestreet

Hawaii

Verna Chinen

Idaho

Kristina Blaiser

Illinois

Barbara Goodson

Indiana

Ann Burford-Bilodeau

Iowa

Amanda Morano-Villhauer

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August 2018
Volume 23, Issue 8