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Let Me Hear From You

Let Me Hear From You

Embracing the New Year…Collectively

Welcome 2014, and Happy New Year to you and yours! The beginning of a New Year presents a time for reflection on past challenges and accomplishments, but is also an ideal time to take stock of opportunities for our profession to remain competitive in a rapidly changing health-care market. 2014 is a blank slate, and collectively, we have an opportunity to make sure the journal entries are positive and productive ones for audiology.

Despite Academy accomplishments and ongoing innovations, such as attaining an effective voice on the RUC panel, and efforts to enhance organizational transparency, the profession still struggles with an underlying lack of true autonomy, as well as lack of a “collective culture” that indisputably defines and shapes us as a profession. Most would agree that professionals

  1. Have an identifiable base of knowledge from which they practice,
  2. Have acquired a mastery of that knowledge through extended education,
  3. Have autonomy in making decisions regarding application of that knowledge,
  4. Display a strong commitment to the field, and
  5. Have a lifelong commitment to professional development. (Kerr, Von Glinow, and Schriesheim, 1977).

If we accept these tenets as viable, they constitute an excellent guideline for the basis of a “culture of audiology” that is now vital to our progress as a profession. The Academy and its membership must make every effort, both internally and externally, to enhance the strategic positioning of our profession. The overriding objective is to build a “culture of audiology” reflective of a profession that is autonomous, dynamic, and successfully defines, develops, and implements its standards, as well as one which is skilled at collecting, organizing, and analyzing data from every sector of the field to improve hearing healthcare outcomes…all in a cost effective manner. No small task.

Recently, the Academy board elected to make a change in senior staff management at the executive level, and created a new job description that holds strategic thinking and leadership skills as high priorities for this position. A new Search Committee has been formed, and is already hard at work to solicit and identify qualified candidates for this position.

As our mission statement indicates, The American Academy of Audiology is committed to promoting quality hearing and balance care by advancing the profession of audiology through leadership, advocacy, education, public awareness, and support of research. The Academy continues to advocate for the profession on many legislative and regulatory fronts, develop and publish guidelines and other materials that reflect best practices and facilitate members’ success in their respective practice settings, host the largest educational gathering of audiologists in the world at AudiologyNOW!, and support research through numerous grants, programs, and conferences. But additionally, we must ensure that impending demands for services can be effectively met by the profession by increasing the numbers of audiologists (including numbers graduated annually by each educational institution). Educational programs must ensure that their students are prepared for the future with a curriculum which adequately reflects the evolution of our profession, and audiology’s independent accreditation process is a key component of this process. In 2014, Academy leadership will be working toward these and many other goals. Audiology can only attract the best and the brightest if the field is viewed as recruiting top performers and the profession offers real opportunities for autonomy and advancement.

Your Academy leadership is working collaboratively with all stakeholders, including academia and industry partners, toward a future in which hearing health care is widely accessible, patient-centered, comprehensive, and credible. Leadership is actively developing ways to accommodate changes in professional patterns, market trends, and industry perspectives. Efforts are also underway to ensure that members have opportunities to develop and enhance research, clinical, practice management and technological skills. Such efforts are designed to be responsive to the rapidly changing needs of our many stakeholders, as well as to broaden and strengthen audiology’s influence throughout the global health-care arena. The Academy is committed to supporting its members as we work, collectively, to raise our professional profile.

But perhaps more importantly, we’re interested in your perspectives and ideas about how best to accomplish these goals. If you haven’t registered to attend AudiologyNOW! 2014, take a few minutes to do so. This year’s convention will offer lots of “magic,” and promises to be one of the best ever. Plan to join us for our annual Academy business meeting on Saturday morning at AudiologyNOW! There will be opportunities to discuss specific topics with members of your Board of Directors. And as part of ongoing efforts to increase transparency, the Executive Committee would like to offer members a new and unique opportunity to participate in an open session at our spring face-to-face leadership meeting. This meeting will take place at the conclusion of the board meeting held on Tuesday, March 25, from 4:15 to 5:30 pm at AudiologyNOW! in the convention headquarter's hotel.

This is a wonderful opportunity for you to come and discuss the following topics with your Academy leadership team:

  1. Suggestions for enhancing organizational transparency
  2. Suggestions for effectively building a “culture of audiology”

More information regarding how to register for this event will be available soon, but please plan to come to Orlando on Tuesday afternoon and jump start your AudiologyNOW! 2014 experience by voicing your perspectives and opinions. Your Academy leadership team is listening.

I hope you and your family enjoy many blessings in 2014, and see you in Orlando in March!