In my last Audiology Weekly article as president of the Academy, I would like to summarize where we stand as an Academy before we begin our annual leadership transition.
First of all, thank you to all our members for making AudiologyNOW! 2016 an incredible event this year. I have heard from many of you who shared how pleased you were with this year’s educational and networking opportunities as well the various events. We also had record attendance for our Academy Research Conference (ARC) as well as for our Student Academy of Audiology Conference. A very special thank you to the Program Chair, Dr. Joscelyn Martin, her committees, and to the Academy staff involved with logistics and planning of AudiologyNOW!
I am pleased by the outpouring of support and enthusiasm from you—our members. The past several years have been challenging as we redirected the Academy’s focus inward, made difficult organizational decisions, and restructured our staff and committees. However, with the dedication and diligence of the current Board of Directors, the Academy is in good shape financially as well as on the right path toward professional autonomy.
This coming year under the leadership of Dr. Ian Windmill, you will begin to see changes in the structure of our committees designed to maximize engagement with members and to produce the tools and information that you need for your practices, no matter what the setting. The board will engage in a September strategic planning meeting to guide the Academy’s committees and partners in a unified direction for the next several years.
On the legislative front, in addition to the current bills we are supporting or opposing our Government Relations Committee has been working hard lately on two specific pieces of legislation. The first is the “Fit to Serve” bill, where we have been working in collaboration with ADA, ASHA, and the VA audiologists. There is still work to be done on this issue, and we stand firm on not compromising in the importance of the role of the audiologist. Please continue to write letters to your government representatives, and go to the Academy’s Legislative Action Center online for more information, for sample letters, and to see how you can help.
The second piece of legislation is a fairly new bill for which Academy support is being sought. This bill being introduced would require silencers on certain types of firearms. While this legislation may be an emotionally charged bill for many, it is important to separate out the emotions of what one may feel about firearms in general and to focus on the main objective of this bill—to reduce the incidence of noise exposure due to use of firearms. Keep your eye on this one.
In our organizational issues, recent changes in the Academy by-laws will now have the new board members begin their term in October and end September 30, beginning in 2017. This change was made to provide a more efficient transition process for new board members.
Lastly, I want to again thank the Academy staff, Tanya, our Board of Directors, and the many volunteer leaders (committee chairs and committee members) for your support this past year. As I leave the office of president of the Academy, I will be merely “moving one pew over” and continue to support the work of the organization. I am excited about the continued growth in the profession with audiologists being recognized as the professional who brings miracles and the profession as one that changes the lives of people and their families with hearing and balance challenges. To my colleagues and friends I thank you all.