July 17, 2012
This is another in a series of occasional ASHA CEO Updates. These messages are intended to provide ASHA members with a more in-depth view of various ASHA programs and National Office units, key member services and initiatives, and names and roles of ASHA staff. Information about staff changes and ASHA National Office recognitions/awards is also included.
Many thanks to those of you who have provided feedback regarding previous Updates or suggestions for future Updates.
ASHA's International Affiliates Program
For a number of years, ASHA's volunteer leaders, staff, and members of ASHA's International Issues Board (IIB) have been discussing the potential for increasing the number of International Affiliates. One important role of the IIB is to develop, monitor, and recommend Association policies and actions related to international issues. As a result of recent IIB discussions, a resolution to modify the eligibility requirements for International Affiliates was developed and submitted to the Board of Directors (BOD), which approved the resolution.
Why Change the Program?
Instant communication has enabled many disciplines to reach out to their counterparts around the globe and share ideas, learn, and solve problems collaboratively. In communication sciences and disorders, there are numerous professionals and practitioners outside the United States who share ASHA members' passion for audiology and speech-language pathology. Yet, at the present time, only a small number of individuals have availed themselves of the opportunity to become International Affiliates, an affiliation category that helps ASHA enhance connections with colleagues in other countries. The latest ASHA membership data show that, though 42 countries are represented, there are fewer than 300 International Affiliates, which is less than 1% of the total number of ASHA members and affiliates.
There have been two primary barriers to those wishing to join ASHA as International Affiliates: a complex application process and relatively high fees (when compared to those of similar associations). When the current fee structure was established, most communications to affiliates were sent by mail. In today's era of electronic communication, and given the increasing emphasis on ASHA's role in a global community, the BOD, with the strong recommendation of the IIB, felt it was time to modify the program to enable more practitioners to join ASHA.
What Changes Will Be Made?
With the growing diversity of ASHA's membership and those our members serve, it has become more important that we reach out to our international colleagues, both to share ideas and to learn from one another. We also realize that there is latitude around the world for the educational requirements to practice audiology or speech-language pathology, based on the needs of the country. And we recognize that it can be a financial burden for professionals in some country's to pay the current fees for International Affiliates. As a result, two important changes are being made to the program.
- The annual fee is being reduced to $75, which is the same fee that ASHA Associates (audiology and speech-language pathology assistants) are charged. There will also be a small fee ($15) for processing the new application.
- The International Affiliate will need to hold the degree or credential (certification or license) required to practice in the country in which he or she resides. If that country has no such degree or credential requirement, then the applicant must provide documentation of at least 3 years of work experience as a practitioner in audiology or speech-language pathology and a letter of support from the country's minister of health or a person of authority who can verify that the individual works in this capacity.
These modifications for International Affiliation go into effect September 1, 2012. Individuals who join beginning September 1 for affiliation in 2013 will be eligible for all affiliate benefits (described below) as soon as they join.
Communications Are Underway!
Communications about the new program and active recruitment efforts began at the end of July. Initially, benefits offered to International Affiliates will not change, though additional online resources may be developed as needed. International Affiliates are eligible to earn professional development hours (PDHs) and can be nominated for the Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Contributions in International Achievement and for ASHA Fellowship (pending Board approval in August). International Affiliates receive desirable online benefits, including e-newsletters, group discussions, e-mail lists by country, the ASHA Community platform, and a variety of international resources on the ASHA website.
Special Interest Group (SIG) 17, Global Issues in Communication Sciences and Related Disorders will play an important role in reaching out to speech-language pathologists, audiologists, and students worldwide. We expect that the increase in the number of International Affiliates will enhance information and education from around the world about our two professions and will increase ASHA members' experiences and insights into the different challenges that countries and regions face in communication disorders. In addition, linkages with International Affiliates will support members' understanding of cultural and linguistic diversity. These are very important issues for the continuing education of professionals in communication sciences and disorders.
National Office Staff Updates
The following individuals are new to the ASHA staff since May 2012:
- Morgana Carter, Information Analyst
- Maureen Corrigan, Audiology Research Associate
- Neil Disarno, Chief Staff Officer for Audiology (Starting Early August)
- Mijin Paik, Manager, Continuing Education Provider Accounts
- Laura Staley, Instructional Designer: SIG Emphasis
- Sara VanDenHeuvel, Resource Manager for Multicultural Affairs
The following individuals have left ASHA to pursue other opportunities:
- Russell Paguandas, Cash Receipts Specialist (Retired)
- Kristina Thomas, Business Systems Analyst
Recent ASHA and ASHA National Office Awards
ASHA was honored with the Workplace Excellence, Health & Wellness Trailblazer and EcoLeadership awards for 2011 by the Alliance for Workplace Excellence. The Alliance provides services that allow employers to build excellent places to work. The Alliance recognized ASHA's commitment to promoting professional fulfillment as well as personal wellness at work, at home, and in the community and for demonstrating commitment to environmental sustainability.
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