Message from Lynn Williams, Convention Co-Chair for Speech-Language Pathology and Jaynee Handelsman, Convention Co-Chair for Audiology
Excitement is building for the 2014 ASHA Convention's return to Orlando with a fascinating and stimulating theme: "Science. Learning. Practice. Generations of Discovery!" This theme encompasses many facets of the ASHA Convention. We are a profession built on science, which has provided a strong foundation of learning and practice for generations of speech-language pathologists, audiologists, and speech/language/hearing scientists. ASHA's rich heritage as the guardian of these professions dates back to 1925—almost 90 years. So naturally, as co-chairs of the 2014 Convention, we are especially thrilled to include generations as part of this year's convention theme.
Generations has multiple meanings for members of our professions. As our history indicates, generations of professionals have contributed to our knowledge base and provided teaching to future generations of professionals, who in turn have delivered services to individuals and their families. For many of us veterans, ASHA Conventions are an opportunity to reconnect with colleagues and friends—similar to a family reunion. It's fun to discover new connections through our professional heritage and discuss professional lineages, much like our own family ancestry. The two of us have enjoyed sharing our roots in speech-language pathology and audiology and learning about each other's mentors and, in turn, their mentors—discovering how these influences were passed down to us. We talked about fellow students in our doctoral programs and the master's and doctoral students we have trained. It is fascinating to trace our professional roots from our "grandmothers" and "grandfathers" to our peers who are professional "siblings" and on down to our students or "offspring." Orlando, a popular family destination, provides the perfect setting for both professional and biological families to gather in November to celebrate the generations making discoveries in science, learning, and practice.
In addition to our exciting theme, we've been hard at work with the National Office staff for over a year to develop a strong, outstanding program for the 2014 ASHA Convention. You'll notice a few changes and updates to this year's topic areas. First, we're pleased to roll out three inaugural topic areas that reflect current changes within our professions, as well as across health-related and education professions. These include Interprofessional Education and Practice (IPE-P), chaired by Alex Johnson, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), co-chaired by Mary Kennedy and Neil Shepherd, and Literacy Assessment and Intervention (LAI), chaired by Laura Justice. IPE-P and TBI are under the General Interest category for speech-language pathology and audiology and LAI is included in the Speech-Language Pathology category, although many audiologists may also be interested in this topic. Second, we have revised and updated the content for each topic area and added a brief overview to help submitters determine which topic is best suited for their respective proposals. Third, we emphasized the interconnectedness of speech-language pathology and audiology by including the new topic areas in the General Interest category and enlisting both SLP and AUD co-chairs to foster cross-collaboration. Finally, a number of our international affiliate members are co-chairing some of the topic committees in order to bring depth and breadth to the topic areas. View the 2014 Convention Program Committee, which lists the topic chairs as well as their committee members.
The top-tier group of expert topic chairs we have selected have been hard at work with their committee members to develop exceptional, professional development programs focused on evidence-based practice. As was true in 2013, there will be a variety of session formats in 2014, including the Technical Clinical Sessions that are intended for professionals who are interested in sharing a clinical technique or method that they have found to be successful. As has been the case for the past few years, there will be early evening sessions for all Convention attendees on Thursday. These sessions have been valuable for local professionals who may not be able to attend Convention activities during the day and for individuals who want to extend their Convention days in order to squeeze in as much professional development as possible!
We look forward to seeing you in sunny Orlando to celebrate our profession's generations of discovery in science, learning, and practice. We invite you to reconnect with your professional roots, trace your professional heritage, and make new connections for future generations!