Message from Michael Flahive, Convention Co-Chair for Speech-Language Pathology and Tucker Gleason, Convention Co-Chair for Audiology
From its earliest history, Philadelphia has been a city of firsts: first U.S. capital, first daily newspaper, first U.S. Mint, first library, first zoo, first hospital, first children's hospital, first medical school, first art museum. This is quite a list of leading accomplishments, making Philadelphia a perfect host city for ASHA's 80th Convention and our theme of "Everyday leadership. Leadership every day." While Leadership with a capital "L" is so richly represented in Philadelphia, we want to highlight and celebrate the common acts of leadership demonstrated by ASHA members every day: leading clients through their evaluation or intervention, leading a research project toward treatment innovation, leading students into our professions. We recognize that we influence the people we serve, often in life-altering ways, through our everyday leadership. John Quincy Adams reminded us that, "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader." It is with these ideas in mind that we encourage you to participate in the 2016 Convention.
You will notice a few changes in the 24 topic areas for 2016. The audiology topics have been rebranded into three main topic areas: Hearing and Balance Science, chaired by Patrick Feeney; Hearing, Balance, Tinnitus—Assessment and Intervention: Adult, chaired by Sherri Smith and Marc Fagelson; and Hearing, Balance, Tinnitus—Assessment and Intervention: Pediatrics, chaired by Sharon Sandridge and Craig Newman. This arrangement allows these committees to develop broad and powerful program content that covers the gamut of research and clinical care across the lifespan. Business, Management, Ethical, and Professional Issues, chaired by Mary Casper and Anita Vereb, has been expanded to include specifically invited sessions regarding ethics that have become a mandatory continuing education requirement for license renewal in several states. You will also notice that the topic area for proposals related to cleft lip/palate resonance has been clarified under the title of Craniofacial and Velopharyngeal Disorders, chaired by Judith Trost-Cardamone.
Many 2016 topic areas will be familiar to you as tried-and-true favorites, as well as some popular recent additions, reflecting both stability and growth of our professions. Returning this year are Interprofessional Education and Practice, chaired by Nancy Lewis; Telepractice, chaired by Melissa Jacubowitz; and Auditory/Central Auditory Processing, chaired by Kim Tillery. Another familiar feature of all topic areas is that research retains its position within each topic, indicating our professions' emphasis on evidence-based practice and the importance of outcome measures for value-based strategic positioning as well as the recognition that we are more reliant than ever on our basic science and clinical research partners for information needed to sustain our professions during impending uncertainty in health care delivery. Twilight sessions are another returning highlight for 2016. These presentations are selected by their committee specifically for their appealing subject matter or speaker, or both—putting the icing on a full day of stimulating continuing education opportunities.
We are v-e-r-y excited, if not sleepless, about two new session formats for this year. The audiology topic chairs have united to develop "mini-series" presentations of specific topics (e.g., wideband acoustic immittance, hearing loss prevention, otoxicity, etc.) that include scientific foundations and evidence, clinical implications for pediatrics, and clinical implications for adults. Each presentation is meant to be a stand-alone session so that attendees may choose to either sample one session or enjoy the depth and breadth of sitting in on an entire series. The second new format has become known as "the Great Debates." Hopefully, by the time the ASHA Convention happens later in November, we all will have recovered from this year's presidential election exercises. We will offer a few "back-in-the-day"–style debates on selected subjects that either have two clear positions, each with a strong evidence base, or are emerging areas with representative controversy. The intention is to allow speakers to present their facts and then hash it out with one another while the moderator engages the audience with an electronic voting system, although we have reason to believe that rowdy audience participation may occur! In the wisdom of Jedi Master Yoda, "Many of the truths that we cling to depend on our point of view." We hope that these debates will have a vintage feel for our "seasoned" colleagues as well as provide a master class for our "freshman" colleagues regarding how to carry out a difference of opinion in a professional and respectful way, and how to think critically in real time about information being presented.
Please take a close look at the 2016 topic areas and show us YOUR everyday leadership in Philadelphia by submitting a proposal to present through the Call for Papers as you plan to connect with friends and learn new skills at the ASHA Convention.