January 1, 2013 Departments

State Spotlight: Pennsylvania Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Website:www.psha.org
Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/pages/PSHA-Grassroots-Advocacy-Network/158713554177325?fref=ts
Established: 1960
Members: Approximately 1,500
Contact: Craig Coleman, president, cecoleman.slp@gmail.com

How are you making a difference in your members' professional lives?

PSHA provides many continuing education opportunities through conventions and webinars. We also work with the two regional associations in our state to offer joint membership at discounted rates. PSHA offers a quarterly newsletter and an annual journal. We strongly promote and advocate for speech-language pathology and audiology. Through our task forces, we offer opportunities for members to be involved in timely issues in the field.  Our website informs members on issues affecting them throughout the state.   

What is the most significant challenge, unique circumstance, or pressing frustration facing communication sciences and disorders professionals in your state today? 

Like other states, Pennsylvania has faced significant budget cuts, particularly over the past two years. Those budget cuts have affected professionals in all settings and presented numerous challenges, such as proposed cuts to early intervention services and proposed co-pays for Medicaid beneficiaries.

What is your association's proudest accomplishment? 

PSHA has had many accomplishments in its 52-year history, and our state has produced many leaders in the field. We believe our biggest accomplishment, however, is still ahead—an updated licensure law that protects consumers and professionals. Our licensure law has not been updated since 1984 and it is critical to update the scope of practice and standards, while ensuring protection for the consumers.

What is a particularly memorable event in your association's history and how did it come about?

For me, this moment came in December 2011. We asked members to contact a senator to support our proposed licensure bill. Over the course of a few days (near the holiday season), more than 150 people wrote letters to him. There are many times in advocacy efforts where you might question whether the time and energy is worth the battle. Seeing our members rise as one during that campaign was very inspiring. As someone who has been the PSHA president twice in the past five years, I have never been more proud to represent such amazing people. As a result of the advocacy efforts, we were able to get a Senate bill introduced this past session.

Do you have a particularly successful advocacy or recruitment strategy to share? 

Grassroots advocacy has been critical to PSHA over the last two years. Our members' grassroots efforts (such as contacting legislators, educating the consumers about appropriate qualifications, and participating in advocacy webinars) have invigorated our quest to update the licensure law, stop Medicaid co-pays and advocate against proposed cuts to early intervention. Our success has come from a concerted effort to communicate consistently with our members and from their desire to be involved and advocate for the professions.

What should every communication science and disorders professional in your state know about the association? 

Many critical pieces of legislation and events happen at the state level. We have entered an age in our profession in which advocacy is no longer an "extra" part of what we do. It is a necessity for all of us. A recent survey of PSHA members revealed that more than 95 percent of respondents would strongly recommend PSHA membership to their colleagues. We have worked extremely hard to be the voice of professionals in our state and we are proud of our accomplishments and excited for the future! Come join us!

Craig Coleman, CCC-SLP, BRS-FD, is assistant professor at Marshall University and president of the Pennsylvania Speech-Language-Hearing Association. He is an affiliate of ASHA Special Interest Groups 4, Fluency and Fluency Disorders, and 18, Telepractice. craig.coleman@marshall.edu

cite as: Coleman, C. (2013, January 01). State Spotlight: Pennsylvania Speech-Language-Hearing Association. The ASHA Leader.

  

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