Why does the audiologist or speech-language pathologist need to be concerned about the global field of communication sciences and disorders?

A quick glance through any of a number of journals devoted to the health care professions reveals that about one-quarter to one-third of authors are from countries throughout the world. For example, of the 25 reports published in a recent issue of a peer-reviewed journal relevant to voice and swallowing disorders, 15 (60%) were submitted by authors from the USA, and the remaining 10 (40%) were submitted by authors from nine other countries (Australia, Canada, Germany, Israel, Italy, Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, and the United Kingdom). Such an observation recognizes that science and medicine, like business and engineering, have become international enterprises.

Not only is it becoming easier for audiologists and speech-language pathologists to practice in other countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada (see information about the Mutual Recognition Agreement), but sharing research findings by publishing in a wide assortment of journals that are indexed in bibliographic databases such as PubMed, ERIC, and PsycINFO ensures a worldwide distribution of recently discovered information that has high clinical relevance.

One research area, for example, that is of special importance to ASHA members is evidence-based practice. Because countries like the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia have nationally based health care systems, researchers from such nations have excelled in collecting massive amounts of information concerning what treatments work best for a number of communication problems. Thus, it is essential that ASHA members recognize the great benefits that the globalization of the professions brings in terms of expanding the research base and the knowledge and skills resources dedicated to the treatment of communication disorders.

Other Globalization-Related Resources

The following references represent an assortment of information developed by our international colleagues on aspects of evidence-based practice that is available in the published literature or on the Web sites of our field:

This article first appeared in the October 2005 issue of Access Academics and Research.

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