April 1, 2013 Departments

State Spotlight: New York State Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Website:www.nysslha.org
Established: 1960
Members: 1,800
Contact: Kathy Febraio, executive director, kfebraio@nysslha.org
Twitter:NYSSLHA
Facebook:New York State Speech Language-Hearing Association

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

NYSSLHA's mission is to empower members to serve individuals with hearing, communication and related disorders through best practices, professional development and advocacy.

Our advocacy agenda, which represents the interests of more than 17,000 licensed speech-language pathologists and audiologists in New York state, is a critical component in achieving our mission. Our advocacy is guided by these principles: access to the highest qualified provider; access to care; a free, appropriate public education; and consumer protection.

NYSSLHA members educate New York's Department of Health, Education Department, licensure board and the Department of State, among others, on the impact of New York's statutory and regulatory environments on our members and their ability to provide services to those with communication disorders.

In addition, our annual convention provides a diverse opportunity for the professional development of New York's SLPs, audiologists and students. Over three days, we offer more than 40 sessions on a wide variety of audiology and speech-language pathology topics.

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

The fiscal pressures facing our state, city and local governments have put increasing pressure on our representatives to cut funding for critical programs that serve individuals with communication disorders, and it is happening across all sectors: early intervention, special education for preschool and school-age children, Medicaid and Medicare, and support for public universities training the next generation of professionals. At the same time, ever-increasing requirements for administrative functions result in less time to provide services and more outside control over how we perform our jobs.

Besides the consistent legislative advocacy due to the dire state and national economic situations, we are constantly trying to find ways to increase membership. The majority of the nonmembers indicate that their state association is last on the priority list for professional affiliation, as ASHA, AAA and other associations come first, and personal budgets are an issue. We need to work together so audiologists and SLPs can join state associations—who represent them in many critical ways—by helping them realize the difference we make in protecting their professional salaries and employment sectors.

What is your association's most recent proudest accomplishment?

The NYSSLHA board of directors recently adopted a strategic plan that will serve our association for the next three to five years. It includes five goals to protect and advance the profession:

  • Membership service and satisfaction.
  • Advocacy and the voice of the professions.
  • Professional development.
  • Professional and public awareness.
  • Association strength and leadership.

We believe it is critical for the organization to address the ongoing changes in health care and education that will affect the professions for many years to come.

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

NYSSLHA's first president, Henry Youngerman, dedicated his time and leadership in the development of our association. When an audiologist or SLP would ask what he or she could do for the profession, Dr. Youngerman would respond, "Join your state association." His prophetic statement about membership is the forefront of NYSSLHA's existence. Today, the work of NYSSLHA affects the 17,000 professionals working in the state of New York and countless students preparing to enter the professions. We ask that you join us in our mission to empower members to serve individuals with hearing, communication and related disorders.

Kim Tillery, PhD, CCC-A, NYSSLHA president
Kathy Febraio, NYSSLHA executive director


  

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