CEO Update

September 2018

Update on Strategic Objective #3: Enhance the Generation, Publication, Knowledge Translation, and Implementation of Clinical Research

Overview & Background

As we stated in our previous update about ASHA's Strategic Pathway to Excellence, the ASHA Board of Directors (BOD) has identified eight objectives in order to transform the way ASHA members practice and are paid for their services; how others perceive and value the services ASHA members provide; the science underlying service delivery; the composition of ASHA's membership; and ASHA's partners for addressing communication and related disorders. 

Figure 1

In addition, the BOD created a centennial vision, ASHA's Envisioned Future 2025, which outlines the desired future state for the professions of audiology and speech-language pathology by ASHA's 100th anniversary. One of the areas of transformation pertains to research and knowledge translation. The Envisioned Future states that:

  • Professional practice informs and is informed by research, clinical expertise, and the values and preferences of the individuals served as well as their families.
  • Speech-language pathologists and audiologists have timely and ready access to, and advance the use of, current research, technological advances, expert opinion, and client/student-centered information.
  • There is sufficient capacity to drive, strengthen, and enhance the scientific base of the discipline.

To accomplish this vision, Strategic Objective #3 has been developed to "enhance the generation, publication, knowledge translation, and implementation of clinical research."

Generation of Researchers and Clinical Research

To advance the scientific foundations of evidence-based practice and to address faculty–researcher shortages, ASHA offers several research education and mentoring programs that help facilitate the success of students and early-career scientists who are considering or already embarking on faculty–researcher careers in communication sciences and disorders (CSD). These programs include PROGENY, Mentoring Academic-Research Careers, Pathways, Lessons for Success, Clinical Practice Research Institute, and Grant Review and Reviewer Training.

Outcomes data for two of the six performance measures for Strategic Objective #3 are shown below. These two research mentoring programs have received grant support from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.


Performance measure – The percentage of participants in the Pathways program who have obtained research funding within 3 years of participating in the program.

  • Outcome – Three years after participating in the Pathways program, 81% of the participants had applied for research funding and 52% were awarded funding (2013–2015 cohorts; n = 42).

Lessons for Success

Performance measure – The percentage of participants in the Lessons for Success program who have obtained research funding within 2 and within 5 years of participating in the program.

  • Outcome – Two years after participating in the Lessons for Success program, 85% of the participants had applied for research funding and 56% were awarded funding (2013–2016 cohorts; n = 93).
  • Outcome – Five years after participating in the Lessons for Success program, 91% of the participants had applied for research funding and 81% were awarded funding (2010–2013 cohorts; n = 89).

Publication of Clinical Research

As part of Strategic Objective #3, ASHA transformed the scholarly publications program over the past 2 years. In 2017, a new editorial board model was implemented to enhance the efficiency and culture of peer review and to establish a Journals Board focused on monitoring editorial processes and strategic planning. The editorial structure of the old model and the new editorial board model are contrasted in the figure below. An important component of this transition was to recruit approximately 175 Editorial Board Members who commit in advance to reviewing 8–10 manuscripts per year. In addition, the number of editors empowered to render decisions on manuscripts was increased from 6 to 40, and six editor-in-chief positions were added to oversee this structure and aid in the development and advancement of content strategies for the journals. The new  ASHA Journals Academy, with its Author Resource Center and Peer Review Excellence Program (PREP), was launched at roughly the same time to support the work of authors and the more expansive body of editors and editorial board members.

Figure 2

In just one year, the new editorial board model has already proven successful. For example, the time from submission to first decision decreased 37% across all of the ASHA journals as this process took, on average, 64 days in 2016 but only 40 days in 2017. This increased efficiency was accomplished even though the journals program published 81% more articles in 2017 than in 2016, while the rejection rate remained the same as in previous years (ranging between 47% and 56% across journals). Despite the large increase in the number of articles published, the most recently reported Impact Factors increased for three of the four journals. The increase in the number of articles was also associated with a large increase in the number of ASHA journal articles addressing clinical practice research, which is another performance measure for Strategic Objective #3.

Knowledge Translation

In an effort to help practitioners quickly access vetted research evidence, clinical expertise, and information about the perspectives of those who we serve, ASHA developed the Evidence Maps and the Practice Portal. Traffic to these sites, which is another performance measure for Strategic Objective #3, continues to increase, with more than 8 million views in 2017.

In 2019, Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups will transition from a newsletter to a scholarly review journal to better support its mission of bridging research to practice. The ASHA Journals program already supports knowledge translation by posting author interviews and other information stemming from the ASHA Journals on social media, including the ASHA Journals Academy’s Context blog, the Leader Live blog, and on ASHA’s Twitter channels (@ASHAleader, @ASHAJournals, @ASHAWeb, @SIGPerspectives). The percentage of ASHA journal articles enriched for improved knowledge translation annually is another performance measure for Strategic Objective #3 that is trending positively.


ASHA’s Clinical Research, Implementation Science, and Evidence-based Practice (CRISP) committee helps advance evidence-based practice, knowledge translation, and implementation of clinical research. Upcoming CRISP efforts include presenting a 2-hour seminar at the 2018 ASHA Convention on Revolutionary Approaches to Advancing the Translation of Research into Real-World Settings. Additionally, the CRISP committee has developed five articles for the new Perspectives launch in 2019 on clinical research methods that are relevant to clinical practice research and implementation science.

This multifaceted Strategic Objective is progressing well by meeting or exceeding its performance measures. It is delivering value by helping members quickly access useful information to support evidence-based practice and by helping CSD scientists succeed so that they can conduct the research that is critically needed to expand the clinical evidence base in CSD.

National Office Staff Updates

New ASHA Staff Since May 2018

  • Dawn Urbina, HRIS and Benefits Administrator
  • Lennse Garcia, UX Designer
  • Julie Ambrose, Associate Director, N-CEP
  • Lee Biskin, Continuing Education, Quality Assurance Manager
  • Charisse Diggins, Coordinator, Continuing Education Provider Approval
  • Shannon Morey, Director, State Health Care and Education Affairs
  • Rebecca Politis, Associate Director, Health Care Services
  • Nana Aboagye, Associate Director, Certification Operations
  • Donna Euben, Director, Ethics
  • Heidi Wilson, Program Manager, Academic Affairs and Research Education

Staff Who Have Changed Positions

  • Zach Roach, Continuing Education, Marketing and Communications Manager

Individuals Who Have Left to Pursue Other Opportunities

  • Paula Seesman, Director, Customer Service (retired)
  • Sue Burger, Program Manager, Academic Affairs and Research Education
  • Jessica Chao, Statistician
  • Kristen Weidner, Clinical Research Associate

Awards and Milestones

ASAE "Power of A" Summit and Gold Awards

ASAE (The American Society of Association Executives) has named ASHA a 2018 "Power of A" Summit Award winner for ASHA’s Country Capacity Building Initiative with PAHO/WHO. The "Power of A" Awards recognizes valuable contributions made by associations on the local, national, and global levels. Each year, only six organizations receive a Summit Award, the highest level of recognition in ASAE's "Power of A" awards program. ASHA is the only recipient of three Summit Awards. The previous two were related to ASHA's efforts in advocating for newborn infant hearing screening and recruiting and supporting individuals from underrepresented populations.

ASHA is also receiving a 2018 ASAE "Power of A" Gold Award for "Stop the Cap" Campaign with the American Occupational Therapy Association and the American Physical Therapy Association, for our successful collaborative efforts advocating for an end to the Medicare Outpatient Therapy Cap.

The 2018 Association Media & Publishing Excel Awards recognized ASHA for four projects—conferring a gold award for the ASHFoundation website redesign, a bronze award for redesign of Audiology Connections, a bronze award for the Leadership Academy, and a bronze award for the ASHAWire "Wonders" promotional campaign.

ASAE's 2018 Key Award recipient is ASHA's CEO Arlene A. Pietranton. Arlene Pietranton is the 69th recipient of this award, which is presented to the association chief staff executive who demonstrates exceptional qualities of leadership in their association and a deep commitment to voluntary membership organizations. ASHA's previous staff executive Fred Spahr is also an ASAE Key Award recipient.

ASHA Corporate Partners