Strategic Objective #7: Enhance International Engagement Overview & Background

May 1, 2018

Overview & Background

While most organizations have a Strategic Plan that they maintain, ASHA has taken a somewhat unique approach to strategic planning and execution, one that we think keeps our planning efforts flexible and relevant. ASHA’s process incorporates ongoing review and revision, as the operating environment dictates, in order to achieve the desired transformational changes. Although there are 8 Strategic Objectives overall, with this CEO Update I’d like to provide you an update on our Strategic Objective #7 (SO7), and why it is important to members.

By way of background and context, ASHA’s Strategic Pathway to Excellence maps out the priorities that the ASHA Board of Directors (BOD) has identified 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.

The BOD has created a centennial vision, “ASHA’s Envisioned Future 2025.” The Envisioned Future outlines the desired future state for the professions of audiology and speech-language pathology by ASHA’s 100th anniversary:

By 2025, ASHA has developed relationships with other audiology and speech-language pathology organizations worldwide to:

  • Enhance interchange of professional knowledge, research, and education.
  • Promote recognition of the professions.

Strategic Objective #7 on International Engagement – The Vision

First of all, what will this look like when we achieve it? The envisioned future for SO #7 is that ASHA will be engaged internationally with service providers, educators, scientists, and other groups to increase research and to improve professional preparation and service delivery.

Secondly, what are the benefits of international engagement to members?

  • Exchanging perspectives across cultures
  • Enriching research with data and articles by authors from outside the United States
  • Comparing service delivery models and outcomes from different regions of the world
  • Providing volunteer opportunities to build skills and capacity in resource-limited countries
  • Advocating for our professions and raising their profile worldwide
  • Developing and disseminating resources and tools globally
  • Learning about methodologies used in other countries to treat communication disorders in multicultural and multilingual populations

How Will We Achieve This Vision?

SO7 is a transformational objective, and ASHA has planned to make the following initiatives a reality by doing the following:

  • Increasing the number of International Affiliates (IAs). The numbers continue to increase; there were 548 IAs in 62 countries as of December 2017. (Figure 1)
  • Partnering with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO), for capacity building in developing countries. In 2013: Honduras, El Salvador, and Guyana. In 2016: Paraguay. In 2017: Belize. Since 2014, ASHA has had an official relationship with PAHO/WHO as a Non-State Actor (NSA).
  • Collaborating with the WHO and the International Communication Project (ICP) for public awareness campaigns and advocacy. ASHA continues to collaborate with WHO on its “Make Listening Safe” global campaign. For the second year in a row, an ASHA social media campaign promoted World Hearing Day (March 3). ASHA continues to play a key role with ICP, publishing a quarterly e-newsletter and developing social media campaigns.
  • Engaging in an official relationship with PAHO/WHO.
  • Participating in WHO and PAHO/WHO meetings such as the recent “WHO Rehabilitation 2030.”
  • Increasing the number of articles by authors from outside the United States. In 2017, 593 international authors published in the ASHA journals. (Figure 2)
  • Partnering with international organizations for joint conferences in different regions of the world. This year ASHA is collaborating with the Philippine Association of Speech Pathologists (PASP) to bring ASHA speakers to its Congress in Manila (July 21–23, 2018).

Figure 1

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 2

Performance Measures – How Will We Know We’re on the Right Track?

The Performance Measures below have been developed to track milestones and ensure that action on each of the initiatives is moving toward the target:

  1. Number of IAs (Figures 3 and 4)
  2. Number of participants engaged in international initiatives supported by ASHA
  3. Number of activities where ASHA facilitates international engagement

Figure 3

Figure 4

Figure 4

Figure 5

In Conclusion: Next Steps for 2018 and Beyond

  • ASHA has submitted an application to PAHO/WHO to renew its official status as an NSA and to continue the ASHA-PAHO/WHO collaboration for another 3 years (2018–2020). Final approval of the application will be made at the PAHO Executive Committee meeting in June 2018.
    1. In 2018–2020, the ASHA-PAHO collaboration has two specific objectives:
    2. Continue providing technical assistance to countries by ASHA content experts
  • Improve awareness of gaps between country needs and service availability in the PAHO region, beginning with analysis of country data on communication disorders (Figure 5)
  • ASHA staff will continue SO7 efforts on each of the initiatives listed above to further enhance ASHA’s international engagement and achieve the established targets by 2025.

Figure 5

Figure 6

Stay tuned via Headlines, Facebook, community posts, and other ASHA communication channels for further news on the exciting progress being made toward the Envisioned Future 2025.


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