The Case for Social Justice: ASHA'S Decision-Making Framework

Since 1969, ASHA has been committed to DEI and social justice in numerous ways, and that commitment has not wavered. For ASHA, social justice issues are those in which an individual's human rights are compromised and their ability to effectively communicate or to self-advocate is impacted.

Cultivating a diverse membership helps us achieve more and better outcomes—creating more innovative solutions for making human communication achievable and accessible for all.

Fostering inclusion and taking action to minimize discrimination and harassment are some of the ways we support all ASHA members and the people they serve.

Establishing equitable systems helps ASHA members and demonstrates the value the Association places on members' success, and the success of their clients/patients/students.

Advocating for social justice and addressing injustice in ways that connect to our vision and mission, allows us to minimize the impact of barriers to accessing services and discrimination of ASHA members and those they serve, and to use our collective voice to make a difference when and where we are able.

How We Determine When to Act

Addressing injustice is necessary when a cause intersects with ASHA's vision, mission, and core values. The decision to act on matters of social injustice and to issue statements are the responsibility of the ASHA Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors uses a framework [PDF] to help determine when an injustice requires action by the Association. Priority is given to topics that can be influenced by our actions. The social justice framework covers the following questions:

  1. Does the issue significantly and directly relate to advancing science, establishing standards, fostering excellence in education and professional practice, or advocating for accessible and quality care for all with communication and related disorders?
  2. Does the issue significantly and directly impact members' ability to deliver speech-language-hearing and related services, and/or professional preparation?
  3. Does the issue significantly and directly impact clients/patients/students' ability to access quality service and achieve their desired communication and related outcomes?
  4. Does the issue significantly and directly impact members?
  5. Can the issue significantly and directly be influenced by our actions?

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