An International Perspective on the Care and Treatment of People with Disabilities: The ASHA-PAHO Collaboration

2014 ASHA Convention Presentation
November 21, 2014

Lily Schuermann, ASHA Director, International Programs

Pan American Health Organization, Regional Office For the Americas of the World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO)


  • WHO is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations’ system.
  • WHO is headquartered in Geneva and has six regional offices:
    • WHO African Region
    • WHO Region for the Americas/Pan American Health Organization
    • WHO South–East Asia Region
    • WHO European Region
    • WHO Mediterranean Region
    • WHO Western Pacific Region

ASHA's Strategic Pathway to Excellence

Strategic Objective 13: Strengthen Strategic Relationships

  • Identifying opportunities for collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) is one of the priorities.

ASHA–PAHO Collaboration

  • General Objective: To strengthen the knowledge and capacity building of professionals and/or organizations that address communication disorders in the areas of speech, language, swallowing, and hearing.
  • Specific Objectives:
    • To develop joint activities involving technical cooperation, including use of "content experts" who will conduct training and educational programs in the chosen countries selected by ASHA and PAHO.
    • To assist selected countries in reviewing their national strategic plans related to early detection and intervention of communication disorders, phonoaudiology, and making recommendations to ensure the mechanisms to address the communication needs of their citizens.

ASHA–PAHO Implementation

  • Two-year joint work plan of activities (2013–2014) for three countries.
  • The ASHA-PAHO Project focuses on three countries for the initial collaboration: El Salvador, Honduras and Guyana.
  • ASHA formed Ad hoc committees to ensure implementation of action plans and activities in each of the countries.
  • Focal point persons for ASHA-PAHO project:
    • Dr. Armando Vasquez, PAHO Regional Advisor on Disability and Rehabilitation
    • Ms. Lily Schuermann, ASHA Director, International Programs

ASHA Received NGO Status From PAHO

  • On June 18, 2014 the PAHO Executive Committee approved ASHA's application to become a NonGovernmental Organization (NGO) in official relations with PAHO.
  • ASHA participated as an "observer" in the 53rd PAHO Directing Council meeting (September 29 – October 3, 2014) at its headquarters in Washington, DC.

ASHA Corporate Partners