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Elise Davis-McFarland Becomes 2018 President of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

January 30, 2018

(Rockville, MD) Elise Davis-McFarland, PhD, CCC-SLP, took office this month as the 2018 President of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

A resident of Charleston, South Carolina, Dr. Davis-McFarland has spent her career in a variety of higher education roles, from teaching and program development to leadership of speech-language pathology programs, research, and executive-level college administration.

"I am honored to become ASHA's President," Dr. Davis-McFarland said. "I look forward to advancing and supporting ASHA’s work across the board in areas like its public policy agenda as well as efforts to develop an interstate licensure compact; develop and implement credentialing programs for audiology and speech-language pathology assistants; further inter-professional education and practice in the human communication professions; and, collaborate with international colleagues to further the development and delivery of audiology and speech-language pathology programs and services worldwide."

During her 1-year term as ASHA's President, Dr. Davis-McFarland will represent nearly 200,000 members and affiliates who are audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language, and hearing scientists; audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel; and students.

Dr. Davis-McFarland comes to the ASHA Presidency from an extensive and diverse professional background. She began her career as a school speech-language pathologist in North Carolina. After first completing an audiology internship at the Veterans Administration and Duke Hospitals in Durham, North Carolina, then graduate study at the University of Virginia and University of Pittsburgh, she joined the University of Houston faculty. She held subsequent positions as Vice President of Governmental Affairs for the Charleston Chamber of Commerce (Charleston, South Carolina) and Director of Institutional Research at The Citadel.

In addition, Dr. Davis-McFarland served as a commissioner for South Carolina’s Medicaid program. At the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), she developed and headed the interdisciplinary graduate Communication Sciences and Disorders program. That assignment led to a teaching award and her research at the MUSC hospital. Subsequently, Dr. Davis-McFarland became Vice President for Student Affairs at Trident College, where she provided executive-level leadership. She went on to receive a Rotary Faculty Fellowship to teach speech-language pathology at the Medical University of Southern Africa.

Dr. Davis-McFarland's years as an ASHA volunteer leader span many different roles. They encompass service on committees focused on Practice Guidelines for Speech-Language Pathologists, Ethics, Multicultural Issues, and Honors. Additionally, Dr. Davis-McFarland has been a member of ASHA's Ad Hoc Committee for Technical Support to the Ministry of Health of Guyana and assisted in the development of a communication sciences and disorders curriculum and program for the University of Guyana. Along with being a reviewer for Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, her research and publication areas include speech and language development in infants and children with HIV-AIDS, multicultural issues in language assessment, literacy development, and pediatric dysphagia.  

About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for 191,500 members and affiliates who are audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language, and hearing scientists; audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel; and students. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment, including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems, including swallowing disorders.

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