This past weekend’s Audiology Town Hall held on February 3, 2018, in Chapel Hill was a success! More than 50 audiologists and students gathered in Bondurant Hall for the event, and at least 20 participants called in through the meeting’s remote access technology. Attendees represented multiple geographic areas of the state and were from a wide variety of workplaces including private practice, ENT offices, hospital and university clinics and school systems. The meeting, led by Philip Griffin, AuD, began with a discussion providing background for the formation of the new group. Reasons stated for pursuing a new group included: greater autonomy and representation for audiology members, increased flexibility within a new organizational structure, and greater control over the budget and the website. The interim leadership of NCAA expressed that, while this new organization is separate from NCSHLA and NC-AAA, they are hopeful to maintain a positive relationship with other organizations, collaborating on projects of mutual interest. Multiple participants mentioned that other states have successful models of audiology-only organizations. NCAA is recognized both by AAA and ADA as the official audiology state organization of North Carolina.
Key Goals identified by the association and attendees:
- 1. Creating a dynamic and engaged membership; inclusive of all audiologists in the state
- 2. Offering membership benefits of high value
- 3. Maintaining a strong and frequent communication with members
- 4. Offering an inclusive and compelling annual audiology conference
- 5. Raise public awareness of audiology in the state
- 6. Maintain a strong legislative presence
Other areas of discussion included, but were not limited to:
Access to care/philanthropy
Attendees discussed desire for improved access to care, as well as access to audiology jobs, for underserved or diverse populations across different demographics (race, gender, geographic) within the state.
Representation for audiology members
Inclusion and fostering of master’s level audiologists, educational audiologist, and diversity in the profession.
Website and member benefits
A significant amount of time was spent discussing various ideas for member benefits and website content. Participants would like to see the association website become a useful and tangible resource for audiologists.
Leadership and transparency
Attendees would like to see financial transparency from the leadership in order to know where their dues and contributions are being spent. Current dues rates were discussed (as listed on the website). There is currently an interim leadership team; however, it was announced that elections on a slate of candidates would be held around the time of the fall conference, and that interested members should apply.
Several ideas for committees were discussed, including a committees with goals for increasing collaboration among the state’s audiologists, engaging membership, and educating the public on audiology. Issues around collaboration between adult-focused and pediatric-focused audiologists were discussed.
Ethics and best practice guidelines
Participants discussed having ongoing review of ethical considerations and best practice guidelines as an important component of a state organization.
Multiple students were in attendance at the meeting and expressed a strong desire to be actively involved in the state organization, both at the student level and as participants in committees by having a student seat within the committees. Students saw several needs/ways that they might be able to integrate, and were eager to participate.
The meeting concluded with the interim leadership encouraging participants to sign up for membership and, if interested, to become involved in the new organization through various committees, which currently include committees for communication, conference planning, member engagement, finance, advocacy/education, and the executive board. Attendees were encouraged to spread the word to colleagues not in attendance.