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NSSLHA/ASHA Integration Plans

May 2, 2010

Dear NSSLHA Members and Chapter Advisors,

More than a year ago, members of NSSLHA and ASHA came together to discuss ways the two organizations could meet the changing needs, expectations, and values of students and both associations. Through those initial discussions, it was determined that there was an opportunity to dramatically improve the way NSSLHA and ASHA support students in communication sciences and disorders (CSD). A Working Group of representatives from both organizations was established to develop a plan to increase access to ASHA and NSSLHA resources for all students (including PhD students, audiology students, and underrepresented racial/ethnic minority students). That Working Group has made some initial recommendations that we’d like to report.

First, both organizations strongly agree that NSSLHA needs more resources to expand its reach to more CSD students and that a seamless transition from student to professional status would be beneficial to all parties. To accomplish this, the Working Group has recommended that the two organizations be better integrated. It is recommended that NSSLHA remain as a separate student-governed organization but one that is formally connected to ASHA to ensure appropriate support. This integration will mean that the NSSLHA staff will become part of ASHA’s staff and will have full access to ASHA’s resources.

Second, to move forward with this plan, we have created an Implementation Team with equal representation from NSSLHA and ASHA. This team will help lay out the plan for transitioning to a new, more integrated structure. The relationship between the organizations and structures for governance, programs, services, membership, staffing, operations, and so on will all be reviewed and strategies developed to determine how best to meet students’ needs in the new structure. NSSLHA’s strategic plan will be integrated into the work of the ASHA National Office. Though NSSLHA and ASHA have always worked very closely, this formal integration will require that NSSLHA members approve a bylaws change that will be proposed in the near future.

Both organizations are excited about the potential of this effort. The demands for the services offered by our professions are growing. We believe that this change will enable us to better serve CSD students and their future clients and patients, as well as strengthen both NSSLHA and ASHA. Any questions about this effort can be directed to Dawn Dickerson (ddickerson@asha.org), NSSLHA’s Director of Operations, or Vicki Deal-Williams (vdealwilliams@asha.org), ASHA’s Chief Staff Officer for Multicultural Affairs.

Sincerely,
Roger Reeter, 2009-2010 NSSLHA Council President
Tommie L. Robinson, Jr., PhD, CCC-SLP, 2010 ASHA President

For more information, read the ASHA/NSSLHA Integration FAQs.

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