The national Student Academy of Audiology (SAA) has a multitude of resources that model diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB). As students and future clinicians, we should aim to model DEIB values in order to make our patients feel safe and trusted in our care. To start, what does DEIB mean? Diversity includes those from different social and economic backgrounds. Equity is providing people and communities with resources and opportunities depending on their circumstances. It differs from equality by the understanding that everyone needs something different and one size does not fit all. Inclusion speaks for itself- it means including EVERYBODY. Once you have the D-E-I, the final step is making sure people feel like they belong. The belonging piece is the most important because it allows space to exchange thoughts and viewpoints that benefit the workplace environment and patient care.
For many of us, we will be serving patients who differ from us in many ways. It is our duty to plan how we will best connect with them. One thing we can do to practice DEIB is to make sure we are being culturally sensitive when interacting with our patients. For example, consider learning simple phrases for audiology in different languages if you are in a clinic that serves a majority of clients who speak a language other than English. Additionally, some of us will work in places where we are the minority, and it is just as important that we feel heard and supported in the places where we provide care. The SAA aims to provide programming and resources throughout this year that will focus on how to navigate patient care, preceptor-student relationships, and other situations where the values from DEIB will prove useful.
National SAA has modeled DEIB in a multitude of ways this past year. Throughout the annual conference, there was student programming focused on minority and marginalized groups. Every committee had a “metavolunteer” whose main focus was creating projects and content that revolved around DEIB. Our postings this year on social media also included DEIB themes, which can be found via the resource mentioned below. The national SAA has plans to continue these programs and initiatives throughout the next year and into the future and plans to develop even more DEIB resources along the way!
To make sure we are modeling inclusion and belonging, we need to act intentionally. View the national SAA’s resources to find out ways you can promote DEIB. There is also a place at the bottom of the webpage where you can submit feedback or additional resources that you may have in your own toolbox.
Janna Hines Orr
2023-2024 National SAA President
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