2015-2016 SAA Advocacy Committee
The SAA Advocacy Committee worked tirelessly this year to help make the topic of advocacy more approachable and intriguing to the student audiology community. All of the initiatives carried out this year were inspired by the idea that advocacy is simply just another word for education; that is, if you can talk about what you do (e.g. - audiology) you can advocate.
This year the Advocacy Committee launched the First Annual "Ask Me About Audiology" (AMAA) Campaign in conjunction with October being National Audiology Awareness Month. The idea behind this initiative was to challenge SAA Chapters to get out into their communities and help raise awareness about the impact hearing loss can have on one's quality of life and also, help educate others about the profession of audiology. To our delight, over 30 SAA Chapters nationwide participated in the event!
Pictured above: Students from the SAA Chapter at Missouri State University
Another initiative created by the Advocacy Committee was the National Day at Your State Capitol Day (NDAYSCD), which encouraged SAA Chapters to visit their state capitol during the Legislative Sessions and help raise awareness about legislation pertaining to audiology to their local state congressman. Several materials were provided to help facilitate this process, including a NDAYSCD spreadsheet which provided information regarding who to contact to set up a reservation at their corresponding state capitol, "How To" documents describing how SAA Chapters could best prepare for the initiative, and several other resources to make each SAA Chapter's visit a success. Though participation for this initiative was not as strong as AMAA, we are confident that with more resources and a bit more direction, next year's participation will at least double, if not triple.
Finally, the Advocacy Committee created several resources to help students become more interested in becoming informed advocates for the profession of audiology including a Prezi Presentation entitled, "Advocating For Audiology," which details the importance of becoming an active advocate, ways you and your SAA Chapter can become better advocates, and also, brief summaries of the various pieces of legislation pertaining to audiology. This presentation received such a passionate response both from students and from the SAA Board of Directors, that Joshua Huppert, 2015-2016 Advocacy Committee Chair, submitted a proposal to present at learning module at the AudiologyNOW! Conference in Phoenix, AZ as many felt it would be beneficial for both students and professionals to hear more about becoming more vocal in advocacy efforts. The proposal was accepted and Joshua is pleased to report that there was a stellar turnout of students and professionals, and the overall response was quite positive following the presentation.
The Advocacy Committee looks forward to further improving upon the initiatives created this year and also, creating several other resources for students to become more involved in advocacy efforts pertaining to audiology throughout the course of this upcoming year. We look forward to your participation!
Don't forget to check out the SAA Advocacy Web page for ongoing information about advocacy initiatives!