I am humbled by your vote of confidence, and am honored to serve. First of all, let us review the purpose of our association, as stated in Article II of the Hawaii Speech-Language-Hearing Association (HSHA) bylaws:
The Association shall be a nonprofit corporation, formed for the purpose of:
(1) encouraging basic scientific study of and education concerning the processes of individual human communication with special reference to speech, hearing, and language;
(2) promoting investigation and prevention of disorder of human communication and fostering improvement of clinical procedures with such disorders;
(3) promoting appropriate academic and clinical preparation;
(4) promoting active pursuit of current knowledge and skills;
(5) stimulating exchange of information among persons and organizations thus engaged and disseminating such information;
(6) advocating the rights of persons with communication disorders; and
(7) promoting the individual and collective professional interests of the members of the Association.
Since many of our active members have deep roots with the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (either as students, graduates, faculty, or volunteers) of the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM), John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM), I would also like to take this opportunity to summarize JABSOM’s commitments and missions:
“JABSOM, as part of the fabric of Hawaii, is a diverse learning community committed to excellence and leadership in:
(1) Educating current and future healthcare professionals and leaders
(2) Delivering high-quality healthcare
(3) Conducting research and translating discoveries into practice
(4) Establishing community partnerships and fostering multidisciplinary collaboration
(5) Pursuing alliances unique to Hawaii and the Asia-Pacific region
(6)Acting with forethought regarding right relationships, respect, and moral action”.
As we peruse HSHA’s statement of purpose, along with UHM-JABSOM’s missions and commitments, it is apparent that both organizations share a common philosophy, especially toward education and service. Education, in the field of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD), includes both academic teaching (in the classrooms) and clinical teaching (at the bedside or chair-side). JABSOM and HSHA are both very invested in promoting academic and clinical preparation for speech and hearing professionals, with the goal of delivering high-quality healthcare to our community. In order to be successful in translating academic endeavors into clinical practice through evidence-based research, there is a definite need to establish community partnerships, and foster inter-agency collaborations. All things considered, I believe a collaborative partnership between HSHA and JABSOM will be mutually rewarding.
With the support from JABSOM leadership (especially Dean Hedges, Vice Dean Izutsu, Associate Dean Magnusson, and CFO Ms. Foster), the CSD department has evolved to meet the current needs of our stakeholders. One of the many projects that have recently come to fruition is the “Aloha Professorship Program”, which arranges for nationally and internationally renowned professors to visit JABSOM in the summer, for a series of lectures to our CSD students, and to provide mentorship to our junior faculty. In addition to promoting educational and research opportunities for students and faculty, each visiting professor is also invited to provide a continuing education course (typically on a Saturday morning or afternoon) for HSHA. The registration fee is waived for HSHA members and CSD externship supervisors. Continuing educational courses such as these, along with the annual HSHA conference we will be hosting in the spring, are meant to enhance and maintain the knowledge and skills of our members, in addition to securing a forum for networking and collaborations.
Service, by definition, includes clinical service delivery, and more importantly, volunteer service to the community. Many members at the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) have expressed concerns about the increasing number of current members who have a new sense of entitlement, i.e., always asking for more, but unwilling to give back. While we cannot ignore this trend, it would be unproductive to respond with negativity. A sage person once said, “The ability to serve is an honor, and a privilege”. With that in mind, let us lead by example. Let us encourage our fellow members (as well as CSD faculty and students) to be involved in volunteer services that promote education and collaboration. The reward is not immediate, but it will show in the long run. In the meantime, let us continue to serve.