President's Message: A Most Challenging Year

Author: Deb Abel, Au.D.

Well, here we are in the last month of one of the most challenging years of our lives. COVID-19 brought the world to a halt in many ways. ADA, like many organizations, businesses, and your practices, had to find new ways of engaging those whom we serve. We hope you found the resources on the website helpful as you navigated with providing services to your patients in the safest way.

In the throes of the pandemic, ADA also responded, like many organizations, businesses and your practices, to the continued loss of life due to systemic racism. The ADA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force meets monthly, and is examining how to attract diverse students into the profession, diverse audiologists into practice ownership, and how to provide your practices with tools to improve health equity in your local community.

The first ever virtual AuDacity Conference is now a fond memory (but the content isn’t—you can still get that for CE through 2021). I hope that it exceeded your expectations as it did mine! I would like to thank the ADA 2020 Program Committee Chairs Drs. Amyn Amlani and David Citron and committee members, Drs. Audra Branham, Alicia Spoor, Victor Bray, Ram Nileshwar, Brian Urban, Greg Frazer, Larry Schmidbauer, Tom Tedeschi, Julie Link, Chrissy Lemley, and Henry Botzum.

I would also like to thank the Independent Audiologists Australia and the Independent Audiologists New Zealand for their incredible contributions to the program, as well as the participation from so many state organizations including: The Colorado Academy of Audiology, the Kentucky Academy of Audiology, the Louisiana Academy of Audiology, the Massachusetts Academy of Audiology, the North Carolina Academy of Audiology, the Oregon Academy of Audiology, the Pennsylvania Academy of Audiology, the South Carolina Academy of Audiology, and the Washington State Academy of Audiology. With the help of this entire community, and the tremendous contributions of speakers, sponsors, and staff members, we did indeed Forge Ahead!

It has been an honor to have served as President of ADA for 2020 with this incredible, collegial, and caring board that includes Past President, Dr. Ram Nileshwar, President Elect, Dr. Victor Bray, Treasurer, Dr. Rachel Magann Faivre, Secretary, Dr. Kristin Davis, and members at large, Dr. Audra Branham, Dr. Stephanie Sjoblad, Dr. Tim Steele, and SADA liaison, Mx. Kate Witham. These are brilliant colleagues, many of whom I had never met until our paths crossed here. Congratulations to incoming 2021 ADA Board members, Dr. Jason Leyendecker and Dr. Dawn Heiman—I look forward to serving alongside you in the coming year! I also want to thank my employer, Audigy. I am immensely grateful for the support, the encouragement, and the love they have extended to me, but especially this year.

Mostly, I would like to thank ADA members. Thank you, for all you do for your patients and your profession. Even with all of the uncertainty, disruption, and economic stress, 2020 brought out the best in audiologists! We honed our virtual skills to provide services and work remotely via telehealth. We demonstrated our resourcefulness in delivering curbside services, and we learned how to make the most of Zoom (including how to pair a nice jacket or shirt with our shorts and flip flops).

So, Happy New Year! Here’s to a happy, healthy, and hotel-friendly 2021, where I hope to see you all in person in Portland in October for AuDacity 2021!