President's Message: Brave New World

Author: Deb Abel, Au.D.

All things are difficult before they are easy.
—Thomas Fuller, writer, churchman, historian

The above quote was at the end of a daily email I received last month, and I found it to be very appropriate way to begin this President’s Message, during these tumultuous times. With any disruptive change, such as those wrought by COVID-19, it takes time and effort to get into new a rhythm. Mr. Fuller’s statement can also be readily applied to recent national events that have caused us to take a difficult and uncomfortable look inward as we see and hear what is happening as a result of systemic racism and social injustices in the United States. In June, the ADA Board of Directors examined our organizational composition and initiatives and made a commitment to improve diversity and health equity as part of ADA strategic plan goals, in ADA and its programming, and within the profession. ADA is not content to merely make a statement, but intent on making impactful change. Stay tuned. We will be calling on members for dialogue, input, and help.

In the last edition of Audiology Practices a long three months ago, COVID-19 was making its impact known to the world and of course to ADA members. Many of you had your offices close or you were creating opportunities to care for your patients in ways you likely never thought possible with drop off and curb services. Telehealth came into play more predominantly, and for those who had the devices that could be adjusted remotely, they were utilized successfully and appropriately all while navigating state licensure law regulations, which seemed to change nearly daily. COVID-19 has impacted us in so many ways professionally and personally and for those of you who have contracted this devastating virus or who have had family members who have, I hope that there has been an uneventful and complete recovery. Audiology Practices editor, Dr. Brian Taylor has included some compelling pandemic perspectives from the frontlines in this issue.

ADA has also been impacted, by the pandemic and has pivoted to adapt to a socially distanced environment. While we won’t be meeting in person in Dallas this fall, as originally planned, AuDacity 2020 WILL be an amazing meeting and we WILL be together. AuDacity’s virtual platform will enable members to enjoy incredible speakers, including speakers that we would never have been able to bring to a face-to-face meeting. There will be opportunities to visit with vendors, meet new colleagues from the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and anywhere in the world, and to visit with old friends that you so look forward to seeing! AuDacity will attract colleagues who have never attended AuDacity and will show them why ADA is an incredible organization that always keeps our members in the forefront and always has their backs.

AuDacity. This is not your mother’s webinar! AuDacity will be held in a virtual world that will include an exhibit hall, career fair, and networking rooms—and will deliver incredible knowledge without the time, expense, and health concerns involved to go to a meeting. Wear your comfy clothes, and enjoy AuDacity from your home or office. Most importantly, for ADA members, there will be a Happy Hour!

Finally, the work for the Medicare Audiologist Access and Services Act (MAASA) goes on. Several new co-sponsors have signed on even during this pandemic, including Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), who is Chair of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging. Please help build on this momentum by contacting your legislators to ask for their support at : http://chooseaudiology.org/congressional-connect. MAASA has to become a reality in this Congressional session! If you are able, please also consider donating to the effort here: http://chooseaudiology.org/donate. There is no amount too small--we know with reopening your office, money is likely tighter—we also have seen first-hand that until MAASA is enacted, our Medicare patients do not have safe, efficient access to the care that they need during this pandemic.

Things are difficult now, but I believe they will get easier. Thank you, ADA members, for all you are doing to help those with hearing and balance issues, and to advocate for social justice and your profession. And thank you, ADA staff and AuDacity Program co-chairs Dr. Amyn Amlani and Dr. David Citron, for creating unbelievable opportunities for learning and collaboration. This is what makes ADA home and why ADA is such a great professional home.