Message from the Convention Co-Chairs

Tena McNamara, Convention Co-Chair for Audiology, and Laura Purcell Verdun, Convention Co-Chair for Speech-Language Pathology

Rising United

There is no better place for audiologists and speech-language pathologists to reunite than our nation’s capital, Washington D.C., on November 18–20! It will be an affirming and empowering experience!

Last year brought about changes and obstacles never before encountered, necessitating that we modify and transform many of our traditional practices, both professionally and personally. Throughout these adaptations, we relied upon the support from our colleagues in the communication sciences and disorders field and our professional associations. The 2021 ASHA Convention theme, “Rising UNITED,” reflects the result of this incredible journey that we have experienced and processed over the past year—and that we will continue to experience in the coming year. “Rising,” as we have tackled ongoing challenges with resourcefulness, innovation, and resilience. “UNITED,” in that we have worked together developing problem-solving solutions and novel approaches to the nonstop issues we encountered in our workplaces. We have each benefitted significantly from the assistance of our fellow audiologists and speech-language pathologists. “Rising UNITED” has each of us promoting our professionalism, value, and fortitude through collaboration, cooperation, and teamwork.

“Rising UNITED” also signifies how we will operate in 2021—and how we will be represented at the ASHA Convention. The annual ASHA Convention is a showcase of our continued commitment to advances in science, technology, and practice in our professions. We have grown in strength and knowledge over the past year with the help of our coworkers, professional community, and friends. The Convention will be our time to celebrate and to share that strength and knowledge!

We are preparing for all eventualities this upcoming year, and the 2021 Convention will most likely be held as a hybrid in-person/virtual event. In addition to the opportunity to attend in person, some presentations would be made available to registrants for virtual viewing—with the ability to earn continuing education credit. This hybrid option is a unique opportunity for speakers and attendees to participate in ways they have not previously engaged at Convention. Please bear with us as we navigate the uncertainty of this upcoming year—we will keep you updated on final event format decisions.

The 2021 ASHA Convention program will offer 31 topic areas developed by 47 expert audiologists and speech-language pathologists. These topics will reflect how the professions have expanded and shifted to meet the new demands we encountered and will continue to face in the future. You will also find issues that have affected our current state of practice, such as social justice and public health—as well as the new ASHA Assistants Certification Program—infused into the topics.

Keeping with the tradition of offering a robust and powerful convention experience, the 2021 ASHA Convention will showcase some new and updated features:

  • An expanded number of technology sessions in the Audiology content area. Multiple sessions will be available daily that focus on current and future technologies related to hearing health.
  • The inclusion of programming related to assistants. With the recent launch of the ASHA Assistants Certification Program, we encourage you to submit session proposals relevant to assistants as well as to their training and supervision. Sessions that are appropriate for those who supervise assistants—as well as for assistants who are practicing and in training—will be highlighted.
  • More targeted topic areas. We have split Feeding and Swallowing Disorders Across the Lifespan into two separate topic areas—Pediatric Feeding and Swallowing, and Adult Swallowing—allowing you to more easily target sessions related to your interests.
  • More 1-hour session blocks. We are planning for an increased number of 1-hour time blocks in the schedule which will allow more flexibility to rotate between presentations.
  • Expanded information on virtual and telepractice services. We encourage proposals on novel solutions to clinical service delivery and clinician training challenges.

The Convention Program Committee is looking forward to sharing knowledge on how “Rising UNITED” has influenced our professional practice. The resiliency and ingenuity of professionals within our field have led to numerous innovative and evidence-based applications addressing the new challenges in service delivery, research, teaching, and supervision. We encourage you to submit a proposal for consideration that would be of value to your fellow professionals. The Call for Papers is open from February 22 to April 6, 2021.

“Rising UNITED” is an opportunity for audiologists and speech-language pathologists to share experiences, knowledge, and a sense of community. We look forward to welcoming you to Washington, D.C., to participate in the ASHA Convention and to connect with colleagues and friends.

Tena McNamara                                                        Laura Purcell Verdun
Co-Chair, Audiology                                                   Co-Chair, Speech-Language Pathology

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About ASHA

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for members and affiliates who are audiologists, speech-language pathologists, speech, language, and hearing scientists, audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel, and students.

About the Convention

The ASHA Convention is one of the largest professional development events for audiologists; speech-language pathologists; and speech, language, and hearing scientists. Bringing together approximately 15,000 attendees, the annual Convention offers more than 2,500 sessions eligible for ASHA continuing education credit covering the latest research, clinical skills, and techniques in communication sciences and disorders.

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For inquiries about the ASHA Convention:

The ASHA Action Center welcomes questions and requests for information from members and non-members.

Available 8:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m. ET

Members: 800-498-2071
Non-Member: 800-638-8255

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