WHY CSHA? WHY NOW?
CSHA STRENGTHENS THE PROFESSION
CSHA believes all people should be empowered with the fundamental human right to engage and connect.
Speech-language pathologists, audiologists and related professionals provide life-altering support to those with speech and hearing challenges. CSHA works to strengthen, improve and grow the SLP and AuD professions in California so every preschooler, child and adult get the support they need to exercise their basic right to communicate.
As California’s population grows and becomes increasingly diverse, there are simply not enough speech, language and hearing professionals to meet the need for services. Low-income communities of color are the most underserved. In one stark example, Black children are 45% to 60% less likely to receive speech-language services than White children at 2, 4 and 5 years of age. At the same time, a longstanding lack of diversity in the profession means that those children who do receive services may not be receiving culturally competent care.
Continuing to grow a larger, more diverse, culturally competent workforce requires opening the pipeline for more students of color to enter the field. Historically, graduate programs have not been supported with sufficient resources to keep up with demand. There are simply not enough SLPs and AuDs graduating in our state each year and there is work to be done to ensure that those who do graduate reflect California’s diversity.
CSHA IS A CATALYST FOR CHANGE
CSHA is building the diverse workforce of the future.
We do this by:
- Recruiting college students to pursue careers in the field, and offering them scholarships, mentorship and leadership opportunities.
- Providing continuing education, networking, career guidance and mentorships for early-career professionals, especially those from underrepresented groups.
- Fighting to expand the number of student slots in speech pathology and audiology in California.
- Lowering systemic barriers to entering and staying in the profession through advocacy.
- Building cultural competency through our online community, CSHA Convos, publications and more.
- Building community and leadership through volunteer engagement, participation, virtual communities, CSHA Advocacy Network and CSHA Mentor Match virtual mentor program.
CSHA is the voice of the profession in Sacramento and beyond, making a difference in the lives of all those who need these services, not just those served by our members. Having long advocated in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., CSHA redoubled its advocacy efforts in 2019, adopting its first-ever advocacy platform and engaging a new advocate with deep experience in strategic, grassroots advocacy.
Our advocacy work is having a real impact. During the pandemic, an estimated 50,000 more people are now able to receive critical SLP services remotely because CSHA fought for SLPAs and SLP graduates working on their licensure requirements to receive tele-supervision so they could continue to work. We won that fight. Other recent policy victories include:
- Restoration of proposed statewide cuts to early intervention therapy programs in partnership with other stakeholders.
- The creation of Doctor of Audiology (AuD) programs at five schools in the California State University (CSU) System.
- Increased numbers of graduate speech pathology slots in the CSU system.
- Appointment of two CSHA board members by Governor Newsom to the state licensing board, providing a strong voice for members and improved coordination.
CSHA SUPPORTS ITS MEMBERS AND THEIR COMMUNITY
We are more than an annual conference. CSHA and the CSHA Foundation bring together colleagues from across the state in leadership, collaboration, professional development, networking and advocacy throughout the year.
Student members have access to discounts as well as important events, including the Student Research Symposium, College Bowl and the CSHA Student Forum Town Hall at the CSHAF Convergence conference. CSHA also offers scholarship opportunities to student members. CSHA’s virtual Career Center is a great resource when entering the field – and beyond. The Career Center includes job opportunities in specific categories such as medical groups, private practices, research facilities, nonprofits, education and more.
For Rising Professionals
CSHA offers support and networking for professionals at any career stage, whether or not they are members. State licensing hours and ASHA CEUs are offered at the CSHAF annual conference, Convergence, which features high-quality content including convention courses, networking events, keynote sessions and awards.
Innovative programs such as the virtual “CSHA Convos” engage and uplift our professional community – and are available at no charge to everyone in the community. CSHA Convos are monthly, virtual live discussions on professional topics, including: Race, Communication and Professionalism: Navigating Our Field as a BIPOC Clinician; and Best Practices as a Foundation for CSHA’s Future.
CSHA is committed to growing and evolving our membership and volunteer leadership to ensure we represent a strong, vibrant model of diversity and inclusion for the profession and the diverse clients we serve. We offer opportunities for early-career professionals to become leaders and find their path.
For Seasoned Professionals
CSHA is a trusted resource helping our members and other professionals in the field tackle the most complex challenges. When the pandemic hit and shelter-in-place orders went into effect, CSHA sprang into action. In April 2020 we designed and presented two highly popular virtual webinars on teletherapy, helping our community adapt and serve consumers. The first session, an all-day free event held in partnership with a firm specializing in virtual professional development in our profession, garnered in excess of 32,000 registrations and 41,000 logins in less than a week.
CSHA also produces valuable resources, tools and guides important to the field of speech-language pathology and audiology. The CSHA 200 by Two Resource Kit is an industry-leading guide to language development in infants and toddlers for parents, caregivers, and professionals, and are available free to the community via CSHA’s website. Diversity, Inclusion and Equity resources, developed by CSHA committee members, are also online, with some information available to the public, and additional resources available to CSHA members only.
CSHA LEADS WITH INNOVATION AND COMMITMENT
A dynamic board of directors and staff have made huge leaps forward.
- CSHA’s new quarterly magazine, Convey, was launched in March 2019. The magazine’s content is driven by organizational priorities as guided by the Content Advisory Committee, and focuses on telling the stories of the professional community and those they serve.
- The monthly digital newsletter, CSHA Connect, and frequent digital updates, CSHA QuickNotes, keep members up to date on important professional information and resources, advocacy news and timely association activities.
- New bylaws and governing board policies based on evidence-based research and best practices in the nonprofit sector were adopted by the CSHA board and membership in 2019 and have resulted in a sound governance structure guiding CSHA to spearhead a more diverse and more powerful membership and voice.
- CSHA’s board established two strategic priorities – Fiscal Sustainability and Diversity, Inclusion & Culture – during its 2018-19 strategic planning process. These priorities drive the work of the association and focus our limited resources on achieving them.
Oversight of CSHA is the responsibility of its board of directors, led by our dedicated board chair, Michele Linares. Ten regional district directors from across the state also serve on the board, as do three additional statewide officers, who together provide the strategic leadership of the association.
Due to COVID-19, Convergence 2020, the community’s signature professional development event and the association’s primary income source, was canceled. The unavoidable directly impacted the association’s finances, as the conference historically generated two-thirds of CSHA’s annual revenue.
CSHA is weathering the storm facing many professional associations by making program cuts and reducing staff, while continuing to serve our members and advocate in Sacramento. Convergence went virtual in 2021 and returns as a live event in March 2022 in Pasadena.
The facts are clear: Without significant new support, we will not be able to sustain the exceptional gains we have made for our profession. CSHA’s advocacy leadership and its positive impacts on the profession – and those served by the profession – will not continue. Without CSHA’s organizationally empowered vigilance, fewer SLPs and AuDs will enter and stay in the field, negatively impacting those with the least access to services.
The solution rests with CSHA’s members and the thousands of other professionals in California.
AN INVITATION TO BE PART OF THE SOLUTION
So many in California benefit from CSHA’s work – young children with autism or language delays, people with hearing loss, stutterers, or adults recovering from injuries or strokes. Moreover, thousands of professionals, the schools, hospitals, and regional centers where our members work, and the universities who train them – all of these institutions benefit from a strong CSHA.
CSHA is a movement ensuring that all Californians can exercise their fundamental right to communicate.
If you believe that:
- Our profession demands an effective voice in Sacramento…
- Our profession deserves visibility and recognition for the lives we transform…
- Our profession must reflect the cultural diversity of our state and our clients…
- Our work is made better through a strong community of professional peers…
…then support the movement by becoming a member of CSHA today.