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LEND Audiology Trainee Policy Workshop

Pre-workshop activity and reading list (284KB) [download]
Workshop agenda (318KB) [download]
Presentation slides (756KB) [download]
Small group discussion questions (1) (199KB) [download]
Small group discussion questions (2) (181KB) [download]

Briefly describe the activity and its purpose.

This activity was designed to teach LEND audiology trainees about policy needs and influences at both the state and national level. Its purpose was to develop an understanding of how policy influences practice in the area of newborn hearing screening and how policies are developed or altered.

What are the expected learning outcomes for trainees?

  1. Trainees will identify policy needs at their state level EHDI programs
  2. Trainees will develop advocacy strategies to develop new policies or modify current policies
  3. Trainees will develop advocacy strategies to promote passage of federal legislation for EHDI programs and associated funding
  4. Trainees will discuss the influence of policy and funding on state and local level EHDI programs

Briefly describe the positive impacts this activity has had on trainees.

The primary goal was to instill operational understanding on the part of trainees of the importance of advocacy, policy development, and legislative action to sustain and enhance EHDI programs for early identification and intervention of hearing loss. This was accomplished through pre-session activities and readings, a didactic presentation on advocacy and federal legislative activities - followed by small group discussions and reporting. The pre-conference activity required a cohort of trainees to have a discussion with the state's EHDI coordinator regarding program needs, challenges, and successes. They were to summarize the outcomes of each discussion for reporting to the large group at the EHDI meeting. In addition, there were assigned readings to be completed before the EHDI meeting. The reading gave background history from a national perspective on EHDI legislation, and the development of the national early hearing detection movement, an update on state-level EHDI programs, and an overview of state laws and regulations regarding early identification and intervention for hearing loss.

At the EHDI meeting, the first activity was a didactic presentation on the federal legislation coming up for re-authorization, its background and history, and the need for effective advocacy to help ensure passage of the re-authorization bill. This was followed by small group discussions. Each small group activity was seeded with suggestive questions followed by trainee-led discussions. In addition, representative trainees from each of the LEND programs in attendance had the opportunity to report on their conversations with the state-level EHDI coordinators.

Briefly describe any lessons learned or challenges associated with implementing this activity.

Under the heading of lessons learned, the trainees discovered that there are common issues concerning with newborn hearing screening across many states. But they also learned that each state is unique in some aspect of programmatic needs, funding, reporting, and networking. In the discussion sessions, they also had the opportunity to learn and understand the need for grassroots advocacy, and develop their own techniques and strategies for promoting advocacy at both the state and federal levels.

Trainees also had the opportunity to network and become acquainted with other trainees from different states and to discuss the role of LEND programs in advocacy efforts. Trainees came away with an understanding of the "big picture" of policy development and legislation that supports funding of policies, and how each of them can impact legislation in "small ways" through grassroots advocacy.

The primary challenges were time and competition. There was more than enough material and discussion to fill the allotted two hours. Several trainees stated that they wished there was more time to carry out the discussions in more detail. The policy workshop was also in competition with other very high quality EHDI meeting sessions occurring at the same time. For some, it was a hard choice in deciding what to attend.

Special thanks to the following LEND Audiology faculty members for their assistance in planning this workshop: Robert Fifer (University of Miami), Sandra Gabbard (University of Colorado), Lisa Mancl (University of Washington), Jackson Roush (University of North Carolina), Diane Sabo (University of Pittsburgh), and Anne Marie Tharpe (Vanderbilt University).

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