16. ASHA Curriculum Schism Uncovered

We are working on defining a deep historical schism within the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, one that impairs performance to keep the Association up-to-date in school curriculum and related clinical activities.

In the sleekly new designed ASHA Leader, editors published a special edition (Vol 18, No 6 June 2013) — “The Power of Interprofessional Education and Practice; Full Team Ahead” — highlighting the importance of SLP clinical collaboration in medical settings. Interprofessional Education (IPE) is an important new trend and ASHA should address it! Some 20 notes, reports and articles were prepared for the issue.

Prasad (p. 28) outlines the many advantages of collaborative practice: “Ultimately the ideas that drive interprofessional teaming are cooperation, coordination, collective identity, shared responsible and, of course, high quality care.”

Rogers and Nunez (p. 8) describe six areas where academic programs can voluntarily begin educational preparation for students. The job is up to the faculties to train for collaboration.

According to Prelock (p. 5), academic institutions in the U. S. are beginning IPE programs, but, she asks, “Are we educating our students to function in more flexible and very different practice environments than when we were trained?” Prelock concludes: “To accomplish our desired collaboration, we need to adjust our training and practice” (p. 6).

Rogers and Nunez saw the difficulties (p. 7): “So, as interest in interprofessional teaming grows, with ASHA and other professional associations pushing to move it forward, programs grapple with how to surmount these challenges and actually make it happen. How do you change an entrenched system and culture?”

Pickering and Embry, in their paper “So Long, Silos” (p. 38), say preservice students need training in medical collaboration but getting it done in academic settings is tough sledding: “… academic programs are usually organized in silos, independent of other disciplines in administrative function and curriculum. Coursework is often disorder-specific, with awkward separation between knowledge and clinical skills” (p. 42). Offered are 10 steps to cultivate collaboration in the classroom, clinic and community.

Fagan (p. 48) admits getting preservice graduate training in clinical collaboration is difficult or insufficient. She says using continuing education programming is a good solution.

Rogers and Nunez suggest ASHA perhaps should change accreditation standards (p. 8). “Should preparation or demonstrated competencies with interprofessional skills be a part of certification and/or licensure?”

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