From the beginning the School’s faculty and students set a precedent for establishing chapters of professional organizations soon after programs were launched. The doctor of audiology (AuD) program continued in this tradition when Pacific’s chapter of the Student Academy of Audiology (SAA) was formed in November 2015, only a few months after the program launched. “The Student Academy of Audiology brings together students who have a passion for audiology,” said Veronica Koo ’18. “The goals of SAA are to provide a means for students to become more involved in the profession, encourage them to advocate for the rights of audiologists, promote leadership and mentorship and provide networking opportunities between students and professionals.”
The SAA is the national student division of the American Academy of Audiology (the Academy), which is the largest professional organization in the field of audiology. In essence, the SAA is a nationwide network of students. “SAA provides a place for students to interact and bond over their passion for audiology,” shares Koo. “In class students learn about best practices as audiologists and all the technical information we need to know to be the most effective and skilled audiologists that we can be. Through SAA, we are connected to fellow students across the nation who have the same enthusiasm for audiology. We learn about what other students are doing to help the growth of our profession and it encourages us to find our own way to give back to our field and the communities we serve.”
Sharing Pacific’s core value of community involvement the Academy advocates for SAA chapters to organize and participate in community outreach programs. “Local SAA chapters are encouraged to provide audiology services to their communities, which also brings greater awareness of the profession and the importance of our hearing,” said Koo. She emphasizes the importance of AuD students engaging with the community. She explains, “Many people are unaware of the profession of audiology and in turn are unaware of the importance of preserving one’s hearing.”
Outreach programs are beneficial to both the community and to students. Koo shares, “After learning how to diagnose and treat patients in the classroom, we truly learn how our knowledge can provide specific care when going out into the community and learning about the needs of those who would benefit from our services. Educating the community helps students solidify the knowledge obtained in class and develops empathetic audiologists who are more intimately aware of the population that they will serve in the near future.”
Pacific’s chapter of SAA has partnered with Entheos Audiology Cooperative . Entheos is a member-owned cooperative that believes it is a privilege to have the opportunity to provide hearing healthcare services. Their mission is to share their time and talent in parts of the world where audiology services are not readily available. According to Koo, “We are currently working towards sending students to locations such as Guatemala, Jordan, Mozambique, Zambia, Haiti and more. Students will be fitting donated hearing aids on children and adults who are unable to afford these devices and do not have access to audiology services in their country.”
To learn more about the SAA go to saa.audiology.org.
By Anne Marie H. Bergthold