ASHA’s Newest Division: Division 17 Global Issues in Communication Science and Related Disorders

  • June 2, 2010
  • Marlene Salas-Provance

Marlene B. Salas-Provance, Ph.D., F-CCC-SLP, Director of the Program in Communication Disorders, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico

Dr. Salas-Provance currently serves as Director of the Program in Communication Disorders at New Mexico State University.  She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from New Mexico State University, her doctorate in speech-language pathology from the University of Illinois and a second master’s in Healthcare Administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia.  Dr. Salas-Provance joined the faculty at New Mexico State University in 2009 having served as a faculty member at the U. of Montevallo, U. of the Pacific, Southern Illinois University, St. Louis University and Fontbonne College. She is an ASHA Fellow and 2009 recipient of ASHA’s Certificate of Recognition for Special Contributions to Multicultural Affairs. Her clinical and research interests are in the areas cleft lip and palate, bilingual medical interpreter training, multicultural issues and speech production of young children with cleft palate and of deaf children following cochlear implantation.

The ASHA Board of Directors and Special Interest Division Board of Division Coordinators announced the creation of a new division to focus on international topics of interest to ASHA members. Division 17, Global Issues in Communication Sciences and Related Disorders will be the primary resource for advancing the exchange of clinical, research, and educational information about communication and related disorders in the international and global market arena. The Division’s mission is to provide international leadership related to audiology and speech-language pathology services by promoting research, networking, collaboration, education, and mentoring for its affiliates and NSSLHA students in the global marketplace.

The founding members of this Division include, Carolyn Higdon, coordinator, University of Mississippi, Marlene B. Salas-Provance, associate coordinator; New Mexico State University, Deanne Owre, Woonsocket, Rhode Island School System, Cate Crowley, Columbia University Teachers College, and Dolores E. Battle, Buffalo State College. Leigh Deussing from ASHA will serve as Ex-Officio for the Division.

During the past ten years, ASHA has increased international outreach efforts to countries around the world as well as U.S. Territories. These outreach initiatives are part of ASHA’s new Strategic Pathway to Excellence. Division 17 came out of ASHA’s international efforts and the increased interest of ASHA members in global research, clinical practice issues and other professional topics.

Need for New Division
Today, as the globe is shrinking rapidly, as technology continues to be developed, and as people work and travel all over the world, the need for a special interest division for speech and hearing professionals interested in international issues is long past due. Our future will bring us increased cultural and language diversity, varied experiences, insight into the culture of poverty, awareness of challenges to world literacy, conflict and unrest. These challenges force professionals in speech and hearing to be increasingly engaged in understanding communication disorders around the globe. The challenges encountered by a person with a communicative impairment may be aggravated in countries with more limited health and education resources. There is growing recognition of the need to develop effective services for the rehabilitation and management of clients with a variety of different communication impairments across settings. In conjunction with this increased recognition of the demands on health and education systems, the past decade also has seen extensive growth in research relating to communicative impairments including speech, language and hearing deficits. It is important, therefore, that there be an effective division forum for members interested in the exchange of clinical, research, and educational information.

Broad Goals and Narrow Goals
The three broad goals for Division 17 include:

  1. To emphasize facilitation of (international) global cooperation and collaboration among speech-language pathologists, audiologists, speech/language and hearing scientists who are interested in communication and related disorders with international breadth.
  2. To focus on creating and sharing information across countries the U.S. and its territories.
  3. To provide a platform for (international) global networking. The Division’s purpose will include promoting development and standards (of) for diagnostic, therapeutic, rehabilitative and preventative work, research, education and training in human communication and related disorders of all ages.

The seven narrow goals for Division 17 include:

  1. To promote global education about persons with speech, language, voice, swallowing and hearing disorders.
  2. To promote the development and standards of diagnostic, therapeutic, rehabilitative and preventative work, research, education, and clinical expertise for individuals with communication and related disorders across professional settings around the world.
  3. To provide avenues for scientific and professional exchange of information in developing countries.
  4. To maintain international recognition of the field of communication sciences and disorders as a special and distinct field.
  5. To cooperate with other ASHA and international organizations with an interest in communication and related disorders.
  6. To encourage and establish opportunities for international research, as well as for researcher to researcher exchanges across countries.
  7. To encourage opportunities for U.S. trained speech-language pathologists and audiologists to practice in various capacities in countries other than the United States.

Prospective Members
Division 17 members will include ASHA members including audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech and hearing scientists residing in countries around the world as well as in the U.S. and its territories.

American Speech Language and Hearing Association (2009) Strategic Pathways. Found 4/12/09

Tice, P., & Moore, M. (2009, Jan. 20). Six nations now participate in certification recognition. The ASHA Leader, 14(1), 34-35.

For more information, please go to the Division’s Web page:
ASHA (regular and International affiliate) members and national NSSLHA student may join by calling ActionCenter at 1-800-498-2071 or submitting the application form:
Information about ASHA membership can be found at

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