Bipartisan Recognition of the 40th Anniversary of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association's Office of Multicultural Affairs

Nov 18, 2009
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressmen G. K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) and Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) have introduced a resolution honoring the 40th Anniversary of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) Office of Multicultural Affairs. 

“The Office of Multicultural Affairs has been instrumental in bringing attention to the health disparities associated with communication disorders and in addressing minority educational disparities,” Butterfield said. “They are deserving of recognition.”

The ASHA represents over 135,000 Audiologists, Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs), and Speech Language and Hearing Scientists in Health Care and Education. Seeking to help address the cultural and linguistic diversity issues among speech-language pathologists and audiologists, ASHA established its Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) in 1969. 

Butterfield and Rogers have introduced a bipartisan House resolution recognizing and commending the ASHA staff and members for the success in advancing greater inclusion and diversity.

OMA sought to achieve its goals by developing opportunities for communications sciences and disorders students. ASHA also encouraged members to keep pace with the knowledge, skills and technologies required for multicultural literacy in communication disorders and differences; promote quality service provision in our increasingly multicultural society; ensure full participation of all professionals and students in association life; and serve as a catalyst for infusing multicultural issues throughout the operations of the association.

For its efforts, OMA received the first Minority Health Leadership Award from the Department of Health and Human Services in 2006. This award recognized ASHA’s vision, innovation, and leadership in addressing health care disparities, increasing access to services, recruiting and retaining professionals from underrepresented backgrounds and improving service delivery to minority populations with communications disorders.

The resolution also recognizes OMA for establishing the Minority Student Leadership Program in 1999 to create a pipeline for talented Audiology and SLP graduate students from underrepresented groups into leadership positions within their professions. The program has produced over 350 graduates who now assume leadership roles in their communities, local and national associations.