I have spent a fair amount of time recently considering the nation’s founding. I attended the musical Hamilton in Chicago with my adult children during the Thanksgiving holiday. In preparation, I listened to Hamilton, the biography by Ron Chernow that inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda. I was struck by the common themes from our founding until today, and on the heels of completing the audiobook – I landed in Philadelphia.
I attended the Annual American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Convention. The meeting was held in Philadelphia and had record-setting attendance with more than 15,000 attendees. As with the American Academy of Oral Surgery and American Society of Plastic Surgery, the convention is a powerful opportunity to connect with members and learn more about the profession. I attended the Health Care Economics Committee meeting and heard about the most recent changes in legislation that affect this audience. Since ACPA is an accredited continuing education (CE) provider, I also attended the ASHA CE Provider Workshop where I learned about CE resources available through ASHA and enjoyed an ethics panel presentation. Finally, I concluded by attending a session and observing a few posters. At the recent ACPA Board meeting, we considered ACPA rotating its presence through our largest membership cohorts. As a result, ACPA may host a booth at ASHA’s meeting in the future.
During my trip to the ASHA Convention, I was privileged to visit the Lancaster Cleft Palate Clinic (LCPC). The journey began out of the majestic Philadelphia 30th Street Station, which harkened back to Chicago’s Northwestern train station of my youth (now replaced by a modern glass and steel building). In a little over an hour, I was in the nation’s first inland city, Capitol for one day and home to our country’s first cleft palate team. It was powerful to see where it all began. Thanks to Rusty Long and his team who hosted me. I learned about the grant that his grandfather secured for the first longitudinal study of cleft lip and palate, saw where the first Americleft explorations took place and glimpsed the tomes of collected samples and data. Having visited seven teams now, I am struck by the variations of ACPA’s approved teams. While all of ACPA’s 176 approved teams meet the same standards, each one has its own character and operates in different ways. At LCPC, I noted the rich link that the team fosters with the community. And, the precarious and powerful role it plays in an area where Medicaid providers for certain medical specialties are scarce.
In thinking about the beginnings – whether it is nations or professions – it takes visionaries with passion, talent, tenacity and grit to create something that the world had experienced before the founders dreamed it. Inspiring!