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CSD Students Take on Capitol Hill

  • Students take part in ASHA Student Hill Day on Capitol Hill
  • L to R: Renee Royles, Abigail Hambidge, Denise Cruz, Kali Wright, Rita Castillo
Four students (Rita Castillo, Renee Royles, Abigail Hambidge, and Kali Wright) from the Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) Department were accompanied by the CSD Director for Clinical Education and Clinical Services, Denise Cruz, MA, CCC-SLP, to Washington D.C. to take part in the American Speech-Language Hearing Association ASHA’s Student Hill Day on Capitol Hill.

This year’s ASHA Student Hill Day took place on October 10, 2018 and welcomed CSD students and faculty members from 14 states. Participants learned essential advocacy skills necessary to become lifelong advocates for their clients, their professions, and themselves. The day’s activities included:

  • A morning briefing with state association government affairs leaders and lobbyists
  • A close review of issue briefs and preparation for member visits with legislators
  • A briefing on the current political climate and November 2018 midterm election predictions, with a discussion of how that impacts ASHA and those in the field

Students then had the opportunity to meet with top legislative aides for Senators of New York (Charles E. Schumer & Kirsten Gillibrand), New Jersey (Corey Booker & Robert Menendez), Connecticut (Richard Blumenthal & Christopher Murphy) and California (Dianne Feinstein & Kamala Harris), as well as the District Representative for the Bronx, NY (Jose Serrano). During the meetings, students discussed proposed bills and key issues, including:

  • Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and cosponsoring the IDEA Full Funding Act [H.R. 2902/S. 2542]
  • Legislation to Expand Medicare Coverage of Telehealth Services, CONNECT for Health Act (S. 1016/H.R. 2556) & Medicare Telehealth Parity Act (H.R. 2550)
  • Student Loans: Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA).

By participating, students gained a more thorough understanding of ASHA’s legislative goals and insight into the process of how a bill becomes a law. It was also a dynamic lesson in civic participation. Cruz explains, “Advocacy is important to me on a personal level given our current political climate. I encourage our CSD students to become involved in advocacy and discover what they are passionate about and what they believe they should be advocating for, whether on a personal level, professional level, or both. Our current and future patients depend on our services. It is important to show government that We the People are informed and we are willing to advocate for our education, our profession, our patients and ourselves. It is my hope that this Student Hill Day will spark a fire in these students to always advocate for their beliefs regardless of political party or affiliation. I hope they stay curious and always find a way to stay involved through advocacy because if they are not involved, somebody else will be.”

For more information about the issues ASHA currently focuses on, visit: https://takeaction.asha.org/asha/Index