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  • 26 Jan 2024 7:11 PM | Barbara Wilson Arboleda (Administrator)

    Haley Belanger

    Haley Belanger graduated in 2022 from Worcester State University with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Communication Disorders. She is currently in her second year of the Doctor of Audiology program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her favorite part of her current program is establishing relationships with her patients and learning about electrophysiological testing.

    In her career, Haley hopes to work with cochlear implant patients across the lifespan. In addition to her graduate studies, Haley works as a restaurant manager and server, where she is developing customer service and leadership skills she will apply to her future work as an audiologist. In her limited free time, Haley enjoys spending time with family and friends, volunteering with foster children in the Worcester community, and reading mystery novels. She is honored to be recognized for this award and would like to thank Ms. Thelma Hilton Pierce and MSHA for their generosity.


  • 25 Jan 2024 2:21 PM | Barbara Wilson Arboleda (Administrator)

    Making the Transition from Student to Clinician

    Saturday, March 2, 2024

    9:00 - 2:00 (check in starts at 8:30)


    Northeastern University

    Behrakis Health Sciences Center

    30 Leon Street, Boston

    Free for MSHA members!

    All others $15

    Print flier

  • 22 Dec 2023 4:30 PM | Barbara Wilson Arboleda (Administrator)

    My name is Grace Haskell, a graduate student at Northeastern University pursing a master’s in Speech Language Pathology.

    I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I changed my mind several times and went into undergrad wanting to be a wedding planner and marine biologist. I took many different classes freshman year of college and took a seminar on voice recognition technology. I became more interested in the linguistic aspect of speech and discovered what programs required linguistics as a prerequisite. That was when I discovered the communication disorders major and was hooked ever since. I finished my undergrad career with bachelor’s degrees in communication Disorders and Psychology from UMass Amherst.

    Currently at Northeastern, I am a graduate research assistant in The Aphasia Network lab. I help schedule participants, administer linguistic/cognitive tests, run participants with functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and perform data analyses amongst various studies. In addition I am a graduate office assistant for the CSD department. I give prospective students tours and work in the on-campus Speech Language and Hearing Clinic in the Behrakis Health Sciences building.

    During my first year of graduate school, I questioned if I had picked the right career path. It was so much and being thrown into evaluations, treatment sessions and family education was something I had never experienced before. Although it was a bit overwhelming, I am so glad I chose this career. There is nothing better than seeing the smile on a patient’s face or receiving kind words from the family members.

    I am grateful for all my clinical placements working with individuals of all ages, from 3 years old up to 85. I have thoroughly loved working in all settings including schools, outpatient, home health and soon to be a private practice. Having these clinical experiences and working with patients has helped me solidify my interest in this career. I am so grateful for the ability to help someone communicate, because everybody has a right to communicate regardless of the modality.

    Starting in Spring 2024 I will be pursuing an SLPA position at a pediatric private practice in New Hampshire to enhance my clinical skills before my clinical fellowship. Following graduation, I hope to be a working professional joining the wonderful world of SLPs as well as pursue a research career.

  • 13 Oct 2023 2:43 PM | Barbara Wilson Arboleda (Administrator)

    In this Ad Hoc Committee conversation, Debbie Bennett will lead a discussion and answer questions about Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT), its origins and evidence base across clinical populations, how it may be applied in the field of speech-language pathology, and where to get training in this approach.

    Deborah L. Bennett, MS CCC-SLPhas been a Speech-Language Pathologist in private practice in New Hampshire for 23 years. She recently joined the clinical faculty at the University of New Hampshire. She leads the NH Chapter of the National Stuttering Association and is a member of ASHA special interest groups in Fluency and Counseling. Debbie is clinical co-director at Camp Words Unspoken, an overnight camp for children and teens who stutter. She is certified in Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) and has training and experience in other cognitive-behavioral therapies including Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT). Her interests include stuttering and cluttering, counseling, augmentative communication, and developmental disabilities.

    Log in to the Member Area to access the Zoom link for this meeting


  • 28 Sep 2023 4:34 PM | Barbara Wilson Arboleda (Administrator)

    On June 6, 2023 Rep, Mikie Sherrill introduced H.R.3875 the "Expanded Telehealth Access Act", which, if passed, would make telehealth access to SLP, PT, and OT services (among others) permanent for Medicare members. This bill currently has 22 co-sponsors, none of whom are from Massachusetts.

    What You Can Do:

    Call your US Representative's office and ask them to co-sponsor and support this important piece of legislation.  The US House of Representatives has a handy tool to help you find your legislator here: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative 

    You can send an email through ASHA at: https://www.asha.org/advocacy/takeaction/ 

    ASHA Issue Brief 

    Link to the bill on Congress.gov

  • 12 May 2023 3:09 PM | Barbara Wilson Arboleda (Administrator)

    Throughout the month of May, MSHA will be offering discounted membership for SLPs, AuDs, assistants, and students! Discounted membership will be available every Monday throughout the month of May. Students may use the code BHSM-Student for a 100% discounted membership and others should use BHSM23 for a 50% discount. The discount is available for new members only. Don't miss this opportunity to join your state organization and become involved in state-level advocacy, CEU discounts, information, and resources specific to Massachusetts, and more. Spread the word and

    Happy #BHSM!


  • 10 May 2023 9:06 PM | Barbara Wilson Arboleda (Administrator)

    News from the Diversity Advisory Group

    The Diversity Advisory Group is currently creating resources to support practitioners who provide services to individuals from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. (Yes, that’s actually every single one of us!)  

    You can check out the first resource we’re working on: Tips for Multilingual Speech & Language Evaluations here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1tZzKngoh95c5qk7JhOxsAdhVo0IAwo3inTAtCGocp2s/edit?usp=sharing 

    The advisory group is composed of MSHA members who volunteer their time to attend quarterly meetings, serve on task force committees as the need arises, and keep each other informed about relevant professional needs and opportunities. Please help us by filling out this survey to let us know more about your needs and skills. In the survey you’ll have opportunities to share your contact information if you’d like to join the Diversity Advisory Group and/or list yourself as a bilingual service provider or assistant. Please contact Rachel Aghara (agharar@merrimack.edu) if you’d like to know more about this group.

    Survey link: https://forms.gle/11enR7f8KmR5FgTF6


  • 21 Apr 2023 12:35 PM | Barbara Wilson Arboleda (Administrator)

    Starting April 1, 2023, MassHealth will begin the eligibility redetermination process, renewing all 2.3M members over the following 12 months. This will generally be the first-time members are at risk of losing their coverage since February 2020. In preparation for this effort, MassHealth has increased staffing significantly to handle a greater volume of calls and applications, improved our systems to automatically renew as many members' coverage as possible, and is working in close collaboration with health plans, providers, and other stakeholders. Even with this preparation, we understand that this may be difficult for members.  We’re asking for your support as part of our outreach strategy.

    MassHealth is sharing the Phase 2 Redeterminations Outreach Toolkit for you and your partners to help educate members and make sure they are prepared and know how to complete their renewal. This toolkit includes key messages as well as downloadable flyers, posters, and other materials in 9 languages.  This toolkit also includes materials for specific populations, such as children and families, members experiencing homelessness, or members with disabilities.   We are also excited to share the MassHealth Renewal Help Guide, a new resource for individuals who interact with members.

    We ask that you share these materials in your offices and community spaces as well as through your own communication channels and social media to help all members receive this important information. You can learn more about the upcoming redeterminations process at mass.gov/masshealthrenew.


  • 02 Apr 2023 2:04 PM | Barbara Wilson Arboleda (Administrator)

    Rachel Hammond:

    When I first began my undergraduate studies, I had the goal of becoming a physical therapist. One of the first courses I took my freshman year was an introduction to rehabilitative sciences class that outlined all of the different programs one could enter in this general field. Part of the coursework involved shadowing your profession of choice for the day. I shadowed a pediatric physical therapist at the local children’s hospital and was surprised that I couldn’t really picture myself doing the day-to-day work of the profession when I had felt so driven to that career path initially.

    I found myself entertaining all of the other professions detailed in that course: emergency medicine, occupational therapy, etc. When listening to the head of the Speech Language Pathology department spoke, I found myself really imaging what it would be like to focus on aiding patients’ communication on a daily basis.

    At the end of my freshman year, I went with a university group on a mission’s trip to Costa Rica to help local non-profits and the orphanages they are involved with. While I did take a few years of Spanish in high school, this was not enough for most interactions, and I felt the heavy weight that is the division between people who speak different languages and can’t find a way to connect. The children at the orphanages we visited were the exception to this. It turns out playing is a universal concept, and we were able to connect whether there were words shared or not. I took this lesson back from this trip knowing that Communication Sciences and Disorders could be the perfect blend between my interests of languages and newfound appreciation for how much communication gaps can really interfere with every aspect of life.

    There are certain things within our control, one of them being the additional languages you choose to spend time learning. Hearing ability is something that is largely out of one’s control. Even wearing hearing protection was not an option to the previous generations as it wasn’t known that hearing loss was an adverse effect to being exposed to loud sounds. I love being an audiologist knowing that every day I can help people with the things that are out of their control and help bridge the gaps in their communication. I strongly believe in this profession and the impact we can make as audiologists. This is a particularly interesting time to be early on in this career in light of all of the discussions surrounding over-the-counter hearing aids entering the market and continued issues with appropriate compensation for our doctoral level profession. While this may have initially made me nervous while in graduate school, when I think about the patients I work so closely with, I know that our profession will only continue to grow with time and continued research. I am so grateful to be a part of it!


  • 17 Mar 2023 4:25 PM | Barbara Wilson Arboleda (Administrator)

    My fascination with audiology began while volunteering in high school and college at a local hospital where I observed professionals in the NICU attend to babies with complex medical and neurodevelopmental conditions. In this setting, I became enthralled by the role of the audiologists in considering risk factors for deafness, engaging in interprofessional collaboration, and advocating for access to communication. I was captivated by hearing science, auditory development, and most importantly, emotional support for families in the early stages of their child’s development. 

    I will never forget the distress one couple experienced following a restless morning of auditory brainstem response testing when they learned their baby was profoundly deaf. A flurry of emotions lingered in the space as the couple frenziedly asked questions and began generating a new perception of their child’s life outcomes. I desperately yearned to console the couple. How could I one day assure each family that they should have no lower expectations for the future despite their baby’s hearing status? 

    The empathy the audiologist exhibited in this moment was inspiring. She gave the family space for processing, focused on the emotions present in the room, and shared options for next steps—devoid of audism biases—once the caregivers were ready. Such observation solidified my decision to become an audiologist so I could assess auditory development of infants and children while continuing to support parent-child relationships in the most critical attachment period.

    Throughout my graduate training at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, my clinical externship at Boston Children’s Hospital, and my current clinical work at Mass Eye and Ear, I have become increasingly passionate about providing clinical care at the top of my scope of practice to not only pediatric patients, but to patients across the entire lifespan. I have become aware of ways to create welcoming space for those feeling anxious, isolated, and vulnerable, especially during this pandemic which has amplified so many disparities in care. I have gleaned the value of checking my own biases and have been challenged to continuously adapt testing methods for each patient, particularly those with unique physical, cognitive, and developmental abilities. I have learned to celebrate all successes with patients and families—big and small—to leave them feeling empowered. In my clinical work, I continuously seek to prioritize my patients’ values and goals to create the best plan for them, and to make my care accessible linguistically, culturally, and developmentally. 

    Upon entering the field as a new graduate in the wake of over-the-counter hearing aid legislation and the increasing integration of a public health model into audiology, I discovered my potential to contribute to our field beyond striving to be an excellent clinician. I have supplemented my clinical work at Mass Eye and Ear by getting involved in initiatives I care about and which directly affect my patients. I serve on the Massachusetts Congenital Cytomegalovirus Coalition team through which I help draft and file comprehensive legislation in Massachusetts mandating education and universal testing for congenital cytomegalovirus. I also provide tracking and measurement guidance for the Massachusetts Initiative to Improve Healthcare Transition for Individuals with Neurodevelopmental Disabilities, a multi-stage quality improvement project with the goal of better integrating young adults with neurodevelopmental disabilities into adult medical care. Through these projects, I have realized the importance of operating outside an audiology bubble. Viewing my work through an interprofessional lens has allowed me to educate others about the importance of hearing health care while learning ways to maximize my clinical role.  

    In the transition from school to my career, I have sought out ways to share my experiences educationally. Through my part-time role as a Technical Assistance and Engagement Consultant with the Association of University Centers on Disability, I assist in the development of webinars and resources for Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities audiology trainees. This work has allowed me to provide mentorship to graduate students and remain informed about current research relevant to my clinical practice. 

    As I continue in my career, I seek to continue applying my knowledge of audiology to public health with the goal of allowing all patients to benefit from evidence-based, unbiased, culturally sensitive audiologic care. In this ever-changing field, I am motivated to be a leader who advocates for my patients’ progress and our momentum as a doctoring profession. And most of all, I strive to emulate the audiologists’ compassion and expertise which inspired me to go into this field.

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