Dear Friends and Colleagues,
This past week has been incredibly challenging, first with the shock, grief, and anger in the wake of the wrongful death of George Floyd. This was followed by the devastation of neighborhoods which our friends, patients, and colleagues - including MAA members - call home. We will continue to feel the aftershocks of these events for a long time.
Do you know of an organization which MAA could be supporting to promote healing and regrowth of the affected communities? Are volunteers needed for community projects? Please let us know if there is a need and how MAA might be able to help.
We want MAA members, our partners, and our friends to know that the MAA Board of Directors has responded to these events by reflecting on the current composition of our Academy. To be frank, currently we are a predominantly white organization. It is difficult to realize, acknowledge and reflect that we, as an organization, have a glaring lack of diversity, but we are starting the process of being more inclusive. MAA follows the AAA Code of Ethics (COE) which outlines that we shall not discriminate in the provision of services to individuals on the basis of sex, race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or general health. Yet, the COE does not address how we should promote diversity in the profession, encourage inclusive practices, or advocate attracting individuals from a wide range of cultural backgrounds to the profession. This is where we have identified that MAA can and should be doing more.
Our Board is seeking the input of black, indigenous, and persons of color (BIPOC) in the audiology community to determine how we can approach a more diverse future for the membership and leadership of our state association, along with the profession overall. Suggestions so far include offering continuing education options related to cultural competence, altering the application process for the Gloria Gross Scholarship to make it more accessible to students from various backgrounds, and promoting awareness of the audiology profession within diverse neighborhoods. We do not want to merely make a list of what our current Board and membership supposes will promote diversity; we want to develop ideas and initiatives with BIPOC who can help our organization acknowledge and address the obstacles that prevent MAA from reaching its fullest potential of being a vibrant, diverse community of professionals.
Please reach out to the MAA Board of Directors if you are interested in joining our efforts to promote diversity in the profession of audiology and within MAA. Know that we mourn and grieve with you and our community, and that we know Minnesota and MAA can do better.
MAA has been in existence for 26 years. It is time for us to improve, here and now, and prepare for our best future as a community.
Minnesota Academy of Audiology Board of Directors