Interview with Craig Johnson, Au.D. President-Elect of the Academy of Dispensing Audiologists (ADA)
BECK: Hi Craig. Thanks for your time today, I know you're quite busy, and so we'll jump right in. Let's start with.... Where and when did you get your master's and your doctorate?
JOHNSON: I received my master's in 1976 from Towson State College, and I earned my AuD at Nova Southeastern University. I began working on my doctorate in 1998 and finished in May, 2000.
BECK: Thanks Craig. Please tell me a little bit about your clinical practice?
JOHNSON: My private practice began in August of 1977. It was the same month as ASHA's prohibition against dispensing hearing aids ended. I began one office and then over a period of years I established four other offices. We provide a full range of services including intra-operative monitoring for facial nerve surgeries. The only services we do not offer is cochlear implants.
BECK: How many audiologists are in the practice?
JOHNSON: There are three other audiologists in the practice. Audiology Associates, Inc. is the name of our group and we provide services throughout the Baltimore metropolitan area. The phone number is 410-944-3100 and our website is www.aaiaudiology.com.
BECK: Craig, you've been very involved in the political scene...if I may, I'll read a few notes from you bio....Dr Johnson served on the Executive Board of the Maryland Academy of Audiology from 1992 to 1998 and in 1997, he served as President of the Maryland Academy. He continues to serve the Maryland Academy as its Legislative Chairperson. Dr. Johnson was elected to the board of the Academy of Dispensing Audiologists in 1998. In 2002, he was elected President-elect of the Academy of Dispensing Audiologists (ADA). Dr. Johnson served as the chairperson of the Political Action Committee and Governmental Affairs Committee for the American Academy of Audiology and he is the current chair of the Academy of Dispensing Audiologists, Political Action Committee.
JOHNSON: Yes Doug, I began at the state level, helping to form the Maryland Academy in 1991. From that point, I became interested in national politics and started working with AAA and ADA. I've been involved ever since. My advocacy work has spanned seven different Presidencies of AAA.
BECK: And you have a new position that you'll be taking over at that point to fill the void in your schedule?
JOHNSON: Right. In October, 2004, following the ADA Convention, I'll transition from president-elect to president of the ADA.
BECK: How long have you been in the ADA?
JOHNSON: It's been ten or twelve years or so and I've served on the board since '98.
BECK: How do you see ADA identifying itself separately or uniquely from AAA?
I think some people think of the ADA as the private practice wing of AAA. I know they're totally separate organizations but they seem to overlap in many things these days. So again, from your perspective, what is the ADA identity all about?
JOHNSON: Good question. The ADA started almost 30 years ago and AAA has been around for about 15 years. ADA was formed for dispensing practitioners and the focus that has evolved to support clinical practice. AAA's focus is much broader. Another difference is the annual meetings. At ADA, the convention focuses on tools that the practitioner can use to develop one's businesses and to grow professionally as a Doctor of Audiology. Our smaller meeting size is more conducive to networking opportunities. Since, 2001 all new ADA members must either be enrolled in a distance education AuD program or possess the degree. Existing members without an Au.D. retain all of their privileges. ADA is focused on developing an image to consumer so they will learn about the services that a Doctor of Audiology provides.
BECK: Where is the ADA meeting this year?
JOHNSON: In Tucson, Arizona at the "The El Conquistador Hotel." You can find registration information at www.audiologist.org. We will be sponsoring an important day ahead seminar that will address the issue of "branding the profession".
BECK: Will you be inviting all of the national audiology groups to participate?
JOHNSON: Yes. The all of the national audiology based groups will be invited to participate with the branding session along with the CEO's from every manufacturer and vendor.
BECK: That's great. As the next president of the ADA, do you see yourself actively working to unite the national organizations?
JOHNSON: The audiology-based organizations have been working together for a number of years especially since the Glaser (AAA) and McDonald (ADA) Presidencies. We have worked closely on legislative and governmental regulatory issues since '97 and have jointly sponsored political fundraising events. One of our major joint ventures has been the establishment of the ACAE (Accreditation Commission for Audiology Education). This organization will set the highest standards for AuD programs. In my experience working with both groups, there is a great value in our synergistic relationship. I'm convinced that this dynamic would be adversely affected if both groups did not pursue their mission as independent organizations. Members of both organizations receive great benefit from the growth of this working relationship. I view this relationship as something akin to the "central summation" phenomenon of the auditory system.
BECK: Craig, can you please outline a few of your own short term and long-term goals, and the areas you intend to focus on during your ADA presidency?
JOHNSON: ADA will continue to support the ACAE and I suspect that we will accredit the first AuD program in 2005. This will lead to formal recognition by the Department of Education, thus clearing the way for the highest standards as we educate Doctors of Audiology. We will continue our efforts to transform the profession to AuD. I'm proud to report that over 80% of ADA members have already transitioned to a doctoring level. I anticipate that by the end of my term we will have achieved direct access for audiologists with Medicare. This will eliminate the need for physician referral and it will allow older Americans the same access to audiologic care that other citizens presently enjoy.
One major initiative that I will spearhead is the development of educational programs for the Doctor of Audiology to treat patients with pharmaceutical agents. We will educate audiologist so they will have the knowledge to prescribe medications for outer and middle ear infections and for balance disorders. This education program will precede our state legislative efforts to change consumers' access to improved hearing and balance healthcare. We anticipate that we will be prepared to announce this educational initiative in the near future.
BECK: Thanks so much for your time today. It's been a pleasure speaking with you and I wish you and the ADA continued success.
JOHNSON: Thank you for the opportunity. Doug, the profession appreciates your efforts. Audiology On-line is a valuable forum for our profession's continued growth.
For more information on the ADA
Academy of Dispensing Audiologists ®
One Windsor Cove Suite, 305
Columbia, South Carolina 29223