Academic journal article Journal of Allied Health

Advocacy Priorities and Strategies for ASAHP: A Survey of the ASAHP Membership

Academic journal article Journal of Allied Health

Advocacy Priorities and Strategies for ASAHP: A Survey of the ASAHP Membership

Article excerpt

The Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions (ASAHP) recently established a strategic goal to increase advocacy efforts. The purpose of this study was to identify advocacy priorities and preferred advocacy strategies among the ASAHP membership. A brief Advocacy Priorities and Strategies Survey was sent to 234 ASAHP members included in the ASAHP email list using an online survey software. Forty-eight members (20%) completed the survey. Data were analyzed using the online survey software and response frequency counts. ASAHP members identified the following federal advocacy priorities: 1) support for students entering allied health professions, 2) support for faculty seeking higher degrees to enhance quality of education in allied health programs, 3) support for higher education institutions to increase capacity of professional programs to address projected allied health workforce needs identified by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and 4) support for research funding from federal agencies for allied health. The need for education regarding allied health professions to enhance advocacy efforts was also reported. Preferred advocacy strategies included scheduling ASAHP conferences in Washington, DC, to facilitate trips to Capitol Hill and visiting legislators in home states. Members also indicated a need to participate in advocacy training to enhance their advocacy skills. J Allied Health 2015; 44(2):123-127.

ADVOCACY is "the act or process of advocating or supporting a cause or proposal."1 All of the allied health professional organizations have an advocacy agenda, and each uses specific methods to achieve its advocacy goals. Likewise, the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions (ASAHP) has a long history of advocacy on a variety of issues. ASAHP, established in 1967 as an association for educators, administrators, and others who are concerned with critical issues affecting allied health education, began its advocacy efforts in an era when professions which were allied with health and medicine were beginning to recognize the need to band together to advocate for legislation and federal funding.2 The Allied Health Professions Training Act P.L. 89-751 had just been signed by President Johnson in 1966. ASAHP worked by itself or jointly with other professional organizations over the years to advocate for funding for allied health education through reauthorization of Section 766 Advanced Training Program in Title VII of the Public Health Service Act and later for funding of the Allied Health Professions Reinvestment Act of 2005.3

In its strategic plan established in 2013, ASAHP designated advocacy as one of its five strategic objectives. Identifying advocacy as a strategic objective aligns well with the mission of ASAHP "to improve health through excellence in education, inter-professional collaboration, leadership, research, and advocacy."4 As a member-driven organization, advocacy priorities should be identified by the membership and approved by the Board. ASAHP has not recently surveyed its membership to examine current legislative priorities. The purpose of this study was to identify advocacy priorities and preferred advocacy strategies among the ASAHP membership. A cross-sectional survey was administered to members of ASAHP to determine their advocacy priorities and preferred advocacy strategies. Survey participants were solicited from the 234 members of ASAHP who are included on the ASAHP email list. The ASAHP Advocacy Priorities and Strategies Survey was developed using content from presentations at the 2013 ASAHP Annual Conference5,6 and input from ASAHP members who attended the ASAHP strategic planning meeting on advocacy. Survey content included 13 Likert-type questions addressing advocacy priorities (student education, faculty education, program development/expansion, and research) and 8 Likert-type questions addressing advocacy strategies. Two open-ended questions asked if there were other advocacy issues and strategies that were not covered in earlier questions. …

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