• 30 May 2016 11:53 AM | Andy McMillin (Administrator)

    In the latest episode of the Oregon Communicator Podcast, I talk with Roxanne Hanel, who is an Audiologist with the InterMountain Education Service District. Actually, she is the Audiologist at IMESD. The district covers a lot of territory - six counties, to be precise, and Roxanne is the only Audiologist working the beat.

    Roxanne's position has changed a fair amount since she started this job. Among the biggest differences is the merger between the Umatilla-Morrow ESD and the Union-Baker ESD, which is what created the InterMountain ESD in the first place. In addition, Roxanne has noticed how changes in the state funding system have affected her ability to provide services to the children in her district.

    The issue of funding for Audiology services in Oregon has been coming up a lot lately. I've heard people in the Portland Metropolitan Area talking about it for several years now, and it has had a notable impact on the ability of ESDs to maintain adequate staffing of Audiologists. I hope that this topic becomes a focus of discussions within OSHA. In particular, I would welcome comments from other Audiologists across the state regarding their experiences with funding change. If there is a movement to push for a return to prior levels of funding, I hope that OSHA will be able to partner with other stakeholder organizations, such as the Oregon Academy of Audiology, to assist in that advocacy.

    As you might know, most of the interviews for the podcast were recorded during my round-the-state trip in the fall of 2014. I was able to touch base with Roxanne when I attended the OSHA Spring Conference in Pendleton last March. To date, the funding situation has not changed substantially. On the other hand, neither has the view from the IMESD offices, which remains one of my all-time favorites:

  • 15 Feb 2016 8:48 PM | Andy McMillin (Administrator)

    The Oregon Communicator Podcast is back in action! After an unanticipated break to attend to some family medical issues, I am back at work editing and posting episodes. As always, episodes are available for free download from iTunes, from Stitcher Radio, and from the LibSyn Podcasting Network.

    John Evans has been a Speech-Language Pathologist for more than 30 years. He currently works in Early Intervention with the InterMountain Education Service District in La Grande, OR. As with many professionals who work in some of the smaller cities in the state, John has had to wear many hats through his career. He’s worked with clients of many different ages, at many different schools and medical facilities, and in several different towns and cities in Northeast Oregon. 

    He does most of his work now in the Joseph Building in downtown La Grande, pictured here. This building also houses the circuit court for the county, and it’s served many other purposes over the years as well. In fact, it used to be a hospital, and John himself was born here, just a couple of floors up, where the maternity ward used to be. Today, his office is in the basement (down the hall, he notes, from the former morgue). John appreciates the fact that his career, with all of its twists and turns, has led him to a point where he works essentially downstairs from where he was born, and in a building that itself has seen many twists and turns.

    In this episode of the Oregon Communicator Podcast, I talk with John about his career, about leaving Northeast Oregon for his education and his early career, and about what brought him back to the very building where he was born. 

  • 14 Sep 2015 1:16 PM | Andy McMillin (Administrator)


    The 2015 OSHA Conference is less than one month away, on October 9-10 at the Red Lion Hotel – Jantzen Beach, in Portland, Oregon! Be sure to register soon for OSHA’s flagship annual event. Click here for registration links and the full Conference Brochure.


    As always, our lineup of speakers includes key presenters on a wide range of topics. Friday’s speakers will present all day, but new this year, the morning sessions and afternoon sessions will be self-contained talks. This means that you can switch speakers at mid-day if you like, and still get the value of a full treatment of both topics you attend, and you will be able to claim full CE credit for both sessions. This member-requested feature is a welcome addition to the Conference. Friday evening will showcase poster and technical sessions, with the opportunity for substantial interaction with multiple authors/presenters. Saturday’s speakers will draw from a wide range of local and regional professionals, with 3-hour morning talks and two 90-minute sessions in the afternoon.  

    We will continue to hold our annual Silent Auction on Friday. Look for framed art, handmade jewelry, gift certificates and other prizes, and visit the tables often to participate in the bidding. Winners will be announced during the reception on Friday Evening. Remember – it’s not too late to donate an item to the silent auction, and anyone who gives a donation worth $50 or more will be entered into a drawing for a free registration at next year’s OSHA Conference!

    Friday’s lunch will feature OSHA’s Awards Presentations, including student awards to a graduate student at each of Oregon’s three graduate training programs. Funding for these awards comes largely from the 50/50 raffle, led each year by OSHA Past Presidents. We will have a social lunch on Saturday this year, with abundant opportunities to reconnect with your friends and colleagues. We firmly believe in the need to have time and space to maintain and develop professional relationships, and that a significant part of the Conference’s value lies in building bridges through informal, agenda-free conversations.


    This year, we are greatly pleased to be able to offer several new features to enhance communication in our professional community. During Friday morning's breakfast, OSHA will host a set of Roundtable Discussions on a variety of topics. Each table will have a topic host who is interested in sharing information and hearing perspectives from across the state to help guide next steps. So find a topic of interest to you, pull up a chair, and add your voice to the discussion.

    OSHA, together with the three graduate SLP training programs in Oregon, will be hosting an Oregon Open House during the ASHA Convention this year. This Open House will be on Friday, November 13, from 8:30-11:00 PM, at the Convention facility in Denver. Because the Convention is in the Western Region this year, OSHA will be able to raffle off a Free Registration to the 2015 ASHA Convention. If you haven’t already registered for ASHA, winning this raffle could spur you on to Denver. And if you already registered for ASHA, don’t worry – the winner will be able to get reimbursed for registration fees they have already paid.

    As you might have heard, the Oregon Communicator Podcast launched over the summer. It is available for free streaming or download at Libsyn, and you can stream, download, or subscribe to the podcast for free at iTunes or Stitcher. At the conference, you can find podcast host (and 2015 OSHA President) Andy McMillin and add your ideas for topics to cover as the show moves forward.

    We will be making an announcement about a significant new event that OSHA will be adding in 2016. This event has been several years in the making, and it will help to address an area of substantial need across the state. Be sure to register for the Conference, where the details will be announced!

    Finally, we are pleased to be able to bring one of this year’s signature initiatives to the conference. Many of you have attended PubNight in one of the many cities across the state currently hosting these monthly gatherings. In this coming year, we will be partnering with the Oregon PT Association (OPTA), and the OT Association of Oregon (OTAO) on a campaign to increase the reach and the impact of these popular events. In addition, we are pleased to host a Special PubNight on Thursday evening, October 8, starting at 5:30 PM in the lobby of the Red Lion Hotel – Jantzen Beach. This will be our only opportunity this year to gather with colleagues from across the entire state in a low-key, casual environment where ideas and relationships can emerge through the simple act of interpersonal interaction. So if you are coming from outside of Portland, consider arriving on Thursday to stop by PubNight in the evening. And if you are already in the Portland area, please come up to Jantzen Beach on Thursday to Join the Conversation.

  • 27 Aug 2015 7:59 AM | Andy McMillin (Administrator)

    2015 ASHA Convention News

    Are you planning to attend the 2015 ASHA Convention in Denver? If so, remember that early-bird discount rates apply until August 31.  Also keep in mind that OSHA is coordinating an Oregon Open House together with the SLP training programs from the University of Oregon, Portland State University, and Pacific University. This Open House will be held on Friday, November 11, from 8:30 PM to 11:00 PM. It's free to attend, and light refreshments will be available. Please consider stopping by for this outstanding opportunity to network and interact with your professional colleagues from Oregon.

    ASHA Registration Raffle

    OSHA is pleased to announce that we will hold a raffle for a free registration to the ASHA Convention this year!  This raffle will take place at the OSHA Conference in October, and the winner will receive their ASHA Convention Registration for free. If you have already registered for the ASHA Convention before the OSHA Conference, you can get reimbursed for the amount you paid for ASHA Registration. One more reason to come to the OSHA Conference in October!

  • 23 Aug 2015 12:40 PM | Andy McMillin (Administrator)

    ASHA and Dept of Ed Guidance on Services for Children with ASD

    As many of you know, OSHA has been heavily involved in Oregon legislative activities related to services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. In particular, we have provided substantial input on recent bills that have created a mandate for insurance coverage of ABA services for children with ASD. OSHA stands in strong support for the provision of appropriate services for children with such a diagnosis, including, where appropriate, ABA services.

    Oregon is not unique in having a mandate for coverage of ABA services, and there have been reports from some areas that recent mandates for coverage of ABA services have been interpreted to mean that only ABA services should be provided for children with ABA. ASHA has been working on this issue recently, and they have collaborated with the Department of Education (DOE) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to issue some guidance documents relating to the role of Speech & Language Services for children with ASD.

    If you are a Speech-Language Pathologist, and you find yourself in a situation where Speech/Language services are being unreasonably denied, please feel free to make use of these resources to increase awareness of the unique contribution of our services to clients with Autism Spectrum Disorders. 

    Links to the relevant documents:

    ASHA Press Release regarding Speech/Language services for clients with ASD

    DOE/CMS Guidance Cover Letter

    US DOE Guidance Letter on services for ASD

  • 07 Aug 2015 11:15 AM | Andy McMillin (Administrator)

    Subscribe to the Oregon Communicator Podcast

    Oregon Communicator Podcast

    If you are new to podcasts, or if you haven't yet worked with iTunes to access podcasts through their portal, then you might want to watch this video. This brief (less than 2 minutes) video will show you how to use iTunes to access the Oregon Communicator Podcast in the iTunes store, and how to subscribe to the podcast so that new episodes are automatically downloaded to your computer.  And remember, although all this is done through the iTunes store, the podcast is completely freeI hope to release approximately one new episode per month.

    Podcasts can be played back from your computer, or you can play podcasts from your tablet or smartphone via a podcasting app. The Oregon Communicator will soon be available with Stitcher, and if there are other podcasting apps that you use, please let me know in a comment below - I'd be happy to make the show available wherever it is you are listening!

  • 01 Aug 2015 2:37 PM | Andy McMillin (Administrator)


    OSHA 2015 Conference Cover

    Our 2015 Conference lineup is now set, and it's one of the best ever. VP for Scientific and Educational Affairs Karen McLaughlin, along with her Conference Committee, have really outdone themselves.  I was so excited by the speakers that I made a video to tell you about the one I'm most looking forward to. Click the link above to watch, watch it on the OSHA website homepage, or go to this address:


    And be sure to join us on October 9-10 at the Red Lion Hotel - Jantzen Beach, in Portland OR. 

    See the Conference Program here.

    Register here.

  • 01 Aug 2015 12:13 PM | Andy McMillin (Administrator)

    Oregon Communicator Podcast LogoEpisode 1 of the new Oregon Communicator Podcast is now available! As you may know, I took a trip around the outside borders of Oregon last year (except for the coast, where I hope to travel this year), and I interviewed a number of professionals who work in some of the less-populated areas of Oregon.  The initial episodes of this podcast will feature those interviews, and those stories.

    The Podcast is available (for free!) through iTunes at this address: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/oregon-communicator-podcast/id1024605621

    Jennie Price, MS, CCC-SLP

    In this first episode, Jennie Price, MS, CCC-SLP, joins me to talk about issues of interest to the profession, and in particular how these issues play out in rural Oregon. At the time we recorded the interview, Jennie was Director of Regional Programs and Related Services at the InterMountain ESD.  She is also the Region 3 Representative on the OSHA Board of Directors.

    In the episode, I comment on the view from the ESD building parking lot. Here is that view - it's one of my favorites.

    The view from the IMESD parking lot

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