Shannon Hall-Mills Named FLASHA President

Dr. Shannon Hall-Mills, an assistant professor at FSU School of Communication Science and Disorders (SCSD), is the new president of FLASHA, the Florida Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists. In addition to working as a speech language pathologist (SLP) in education-based settings and early childhood centers, Dr. Hall-Mills has spent the entirety of her career working with other SLPs and audiologists. She often advocates for these professions at Florida’s Capitol, making her new role as President for FLASHA very fitting.

“Our professions (of speech language pathology and audiology) continue to evolve, as do communication problems across the lifespan,” Dr. Hall-Mills says. Speaking to the importance of FLASHA’s role in this evolution, she explains, “As a not-for-profit professional association, FLASHA has its niche in meeting the continuing education, networking, and advocacy needs of its members. The challenge is that those needs ebb and flow with time and the practice setting. For example, the needs are different for professionals working in healthcare, education, and private practice. What they have in common is that they face challenges in their work, but the nature of those challenges varies by the setting and age span of their clientele. FLASHA is important as a collective base for professionals in all settings to converge on issues of interest, to build awareness of what we do, garner support for the services we provide to people, and advance the professions.”

Dr. Hall-Mills got involved with the organization while a graduate student at FSU SCSD. She says, “Several of the faculty members in the department were involved in FLASHA; they had various roles with the association, and shared about their experiences during class. Then, as a new professional in the field, I became a member and started to attend the annual convention and get involved in committees. Many of the SLPs with whom I worked in the schools were involved in FLASHA too. It was part of the culture where I trained and where I worked.”

As President of FLASHA, Dr. Hall-Mills is enthusiastic about sharing her passion for the profession she’s committed her life to. “I am looking forward to working with a fantastic board of volunteers and their committees to tackle the high priority goals for the association this year,” she says. “Our board includes people who live all over the state as well as multiple FSU SCSD graduates, too, including myself, Alliete Alfano, Jennifer Westmoreland, and Lyndsey Zurawski. Mario Landera–another alumnus of our program–just rotated off the board.

“FLASHA is self-managed, meaning it takes board members and other volunteers to perform the functions of the association. We all work full time in our own jobs, and provide our time and skills outside of work for FLASHA. I’m looking forward to finding efficient ways to advance the association’s membership and visibility throughout the state. I’m excited about specific initiatives our board is working on. For example, we have board members involved in making updates to the supervision structure for SLP assistants, advocating for better practices in managed care, and seeking legislative support for caseload caps and workload approaches in the schools. We have some new interprofessional collaborations underway with the physical therapy and occupational therapy associations as well. There’s a lot going on, but it’s all for very specific causes.”