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#MemberMonday: Building Hearing Health Partnerships

By Brandi McGrath Kong, Director of Member Services and Conferences

All Sertomans share in a national mission of hearing health. Since 1963, we have made it our goal to improve the quality of life for those at risk or impacted by hearing loss through education and support. As such, it is only natural that our clubs and members have sought and continue to seek out relationships with hearing and speech professionals such as audiologists, speech pathologists, educators, interpreters and more.

The World Health Organization predicts that people living with some degree of hearing loss will rise to 2.5 billion by 2050. Hearing loss is a health crisis with no end in sight. While we may not be able to solve it alone as an organization, we can do things to help others in the fight. 

Building partnerships with hearing professionals can be a great way to support your club’s mission work. With strain put on community assistive organizations during the recent pandemic and ensuing staffing shortages, there is a growing disconnect between healthcare providers and those patients in need of help. With overly burdened agencies unable to meet the demand and needs of the public, partnerships with organizations like Sertoma can help make all the difference as they tend to positively impact healthcare providers, social agencies, and patients alike.

What does that path look like? There are many different ways to approach building partnerships, but here are five steps you can use to get started:

  1. Discuss your common mission goals. What interests and causes do you share? Can you reposition your angle to meet or compliment theirs?
  2. Have a purpose for the healthcare professional. Be ready to explain their role in the partnership and what will be expected on their end.
  3. Address beneficiaries’ big-picture realities. What do the potential beneficiaries and patients really need? You want to make sure that whatever partnership you’re putting together is something that end users are going to want or need and that it makes sense for the audience.
  4. Determine what else can impact a beneficiary’s needs. What barriers are they facing? Where do they liked to be treated – in person, at home or online? What education or service gaps are most commonplace? How can you communicate with them?
  5. Discuss solutions to mitigate major issues trying to solve. Brainstorm to see what both sides can bring to the table.

We go into this topic more in depth in our newly released learning session, Connecting Sertoma Clubs & Hearing Health Professionals. Available on demand any time, it is perfect to share with your mission team, board, or entire club as you start or continue this important conversation.