Get to Know the National Black Association for Speech-Language and Hearing (NBASLH)

In celebration of Black History Month, we’re shining a spotlight on the National Black Association for Speech-Language and Hearing (NBASLH). Members shared what being part of NBASLH means to them—their responses ranged from empowerment to community support and professional growth. NBASLH serves as a beacon for Black professionals in the profession of speech-language pathology, providing a space for connection, advocacy, and learning.

What does being a member of NBASLH mean to you?

Aieshea Banks: I am extremely proud to be a part of NBASLH. It represents the importance of connection and my commitment to support, educate, advocate for, and represent my culture and the diversity in our stories. NBASLH has inspired me to step out of my comfort zone. It has given me a sense of belonging in this field. I live in California, a state that has a broad range of diversity, but we are still under-represented in academia and many professional spaces. Being a part of NBASLH—where brilliant, ambitious, and successful professionals who are unapologetic about their identity as multifaceted Black people and who lift as they climb are the norm—is powerful.

Lauren Hastings: My involvement in NBASLH is about carrying the torch of the founders’ mission and standing on the shoulders of all the Black SLPs and audiologists who boldly created a space for me to thrive. My career has changed drastically since becoming involved in NBASLH. My confidence and empowerment to be a change agent in our field have been solidified.

Brittani Hightower: NBASLH truly means the world to me. I have gained valuable leadership experience as well as made connections with colleagues who have become friends. NBASLH has been the space I needed to develop leadership skills and become a better clinician. 

Nastassia Horn: To me, being in NBASLH means always having a community of individuals who look like me and are doing amazing things for our field. Being an NBASLH member has allowed me to always feel visible and always feel supported. 

Daphne McDonald: I can, and should, help ensure that the number of African American professionals can increase through individual and organizational efforts. 

Samantha Washington: Being a member of NBASLH holds personal and professional value for me. This Association has provided a strong sense of belonging and community. Sharing my expertise at Convention, volunteering through NBASLH Cares, and reading about the excellence of my colleagues in Resound, NBASLH has provided a platform for Black professionals in our field to facilitate a sense of empowerment and growth. Being a part of NBASLH also allows me to further influence and guide the next generation of speech-language pathologists and give back to the community.

How did you hear about NBASLH?

Lauren Hastings: I heard about NBASLH from my graduate advisor, Dr. Iris Johnson-Arnold. She was the volunteer chair for the Convention and “voluntold” me.

Brittani Hightower: I first heard about NBASLH through my professors at Howard University while completing my graduate degree.

Nastassia Horn: NBASLH was introduced to me by my mentor and former professor, Dr. Kia Johnson, PhD, CCC-SLP, when I was an undergraduate at the University of Houston. 

Daphne McDonald: I learned about NBASLH as an undergraduate student at Jackson State University, an HBCU.

Samantha Washington: I heard about NBASLH through another group called S.I.S.T.A.S. (Sisters in Speech Therapy and Audiology).

What do you wish others knew about NBASLH? 

Aeishea Banks: NBASLH feels like home. It is inclusive, down-to-earth, empowering, and seeks to think outside of the box to normalize the support of Black and other marginalized communities.

Lauren Hastings: NBASLH is the hub for Black SLPs, audiologists, and students to have a voice and facilitate conversations about our community’s speech, language, and hearing issues. Additionally, it is a learning hub for non–African Americans to build their knowledge and strategies in working with Black clients and families.

Brittani Hightower: NBASLH was founded in 1978 and has been working diligently since then to increase the number of Black speech, language, and hearing professionals as well as advocate for and improve the quality of service delivery to Black individuals with communication disorders and differences. 

Daphne McDonald: NBASLH partners with ASHA; the organizations support each other, working for all members.

Samantha Washington: NBASLH provides the tools and connections necessary to thrive and contribute meaningfully within the field of speech-language pathology.


If you’re a student and you’re passionate about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and find inspiration in the insights shared by NBASLH members, you have numerous opportunities to get involved. NBASLH offers mentorship programs and scholarships for both undergraduate and graduate students. National NSSLHA will be attending the NBASLH Convention, April 11–13, 2024, in Raleigh, North Carolina. Follow us on Instagram to see all the exciting events and programs.

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