Dr. Jeanette Benigas welcomes Dr. AC Goldberg to discuss his nonprofit, CREDIT Institute, which aims to advance healthcare and higher education equity. They explore their differing views on maintaining the CCC and engaging with ASHA, highlighting ASHA's mixed impact on marginalized professionals. AC acknowledges ASHA's role in advocating for transgender professionals and promoting DEI while also recognizing its flaws and high costs. They emphasize the need for informed consumerism, support for ASHA's potential, and the importance of empowering minoritized voices within the profession.

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What is Fix SLP?

We are discussing the biggest challenges that are currently holding back the field of speech-language pathology. We present the issues with facts and invite you to be a part of joining our movement to make things better, one conversation at a time. Let's fix SLP!
Hosted by Jeanette Benigas, PhD, SLP

Jeanette Benigas 0:00
Hey everybody, today is May 19 2024. And while I was editing the podcast for release tomorrow morning, I was devastated to receive screenshots from AC showing that his transplanting platform on Instagram had been hacked and that the hackers were requesting ransom money for him to recover the account. Obviously, AC will not be doing that. Knowing what I know about his platform, this is a huge loss to the LGBTQIA+ community. At the time of this recording, it is unknown what will happen to his platform, please show him some love and support by going and finding him at CREDITS Institute on Instagram. Thanks for listening today.

Hey fixers. I'm Dr. Jeanette Benigas, one of the cofounders of fix SLP. Our platform exists to discuss the biggest challenges that are currently holding back the field of speech language pathology, we present the issues with facts and invite you to be a part of joining this movement to make things better one conversation at a time. So let's fix SLP.

Hey, everybody, welcome back. It is Jeanette. It is my honor and privilege to welcome my friend AC Goldberg today of the credits Institute. He is Dr. AC Goldberg. But I happen to know he does not like that. So we're going to call him AC because that's what he wants to be called. Typically, I would read a review. But we've been chatting now for like 10 minutes. And he was like, Are you recording all this? And I said, No. So we turned it on. I just did my brief intro. And we'll just keep going. Because we're having some good conversations about his humanistic approach to faith and life. And he's teaching me a bunch of stuff. So we're just gonna hear what else he has to say. And then we'll get to our little four point agenda, three point agenda. I was just talking about my humanistic lens. But Hi everyone, I'm AC Goldberg, I use he him pronouns, please always call me AC. That's what I like. I am very excited to be here today, to talk a little bit about DEI, what's going on across states, as well as to talk about how people can get involved in something that I do believe is a fix that our field needs that does already exist outside of this movement. And also as a part of this movement. This has been a long time coming. We connected real early on about getting you on the podcast, and I was like eight months ago. And I told you the other day, I think everything happens for a reason. And now I think you have something really important going on that we'll talk about. But yeah, I think the time is now I think this landed here because you've got something so cool going on with your CREDIT Institute.

AC Goldberg 2:56
Well, I'm excited to talk about that. And we had just you were talking about everything happens for a reason before we hit record we have been talking about about our religions and faith and belief in God versus atheism. And I started talking about how I belong to a humanistic congregation where we keep certain rituals, but we don't adhere to things from like a god based perspective, more about, you know, embracing humanity as the reason and the response to any sort of issues that we see arising and not sort of leaving that in the hands of a divine body that, you know, as per our congregation, it's a lot of atheists. So that's not something that we're going to be leaving in the hands of a divine, you know, of a divine spirit, however, we're talking about humanity. And that's sort of the lens that I operate through in general, I think that as humans, we have so much that we can learn from one another. And especially within our profession, we have so many incredible teachers and thought leaders that we can learn from, and we can carry those practices through into our individual interactions with our patients, clients, students and the people that we serve, so that we can really be focusing on patient centered or client centered care.

Jeanette Benigas 4:15
You're doing some cool stuff. So I've been trying to invite on people who are making a difference in the field, who are advocates, who are doing great advocacy work, and I think that you are the perfect picture of that we met a year and a half ago at a party we just met because we both knew the same people. We were partying was fun. Yeah, I mean, where are we though, because I'm introverted. So I'm pretty sure I was standing there with you also standing there watching the other people party.

AC Goldberg 4:55
I think that we were partying in our own way which is valid

Jeanette Benigas 4:57
In our hearts - we were partying in our hearts

AC Goldberg 4:59
I mean that those events are so much fun. If you don't already follow Black SLP Magic or the SLP Social Scene, that's what it was it was SLP Social Scene, if you don't already follow SLP Social Scene, I would highly recommend that because those are really fun, interesting social spaces that are created within the community of Black SLPs. And it's just so much fun, and very important to support those people in our field who are out there doing this work. So yes, we met at that party. We stood there talking, I was probably very exhausted. Yeah. And ASHA convention is really exhausting. I'm, you know, between having a booth and giving talks

Jeanette Benigas 5:38
You won an award

AC Goldberg 5:40
Oh, yeah, that was exhausting. That was, and that was the Outstanding Service Award. And I can talk a little bit about the service that I've been doing within our field. But yeah, that's, that's when we met. And we've been talking since I feel like you were you brought me into present at the Pennsylvania State Association. And then again

Jeanette Benigas 5:58
It was just at the university. Oh, right. We ran the CEUs through PSHA. But you came and talked, and I opened that CEU up nationwide. And we invited a bunch of NSSLHA students, and it was great and awesome. And we had we've had what lunch together and you won my heart, the day that you picked me up some kind of like, gluten, all the things free cinnamon roll in downtown Philadelphia and traveled with it for like 24 hours, and then you're always gonna steal my heart with food. So that sealed the deal. Now we're besties. And there's, there's no turning back.

AC Goldberg 6:44
It was an amazing bakery. I remember, just because you had told me about your your allergies. And I walked into this bakery in downtown Philly right before heading to the Pennsylvania State Association Conference. And I was like, You know what, I am going to bring one of these cinnamon rolls. Because they were delicious. I had had one, really delicious. It's been really nice knowing you. And it's been nice knowing you by unchecking. It's been really nice getting to know you through sort of all of all of these things and watching the evolution of of your work and advocacy shift over the last couple of years. Whereas first we met when you were interested in what I'm been doing in the DEI sphere, which is you know, what I won that award at ASHA for and also what we what you talked about, in the beginning through the CREDIT Institute, which is my 501 C three nonprofit, it is dedicated to advancing equity and healthcare in higher education. What I am attempting to do through CREDIT for SLPs is help people better understand what Ti is and why it's important. How do we engage with it in a way that is useful for practice, not just in, like, oh, I took a took an hour and a half long, you know, CEU, I have fulfilled my requirement check, but in a way that actually carries through meaning into clinical report building, as well as report building at work with your colleagues who might be at minoritized races, or maybe you work with people who are LGBTQIA plus, or people who are non neurotypical, it's really important to know how to create a space that allows people to feel comfortable around you in their interactions. When we're talking about clients. Obviously, we want to create space where people feel comfortable interacting with us, because that's what we're doing. We're trying to get people to interact with us. But that's also important with your colleagues. And it's really important within state organizations. I think that that's, you know, one thing that aspects, SLP is showing people that they have a choice between, you know, keeping their Asha CE CCC or not, I think that joining your state association, to get your CPUs and to feel a sense of belonging with people is a really nice thing to do. And it allows people to build to build that community.

Jeanette Benigas 9:13
Joining the state organizations trying to get your CEUs from they're really important, or I'm a huge fan. Just this morning, I purchased a $46 course package from an independancy provider who's doing great work in the fees community. And I always try to elevate people who are doing like great things for the field. And you're doing that and you've recently with the CREDIT Institute, come up with an idea to support state organizations with your courses. Why don't you tell us about what you're doing?

AC Goldberg 9:52
CREDIT, which offers a few courses one is an intersectional cultural responsiveness course it's really broad and talks about all of the different, not all, but many of the different types of DEI education that you might need things like linguist is working with deaf and hard of hearing populations, working with Native populations, working with trans and gender nonconforming populations, anti racism and therapeutic report all of those things. What I am hoping to do is partner with State Associations if they'll have me to allow their members to access that coursework so that people don't have to seek it out separately. And we can circumvent states where that can't be paid for through people's institutions. I do know that all of these DTI bands that are floating around in various states, I think that we understand those of us who work within the DEI community understand the purpose of these bills, and we understand the ramifications that they could have. And just if you're someone who's like, what is this even mean, I'm gonna just backward track through it. So diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives have been around for a while this is I know that people just sort of started hearing about Dei, a few years ago, but it's not new. These are initiatives that have been created in order to reduce disparities in health care and education, through making sure that people are met with conditions that are equitable, across all circumstances. Let's say this can play out in various ways. As a speech language pathologist, let's say that you're working with a native family, and you need to know and understand their cultures and customs. In order to deliver an evidence based intervention that is culturally sensitive, that would be considered something that would now be banned as DEI, something like calling a transgender person, the right name, would be something that could potentially be banned in a state where you're working. And you know, all of these things that are being banned are only to sort of preserve the top level of people in power. They don't actually, DEI does not harm anyone, we're not talking about taking anyone's rights away. We're not talking about changing things so that people lose anything. It's about making sure that we meet people where they are. And we enter into therapeutic relationships with an understanding or collegial relationships with an understanding of who other people are. And that's something that we do at CREDIT. So we offer courses that are mostly asynchronous online, some workshops, and what we like to do is meet people where they are and teach them about these issues and how they play a role in our service provision, as well as in our institutions and how we can advocate for people to have better conditions both inside of where we're practicing and outside within broader institutional settings.

Jeanette Benigas 13:13
I think the approach you're taking is extremely affordable. I know that for just a single person buying courses, you have kind of a tiered approach to how you charge for those courses. So you might want to mention that. But when we were talking a couple weeks ago, you told me about the pricing that you were going to offer to states, having talked to the states, with declining membership and declining budgets, and in the states of emergency in terms of money, I thought your plan for how what you're going to charge these states is incredible. Simply incredible, you want to share that?

AC Goldberg 13:51
Sure. I'll talk a little bit about that. So if you're someone who state association decides not to partner with CREDIT, and that's okay. I mean, state associations have their own priorities and I'm not here to bash any state associations. And in any way, if your state association does not partner with CREDIT, the prices for courses are generally $199 for students and CFOs. And these are courses that have between 36 and 73 Asha CEU hours attached to them. So there's they're long, large courses that you can take over the course of a year. There's no real rush to finish them. You can get graduate credits if you do them within a semester period. And that's a separate registration process. But $199 for students and CS $399 for practicing clinicians who don't have any like padding to their budget, and $799 for people who are feeling generous because it is a nonprofit, and all of the money that people donate to CREDIT in order to take the courses goes back to the contributors. It's not a corporation that keeps holds money back from the contributors. We distribute everything to everyone who has contributed a course throughout the year for state associations in. If you're a member of your state association, and they decide to partner with CREDIT, the state associations are paying a sliding scale price of 1000 to $2,500. Based on how many members they have in their financial situations for everyone to access our flagship course, which is that intersectional course that teaches about sort of, I would say all the angles of di but there's no real way to teach about all of the angles of di because each person is their own individual human, but really a lot of different angles. So if you're a member of your state association, and they partner with credit, you can access those courses without paying any additional money because your state association would have paid your entry fee for you. And that's a nice way to check off CPUs not only for the EIN ethics, but also just in general to get those hours, we get a lot of very positive feedback about our courses. The three that we have right now are the intersectional course that I was mentioning that state associations will be able to partner for Confronting Anti Black Racism and communication sciences and disorders, which is a very popular course and really incredible. There are workshops there that are facilitated by Jordyn Carroll, Dr. Ianessa Humbert contributed a considerable amount of content for that course. And it's just really, I loved that course I take it every time, it's awkward, because I enter the situation with Jordyn as a learner with the rest of the group, because the essence of anti racism and DEI work is that you're always a learner in the space, you never get to a point where you've mastered someone else's identity, especially with all of the ways that we've been taught that are incorrect, and a lot of people don't like hearing that. And the other course that we offer is something that I teach, which is called the trans voice elective. The Trans voice elective is a 56 hour Asha CEU course that allows clinicians the requisite knowledge to be able to provide gender affirming voice services, I am the instructor of that course. And that is my volunteerism for CREDIT. I don't take any salary. At this time from CREDIT, I use all of the money that is that comes in through that course, to run operations for CREDIT, I hire very small amount of people, but I have a CEU administrator and I have someone who helps me with course design, I hire younger, minoritized SLPs to fill those roles. And so what I take in goes into running the organization and paying people for their time, and that's my volunteerism, what I really hope to do with CREDIT is grow it to the point where people are able to get CPUs in very niche DEI topics for API History Month, which is this month, it's May, it's national Speech Language Hearing month, but it's also API History Month, which is Asian American Pacific Islander History Month. For those of you who don't know the acronym, we ran a speaker series with the API caucus. And now we have a short course off up in working with transracial adoptees, I understand that that's niche. And most of us, if we work with pediatric populations, have worked with a transracial adoptee. And before engaging with the person who created the course Nikki Hunjan, and before engaging with Nikki many years ago, I hadn't necessarily considered all of the trauma that transracial adoptees are experiencing, potentially, on top of the trauma of being adopted, which is its own trauma. And I think that it's really important that these niche topics that don't really make it into sort of mainstream DEI, and I know that there's, there are a lot of different types of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, but usually things like that don't necessarily make it and we're hoping to branch into those niche topics so that clinicians can go onto the CREDIT website and think, you know, oh, my gosh, you know, I'm working with a Black trans heart of hearing autistic child, where can I get information about what this could be like and what type of population This is and what resources are available for for a client like this, that they'll be able to turn to CREDIT and find information on a lot of different types of populations where they might not necessarily be able to seek that out in another centralized place.

Jeanette Benigas 19:29
That is amazing. it that transracial adoptee topic isn't something I had ever even considered. Maybe something I'll take. I can't wait to take the Confronting Anti Racism is that the name of the course?

AC Goldberg 19:46
Confronting Anti Black Racism.

Jeanette Benigas 19:48
I've been wanting to take that one for a long time. And so it's on my list. There's so many on my list. I just tick through them again purchased a huge one this morning, but it will be so good when I take it I canno wait to learn in that course

AC Goldberg 20:01
that is a great course it's a, it's a really good course.

Jeanette Benigas 20:04
I guess I'm a lifelong learner, I just can't stop.

AC Goldberg 20:09
You know, we all are lifelong learners. And I think that the the topic of diversity, equity inclusion brings that to the forefront because you can't ever master someone else's identity. You know, maybe you can master elicitation of Vocalic R, or you can master a certain approach to a cognitive intervention. But you can't ever be an expert in who someone else is. And the fact that we have to, you know, we engage in this education, but then we have to engage in conversations in sensitive clinical conversations with the people that we work with, so that we understand where they're coming from, so that we don't accidentally deliver them a service or even have an interaction that feels insensitive to them, because that erodes that clinical report that you have. And it widens a power differential when we're working with populations who already experienced healthcare disparities, which makes them less likely to trust the system and also decreases their patient return rate, which is something that we're actually looking into studying if we if we can get some grants for CREDIT, which is something that I've been applying for many and getting none. But I know that that's a numbers game, we're looking into studying patient return rate in institutions where all clinicians have been trained in culturally responsive practices, versus just the general patient return rate in the same like geographical area. And that's something that we would like to look into, because that's a way that we can track whether or not people are comfortable with their clinicians, there isn't a whole lot of other data that we can unless we give people surveys, like how comfortable were you with this clinician, then a whole lot of other data that we can go based off of aside from did they feel comfortable coming back.

Jeanette Benigas 21:43
So you have the CREDIT Institute, and then you have another social media platform called transplaining which I have learned so much from I follow it. I like it. Sometimes I share stuff. And to be honest, sorry, I didn't know who you were before we met at that party, as I'm sure you had no idea who I was. But when when we met, I just I've gobbling it up. And I've learned so much from you. So why don't you talk about transplaining, the path it took to credit. And I don't know any of this story. So tell me about those things.

AC Goldberg 22:18
So I had started giving lectures about trans issues. I'm someone who has experienced a lot of healthcare disparities in my life, I have been turned away from medical institutions, I have been denied care I have been interacted with in very, very insensitive ways. And I'm not talking about names and pronouns. I'm talking about things that would make you get up and leave the doctor's office, which I've done before. And I don't necessarily need to get into all of those on the fix SLP podcast, however, being mindful that you never want to be someone's negative experience. I started the platform transplanting when I began giving guest lectures at places like universities and hospitals in culturally responsive care when working with transgender people. And that all started back in maybe 2015. Ish. I didn't really have the big social media platform back then I think I didn't really start that until 2018. But what I had been doing was going around and talking to various institutions about how they could better accommodate trans people just in their interaction style, not asking insensitive questions, making sure that they understand who the whole person is in front of them, not boiling things down to gender that are unrelated to gender, not having conversations that make people feel uncomfortable for unnecessary reasons. For instance, if you're an SLP, and you're working with a trans person, and you have a surgical history question on your interview forum, knowing that you shouldn't ask an open ended surgical history question to a transgender person is something specific to transgender cultural responsiveness and the way that I tell people to circumvent this because obviously, you still need to know things as an SLP. About surgical history. If you ask someone, have you had any surgery to your head, neck, heart, brain or face or you know, any dental surgery? Do you have anything coming up any surgeries coming up that you're gonna be intubated for? Have you been intubated recently, you can change your questions to adjust to the person in front of you so that you don't make them uncomfortable. Because you know, what you don't want to hear about is someone's bottom surgery, you don't need to know that. You don't need to know any of that. And making them feel like they might have to share that with you can create a moment of panic or trigger trauma in that person, and there's no need for it. So knowing who's in front of you, and also, by the way, you don't actually need to know anyone's full surgical history as an SLP. Really, we just need to focus on pointing I know that you're not watching from the heart to the brain, and that's what we need to think about and any, you know, recent or upcoming intubations those are the things that we need to be asking about. We don't need to be asked for a full surgical history, I never disclose my full surgical history because I don't want I don't want my medical providers focusing on things that are irrelevant to our clinical interaction started going around talking about things like this about 10 years ago. And from there, I started to learn how to use social media, I am 44 years old. So it did, it was not a natural thing for me to learn how to do that I feel like my 11 year old knows a whole lot more about social media than I do, and started using social media to reach people and I started putting out free education, I was putting out free slide decks on things like interacting with your transgender colleagues at work, what to do, what not to do, interacting for SLPs interacting with transgender students in schools, what to do, what not to do, advocating for transgender patients in your hospital, what to do, what not to do. And I branched into things about advocating for people of all neuro types, you know, accommodating autistic party guests that your holiday party, making sure that you're, you don't make racially insensitive comments, and I started bringing in collaborators, I had been kind of giving out free education, asking people to donate to a patreon to keep me going. And then I started bringing in collaborators to talk about their own intersections and lived experiences, especially because a lot of my followers were SLPs, I went into the SLP community, and I was like, you know, I want to hear about your intersections as a Black SLP as an autistic SLP as a disabled SLP. And all of that was, it was really great. And I learned so much that I thought, You know what, this should be its own platform. And it should be a nonprofit, because I certainly shouldn't be benefiting off of other people's work. And that's where CREDIT was born CREDIT's, revenue, it goes entirely back to the contributors, including my own, which just goes into overhead. And the way that that is different from taking a DEI CEU from elsewhere is that most of us get paid maybe between 50 and $200, to give a webinar one time, that then leaves on in perpetuity in a large platform that gets $99 A year from you know, half of the SLP world. And that's a huge business where the minoritized person has come and done some emotional labor, and they only benefit one time. And that, to me feels unacceptable. So if you're someone who works for one of those places, and that's something to think about when you're asking people for their labor, you know, are you compensating people equitably? And what does that even mean? And is it fair and equitable to compensate people one time for something that then a large organization where people take various administrative roles, and then reap the benefit of that person's labor. These are things that we deal with as minoritized people, people expecting free labor of us all the time, I am wanting to talk because I give away a lot of free labor. But I also feel I do I give away a lot of free labor, I do now have better boundaries around that. However, I also feel that I have a position of privilege. In this situation, being that I'm white, I have a job that now pays me a decent salary and gives me health insurance. And those are things that allow me to feel like I can give my time away. But that has not always been the case. And I have fought with people who want me to work for free when I haven't been able to work for free. And that's the ask for most of us who work in this sphere is you know, why can't you do this for free? Well, our time is worth money just like every other expert.

Jeanette Benigas 28:43
Yes. Applauding. It's so important to be compensating contributors for their value. And I love that CREDIT does that. It's it means a lot, especially someone who has been not me not a minority, taken advantage of in those kinds of ways. I cut this out of a recent podcast, but I wrote a book in 2016. For the field it look at you your eyes, because I don't talk about it because it was a manual, about a therapy technique that I really wanted to put into the world for clinicians and care partners of people with dementia. And I am the first author, my second author did a ton of work. So we take the bulk of the royalty but we have sold 1000s and 1000s and 1000s and 1000s of copies of this book all over the world since it was published in 2016. And I just got my yearly one time a year royalty check for $128

AC Goldberg 29:49
That's what happens when you don't self publish.

Jeanette Benigas 29:51
This book is sold by this publisher for almost $40 First of all, the book is not worth $40 Which is why I don't tell people about it. I'm embarrassed that people think I'm making a ton of money. You know, people who have things to say and something to contribute, are taken advantage of a lot. And I I'm sure with the minority population, it's even more. So if it's happening to me, it's probably happening 10 times worse to people who are minorities.

AC Goldberg 30:18
Yeah, I mean, absolutely. And the problem is that it's not just not that I want to call that extra. But it's not just the side projects. For us where that happens. It's also within you all know about pay disparities that exist between, you know, Black women and white women, Hispanic women and white women, transgender people, and cisgender people, we all know about pay disparity. So there are multiple ways in which minoritized populations get taken advantage of. And that's only one of them. And I'm sorry, that that happened to you. And it's funny, because I just, I was approached by a company about a book deal, and I turned it down. This was just within the last few days, I turned it down, because I didn't want an advance and then to make like, under 50 cents a copy for a book that could potentially sell I mean, I'd rather Self Publish. And that's, you know...

Jeanette Benigas 31:13
I want to get into a topic that I think is really important because we have different thoughts and ideas. And I'm often accused of having an agenda. And when I asked you to come on the pod, I didn't even know we were going to talk about this until 45 minutes ago. But I welcome it and invite it because we have some different thoughts about keeping the CCC and engaging with Asha. And those types of topics. And we talked about it and even though we're, I think on the same page, but also not quite on the same page, we're still friends. And you can still come on this podcast and talk about. So I want you to tell me about your ongoing engagement with ASHA, and your thoughts about the CCC.

AC Goldberg 32:02
So my ongoing engagement with ASHA, I do purcahse I have by CCC I participate in I'm an invited speaker at the Seattle ASHA convention, I have yet to decide whether CREDIT will have a booth simply because I think it will cost a lot of money to get our materials to Seattle. And that's an additional cost. I'm in Massachusetts and an additional cost to Asha when we're already a CEU provider and I am a member. So there's a lot of money that goes into that organization from me and my nonprofit annually. And you know, I recognize that they're a large machine, I want to back up and say you know, I am is anti establishment and anti capitalist as they come as you can see from my revenue distribution model and the free education that I put out there. And my thoughts about ASHA as an organization are very mixed. And I have to acknowledge that while I have seen harmful, harmful actions from like the Ethics Committee, and Asha perpetrated against people in our community. ASHA has given me the it gave me the first professional space where I felt comfortable and included. ASHA was the first place where I felt like I could be an openly transgender person and a professional SOP. They are the only place that is a certifying body that has a DEI requirement that would require people to learn about people like me, which is very important. And the fact that I would say it was maybe 2007. I was fed up with how I was being treated at work. I was so beyond with what had been going on with my employment that I called the multicultural issues board. And to took my call other than Vicki deal Williams. And she listened to me speak multiple times for multiple hours about what was going on with me at work. And then she enacted change. And I know that this is not what your listeners want to hear. And I recognize that like I could lose followers over talking about this, but that isn't my MO. My Mo is to say that, you know, I had a response from Asha that met the need that I was having, which was the need for people to gain more education about people like me, and that has made it into Asha bylaws, which now have created change in terms of where the convention is even being held because there are bylaws that the convention can't be held in places where there are restrictive laws against communities like mine. And also, I know that this was moved because of reproductive freedom issues, which is, you know, something considerable when you're expecting that many, that many people who could potentially be pregnant at your convention, there's, Asha, creates opportunity for people like me, that doesn't exist anywhere else in the professional sphere unless we created ourselves. And whereas I have gone and done that, to feel like I have the backing of a national association, how has been very empowering, because I don't know that I would have felt empowered to do it if I didn't have the backing of a national association. Because the way that people oftentimes feel when we are pushed to the margins is disempowered. And to have someone say, We want to hear from you, we want to know about your experience. And other people might say, well, that, you know, did they exploit you, too, I have never felt exploited. I know other people have. And I can only speak to my own experience. And that's what I'm doing right now. I also feel, I mean, I have to keep my CCC number one, I'm a university professor and I supervise graduate students who might in the future want their CCC. Number two, I can't get into a situation where I am applying for jobs. And if a CCC is required, I might have to take that job. And I don't have the privilege to be like, well, I can just find a job that doesn't require it, I can just I can just look for something else, I can do something else. I think that at this point, it takes the privilege of being able to say, well, you know, I don't need the CCC because I have a partner who has stable income, and I get my health insurance through them. And I can I can have the freedom to look for a job where that's not required. And I don't have to advocate back about it. And that isn't the position that most minoritized people are in. And I think that it takes a look at our own privilege to think about, you know, can I drop this? Is it, is it okay for me to do this, and think about things critically, and make our decisions that way. Because at this time, it does still appear to be a requirement of many employers, even though we know that it isn't required to bill Medicaid. And I mean, due to your work, we know that it isn't required for billing and those sorts of things. It is required by a lot of employers. And that's something that, you know, can't necessarily be regulated with a magic wand, it has to be taken sort of institution by institution by institution, which is a tremendous undertaking. And I think that if we're making choices like that the majority of minoritized people might feel uncomfortable without having that safety net. That all being said, I firmly support people's choices to do what they want with their own money. And I think it's really important to be an informed consumer.

Jeanette Benigas 38:10
That's so good. I want to kind of clarify that a lot of what you said about ASHA, other than the DEI requirement to purchase the CCC, a lot of what you said about ASHA has to do with membership benefit. It doesn't have to do with your competency, or the number of DEI hours you've taken or the courses you took in grad school. And I've said over and over and over again on this platform. This platform isn't to eliminate ASHA, which is what a lot of academics think I've been accused of that multiple times if you dismantle ASHA that that's not what this is. I have said over and over again that there is a place for Asha, and Asha does good things in the last podcast, we acknowledge they did some good work on Capitol Hill, even though they got a little shady with the PowerPoint training, there is a place for that kind of support, and that kind of advocacy. And that's what we should be getting from a membership association that people have the option to join or not. And right now, you don't have the option to join if you don't buy their proprietary product, which is super unfortunate, because it should be an open membership platform where you can join or not and buy the product or not. So I'd love to see that where anybody can join and get these benefits which might require the cost of membership being raised to what it actually costs to do all of these wonderful things. And then we have the issue of the CCC which is the cost is overly inflated. And like you said, lots of employers still require it. And so it's not truly an option and if we could just have the option I think that's what a lot of people. People want to see is the option of the membership versus the CCC. And I understand that the option to purchase the transparency with the money that they're pulling money from the CCC to pay for this membership stuff that people want. We don't have unions, you know, there's a lot of good things that Asha can do that if they would stop focusing on the value of their proprietary product and start focusing on the value of their membership and how to more fully support them in ways that you just talked about, we would be looking at a totally different membership association. And Preston, who has come on as a co host, and is now formerly part of my team. He says it best, they just need to modernize. They need to modernize what they're doing. And so yeah, you know, you're keeping the CCC, I'm not that we can still be friends. And we have different reasons. And that's great. But there is a place for Asha. You will you are living breathing testament to what you just said Your story is amazing. I want to see more of that without people being forced to buy a proprietary product. And so I mean, that's where I stand, I'm not trying to dismantle Asha, I'm not trying to like get rid of it. What Fix SLP has been doing is trying to give people the choice. And it's a long game, like you said it one institution at a time, I've got something posted posting later today another when where people are no longer required to have the CCC at their job. And they may keep it in they might not but at least they have the choice.

AC Goldberg 41:37
And I think that that's what at this point we can, you know, think about it's just being informed consumers. But you know, I just I do want to like reiterate that. Before I had equal employment rights. ASHA was advocating for me to have those before any required learning in transgender cultural responsiveness. Asha was creating standards for people to learn about the population. And when we think about you know, and yes, a lot of free labor from the community has gone into those those educational materials and resources from Asha. And that's where they exist. They don't exist in your state association. They don't exist in your hospitals information packet. They don't exist in your school districts information. They don't exist for free elsewhere, they exist within ASHA's resources and portal. And I think that, you know, whereas we can obviously be creating these resources outside of our national association, it's very important to think about the fact that I don't know that, especially with, you know, di bands voting in 22 states, and there are now 23 states with trans health bans. I don't think that any of those states are going to be rushing to teach their medical providers more about working with me, because they're trying to make it so that I can't access care period. So I think it's really important to lean into where we can find access to that information. And you know, sure, you can come on my Instagram, it's transplanting. And you can learn a little bit, if you scroll back through all those free slideshows, you can learn a little bit. And thinking about things that are specific for speech language pathologist, this exists centrally within Asha, I understand that that's both an incredible benefit and also problematic to those who can't afford membership. And I need to acknowledge that it is the first professional space where I felt like I could be myself and bring my full self and live out loud. I think that it's really important for those of you who don't really know me to know that I was really existing in a closet. And I felt very uncomfortable talking about myself, or even educating people in power to be more mindful of working with transgender people until this all started happening with our national association hadn't happened with my state association, maybe I'd have those feelings about my state association. And that's not to say that my state, my state has a great Association. That's not to say that my state association has done anything wrong. It's just to say that that type of advocacy work doesn't exist across states and in states where things are being banned, it's less likely to exist new. So we have to think about where we can access that information. And you can also access it at my nonprofit, the CREDIT Institute. So that's another consideration. However, I think that it's really important for people to acknowledge that it really does take place of privilege to be someone who can say, well, I am just going to drop the CCC and not be an ASHA member because being able to find employment is not that easy for some of us. I mean, you Google me, and it's all about transgender, this transgender, that transgender, this transgender, that it's not easy for me to find employment, I am so fortunate to work in a place that is, I work at Northeastern University currently, and I have the fortune of working in a place where I am also able to bring my full self. But I was applying for jobs for a long time before this opportunity was created for me by a very nice department chair who didn't have to go out of her way and did. I was applying for years for things that I thought would be a better fit for me. And I thought I was you know, a competitive candidate. But I am seen as someone who is controversial. And it makes it hard for me to get employment. Why am I seen as controversial when all I do out in the world is put good out there trying to elevate other people and respect everyone. I don't know. I don't know why we say it seems controversial, aside from the fact that I was assigned female at birth, but am a man.

Jeanette Benigas 46:18
You can't see it. People are listening, but you can't see it. But behind my glared glasses, I'm tearing up. I hate that for you. Because you're just such an amazing person. I'm glad that Asha can bring that aid. Again, I get kind of spicy on my post sometimes, but have consistently said there's some place or ASHA, or there's a and I hate that, you know, you can't just be a member of the club without buying the product.

AC Goldberg 46:45
Informed consumption is really important. I'm not some kind of like inside Asha, like, you know, promotional on here. I'm just like, like, that has nothing to do with me, I just, you know, like, that's, I just wanted to give people the perspective that I have, as someone with my own lived experience that I have found comfort in this very expensive organization. Over the years, I have found comfort there. I have had so many conversations with, you know, Vicki, who's now the CEO about my experiences, and she's always made the time for me. And I think that a lot of the time, people don't realize how accessible the ASHA staff are, especially in the multicultural issues, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, those folks are very accessible. And I think it's really important for if you are a national member for people to know that if you have issues that they are willing to take that up with you, you know, your issue of this product being you know, expensive or not representing something that's, you know, actually necessary. That's maybe not something that that the Office of Multicultural Affairs is going to be able to talk to you about elever issues within the profession, they're able to, they're able to talk to you about and I have been, I guess maybe one of the lucky recipients of what I feel was a very trauma informed response to my complaints about how vicious working in this field felt to me. And I don't know that I would have gotten to where I am now without these people listening to me and putting me in a place where I felt empowered, because I felt so disempowered. So now, what I'm trying to do with CREDIT is empower other people and bring them to the forefront and allow them to tell their stories, to give their voices and to pay them accordingly, based on who enrolls in the course. Because I think it's really important to create spaces where we empower each other. Because we can't all find that empowerment through any sort of certifying body Association, or licensing board, we aren't necessarily going to find empowerment there. We're going to find empowerment within each other. And it's incumbent upon us to find ways in which we can empower others in our profession, to bring their expertise to the foreground. And if that's not going to happen through Asha, and it's not going to happen through our state association. It has to happen through us collectively as humans bring us back to our humanistic lens. You know, we're all responsible for each other. And the reason why I am engaged in the DEI sphere, to the extent that I am is because I truly care about the quality of care that people are receiving health care disparities don't exist in a vacuum they exist because the ways in which we're educated and the ways in which we understand systems are the systems that we exist in are set up to push to people to the margins and we have to be the people were the advocates were the communication experts, we have to be the people who understand how this is happening to our patients. Why this is happening to our patients, advocate for our patients. And we have to understand ways in which we could make things better, and not accidentally make them worse, which is what can happen if people are not engaged in learning about others, because we all share one thing and that's our humanity.

Jeanette Benigas 50:32
Boom. What a place to stop give us the handles give us the website where can people find you if they're interested or if they're interested in talking to their state about partnering with you.

AC Goldberg 50:45
So if you want follow just me personally on Instagram, you can find me at transplaining that's like mansplaining but started with trans and you can find the CREDIT Institute on Instagram at at CREDITS Institute and the CREDIT Institute website is It is a nonprofit so anything that you decide to purchase there donate there is tax deductible if you want your state association to become involved there is a webpage there where you can click and you can send it to your state association and say hey we'd love for you to partner with credit so that we can get all of the CPUs within our membership to our whatever state you're in. This is a way that if you have anti DEI laws that your state association can continue to participate in providing DEI see us indirectly

Jeanette Benigas 51:39
Thank you for being a frien! if I could say I I have a golden girl song and my

Music 51:46
Thank you for being a friend

AC Goldberg 51:49
your heart is true

Music 51:50
You're a pal and a confidant

Jeanette Benigas 51:57
easy that was an amazing episode. I can't wait to put it out if for all of our listeners if you love what we're doing please go give us a five star rating and written review on Apple on Spotify. It's just five stars that helps bump up our podcast in the charts. So more people see us we do not have a Patreon but we do have a sustaining partnership program you can learn more about that at fix And I think that's it for the day. So thanks for fixing it everybody we'll see you next week!

AC Goldberg 52:29
Thank you so much for having me

oh you don't get that

Jeanette Benigas 52:38
my body I have the two genetic variants that metabolize caffeine very quickly. So on my DNA report it said to proceed with caution because people with my with both of these variants are like at a huge risk for overconsumption of caffeine and like causing themselves

AC Goldberg 52:59
like a monster a monster energy and be like I'm exhausted. I'm gonna

Jeanette Benigas 53:04
probably I don't drink that I just stick straight.... I'll go with a nitro

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