Montana Speech-Language-Hearing Association Website: mshaonline.org Facebook: The Montana Speech-Language Hearing Association Established: February 1957 Members: 220 Contact: Rachel Stansberry, president, 406-366-1377; msha@fmdh.org MSHA is committed to connecting with every member of our organization. In Montana, this is quite possible, and sometimes can’t be avoided! We support one another ... State Spotlight
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State Spotlight  |   April 01, 2015
Montana Speech-Language-Hearing Association
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Hearing & Speech Perception / State Spotlight
State Spotlight   |   April 01, 2015
Montana Speech-Language-Hearing Association
The ASHA Leader, April 2015, Vol. 20, 66. doi:10.1044/leader.STSP.20042015.66
The ASHA Leader, April 2015, Vol. 20, 66. doi:10.1044/leader.STSP.20042015.66
Facebook: The Montana Speech-Language Hearing Association
Established: February 1957
Members: 220
Contact: Rachel Stansberry, president, 406-366-1377; msha@fmdh.org
How are you making a difference in your members’ professional lives?
MSHA is committed to connecting with every member of our organization. In Montana, this is quite possible, and sometimes can’t be avoided! We support one another personally and professionally. Our annual convention provides excellent continuing education opportunities and a time of reunion. We have proudly supported members as they became board members, discovered leadership skills and moved to professional involvement at the national level.
What is the most significant challenge, unique circumstance, or pressing frustration facing communication sciences and disorders in your state today?
Montana is the fourth-largest state, spanning 558 miles east to west. But we rank 44th in population, so audiologists and speech-language pathologists are often few and far between. Winter lasts a long time. Put those factors together, and service delivery is our biggest challenge. Professionals and consumers spend a lot of time on the road to provide and receive services. Because of our isolation, we need to have broad knowledge in our fields and know where to direct consumers for specialized services. Fortunately, we are flexible and creative! We use support personnel and cooperate with our state board of education to provide training and networking throughout our state. Technology and telepractice have served us well in this challenge.
What are your association’s proudest accomplishments?
  • In 2013 we helped enact a telepractice bill that allows audiologists and SLPs who are licensed in Montana to provide remote treatment.

  • Diane Simpson, a past president, received the American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation’s 2014 Louis M. DiCarlo Award for Recent Clinical Achievement.

  • We awarded our first MSHA Memorial Scholarship in 2014, and will offer two this year.

  • Our membership has nearly doubled in the past two years.

  • We keep our members apprised of association efforts through frequent e-mails and our website, Facebook page and quarterly newsletter, The Communicator.

  • We are 58 years old and still going strong!

What is a memorable event in your association’s history and how did it come about?
In 1989, the University of Montana eliminated the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders, the only program that trained SLPs and audiologists in the state. In 2007, with the work of many professionals and the backing of MSHA, the program re-emerged, offering on-campus and distance learning. The first class graduated in 2011 and the program was accredited in July 2014.
Do you have a particularly successful advocacy or recruitment strategy to share?
Our members know who we are and what we do. We set visible goals and meet them. We focus on students, especially through our May is Better Hearing and Speech Month activities, scholarships, mentoring, and annual October convention. Students showcase their research at a poster session, and then host a social evening with trivia contests, a silent auction and entertainment. Many students join MSHA and stay with us as professionals.
What should every communication sciences and disorders professional in your state know about the association?
We all love our profession and it shows! Our members are hard-working, highly qualified professionals who give their time and talent to MSHA. We sustain our members on many levels: through continuing education, networking and legislative advocacy. MSHA actively pursues grants and allies with other organizations for statewide advocacy for consumers. We are committed to balancing our offerings to all members, whether professional or student, school-based or medical, SLP or audiologist; we are approachable and ready to work for you!
2 Comments
April 29, 2015
Amanda Schaumburg
Hello from a Montana born Texan
I was born in Kalispel Montana and most of my mom's family is still there! I live in Texas now but visit when I can. I am a speech pathologist here in Texas. I am happy to hear that tele-practice is available in the state! I wish I could move back and help you all out!! I miss my Rocky Mountains!
August 5, 2015
Jennifer Schoffer Closson
Thanks for sharing!
Amanda, I can certainly tell you that you would be welcomed back to Montana. If you decide to give it a try, please email me, I am happy to help out.
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April 2015
Volume 20, Issue 4