March 1, 2013 Departments

State Spotlight: Missouri Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Website:www.showmemsha.org
Facebook page:www.facebook.com/pages/Missouri-Speech-Language-Hearing-Association/122395347779547?fref=ts
Established: 1959
Members: 1,357
Contact: Jane Webb, president-elect, jane.webb@charter.net

How are you making a difference in your members' professional lives?

MSHA works to link our professionals with one another and with the community of consumers.

  • The MSHA Executive Board seeks input from attendees every year during a preconvention session, "Ask MSHA." At this session, officers also provide updates on current activities and events of importance in their area.
  • We use Listserv messages for immediate release of information.
  • Requests for information sent to the MSHA office are forwarded to the Executive Board to address. The board also has a group of professional experts to help with answers to specific topics.
  • The website contains action links, quick link topics and general information about the association. A public/consumer information section provides information about the profession and explains the types of services provided. MSHA is developing an online continuing education course.
  • MSHA sponsors a yearly Legislative Day that gives members and students the opportunity to tour the Capitol and meet with legislators to talk about issues affecting our practice.
  • MSHA offers a two-day fall conference, a day-long institute, a four-day convention and a quarterly newsletter.

What is the most significant challenge, unique circumstance or pressing frustration facing communication sciences and disorders professionals in your state today?

MSHA is working with other stakeholders to support new state guidelines for speech-language pathology assistants, which call for an SLPA to have a bachelor's degree in speech-language pathology (or equivalent) and be registered with the Missouri State Board of Healing Arts. The state department of education allows the use of speech-language "implementers," who are issued an educator certificate, to work in the schools as speech-language providers. MSHA and other organizations support the SLPA model in all settings statewide.

What is a particularly memorable event in your association's history and how did it come about?

MSHA sponsored and organized a year-long recovery program for the medical, school and private-practice SLPs and audiologists who had material losses from the May 22, 2011, Joplin tornado.

Do you have a particularly successful advocacy or recruitment strategy?

MSHA offers an incentive for members to recruit new members through a program called "MSHA bucks." When the prospective member joins, the referring member receives $10.

There is always a membership drive at convention offering substantially reduced rates for attending as a member.

One of the Executive Board members is a graduate school student who communicates with each university student organization to encourage involvement and membership in the association. MSHA provides annual scholarships to nine students to attend convention.

What should every communication science and disorders professional in your state know about the association?

MSHA offers continuing education opportunities through the annual fall conference, convention and Legislative Day. The convention has had an average attendance of 1,000 over the past 15 years! The convention team secures three top speakers for full-day institutes in pediatrics, adults and audiology, and 10 well-known speakers. MSHA also has the "Quest for the Cup," a Praxis competition for students in the state's eight communication sciences and disorders academic programs. The competition is fierce for the coveted trophy and awards.

What is your association's proudest accomplishment?

Every year, MSHA recognizes those who support the professions of speech-language pathology and audiology with the annual presentation of outstanding member awards, the Special Education Administrator of the Year Award, and the Ambassador of the Year Award. The "MSHA Cares" program at the annual convention raises charitable funds—recent recipients include ReMIND, the public education movement of the Bob Woodruff Foundation; Hearing Charities of America; Bill & Virginia Leffen Center for Autism in Joplin, Mo.; and Wonderland Camp in Lake of the Ozarks, Mo., for children, teenagers and adults with physical and mental challenges.


  

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