Updated: Jan 25
Montana Audiologists and SLPs,
Welcome to MSHA 2021! I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself to those of you who don’t know me. Personally, I am married and have two grown children and a black lab. I have called Missoula my home for most of my adult life, with an amazing 9-year stint in Bristol Bay, Alaska. Professionally, I am a graduate of the University of Montana CSD Program, Master’s class of 2013. I have been fortunate to have a job I love serving the students of Target Range School in Missoula for the past 8 years. I also work for an SNF therapy group here in Missoula, have served as an Assistant Adjunct Professor for the UM CSD program, and I recently completed my endorsement to be a Special Education Administrator. I have been a MSHA member since 2013, became the Chair of the Scholarship Committee in 2016, and served as Secretary from 2017-2019. I was President-Elect in 2020 and am now proud to be serving as President for the 2021 year. I am humbled to follow in the footsteps of so many great leaders and excited for the year before us.
MSHA is constantly changing, and our Past Presidents for the last few years have done amazing work to propel us into the future. We have a new website and new member management software, and we had our first virtual conference last year. MSHA is now a group that members of the Montana Legislature recognize and we are continuing our advocacy this legislative session. We have built a great relationship with our lobbyist, and MSHA is sponsoring a bill that will create Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Assistants as a category in Montana. We are proud to work in close contact with the University of Montana as we work together to align those requirements with ASHA’s requirements. We are also working on a bill with Let Montana Hear which would require insurance policies sold in Montana to cover diagnosis and treatment for hearing loss in children, including amplification devices and associated therapies. We are planning an Advocacy Day March 9th which will come with an opportunity for you to contact legislators. Stay tuned!
In addition to advocacy, we are also talking about developing some new committees, and, of course, putting together some meaningful continuing education opportunities for our membership. We are planning webinars and hope to begin to pull Montana SLPs and Audiologists together by region through our Regional Representatives. Also new this year, we are partnering with other Northwestern states from the Council of State Speech-Language-Hearing Association Presidents and we are working on a way to offer MSHA members member rates for continuing education offered by other state associations. Finally, our annual conference is scheduled to be in Missoula this October, and we will keep following the guidance of local, state, and national health safety recommendations to make sure we can have the best conference possible.
We have so much to look forward to in 2021! Please take a moment to check to make sure your membership is current and renew or join if it is not. Your membership dollars help us bring you all of the things above, and we can’t do it without you! Keep an eye out for upcoming events. There are so many ways to participate.
Shelby Midboe, 2021 MSHA President