MSHA’s History

The Beginning:

In 1959 The American Speech and Hearing Association had just approved the formation of the Legislative Assembly with members being selected by state associations. Missouri did not have a state association at that time. Dr. Charlotte Wells, Department Chair: Speech Pathology and Audiology, University of Missouri, Columbia, felt that our state needed to have a say in matters of policy in the newly approved assembly and called for an organizational meeting in Columbia, Missouri on October 10, 1959. Dr. Wells was elected chairman of the meeting. Sixty-five persons attended the all day meeting which resulted in a vote to form the Missouri Speech and Hearing Association. A constitution was approved with officers and delegates to the ASHA Legislative Assembly elected.

The first officers were:
  • President: Dr Thelma Trombly, University of Missouri, Columbia
  • Vice President: Dr. Frank Wilson, Saint Louis County Special School District
  • Secretary: Charles Schiefer, League for the Hard of Hearing
  • Treasurer: Dr. Lin Welch, Central Missouri State Teachers College
  • ASHA Delegate: Dr. Bob Goldstein

Letters of the formation of MSHA and membership applications were mailed out for those wishing to join. Charter membership was given to those joining before September, 1960. After that date new members must first be ASHA members to join MSHA.


Membership fluctuated in the first 6 years: 105, 106, 170, 122, 189, 201, respectively. Since 2009 the average yearly MSHA membership is 1,291.

MSHA’s first life member was Margaret Curtis in 1972.


In 1959 the annual dues were $2.00. Today the dues for active membership are $65.


Within the first year (March, 1961) the MSHA newsletter was published by Editor, Dr. Robert Huskey, Special School District. The newsletters were typed on mimeograph paper using a typewriter with copies printed on a mimeograph machine. Included was the President’s message, articles by various members about therapy, review of new materials and equipment, treatment programs for clients, and various reports from the MSHA executive council. The “Letters to the Editor” column began in 1962. Past issues of the MSHA newsletter are housed in the MSHA archives. Later the publication name was changed to MSHAnews and more recently to the MSHA LINK.


There were hopes in those first years to publish a journal. The Journal of the Missouri Speech and Hearing Association first appeared in 1962. It contained articles from members in areas of interest as well as research studies and reports on therapy techniques. The journal was published continuously until 1983 when financial circumstances resulted in discontinuation. The MSHA newsletter format changed to accommodate this loss by including avenues to share similar information. Copies of the MSHA Journal are housed in the MSHA archives at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri.

The MSHAnews, a quarterly publication, currently contains a section on “research” for submissions of research articles on various topics.

Past Awards and Past Presidents

The MSHA web site lists all Past Presidents with year(s) of service and all Honors and Awards presented by the association by date. This information can be located through the following links:

MSHA Honors and Awards
Past Presidents

The association awards include:

  • MSHA Honors and Awards
  • Ambassador of the Year
  • Outstanding Clinician Award
  • Honors of the Association
  • Outstanding Special Education Administrator
  • Outstanding Audiology Graduate Student
  • Outstanding Speech-Language Pathology Graduate Student
  • MSHA Leadership Academy
  • MSHA Minority Student Leadership Program Scholarships (MSLP)
  • MSHA Mentoring Young Professionals Program (MMYP)
  • MSHA Student Research Awards
  • MSHA recipients of ASHA Foundation Awards
  • ASHA Fellows
  • ASHA Ace awards for the previous year


Annual Convention:

The “first annual meeting” was held on the campus of Central Missouri Teachers College, Warrensburg, Missouri. The guest speaker was Dr. Issac Brackett of Southern Illinois University. The meeting lasted one day and also included member panels on various topics; one panel discussed what “we” should be called; the consensus at that time being “speech correctionist.” The meetings lasted only one day until 1965 when they were expanded to one and a half days usually held over weekends. These meetings were held annually on university campuses or in public school districts until the 1970’s. To allow for greater attendance and overnight accommodations, the convention location alternated sites around the state from Kansas City, St. Louis, Columbia, and Springfield until around 1999. Due to the large number of attendees and the rising costs, the annual convention was moved to more central location in the state to Lake Ozark in 2000. The attendance at the convention continues to grow and the increase in cost has been held within a constant range for the past 10 years.

MSHA celebrated its 50th year in 2009. Convention attendance over the past six years has averaged over 1,000.

MSHA business office initially was housed in members’ homes. Due to increased demands for a business office, a part time administrative assistant was employed and the site moved first to Columbia and then Warrensburg. The office remained in Warrensburg until 2002 when the association contracted the management firm of Craven Management Associates.

In addition to the annual convention MSHA offers two annual one day fall conferences: “Issue and Answers” and “Early Childhood Workshop.”

MSHA did employ a Lobbyist for a period of time due to the increased legislative activity impacting the profession. Later the executive board decided to handle their concerns through the office of the VP for Legislative Affairs and the use of Legislative Day in February. Legislative Day has become an annual event when members and students meet in Jefferson City to talk with their senators and representatives in an informal gathering.

MSHA and the Association’s legislative priorities required hiring a Lobbyist on December 1, 2016.

Association Milestones:
  • Licensure Law passage, 1974
  • CEU sponsorship, 1981
  • Caseload reduction, 1983
  • Insurance Bill, 1984
  • Master’s degree required for SLPs, 1984
  • Establishment of the MSHA Student Scholarship Fund for Convention, 2002
  • MSHA Silent Auction was started in 2007. These scholarships are offered to one student from each university with a Communication Disorder program
  • Revision to Speech Pathology and Audiology Practice Act, 2015
  • Missouri Dyslexia Task Force 2017
  • Diamond Jubilee 60th Annual MSHA Meeting & Convention April 2019
  • MSHA Handbook – Guidelines for School-Based SLP’s November 2019
  • MSHA provided trainings on Revised Speech/Language eligibility criterion for DESE regional groups May – October 2019
  • New Speech/Language eligibility criterion, July 2019



Around the start of the millennium MSHA initiated a website for members, in addition to its quarterly newsletters, as a means to improve information access and increase the opportunity for interactive communication between MSHA officers and the MSHA membership. The current MSHA website details the workings of the association as well as resource contacts for university, regional and local professional groups, and related professional organizations for Licensure and State Teacher Certification. The website also provides information on continuing education and resources for students, public, and consumers.

In addition a MSHA listserv is also offered to MSHA members for the immediate release of information. MSHA members can use the listserv to share information through the MSHA central office. It is a tool that can help with seeking support from other members regarding pressing issues encountered in practice.

November 1, 2019, new MSHA Website was launched.