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Founders of the Manitoba Speech and Hearing Association - Isabel Richard and 11 others

The Manitoba Speech and Hearing Association (MSHA) was established in 1958 by a group of women who had a forward looking vision. These women were passionate about their profession and sought to take steps to protect the public by regulating the practice and setting standards for education, experience and continuing education for speech and hearing therapy. After much lobbying of government, the Manitoba Legislature passed “An Act respecting the Practice of Speech and Hearing Therapy” in 1961.

This was a significant accomplishment, as Manitoba passed the very first legislation in North America to regulate the professions now known as Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.
The driving force behind this remarkable group of trailblazing women was Isabel Richard, who worked at the Child Guidance Clinic from 1942 until 1972. She recruited many to the profession and mentored many more. Not only was she a founder of the Manitoba association, she was also a founder of the Canadian association and served as its first president in 1964.

There were eleven more involved in the start of the association and along with Isabel Richard are considered founders of the association. They are Idell Brady, Mary Jane Cairns, Lila Ellis, Muriel Lyons, Mabel McQuillan, Alice Mellor, Marion Mills, Margaret Morse, Angela Murphy, Christina Rickards and Marijke Vogel. Margaret Morse is the only founder still living.

The association was fortunate in having a core of native Manitobans who were educated in the United States but returned to work in Manitoba. The founders established a solid foundation for the association. In addition, all 12 founding members of the Manitoba association were charter members of the Canadian Speech and Hearing Association established in 1964.

The founder’s accomplishments and contributions to the profession are numerous. For example, Morse started the program at Children’s Hospital in 1952, and Lyons started the first service in rural Manitoba in the Rolling River School Division in 1967.

There were some important events in the early years in the profession. Murphy said that the legislation in 1961 was the culmination of many hours of work which started as early as 1955 when clinicians came together to share their expertise and help their colleagues with puzzling cases. Lyons talked about committee meetings at the Manitoba legislature and spending a Saturday with other members sending out brochures and information to each member of the legislature. Brady’s husband, Bert, proposed the “men’s auxiliary” to MSHA. He later said there was great pride in the accomplishments of the early members of MSHA.

These women made countless contributions to the profession and we are proud to recognize them as Manitoba Trailblazers in the fields of speech-language pathology and audiology.


Photo of Founders: (please note, – it does not have all the founders in it, and has 2 early members who are not considered founders.) Back Row from left: Margaret Houston, Lila Ellis, Marion Mills, Marion Neild, Idell Brady, Mary Jane Cairns Front Row from left: Margaret Morse, Isabel Richard, Alice Mellor

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