Seven of the massage therapy profession’s organizations gathered for a second “Leadership Summit” May 1-2 in Chicago. Organizations represented were Alliance for Massage Therapy Education (AFMTE); American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA); Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP); Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA); Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB); Massage Therapy Foundation (MTF); and National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). Participating representatives of each organization are listed at the end of this release.
The group’s purpose, to come together to address the previously identified concerns of the profession and explore how to collaborate in that work, laid the foundation for the conversation.
The issues identified at the first meeting were revisited and each organization updated the group on its individual focus and projects. The highest priorities included: Portability, Consistency of Practice Standards, Entry Level Education, Continuing Education, Discipline/Licensure (Safety/Public Protection), and Certification.
A collaborative discussion followed with the goal of discerning if whether what is being done in each area is serving the industry adequately and how the organizations can support and collaborate with one another to achieve a successful outcome. The group agreed that, even since the St. Louis meeting eight months prior, actions by individual organizations have helped constructively clarify roles. That positive progress is tempered by recognition that much important work remains to address acknowledged deficits and advance the massage therapy profession.
An ongoing discussion of the Entry-Level Analysis Project (ELAP) occurred and input from the leadership organizations was discussed. Previous projects regarding entry level standards will be reviewed and considered as part of the background for this project. After input from the leadership group, an updated project description will be made public later in May.
A key component to the success of this project will be broad input by the massage profession. This opportunity will be available via a companion survey (administered in conjunction with FSMTB’s Job Task Analysis) that is intended to be circulating in June 2012. Please watch for details and take advantage of the opportunity to continue to shape the profession. Both FSMTB and the group of organization leaders would like input from as many practicing massage therapists as possible for the most accurate research.
Pete Whitridge (AFMTE) presented the first round of the Teacher Education Standards Project (TESP) to the group. The TESP will be presented to the general public within the next two weeks. Besides being open for comments immediately, at the Alliance’s conference in Tucson, June 7-9, it will be a major agenda item with time for comments and discussion.
The value and benefits of programmatic accreditation for the profession, as well as for schools and students, were discussed. In the context of observed wide variation in the quality of massage instructional programs, discussion ensued about the potential that more widespread programmatic accreditation could offer as a lever for improving the overall quality of entry-level education. Comparisons were drawn to other education and health care fields where programmatic accreditation is the accepted norm.
The Massage Therapy Foundation talked about their upcoming conference (April 27-29, 2013), improving research literacy capacity, and other projects. Ruth Werner illustrated with specific examples how new research findings are re-shaping understanding of the benefits of massage therapy and thereby the profession’s potential scope of practice. Agreement was reached on focusing on meta-communication, and interacting with other organizations on projects that may have overlap. The next meeting of the Leadership Summit is now scheduled to occur December 5-6, 2012 in Denver, with a scheduled phone meeting prior to that face-to-face meeting.
ABMP: Bob Benson, Chairman; Les Sweeney, President
AFMTE: Pete Whitridge, President; Su Bibik, Secretary/Treasurer
AMTA: Cynthia Ribiero, President; Shelly Johnson, Executive Director
COMTA: Randy Swenson, Chair; Kate Zulaski, Executive Director
FSMTB: Kathy Jensen, President; Debra Persinger, Executive Director
MTF: Ruth Werner, President
NCBTMB: Alexa Zaledonis, Chair; Mike Williams, CEO
For further information, contact the press representatives of the organization listed.