Past Conferences

AFMTE - Massage Therapy- Past Conferences

First Annual Conference June 3-5, 2010 – Park City, Utah

This historic meeting was held at the Grand Summit Hotel, with the theme of “Shaping the Future of Massage Therapy Education.” The keynote presenter was Tom Myers, a pioneer and leader in the massage industry and author of Anatomy Trains: The Myofascial Meridians.

The Conference brought together directors and administrators from massage therapy schools, along with massage schoolteachers and those who provide continuing education seminars and advanced trainings to the field. There were general interest sessions for all participants, as well as specialized workshop topics for each of the three groups that make up the Alliance. Some of the leading companies offering essential products and services to the education community exhibited at this meeting.

In addition to educational workshops, there was a special “visioning” session where participants had the opportunity to identify the key issues and needs they see in massage education in general, and in their own work in particular. Input was gathered on what services and initiatives the Alliance would establish for its members. There was an open election for the Alliance’s Board of Directors.

The Educational Program Included:

Full group sessions:
Tom Myers – Shaping the Future of Massage Therapy Education
Iris Burman – Finding Common Ground

Workshop sessions for schools:
Lex Filipowski – Engaging New Marketing Strategies to Boost Your Enrollment
Gina Simpson – Tuition Financing for Your Students: Exploring Title IV and Private Sector Options

Workshop sessions for teachers:
Carey Smith – Cultivating a Leadership Presence as Teachers
Kevin Pierce – Understanding and Utilizing the Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge

Workshop sessions for continuing education providers:
Tom Myers – Creating a Successful Training Organization
Cherie Sohnen-Moe – Ethical Issues in the Education Business

Second Annual Conference August 18-20, 2011 – Charleston, South Carolina

The Alliance second Annual Conference was an enthusiastic and collaborative event attended by 125 participantsfrom all facets of the massage education sector, including school directors, teachers, continuing education providers, and leaders of stakeholder organizations.

With a theme of Bringing Teaching to the Next Level, the conference brought a specific focus to the need for establishing standards for teacher training in the massage therapy field.

The opening keynote presentation by Tracy Ortelliexplored the challenges involved in “Creating a Culture of Teaching Excellence” and the many benefits it can bring. As a renowned educator and organizational leader from the nursing profession, she brought an important perspective from her discipline – which was in dialogue for more than 100 years before deciding in 2005 to adopt competency standards for faculty who teach in nursing programs. Ortelli suggested to those present that it was up to the massage education community to take this crucial step on its own behalf.

Building on this theme, the Alliance’s Professional Standards Committee presented an overview of the National Teacher Education Standards Project. Closely tied to our mission, this is a long-term effort intended to strengthen and improve the quality of massage therapy education. The project’s initial phase – development of the Core Competencies for Massage Therapy Teachers– was a focal point of the conference. As this document is the first of its kind in the massage therapy field, it outlines the foundational knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSAs) needed for teachers to produce successful and consistent outcomes with adult learners in a variety of educational settings.

Conference attendees had the opportunity to provide direct input on the first draft of the Core Competencies in a half-day discussion forum. The conference also included a forum to gather input on a forthcoming project that will create a new national approval process for continuing education courses and providers.

Along with the focus on standards, there was a wealth of other presentations that gave conference participants specific information and tools to use in their professional roles. Dr. Ben Benjamin led a keynote session on the SAVI – the System for Analyzing Verbal Interaction, a leading-edge communications approach. Jan Schwartz inspired the group to reach beyond the borders of the massage therapy field in her keynote on The Role of Massage Education in Complementary Health Care. In addition, the breakout workshops included:

  • Strategies to Improve Learning Environments with Anne Williams
  • What Educators Need to Know about Government Relations with Sally Hacking & Pete Whitridge
  • Understanding the New USDE Program Integrity Rules with Dr. Tony Mirando & Demara Stamler
  • Instructional Design for Inspired Learning with Cherie Sohnen-Moe & Iris Burman
  • Creative Marketing Ideas and Powerful Lead Follow-up Strategies for Your Schoolwith Lex Filipowski
  • Developing Competency-based Assessments to Evaluate Student Performance
    with Jan Schwartz
  • Ethical Issues in Massage Education with Nancy Dail

Third Annual Conference June 15-17, 2012 – Tucson, Arizona

This Conference focused on creating an atmosphere of collaboration, respect and mutual support, with the theme of “Deepening Connections in the Massage Education Community.”  Keynote Speaker Benny Vaughn’s inspirational opening reminded us that a society is judged by how it educates its young and that massage therapists need to increase their self-esteem.

The Alliance re-elected Pete Whitridge, Iris Burman, Su Bibik, and Cherie Sohnen-Moe to the board as well as elected two new board members Heather Piper and Stephanie Beck. The Alliance held elections for the leadership Development Committee. New members include Debra Curties, Joe Lubow, Susan Beck, Tracy Walton and Tim Herbert.

At few conferences do educators have access to every educational organization quite like they did at this year’s Alliance for Massage Therapy Education Conference. Ruth Werner, President of the Massage Therapy Foundation, Anne Williams, Director of Education for ABMP, Karen Armstrong, VP of the FSMTB, Kate Zulaski, Executive Director of COMTA, Sue Toscano, Chair of the NCBTMB, and Winona Bontrager, President of AMTA  participated in a panel discussion and answered questions from attendees.
From the beginning, the Alliance’s mission has been to serve as an independent voice, advocate and resource for the entire education sector – from entry-level massage training programs through post-graduate studies.  The Alliance provides that common ground where all can have a seat at the table and share the common goal of raising the standard of Massage Therapy Education.

Fourth Annual Conference July 18-20, 2013 – St. Charles, MO

The Alliance is the only organization that brings Schools,Teachers, Continuing Education Providers and Allied Memberstogether under one roof…and come together they did! This year the Alliance hosted their most well- attended conference to date!  This year was by far the largest of all educational conferences with over 130 attendees and 22 exhibitors.
Topics for discussions included our responsibilities as a profession to participate in the Affordable Care Act,   introduced by one of the Keynote Speakers, Janet Khan, MD.
Other discussion topics included how to best inform the education community about the Core Competencies and brainstorming ideas on how to make them more user friendly and palpable learning modules.
Whitney Lowe’s insightful keynote address on how to motivate today’s students generated many conversations with attendees. Technology was a key topic for them thanks to Whitney’s presentation that introduced many to new teaching concepts such as the Flipped Classroom, MOOCs and the concept of badges as part of the credentialing process.
It was apparent that many liked the concept of badges. A common idea generated in all the different small group discussions on how to take the National Teacher Education Standards Project (NTESP) to the next level was the sum total of a number of badges leading to a certification or diploma. This type of feedback was exactly what the National Teacher Training Curriculum Development Committee had hoped to achieve at the conference.

The Alliance re-elected Stephanie Beck to the board as well as elected two new board members Gloria Lawrence and Eric Polgar. The Alliance held elections for the leadership Development Committee and Lisa Parenteau was a new electee.
Over seven hundred dollars was raised for the Massage Therapy Foundation. Seated massage was coordinated by the Massage Envy St. Louis Regional Director during the Thursday evening Opening Reception co-sponsored by Performance Health/Biofreeze and Massage Envy.
David Lauterstien and Elaine Stillerman were awarded the AFMTE, Biofreeze, Bon Vital Educator of the Year Awards.
A complete 2013 Conference library of photo albums is available here:  AFMTE 2013 4th Annual Conference Photo Albums you can sure to share your favorites with your friends and customers.
Overwhelming feedback from a variety of school owners, educators, continuing education providers, exhibitors and organizations created an opportunity for a 2015 Educational Congress, a single gathering of the various groups who are committed to excellence in massage education. Many expressed the convenience of having one educational conference.  The Alliance announce they would be forgoing a 2014 conference in to plan for the 2015 Educational Congress with all Educational Organizations.
In summary, we feel it was one of the most successful conferences yet.  It was very rewarding to have feedback from Continuing Education Providers, School owners and teachers that are currently implementing the Core Competencies. We also received tremendous feedback from attendees on how to move the Core Competencies forward. We believe we surpassed our goal for creating a culture of teaching excellence by creating a core of collaboration and unity from all organizations. It was great to have all sectors represented and coming together at the table to discuss and share with a common goal.



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