Archives for December 2010

Alliance Leader Honored as one of Top 10 People in Integrative Health Care for 2010

Rick Rosen, Executive Director of the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education, was recently selected as one of the Top 10 People in Integrative Medicine / Integrative Health Care by The Integrator Blog. Published and edited by John Weeks, Executive Director of ACCAHC – the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care, the blog is one of the leading sources of news and information about the domain of integrative medicine. The “Top 10 People” list is complied from recommendations submitted by its editorial advisory board of The Integrator Blog.

Rosen was selected for this honor because of the pivotal role he has played in launching and building the Alliance, and for what the organization represents to the field of massage therapy and integrative health care in general. In this annual feature in The Integrator Blog, Weeks wrote:

Rick Rosen, MA, LMBT:
Developing an Organization Dedicated to Advancing Massage Education

Rick Rosen is a North Carolina massage therapist and co-owner of the Body Therapy Institute. For the last 18 months, Rosen has diligently worked to fill an important institutional gap in the massage field; namely, creating an organization dedicated entirely to advancing massage education. Rosen’s Alliance for Massage Therapy Education, which he serves as executive director, aggregated its first members and held its founding conference in June 2010 where a governing board of respected massage educators was elected. In November, the Alliance announced results of a survey of over 300 educators which found strong support for investing in the teaching abilities of massage educators. Subsequently, the Alliance published a white paper through which it kicked off a National Teacher Education Standards Project. Rosen was inducted earlier this year into the Massage Therapy Hall of Fame, perhaps, in the spirit of the 2008 Obama peace prize, out of hope for what will come rather than services already accomplished. Happily, steps the Alliance has taken under Rosen’s direction suggest that he may fare better in his promise to massage educators than Obama has fared in peace-making.

Alliance to Lead Development of National Standards for Teachers

The Alliance for Massage Therapy Education announces the beginning of a comprehensive effort to strengthen and improve the quality of massage therapy education by developing competency standards for teachers across the continuum of entry-level, continuing education and advanced training programs. This shall be known as the National Teacher Education Standards Project, and its goal is to create a culture of teaching excellence.

While educational and testing requirements are commonplace for the licensure of massage therapists, there are few jurisdictions that currently require instructors of massage therapy to have specific training in the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) of teaching. As a result, the majority of teachers in this field have not been trained to teach. Knowing how to give a massage is a different skill set from teaching massage and related subjects.

As an organization comprised of passionate and committed educators, the Alliance has chosen to address this need in a proactive manner – and will provide the leadership and experience necessary to create and implement these standards over the coming years. In this way, the role of the Alliance is consistent with similar projects that independent education organizations have achieved in other professions.

A national survey conducted in November by the Alliance indicated strong support within the educational community for this initiative. 80.4% of respondents agreed that competency-based national teacher training standards are needed, while 6.8% disagreed. (A complete survey report is available from this link.) This data is consistent with feedback from educators and industry leaders who attended the Alliance’s inaugural conference this past June, where the lack of teacher education standards and resources was a prime topic of discussion.

The National Teacher Education Standards Project (NTESP) will be carried out through a series of five phases:

  • The Alliance’s Professional Standards Committee is already working on identification of the core competencies of effective and successful teaching.
  • Once the KSAs are defined, a baseline teacher training curriculum will be created.
  • That will lead to the next phase, which is the identification and development of training resources.
  • To ensure that teachers have achieved the competencies, a certification program will be established.
  • The final step will involve working with national accrediting commissions and state regulatory agencies to incorporate these teacher education standards.

Overall, it’s estimated this project will take 5-10 years.

The Alliance has prepared a white paper that gives the background, scope and rationale for this project. It also contains a more detailed description of each of the five phases with projected timelines. As this project progresses, there will be opportunities to review and make comment on proposed standards before they are formally adopted.

According to Alliance President Pete Whitridge, LMT, “It is an act of self-determination and empowerment for the teachers, administrators, school owners and continuing education providers that comprise this community to join together to work for the greater good. This project will require diligent work, respectful dialogue and a willingness to address the shortcomings of massage education without blame or judgment. Improving the quality of teaching in the massage therapy field will improve the success of students in massage programs and continuing education seminars. This process, by its very nature, will improve the quality of massage therapy delivered to the public. That’s the payoff for this bold endeavor.”

In support of this project, the Alliance will focus on the theme of “Bringing Teaching to the Next Level” for it’s 2011 Annual Conference. This event will be held August 18-20 in Charleston, South Carolina, and will feature workshops and discussion forums about the process of creating and implementing teacher standards. The Alliance looks forward to the input of all who attend this conference, as these voices and perspectives shape the future.