The AFMTE Announces 2017 Educators of the Year Recipients

The AFMTE Announces 2017 Educators of the Year Recipients!

The Alliance for Massage Therapy Education is pleased to announce the winners of the 2017 AFMTE, Biofreeze, and BonVital’ Educators of the Year Award. LaWanda S. Allen, LMT, MMP is the recipient in the teacher category, and Ralph R. Stephens is the recipient in the continuing education category. This award honors excellence in massage and bodywork education and serves to foster a culture that supports raising the standards of excellence in massage and bodywork education.

“It is a great honor to be affiliated with AFMTE and to share in their endeavor to strengthen and improve the massage therapy industry by promoting an educational credentialing system for qualified educators….I believe that we are all called to servanthood; therefore, let us serve one another with love, compassion, and empathy in order to make this world a better place for our families and children. I salute and support the Alliance for serving as an independent voice, advocating and being an educational resource for the massage therapy and bodywork community,” says LaWanda.

The pool of applicants was of high caliber. Each applicant was asked to rate herself/himself on four out of the 10 Standards from AFMTE’s NTESP Core Competencies for Massage Therapy Teachers. These standards describe the knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSAs) that form the basis for effective and successful teaching. Recipients were chosen based on their experience, teacher training, and how well they meet the core competency standards.

“I am honored and humbled to gratefully accept this award. Excellence in education should always be the goal and the standard. Our future depends upon it. This belief led me to become a founding member of the AFMTE, to serve on its first Board of Directors, and continue to support its work in establishing high standards for massage instructors, schools, and CE providers. We must revitalize our profession and particularly the educational system. It will be up to the group about to gather at the Congress in Tucson to begin this great task and see it through. Join us to bring excellence in education to the massage therapy profession,” says Ralph.

LaWanda Allen, M.S.A., L.M.T., M.M.P., is the owner and operator of Allen’s Medical Massage. She has been practicing as a licensed massage therapist for fifteen years and has been an educator for more than eighteen years. She currently teaches at the Concorde Career College-Southaven Campus. She is a nationally certified practitioner for therapeutic massage and bodywork and a member of the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). In her love for therapeutic work, LaWanda has focused her treatments on medical massage. As an educator and Medical Massage Practitioner, she focuses on helping people with chronic and challenging pain issues, including techniques for managing chronic stress. Her treatments include a variety of techniques to ensure either an effective relaxation or a deep tissue massage designed to relieve severe tension in the muscles. She strives to provide an effective treatment plan through confident touch by listening, learning, and being mindful to each individual’s needs and by providing a safe and relaxing environment.

Ralph R. Stephens has been a popular continuing education provider for 30 years. He has a B.S. in education from Iowa State University and graduated from the New Mexico School of Natural Therapeutics. Ralph has earned accolades as a past chair of the Iowa Board of Massage, AMTA National Meritorious Award recipient, inductee into the Massage Therapy Hall of Fame, and a Founding Member of the AFMTE. A prolific writer and content creator, he has produced 18 videos on chair, sports, and medical massage, written one textbook, Therapeutic Chair Massage (LWW Massage Therapy and Bodywork Educational Series), contributed to three other textbooks, authored numerous articles in magazines and journals, and is the longest continuous columnist in Massage Today. Currently, Ralph is teaching continuing education programs in Neural Reset Therapy® (NRT), mentoring new continuing education providers, and maintains a private practice.

There is still time to attend the 2017 Educational Congress in Tucson to hear from these winners as they share about the specific ways they demonstrate their commitment to excellence in education.

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