Fostering collaboration in massage therapy and bodywork education
The 2015 Educational Congress will take place over eight days, from July 21-28. The main portion of the conference, including the exhibition hall, is July 23-25. The event will be held at The Commons Hotel in Minneapolis, located on the University of Minnesota Campus.
The idea for an educational congress was inspired by the voices within the massage therapy education community. The journey began with a discussion at the 2013 Florida State Massage Therapy Association Conference among the stakeholders, and it has now grown into an event with nine organizations collaborating — and it’s continuing to expand daily.
The Educational Congress mission is to foster dialogue, inquiry and creative problem-solving among the stakeholders in massage therapy and bodywork education. This event will also provide opportunities to become informed about critical issues affecting our industry, share and discuss ideas, learn teaching skills and network.
“COMTA is pleased to join forces with the Alliance,” Kate Zulaski, COMTA executive director, said. “The Commission has wanted to host a conference for our accredited members for several years, but we repeatedly heard our members say that they felt there were too many different events to attend. We hope this Educational Congress brings us all together to collectively move the profession forward, rather than forcing our educational community members to choose one event over another.”
The intention of the Educational Congress is to gather a critical mass of educators and facilitate co-location of meeting space for various organizations to gather and collaborate. Organizations are encouraged to hold board meetings, offer content for congress participants, report to the congress on the current status of that organization, and receive public comment and feedback.
To date, the organizations that will participate by holding a board meeting or educational event during the conference are:
- Alliance for Massage Therapy Education (AFMTE)
- American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia (AOBTA)
- Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA)
- Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB)
- National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB)
- Society for Oncology Massage (S4OM)
“We are thrilled that so many of our industry’s stakeholder organizations have verbally agreed to participate in this exciting event. Details are being firmed up daily!” said Nancy Dail, committee chair for the Alliance Conference Planning Committee.”
Other participating organizations and featured panelists are:
- Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care (ACCAHC)
- Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP)
- American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA)
- Massage Therapy Foundation (MTF)
“ABMP will agree not to host a School Issues Forum in 2015 in order to clear the field for a profession-wide Educational Congress in 2015,” ABMP Chairman Bob Benson wrote in an April letter. “Count on ABMP to keep innovating on other aspects of our student and school supports. But in 2015, we will cheer the Alliance on in creating an Educational Congress, putting in abeyance ABMP School Issues Forum 19.”
This is the first time such a large collaboration of massage and bodywork educational stakeholders will be gathered together in one location to foster dialogue, inquiry and creative problem-solving involved in massage therapy and bodywork education.
“I’m very excited to fulfill the request of our members and industry partners to have all the groups convening in one place at one time during the year,” Alliance President Pete Whitridge said. “The 2015 Educational Congress is the start of a shared mission that will benefit our whole profession.”
The Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA) offers both institutional and programmatic accreditation for schools teaching massage therapy and bodywork. As the only accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education for specialized evaluation of massage therapy and bodywork curriculum, COMTA seeks to collaborate with profession stakeholders and other accrediting agencies to improve the quality of massage and bodywork education. The Commission may be contacted through email at [email protected] or by phone at (202) 895-1518. More details about accreditation are available at http://www.comta.org.