Friday, June 26, 2015


Following is the Educational Congress Schedule.  Next to each area I have inserted my comments, expectations and hopes.  It will be interesting to see how events evolve when I compare this blog to the one I will do after the congress. 

2015 Educational Congress Conference Schedule

Fostering collaboration in the massage therapy and bodywork education community

July  21-28  Exhibit days July 23-25 Minneapolis, MN

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

9:00a-5:00p        COMTA Commissioner Meeting

9:00a-5:00p        MTF Board Meeting

I will not arrive until Wednesday am but I hope that COMTA Commissioners will be able to finalized the curriculum approval program announced earlier this year.

COMTA Endorsed Curriculum status

Following is the announcement.

COMTA Announcement – COMTA Endorsed Curriculum – April 2015

The Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA) is excited to announce development of a new recognition status available for massage therapy/bodywork schools and programs, beginning July 2015. In the last few years, there have been many national conversations about the need for improved and consistent educational standards in the massage/bodywork field.  At the same time, there are many professionals who object to mandatory accreditation because of the burden for smaller schools. As a solution, the Commission is developing a new status which recognizes quality curriculum and instruction without the additional financial and administrative burden of accreditation.  It is anticipated that this will honor those schools doing exceptional work, incorporating the COMTA Curriculum Competencies and ELAP Outcomes into their programs, and help move the profession forward in a more inclusive manner. It is entitled “COMTA Endorsed Curriculum” and will focus on verifying only the curriculum and instructors, not the full operations of the school as is done in accreditation.  This will not fulfill the pre-requisite for Title IV funding or licensure laws which require accreditation, but it will serve as an independent approval that the curriculum meets national standards. It can also be a path to accreditation, as it will become the first step in the accreditation process—all COMTA accredited schools and programs will receive this added designation as well. Minimum Eligibility Requirements

Institution must be authorized/approved by applicable state agency. Program must meet state licensing requirements and all COMTA Curriculum Competencies (which are being aligned with ELAP Outcomes). Please look for more details and information to follow.  The Commission will be also be discussing more details of the status at the Educational Congress COMTA Open Forum on Wednesday, July 22, 2015 in Minneapolis, MN.  We invite you to join us!

- See more at:


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I arrive in the Morning.  The flight from Flint Michigan to Minneapolis is a short one and no connecting flight.  Good thing since I still cannot see very well from the glaucoma surgeries. I am REALLY interested in attending the COMTA pre conference sessions described below. I am glad that an open discussion time is available and that the afternoon session is going to openly discuss the current “elephant in the room” issue related to the Massage Franchise. 

9:00a-5:00p        MTF Board Meeting

9:00a-11:30a      COMTA Free Session:  Open Forum (separate registration required)

1:00p-4:30p        COMTA Free Sessions:  Matching Massage Education with Career Opportunity (separate registration required)

             Title: Is ‘Massage Franchise’ a Dirty Word? Addressing a Gap between Massage Education and the New Frontier of Providers

             Title: What does ‘Placement’ mean for massage?

4:00p-8:00p        Educational Congress Registration

4:00p-9:00p        Educational Congress Exhibitor Set-up 

Most of the Publishers are going to be attending the Congress so I am excited to meet with everyone.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

7:30a-8:00a        Registration

7:30a-8:30a        Breakfast sponsored by Elements Massage

Early ---but I will be there. Please, if you see me and want to chat just come on over. I always have an opinion and most are pretty good.  I tend to wander around looking lost because often I am-ha. It ok.

7:30a-9:00a        Visit Exhibitors

I really like that the exhibitors are included in all ALLIANCE meeting functions.  I also expect that Pete will be walking around with his sweet bell attempting to get us all in the room and focused.

9:00a-11:00a      Conference Opening

The official beginning of this Land Mark meeting.  This type of gathering has been a dream of mine for many years. 

11:00a-11:30a    Break and visit exhibitors

11:30-12:30p      Keynote Speaker: James Oschman

I have met and talked with James Oschman  multiple times.  He spoke at the first Massage Therapy Foundation research meeting years ago.  I met him through Dr. Chaitow prior to that meeting.  I am aware that there has been some controversy over having him speak at the Congress because of is focus on energy based medicine.  However, in my opinion James Oschman is a visionary and, like many in that category, are well ahead of current thinking.  I have followed his work for years and will admit he thinks at the “theoretical edge of plausibility “as we currently understand it. But so have most visionaries.  So yes, he is “out there” but so was Star Trek and consider  how many of the science fiction concepts back then are now part of our daily existence. 

             Working Together for a Bright Future for our Professions

12:30p-2:00p      Lunch and visit exhibitors

Most of the really good stuff at meetings like this happen in the halls and at the exhibits.  I recommend you eaves drop on as many conversations as possible.  Learn by mingling. Ask questions.  Reach out.

2:00p-2:30p        The Destiny of Massage – David Lauterstein

I love David.  We go way back. 

2:30p-5:30p        Congressional Updates and Industry Projects

This segment of the congress is important.  MAKE SURE YOU ARE THERE












5:30p-7:30p   Welcome Reception sponsored by Massage Envy Spas: Visit Exhibitor & Network – Chair Massage Fundraiser for the MTF

I REPEAT: Most of the really good stuff at meetings like this happen in the halls and at the exhibits.  I recommend you eaves drop on as many conversations as possible.  Learn by mingling. Ask questions.  Reach out.

7:30p-on        Dinner on your own—Reach out and invite someone you just met to share a meal.

Friday, July 24, 2015

8:00a-9:00a        Visit exhibitors

The Exhibitors are a great place to hang out and mingle. Come find me and chat.

9:00a-10:30a      AFMTE Business Meeting

Please attend the Alliance business meeting and get involved.  This organization is immerging as a guiding light in the future of massage.  I am a founding member. I have been to all of the meetings. I encourage all to get involved.

10:30a-11:00a    Break and Visit Exhibitors

Remember to listen in on conversations, introduce yourself and join in.

11:00a-12:30p    NTESP – Teacher Training Curriculum Development Committee Report and Educators of the Year 

My passion is teaching and teaching teachers to improve their teaching.  Teaching is a commitment to service. 

12:30p-2:00p       Lunch and visit exhibitors

Mix it up. Join in with those you do not know.  Share your meal with someone new.

2:00p-4:00p          Breakout Sessions


The presenters are excellent. I know most of them and excited to meet the couple I have not met.  You will not be disappointed  regardless of the topics you choose. Here is my take on what each has to offer

             Title: How to Write Test Questions – Mary O’Reilly

This session should help educators understand how to prepare students to succeed on the MBLEX exam.  If you understand how a text question is designed you will better prepare students to take multiple choice exams.

             Title: The 21st Century Classroom – Susan Salvo

This session should open up expanded educational delivery processes.  This would be an important session for those educators who are, let’s say, older who are struggling a bit as they adapt to new technology, younger students and want to adapt.  I would think this session would be great for brand new teachers as well.  

             Title:  Redesigning Curriculum:  Touch Education for our Changing World  – Linda Derick

Yup—guess what we have to change curriculum.  The ELAP is here to stay and other factors are influencing how we organize the content and teaching experience.    It appears Linda will show how to be innovative as we all need to review and revise curriculum.

             Title: Reinventing the Lecture – Anne Williams, ABMP

I can imagine that Anne has excellent information to help teachers break free of the tendency to hypnotize students during a lecture session.  If you know you talk too much when you teach this may be the session for you.

4:00-5:00p        Breakout Sessions

Goodness, I don’t know what to choose- these all sound great.  So none of us can be everywhere so let’s all share with each other  during breaks.

             Title: How to Get published/working with Publishers – F.A. Davis

This is the one I will likely attend since I am an author and willing to chat with those wanting to write for our profession.

             Title: Cultivating New Teachers – NTTCDC

This is my passion so I may sneak in.

             Title:  Make that an App – Jeff Harmon

This session is really intriguing.

             Title:  Collaborating Toward Increasing  Enrollment for the Career of Massage Therapy

This topic is relevant for all of us school owners.

5:00p-6:00p     Visit Exhibitors

Yes—time to chat with others so we can find out what happened in all the sessions we could not attend.

6:00p – on        Dinner on your own

Mix it up. Those of us who have been around a long time-lets reach out to the new attendees and invite them to share time.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

7:00a                   Morning Memorial Walk (optional)

Yes this is optional but touches the soul.

8:00a-9:00a        Visit Vendors

Support the vendors—They support us.

9:00a-12:00p      Breakout Sessions

9:00a-5:00p      NCBTMB Board Meeting

I may have to stick my head in on the NCBTMB meeting

As before—what to choose.  All so relevant.  This meeting is just rich.

             Title: The Science and Soul of Teaching – David Lauterstein

             Title: Student Outcomes – Tony Mirando,  NACCAS

             Title:  Education Research in Massage – Janet Kahn, Martha Menard

             Title:  Creating Exciting Content for Social Media – Stephanie Beck, SRB Solutions

12:00p-2:00p       Lunch and Visit Exhibitors

I suggest that individuals who attended the various breakout sessions mix it up over lunch and share.  How about groups of 4 made up of those who attended different sessions.

2:00p-4:00p         Breakout Sessions

Again- great topics.  I do know where I will be.

             Title:  Teach Yourself to be a Teacher – Sandy Fritz

             Title: Research and Evidence Informed Practice: Bringing the big picture into the classroom and clinic – Whitney Lowe, Deb Hill, Martha Brown Menard, and Jerrilyn Cambron

             Title:  Show and Tell Technology in the Classroom – Kate Zulaski, BA, COMTA

             Title:  Secondary Data Analysis – Virginia Cowen

4:00p-4:30p        Break & Visit Exhibitors

4:30p-5:00p        Closing Ceremony

Openings and closings—circles and spirals.

5:00p-6:00p        Exhibitors Dismantle Display

Sunday, July 26, 2015

I leave today.  I am confident I will be full of hope.  It is time take the next steps.  Everything is in place.  Those that are staying through Monday ,I thank you for your service.

8:30a-3:30p        AOBTA Free Session: Creating ABT Curriculum Competencies: A Collaborative Work Session (separate registration required)

9:00a-5:00p        S4OM:  Board Meeting (S4OM educators invited to attend)

9:00a-5:00p        AFMTE:  Board of Directors Meeting

Monday, July 27, 2015

9:00a-5:00p        AFMTE:  Board of Directors Meeting

These is still time to register and attend. I know it is expensive.  I donated my time to the Alliance so I am paying my own way.  I understand the hit to the bank account. This meeting is important.  Educators, if you must choose from all the meetings and can only afford in time and money to attend one- let this be the one.

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