Organizations    Samueli Institute co chairs the health and wellness group at “Big Task Weekend”A November 17, 2010 newsletter from the Samueli Institute noted that the not for profit partnered with Mehmet Oz’s HealthCorps to chair the Health and Wellness

Samueli Institute co-chairs the health and wellness group at “Big Task Weekend”

A November 17, 2010 newsletter from the Samueli Institute noted that the not-for-profit partnered with Mehmet Oz’s HealthCorps to chair the Health and Wellness working group at “Big Task Weekend” in Los Angeles September 30-October 2. Big Task Weekend describes itself as “an exclusive community and an invitation-only leadership forum where Executives, Political Leaders, Academics, and Leaders of NGOs connect to solve the world’s biggest challenges.” The most recent iteration of the 5-year-old initiative to build unusual, problem-solving collaborations included 5 foci. One of these, Health and Wellness, has as its mission “to educate and motivate Americans to improve their health and wellness at all stages of life.” According to the release, Samueli Institute staff members facilitated and participated in the discussions concerning corporate, community, public and private sector health and wellness initiatives in the United States. Next steps reportedly include “coalition building and outreach efforts to make health and wellness a national priority.”   


Alliance for Massage Therapy Education publishes results of educational standards survey

The Alliance for Massage Therapy Education recently published results of a national survey of “the massage educational community.” The goals, as stated in a release, were to gain information “on the attitudes or perceptions regarding: 1) formation of standards for teacher education, massage school curricula, and continuing education; and 2) the Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge.” The release highlighted these findings from the 312 responding educators:

  • “82.0% agreed that national standards need to be established for massage/bodywork curricula in entry-level programs, versus 7.1% who disagreed.
  • “80.4% agreed that competency-based national teacher education standards are needed, versus 6.8% who disagreed.
  • “75.3% agreed that there needs to be national standards defined for advanced-level training programs and certification in specialized areas of practice, versus 11.2% who disagreed.
  • “53.5% indicated their agreement with the need for a single centralized approval program for continuing education providers and courses, versus 25.6% who did not agree that such a program was needed.
  • “53.2% agreed that the Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge needs modification before being adopted as an “official” document to be used by state agencies and national accrediting commissions, versus only 5.2% who disagreed.”

The Alliance has emerged in the last two years as an independent agency representing educators and educational institutions in the field. The release concludes: “This data affirms the strategic direction established by the Alliance, and is congruent with one of the organization’s key goals: to develop standards that guide and inform the effective teaching of massage therapy.” (A guest column by Alliance executive director Rick Rosen, LMBT on the role of the organization is here.)

Comment: I asked Integrator editorial adviser Jan Schwartz, MA, past president of the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation, and co-founder of Education and Training Solutions, for her response. Schwartz wrote:

“I don’t think these findings surprise anyone. The trick with massage therapy education is to make something happen on a national level. There are 1500 schools, 50 states and plus or minus 250,000 therapists in the U.S., so it’s like turning a battle ship, not a kayak. (I hate to use war like imagery, but in this case it’s appropriate!)  My hope is that the other organizations in the massage therapy field will be willing to work with the Alliance to move this progressive agenda forward.”  


AANP’s executive director Karen Howard announces policy priorities for naturopathic profession

In a message to members of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians shortly after the November 2010 federal election, Karen Howard, AANP executive director, first commented on the election then noted that “the AANP will continue to advocate” for the following:

  • “Defining key terms from the law, including ‘integrative healthcare practitioner’ and ‘nondiscrimination,’ by working with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Senate. Since Democrats retained control of the Senate, health and wellness champions can continue to play a central role in the regulatory and funding process.
  • “Funding of a new Public Health Workforce Loan Repayment Program authorized in the new law.  We have been advised that NDs will qualify to participate, if and when the program is funded.
  • “Working for inclusion of NDs in all existing federal loan repayment programs, a collaborative effort of AANP and state affiliates working with both federal and state legislators and regulators.
  • “Using our relationships with coalitions and others to expand access to naturopathic care at the state level by supporting licensure and expansion of scope, focusing on saving cash-strapped states healthcare dollars.”

Comment: Of particular note here is Howard’s statement that the organization has “been advised that NDs will qualify to participate” when the new loan payback program is funded.” NDs have not in the past been included. New ND graduates with their $150,00-$250,000 in student loan debt will be following this closely.  

Read other sections of the John Weeks Round-up: