June 2012 John Weeks Integrator Round-up on Professions

IAYT board of directors approves education standards for Yoga therapy 

Executive director John Kepner of the International Association of Yoga Therapists reports that “the IAYT board of directors approved the recommended standards for the training of yoga therapists yesterday (May 16, 2012) at our board meeting.” The standards are here. IAYT has set up and an Accreditation Committee to take on the job of reviewing programs and certifying individuals. IAYT worked closely with accreditation expert Dan Seitz, JD, EdD on development of the standards. Kepner thanked leaders of the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care (ACCAHC) “for support and faith in us way back when,” adding: “Of course we still have a long way to go, developing an implementation plan, peer review process, etc. but this itself is a landmark event in our field.”  IAYT is a Traditional World Medicines member of ACCAHC.

Massage group engages Entry Level Analysis Project (ELAP) to clarify appropriate length of massage education

A cadre of massage leaders has engaged anew the challenge of answering key questions: “What is entry-level massage therapy education? What should core content encompass? How many hours of education are necessary for learners to obtain the basic knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) needed to enter the massage profession and build a viable practice or work successfully as an employee?” The group acknowledges in a May 30, 2012 release that the present 500 hour requirement may not be appropriate. The ad hoc team plans to work with information from job task analyses and consumer and employer surveys. IThe group’s tight time-frame includes releasing a draft report for public comment during the first quarter of 2013. The ELAP work group includes: Pat Archer, Clint Chandler, Rick Garbowski, Tom Lochhaas, Jim O’Hara, Cynthia Ribeiro, Elan Schacter, and Anne Williams. Their goal: “We work group members also understand that our group has no permanent standing. Our job is to produce a thorough, defensible final report that is sufficiently compelling to motivate diverse national and local massage therapy organizations to rise to the challenge to ensure the massage profession embraces and implements the report’s recommendations.”

Comment: This initiative is surprising to me. The massage field already has a single purpose, US Department of Education-recognized accreditation agency, the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA). COMTA of necessity has set standards. None of the COMTA Commissioners are part of this group. It would seem smart to start with COMTA’s work. I hope this is not another divisive move in the massage community. 


NY Beth Israel Integrative Medicine Leader Kligler Offers Strong Support for Naturopathic Licensing

Comment: Under another of my hats I learned that Ben Kligler, MD, MPH, the vice chair for the department of integrative medicine at New York’s Beth Israel Hospital, had submitted a strong letter of support for licensing of naturopathic physicians to the New York legislature. The letter was requested by Doni Wilson, ND, who heads the now 8-year campaign of the New York Association of Naturopathic Physicians. In his letter, Kligler first underscored the importance of team care for chronic conditions, then stated, in part: “Naturopathic physicians have a set of skills and specific approach which is unique and which can make a very important contribution to this type of interdisciplinary approach.”

Learning of Kligler’s letter reminded me of how many naturopathic doctors continue to have a polarized, polarizing and competitive feeling toward integrative medical doctors like. I have previously surprised these biases many times by asking naturopathic doctors to view the video of Andrew Weil, MD which for many years graced the NYANP site as a powerful endorsement of naturopathic licensing. The naturopathic medical and integrative MD fields are, to use a phrase my wife has used with me from time to time when I have needed to hear it, “on the same side” when it comes to shaping the health care of the future. It’s a pleasure to observe this action by Kligler.