Hello everyone, We sincerely appreciate each of you who has connected with CMTCA during what we know is a very difficult time in both massage therapy education and the profession. We have been staying informed about your innovations, challenges and questions as we all work to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope all of our stakeholders are staying healthy and looking ahead to better times. In this communication, we want to address some of the issues and questions we’ve heard from education programs around how to adjust their programs during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how to prepare for the education environment once the emergency situation has passed. During this difficult time I have met a number of times with accreditation organizations from other professions (as a member of the Association of Accrediting Agencies of Canada) and with massage therapy regulators. The opportunity to share challenges, ideas and solutions to the current situation has been invaluable. With thanks, Kathrina Loeffler Executive Director, CMTCA
Welcome to our June 2020 issue!
We are happy to report that CMTCA was able to quickly accommodate all staff to work from home which has enabled us to continue with accreditation review work and supporting our stakeholders. Thankfully, we did not have any immediate accreditation site visits planned, and therefore have been able to turn our attention to supporting our stakeholders as they adapt and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. We also adapted our Annual General Meeting to an online meeting and our other Board meetings, which were already planned as online events, were and will be held at the appointed time.
Keep reading for more information including:
Congratulations to the programs who were Accredited and granted Preliminary Accreditation in March
Resources for programs with concerns about graduation and practice hours with the public as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
- Helen Keller
Photo credit Dylan Ferreira, unsplash.com
We invite you to take advantage of our CMTCAu forum, where educators and other stakeholders can share questions, answers and solutions during this difficult time.
Congrats to ...
The CMTCA board and staff extend sincere congratulations to the following programs that were Accredited or granted Preliminary Accreditation in March:
Canadian College of Massage & Hydrotherapy, Halifax Site - 20-month, 16-month and 3-year blended Massage Therapy Program (Nova Scotia)
Lethbridge College - Massage Therapy Program (Alberta)
Granted Preliminary Accreditation
triOS College - Massage Therapy Program (Fredericton, Moncton, Saint John, Hamilton, Kitchener, London, Mississauga and Windsor campuses)
We salute your hard work and your commitment to continuous quality improvement. We know this achievement will help you provide the best learning environment for your students and contribute to their becoming competent, safe and effective massage therapists.
CMTCA would also like to acknowledge the sad news of the closure of two of Ontario’s massage therapy colleges, the Canadian College of Massage & Hydrotherapy sites in Cambridge and Toronto. Both programs were accredited by CMTCA. COVID-19’s impact on the massage therapy profession and education programs continues to be profound, and our sympathy and best wishes go out to the staff and students of these programs.
The impact of COVID-19 on 2020 graduates
For many educators, a primary concern during this emergency shutdown is for their students nearing graduation. These students are very close to completing their program and have already completed a significant number of their clinical practice hours. CMTCA understands that these new professionals are very close to being ready to become a tremendous asset to our healthcare system, if only we can find a way for them to reach graduation and become licensed as soon as possible. For most programs, the only option will be to delay graduation until the COVID-19 pandemic emergency is resolved and students can complete their education program and faculty-supervised clinical practice hours. Solutions will be unique to each program depending on where their students are in the education program. We strongly suggest that programs document the strategies that they put into place to ensure that students complete their clinical practice hours under faculty supervision as per criterion 1.7. And that goes for all of the temporary changes that programs put into place during this time.
As programs consider the temporary adjustments they will need to make during the COVID-19 pandemic, the key consideration from an accreditation perspective is to document how your program considered:
the accreditation standards
and the overall goal of ensuring graduates are ready to provide safe, quality practice to the public
In other words, programs should document the rationale for the temporary adjustments that they made to their programs during COVID-19 along with what they did and the demonstrations of how those changes were or will be successful. These reports can then be available to surveyors during the next Preliminary Accreditation and site visit reviews. Questions? Don’t hesitate to contact CMTCA for guidance.
Are you concerned that your date for accreditation or re-accreditation is approaching soon and may not be feasible? CMTCA will consider offering some flexibility to review dates, if needed, due to the impacts of COVID-19. Each program’s timeline will be unique, however, and we encourage any program concerned about its review dates to contact CMTCA well in advance to discuss any concerns.
CMTCA welcomes new Board members
At our April 2020 Annual General Meeting, CMTCA bid farewell to Board member Denise Armstrong. Denise provided valuable insight and expertise to our Board since 2017, and she will be sincerely missed. Thank you Denise!
CMTCA is happy to introduce two new board members, Gabriel Flamminio and Andrew Lewarne:
Gabriel Flamminio is a practicing massage therapist and a massage therapy educator. He completed his Bachelor of Human Kinetics at the University of Windsor, followed by a Diploma in Massage Therapy from the Canadian College of Massage & Hydrotherapy (Newmarket). He also received a Bachelor of Education (Adult Education) from Brock University in 2014. Gabriel has been involved in various executive boards (locally, provincially and nationally). Most recently, Gabriel is providing leadership to the massage therapy program at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario.
Andrew Lewarne is an RMT who has worked across the profession in several capacities, including operating his own clinic for 10 years. Andrew has served on the Board of Directors of the Registered Massage Therapists' Association of Ontario (RMTAO) as Vice Chair and was the Secretary of the Canadian Massage Therapist Alliance (CMTA) for three years. He has also had the opportunity to support the profession as the Examinations Officer for the College of Massage Therapists’ of Ontario (CMTO). More recently he was the Executive Director of the RMTAO for five years and now works as the vice president of the Sutherland-Chan Professional Clinics in charge of Leadership and Franchise Development. Andrew has been an avid supporter of CMTCA since its inception and is very excited to be a part of the critical development and delivery of the accreditation process championed by the CMTCA.
Q&A: Questions from educators
We were granted Preliminary Accreditation and are due for a site visit. What happens if we cannot meet the required timeline before our Preliminary Accreditation expires?
CMTCA understands that in the current work environment, site visits are not possible, and programs may need extra time to prepare accreditation submissions. We will work with each program with an upcoming deadline to make a sensible plan.
Programs have two years between receiving their Preliminary Accreditation: Granted decision and having a site visit. This should be enough time to prepare for the site visit. If a program encounters extraordinary circumstances that prevent your ability to schedule a site visit within that timeframe, contact CMTCA as soon as possible and we will work with you to determine next steps.
Remember, CMTCA's goal is to help you to continue to provide the highest quality of massage therapy education possible. Each program's timeline and situation are unique. However, rest assured that CMTCA will work with you as a partner in setting reasonable dates based on the restraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Photo credit: M. Sanders unsplash.com
We have had to make many changes to how we deliver our program and assess students in this emergency situation. How will this impact our ability to become accredited or maintain accreditation?
When site visits resume, surveyors will take the impact of COVID-19 and the changes you made in the interest of public safety and as directed by public health agencies into consideration. They will assess the actions you took to address these unprecedented challenges and ensure that your graduates have the necessary skills to take the regulatory exams and be ready to practice as professional, competent healthcare providers.
We understand that you will need to make temporary changes to how you deliver your curricula to limit the potential for disease transmission and to follow provincial and federal guidelines related to COVID-19.
We strongly suggest that you document those temporary changes for our surveyors to review along with the rationale for the changes that you made and results/impacts of the changes on student learning outcomes. These records will be important in the future to show CMTCA surveyors how your program maintained compliance with accreditation requirements.
Do we need to notify CMTCA about the adjustments we have made to our program due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Unless those changes become long-term or permanent, meaning if they remain in place after the public health restrictions are lifted, there is no need to notify CMTCA. However, if the changes do become long term or permanent, or if they affect compliance with CMTCA standards, programs that hold one-year, three-year or five-year accreditation decisions must notify us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Programs that have been granted Preliminary Accreditation are not required to report temporary changes to CMTCA.
Your turn. What’s new with you?
Do you have an innovative idea for massage therapy education during these trying times? Do you have a question that you would like CMTCA to address?