A just-launched national organization for massage therapy schools and educators announced its membership team today, Sept. 21. This team is responsible for creating the administrative structure of the organization, and planning the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education’s formal organizational meeting in 2010.

The alliance (www.afmte.org) is intended to serve as an independent voice and advocate for the entire massage-education sector, from entry-level training programs through post-graduate studies.

The leadership team is:

• Iris Burman, L.M.T., founder and director of the Educating Hands School of Massage in Miami, Florida. One of the original American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) Council of Schools members, and part of the group that established the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation in the early 1990’s.

• Stan Dawson, D.C., owner and director of the ASHA School of Massage in Norcross, Georgia. Chiropractor and massage therapist, and founder of the first integrative health clinic in the Southeast in the late 1970s.

• Pete Whitridge, L.M.T., continuing education presenter based in Fort Pierce, Florida. Former chair of the Florida Board of Massage Therapy and former director of the Florida School of Massage in Gainesville, Florida.

• Su Bibik, L.M.T., of Kalamazoo, MIichigan, is the founder and director of the Kalamazoo Center for the Healing Arts. She has been a leader in the community of Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals-affiliated schools for many years, and served as a subject matter expert for the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) in the development of the Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination.

• Eugenie Newton, of San Diego, California, is an educator and former executive director of the International Professional School of Bodywork (IPSB). She is a specialist in human resources and organizational development, and continues to serve IPSB as a senior faculty member.

• Rick Rosen, L.M.B.T., is the alliance’s executive director during the initial developmental process. Rosen has worked in the massage therapy field for more than 30 years, and has taken other nonprofit massage organizations through successful startups. He is a charter member and past president of the AMTA-North Carolina Chapter, the founding chairman of the North Carolina Board of Massage & Bodywork Therapy, and part of the group that created the FSMTB in 2005.