The annual meeting of the Federation of Therapeutic Massage, Bodywork, and Somatic Practice Organizations (Federation MBS) took place in Austin, TX on March 29-30, 2019, hosted by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). ISMETA sent two representatives, Elisa Cotroneo, Executive Director and Mary Abrams, Government Relations Consultant. Eleven organizations participate in the Federation MBS and each year one organization chair’s the meeting. This year it was ISMETA’s turn so Elisa and Mary conferenced numerous times prior to the March meeting in preparation, and then co-chaired the two-day meeting.
All Federation MBS organizations sent 1-3 representatives, making this year’s meeting very well attended and dynamic. The meeting begins with introductions, a review of practical consensus rules, a brief history of the Federation MBS, and 10-12 minute organizational reports from each organization.
The rest of the meeting continues with a full report on the activities of the Joint Government Relations Committee, which meets every 4-6 weeks via conference call, engaging in the ongoing tracking of legislative activities across the country. Main themes of this year’s JGRC report and further discussion focused on new trends in legislative activity attempting to regulate bodywork and/or bodywork therapies as a tool for fighting human trafficking. All Federation MBS members agree that regulating a profession is not a viable way to fight crime, and various talking points were highlighted for how to educate legislators, law enforcement, and those working to combat human trafficking and prostitution, about the significance of professions engaging in safe legal practice for the health and well-being of the public.
Other discussions at the meeting included how organizations serve their members, engage with membership to support and grow their organizations, and professional practice insurance. The meeting ended on Saturday, March 29, with hugs and appreciation for everyone’s contributions and commitment to their professions. Some meeting attendees later that evening walked to the Texas State Capital Building to experience the Beto O’Rourke rally for his presidential campaign.
ISMETA is grateful and honored to be a member of the Federation MBS and to represent the voices of our members in these critical conversations and activities related to licensure and organizational process across the country.
Mary Abrams, Government Relations Consultant