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Success Story: Jan Schwartz

Jan Schwartz is co-founder of Education and Training Solutions, a web-based e-learning company that produces online courses for those in the health and wellness fields. She has worked in education since 1988.

How did you get your start in the spa industry?
I went to massage school to learn more about anatomy. I was a pretty active person and wanted to know more about how my body worked, but I had had enough of college and wanted a more fun way to learn. As it turns out, I also loved learning about massage and how it helps the body heal in certain ways. My background was in education and training so I did gravitate towards education after I was two years out of school. I was able to combine the two careers and I became an instructor and then an education director.

What roles have you held in the industry during your career?
I was fortunate in that the owner of the school I attended was big on volunteering. She steered me that direction. I was a committee chair for my local AMTA chapter, and then I became a Commissioner for the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA), then the Chair of COMTA. I did some volunteer work for NCBTMB and then became a Trustee for the Massage Therapy Foundation. For two years I was the massage therapy ambassador to the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM) and currently I am on the board of the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health (ACIH) and also a member of the Board of Trustees for the University of Western States in Oregon. Volunteering has been a big part of my career in massage therapy.

What are two of the most important resources you use to stay engaged in the industry?
I stay engaged through my volunteer work, which is a great learning environment as well. I also go to relevant conferences and am now most interested in inter-professional education. That is, education that brings healthcare practitioners of different fields closer together in how they work with patients/clients.

What professional achievement are you most proud of and why?
When I was Chair of COMTA we received our initial approval from the U.S. Dept. of Education. That was a long time coming. By the time our renewal came around we had developed the first set of competencies for the field of massage therapy. As a group we did some excellent work, that still exists today. I am proud to have been a part of those processes.
More recently, I am proud to have been a co-leader of the team that developed competencies for optimal inter-professional practice through the ACIH.

What is the best part of working in the spa and wellness industry?
The best part for me now is meeting like minded people in the fields of health and wellness; working on how to make our healthcare system more equitable, more affordable and more patient/client centered.

What one piece of advice would you give someone starting out in the spa and wellness industry?
Once you get your practice going, whether you practice solo, in a group or at a spa, and feel comfortable with yourself in your new career, I would strongly advise therapists to get involved in local organizations that promote health and wellness. It could be a massage organization, or any other organization that you think would benefit from the expertise you bring. Don’t think too narrowly—it’s a great way to network! We have to carry the message that massage has many benefits to help people optimize their health.

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