Hear leaders in the scientific community share their updates on the latest research around massage therapy’s role in managing important health issues.

Keynote: Peter Murray, PhD
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

Peter Murray, Ph.D., is a program director at the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). His research portfolio primarily includes studies of complementary and integrative approaches to pain management. Prior to joining NCCIH, Dr. Murray developed a comprehensive pain management research program investment strategy for the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command. Dr. Murray earned a doctorate in neuroscience at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, completing studies characterizing neural network computation involved in the control of movement and maladaptive plasticity changes in the brain following spinal cord injury that underlie central pain syndrome.


Robin B. Anderson, MEd, LMT, BCTMB, CEAS
The Massage Therapy Foundation

Robin B. Anderson, MEd, LMT, BCTMB, CEAS is a board certified massage therapist and the current President of the Massage Therapy Foundation. Robin maintains a private practice and is the Regional Director of Massage Education, Eastern Region at Mpower Education. As an NCBTMB-approved provider, she serves on committees with the National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork and the Alliance for Massage Therapy Educators, and is a site reviewer for the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation. Robin has also published research on ergonomics teaching methods for improving body mechanics in massage therapy students.


Matthew J. Bair, MD, MS, FACP
Indiana University School of Medicine

Matthew J. Blair, MD, MS, FACP is a researcher at the Indiana University School of Medicine whose primary focus is on chronic and psychological comorbidity and developing strategies to improve pain management in the primary care setting. He has an extensive background in conducting clinical trials. And, over the past decade he has led and worked with research teams to conduct 11 randomized clinical effectiveness trials.


Brent A. Bauer, MD
Mayo Clinic

Brent A. Bauer, MD is board-certified in Internal Medicine, a Professor of Medicine and is the founder of the Integrative Medicine Program at Mayo Clinic. His research interests have focused on the scientific evaluation of integrative medicine and he has authored several book chapters and over 100 papers on this topic. In addition to being the Medical Editor of the Mayo Clinic Guide to Integrative Medicine and The Science of Integrative Medicine video series, Dr. Bauer is currently collaborating on over 20 studies evaluating therapies ranging from acupuncture to valerian.


Leisa Bellmore, MSc, ST
Al & Malka Green Artists’ Health Centre, Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Leisa Bellmore, MSc, ST is a shiatsu therapist with over 20 years experience. She has her Masters of Science in Advanced Complementary Medicine Research and Practice and has been a member of the integrative team at Toronto Western Hospital’s Artists’ Health Centre since 2010. Her research interests include neurological conditions, chronic pain and self-management.


Geoffrey Bove, DC, PhD
Bove Consulting

Dr. Geoffrey Bove is a pioneer CAM biomedical researcher and has more than 30 years of clinical experience as a manual therapist. He was the first person considered “post-doctoral” by NIH by virtue of a chiropractic degree and the only chiropractor appointed to the Harvard Medical School faculty.  His research has focused on the effects of inflammation on nerves and axons, which has implications for many disorders that are commonly seen in manual therapy practice. Dr. Bove’s current projects are focused on the efficacy and mechanisms of manual therapy for repetitive motion disorders and post-irradiation fibrosis.  He currently has a private laboratory, funded by the NIH.


Esther Dupont-Versteegden, PhD
University of Kentucky

Esther Dupont-Versteegden, PhD is a Professor and Director of Rehabilitation and Health Services PhD Program at the University of Kentucky. She holds a BS in Movement Sciences and a PhD in Physiology from the University of Texas Health Science Center. She was previously an Assistant Professor at the University Arkansas Medical Sciences and an Associate Professor of Physical Therapy at University of Kentucky.


Danielle Gentile, PhD
Cardinal Health

Danielle Gentile, PhD is a scientist on the Real-World Evidence and Insights team at Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions where she investigates the health outcomes of patients treated in real-world settings outside of clinical trials. Previously, she served as a Health Services Researcher in the Department of Supportive Oncology at Levine Cancer Institute, Atrium Health in Charlotte, NC. Her research has focused on the impact of integrative modalities on cancer patients’ pain, culturally competent LGBTQ+ healthcare and more.


Hunter Groninger, MD
Georgetown University

Hunter Groninger, MD is a Professor of Medicine at Georgetown University, Director of the Section of Palliative Care at MedStar Washington Hospital Center and Scientific Director for Palliative Care at the MedStar Health Research Institute. He has also served as a Master Facilitator with the Education for Palliative and End-of-Life Care (EPEC) Program at Northwestern University. His research interests include palliative care delivery in cardiovascular medicine, innovative symptom management strategies, language and word choice in complex communication and the medical humanities.


Jolie Haun, PhD, EdS, LMT
James A. Haley Veterans Hospital

Dr. Haun has been licensed in massage since 1995; she is an affiliate associate professor in the College of Public Health at University of South Florida and a research health scientist at the Veterans Health Administration. She has published research in massage therapy outcomes and measuring energetic effects of massage. She is currently evaluating a program using partnered massage and meditative strategies to manage Veterans’ pain and PTSD symptoms.


Jennifer L. Hauschulz, BCTMB
Mayo Clinic

Jennifer Hauschulz, BCTMB is a massage therapist and instructor of medicine for Integrative Health and Medicine at Mayo Clinic. She is also the Associate Program Director for Mayo Clinic’s Hospital-Based Massage Therapy course and has been published in the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (IJTMB), Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, and Global Advances in Health and Medicine.


Ann Blair Kennedy,  DrPH, LMT, BCTMB
International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, Executive Editor

Ann Blair Kennedy became a board certified and a South Carolina licensed massage therapist in 1999 and was in clinical practice prior to pursuing her Doctor of Public Health degree in Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior from the University of South Carolina (2012-2015). Upon finishing her degree, she completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Human Performance Lab at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville prior to joining the Biomedical Science faculty at the same institution. She also holds an appointment in the department of Family Medicine at Prisma Health. Ann is also the Director of the U of SC Patient Engagement Studio and the Executive Editor/Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.

As a researcher, ABK’s specific research interests include massage therapy professionals and the profession, burnout/stress/wellness in health professionals and health professional students, and patient and stakeholder engagement in research.


Niki Munk, PhD, LMT
Indiana University

Niki Munk, PhD, LMT is a licensed massage therapist, an Associate Professor of Health Sciences in Indiana University’s School of Health and Human Sciences, and a member of the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health (ACIH) research work group. Dr. Munk is one of 13 international fellows in ARCCIM’s International Complementary Medicine Research Leadership Program. Her research explores real-world massage therapy for chronic pain and associated factors, trigger point self-care, massage for amputation related sequelae and more. She has been on the Massage Therapy Foundation’s Board of Trustees since 2017.


Douglas Nelson, LMT, BCTMB
Massage Therapy Foundation- Immediate Past President

Douglas Nelson, LMT, BCTMB is the Massage Therapy Foundation’s Immediate Past President and has over 40 years of experience in the massage therapy industry. He is the President of BodyWork Associates, a massage therapy clinic in Champaign, IL. He also leads a teaching institute, NMT MidWest, Inc., which provides about 100 trainings annually in Precision Neuromuscular Therapy™ across the USA. He has authored three books: Table Lessons: Insights in the Practice of Massage Therapy (two volumes) and The Mystery of Pain. His interests include the role of soft tissue in performance, serving as a neuromuscular consultant to teams in the NBA and NFL, dance companies, and high level musicians.


Irina Todorov, MD
Cleveland Clinic

Irina Todorov, MD is the Medical Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine and is board certified in Family Medicine and Integrative Medicine. She uses treatment modalities such as nutrition optimization, exercise therapies, acupuncture, mind-body and manual therapies to enhance the body’s healing process, and to achieve optimal physical, social and mental health.


Alison Whitehead, MPH, RYT, PMP
VA Integrative Health Coordinating Center

Alison Whitehead, MPH, RYT, PMP is the Program Lead for the VA Integrative Health Coordinating Center (IHCC) in the Office of Patient Centered Care & Cultural Transformation where she leads the development of programs and policies for integrative health implementation across the VA. She is on the Board of Directors of the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health (ACIMH) and is the immediate past Chair of the ACIMH Policy Working Group. She has her master’s degree in Public Health from Columbia University and is a past Peace Corps volunteer.


Samantha Zabel, PhD Candidate
Indiana University-Purdue University

Samantha Zabel is a massage therapist and a Health and Rehabilitation Sciences doctoral student at Indiana University-Purdue University. She is currently involved in the revamping of MassageNet, a practice-based research network (PBRN) intended to build massage therapist research participation and literacy. She strives to help build the evidence surrounding massage therapy in order to bring it in line with other allied health professions.