Hands & Hearts in Action, a Massage for Veterans education program started in 2013 after a meeting between Nicole Miller, M.S., L.M.T. and Former First Lieutenant Charlene Marx. Char was the Wellness Coordinator at Clear Path for Veterans and Nicole was the Integrative Medicine Coordinator at Crouse Health. At the time Clear Path had difficulty maintaining volunteer massage therapists due to the situational exposure, lack of preparation, and lack of confidence therapists among therapists. Given that Crouse had a continuing education program for massage therapists, Nicole devised a plan to create an authentic learning style CE class, one that would prepare therapists through an on-site Veterans’ massage therapy clinic. With this model, therapists learned, veterans received barrier-free massage, and Clear Path’s wellness program grew.
In 2016, our educational certification host, the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, NCBTMB encouraged us to consider developing the class into a curriculum and ultimately supporting a Specialty Certificate program. Today, the HHIA Massage for Veterans program, is a genuine community impact program supported by the collaboration of Crouse Health, Clear Path for Veterans, the Syracuse VA, AMTA NY, Wisconsin AMTA, NCBTMB, and Upstate Medical University.
For five years, the clinic provided 814 massages to Veterans and family members at Clear Path, as well as Active Duty personnel at two NY Active Duty bases. The program was supported by the work and direction of Former First Lieutenant Charlene Marx of Clear Path, Clinical Supervisor Cindy Hawks, LMT, and Nicole Miller, M.S., L.M.T. These women devoted years of service to the program, often voluntarily, so support Veterans and massage therapists.
Pictured above is Charlene Marx on the left and Cindy Hawks on the right.