Regina Cobb has spent more than 15 years promoting the Community College of Rhode Island Therapeutic Massage program to anyone who will listen. Now that the American Massage Therapy Association has named her teacher of the year, she will have a little help shining a national spotlight on the program.
The Jerome Perlinski Teacher of the Year Award is given annually to an instructor who demonstrates exceptional teaching abilities and a commitment to high standards of education. She received the award at the AMTA National Convention in Milwaukee, where “Good Morning America” co-host Robin Roberts was keynote speaker.
“When I first found out about the award it was disbelief,” she said. “I was really taken aback and felt really honored that people recognized all the work I’ve been doing for the last 16 years. It was exhilarating,” she said. “It showed me how many people the program has touched over the last 15 years.”
Cobb, who has served as director of CCRI’s Therapeutic Massage program since its inception in 2001, has seen about 175 students graduate from the program and either continue their education or find employment in the field.
The program offers an Associate in Applied Science degree and a separate certificate and its hallmark, Cobb said, is that it prepares students to work in medical environments and practice a holistic approach with clients who have compromised health or physical impairments. Both programs provide students a strong scientific background to apply various soft tissue techniques to promote health and wellness, she said.
The programs are diverse, featuring deep tissue, Eastern modalities, a student clinic and sports massage offerings.
CCRI graduates are licensed massage therapists who are employed in a variety of settings that include rehabilitation clinics, wellness centers, chiropractic and acupuncture offices, health clubs and spas. Many of the graduates have opened successful private businesses, Cobb said.
“Students take pride in what they do here because they feel they get a well-rounded education,” she said.
Associate degree graduates are eligible to take the state licensing and board certification exams. The CCRI Therapeutic Massage Program has a 100 percent first-time test-taker pass rate for the last decade. Both programs have been accredited by the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation since 2003.
In 2012, Cobb created a hospital-based oncology massage program through CCRI’s Center for Workforce and Continuing Education. The program partners CCRI students with Roger Williams Medical Center in Providence and Saint Anne’s Hospital in Fall River, Massachusetts.
“I am thrilled to receive the award and believe it will also focus some attention on some of the work we are doing here with our curriculum,” she said.