College of Mind-Body Medicine Mentor and Instructor Serves as Advocate for Massage Therapy Profession: Luann Fortune, PhD
Luann Fortune is a new mentor and instructor in Saybrook University’s College of Mind-Body Medicine. She is thrilled to be assisting the MBM students to reach their academic and personal goals. Luann has eight unique mentees that bring their own history and knowledge to Saybrook. It is Luann’s intention to act as a coach and an advocate for the students throughout their entire degree program. As she engages with this new position she will be present for her students, however, she is also aware that the interactions will impact her as well.
Luann Fortune will also be teaching “Fundamentals of Research” in the Fall Term B with Connie Corley, and “Assessing Systems and Processes in Healthcare” in Spring 2013.
In addition to being a wife, mother, scholar, massage therapist, and mentor, she has turned her passion for her profession as a massage therapist toward advocacy. Luann feels a deep responsibility to pay attention to the regulatory front that governs how mind-body practitioners, such as massage therapists, practice their craft freely.
Luann lives in Washington, D.C. and recent legislation was introduced that could prevent massage therapists from practicing. Because of her experience as a massage therapist, complimented by her academic credentials, Luann was recruited by her professional association to be their representative. She testified at government meetings on behalf of professional massage therapists to explain to the officials creating the new guidelines how the new regulations are misguided and will impact professional massage therapists. As a result of her advocacy involvement, Luann is now sitting on a special Task Force for the District of Columbia Department of Health to advise on regulatory revisions.
Because of her experience with governmental regulations Luann is passionate that all that mind-body practitioners need to stay abreast of regulatory decisions that impact mind body practitioners. Luann is aware that having an advanced degree gives practitioners a recognizable and respected credential that becomes important when talking with officials about regulatory issues. Because of this realization of the importance of awareness, Luann is grateful for the opportunities and new doorways that her education has brought forth.
Luann’s passion for the field of massage therapy was the topic of her PhD dissertation, “How do Seasoned Massage Therapists Accomplish a Whole Session with Established Clients?” (Fielding Graduate University). During the process of preparing and writing her dissertation Luann stumbled upon another area that became a surprise interest, mixing together qualitative methodology styles. In trying to answer her research question, she learned that no one methodology was going to be able to provide the answer she desired. Yet it was her intention to answer her question fully, even if that meant forming a new methodology. Luann used a combination of Ethnomethodology and Phenomenology, which then transformed her research question into a seven-chapter dissertation.
Luann is proud of what she accomplished in her research, yet her personal experience of sitting for many hours led her to another question, “Why is it in scholarship, that we sometimes check our bodies at the door?” As time continued and she began to feel the personal impact of not caring for her body the way that she normally does, she began to wonder, “What happened to the embodied researcher?” Luann has written an article about the embodied researcher and has submitted it to a peer-reviewed journal.
Luann’s journey into academia has brought her many opportunities that she did not anticipate; advocacy, working with qualitative methodologies, and answering deeper questions, such as why do scholars check their bodies at the door when doing research. Being open to the opportunities along the way has brought her into the exciting realm of new possibilities. When asked what advice she would give to graduate students Luann’s response was to trust oneself and the universe, and to stay in your body for the journey.