SUMMERTIME IN NEW JERSEY
Submitted by Paula Unsal, Chair
While the New Jersey legislative session continues during the summer, legislative activity has slowed and the combined Music Therapist Licensing bill A783/S1601 remains in the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee with no scheduled hearings as of this writing.
The New Jersey State Task Force (NJSTF) is moving ahead with advocacy; however. In June, along with other NJ music therapists, the task force sent two links to NJ legislators, the first featured the national Memorial Day concert which included recognition of the importance of music therapy, and the second highlighted the collaboration between neuroscientists and music therapists in medical research and treatment through “Sound Health: Music and the Mind” sponsored by the partnership of The Kennedy Center, Renée Fleming, Artist Ambassador for the Kennedy Center; and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
At the end of July NJSTF again contacted all NJ legislators to invite them to stop by the AMTA and CBMT Exhibit at the National Conference of State Legislators Summit Meeting held in Boston August 6 – 9, 2017. Our national leaders were set to provide information on state legislative action as well as to offer a photo opportunity for legislators to take selfies with a music therapist to post on social media.
NJSTF thanks our AMTA and CBMT leaders who are making every effort to support state legislative initiatives! We also want to thank the volunteers who joined us in calling every NJ legislator to invite them to stop by the exhibit: Amy Clarkson, John Foley, Barbara Giaquinto, Marlea Gruver, Erin Keenan, Karen Melendez, Kristen O’Grady, Patricia Preston-Roberts, Diane Reed, and Kimberly Seeds.
Finally, in July NJSTF welcomed Virginia Eulacio Cierniak to our task force. She filled a vacancy left by Amanda Latham, who resigned at the end of her term. As a student, Virginia supported NJSTF efforts and now as a MT-BC she joins current NJSTF Chair, Paula Unsal, and members Lynn Coyle, Melissa Santiago, Beth Walls, Ellen de Havilland, Consulting Member, Brian Abrams, and Student Representative Erica Gibbons.