Table of Contents
- Darla Anderson
- Michael Bard
- Peter Becker
- Susan Bessonette
- Loida Blas
- Keith Bridger
- Debra Curties
- Sophia Do
- Michelle Francis-Smith
- Lesley Frow
- Sasha Goudriaan
- Diana Griffin
- Tiina Hiis
- Shon Hsu
- Nelson Jin
- Ian Kamm
- Matvey Kipershtein
- Jes Markoff
- Bruce McKinnon
- Erin McNeely
- Tanya Meyers
- Andre Naraine
- Linda Novick
- Monica Noy
- Odette Oliver
- JP Rimando
- Victoria Sambleson
- Michelle Tomlin
- Irene Valmas
- Roderick Walker
Get acquainted with our Faculty.
Darla graduated from Sutherland-Chan in 2005 and has been an instructor since 2009. Her subject area focus has been anatomy, clinical assessment, and pregnancy massage. Darla’s teaching philosophy involves encouraging students to take basic concepts and apply them to different areas of the body, encouraging them to work through their questions. This can be challenging but also makes the learning far greater. She tries to encourage students to use all of the learning styles (tactile, memorization, visual, etc.) in order to truly learn how the body works instead of simply reciting information. Ultimately, her goal is to inspire them to feel as passionately as she does about the massage profession!
Michael entered the profession as a Sutherland-Chan grad in 1984 and has been teaching at the school since 1988. Over the years he has taught numerous courses, primarily anatomy and related subjects (e.g., neurology, anatomy lab). You will often find him inspiring students with his extensive bone collection as well as by his ability to connect students to the material in creative ways. A student of movement-related bodies of work, Michael brings a wealth of critical understanding of the body and how it functions (or doesn’t) in everyday life.
Peter graduated with a Specialized Honours B.A. in Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in 1996 and concurrently completed his Certified Exercise Physiologist certification through the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP-CEP). A graduate of Sutherland-Chan, he became a registered massage therapist in 1998 and has since worked in a variety of clinic environments focusing on orthopedics. Peter started teaching at Sutherland-Chan in 2000, joined the core faculty in 2001, and has been part of the administration team since 2002.
As the Assistant Director of Education, Peter is responsible for the oversight of most aspects of the academic and clinical program. As an instructor, he devotes his time to Physiology, Student Clinic, and OSCE Prep (a second year course that prepares students for the CMTO certification examinations).
In addition, Peter maintains a small part-time massage practice and works for the York University Human Performance Lab performing fitness appraisals on essential service workers and a variety of national/international amateur and professional athletes.
Susan graduated from Sutherland-Chan in 1996 and returned as a teacher in 2005. Although she is involved in several courses, including introductions to the massage therapy profession and to our Student Clinic program, her primary area of instruction is in massage theory and practice as it relates to the cardiovascular system. In addition to teaching, Susan maintains a home-based and outcall practice with a clinical focus. She recently completed the Teacher of Adults certificate from Centennial College.
Loida graduated from Sutherland-Chan in 2001 and has just recently joined the faculty. She specializes in deep tissue and sports massage and is certified in cranial-sacral therapy. Loida also has a background in kinesiology and believes in integrating her knowledge into a well-rounded approach to helping her clients. She utilizes a variety of techniques including myofascial release, general Swedish massage, trigger-point therapy, stretching, and hydrotherapy. Understanding that mental and physical stresses disrupt the normal balanced state of the body, Loida believes massage therapy along with other approaches, such as chiropractic, exercise and relaxation, restore balance and allow the body to heal itself and work efficiently. She looks forward to sharing her knowledge and experience with her students.
Keith graduated from Sutherland-Chan in 2010, began tutoring at the school in 2011, and transitioned into a teaching role in 2012. In the classroom, Keith endeavors to keep the fundamentals as simple as possible to give his students a foundation to return to when concepts get more complex. He likes to use his background in theatre and dance to entertain as well as instruct. Keith’s practice is in a multidisciplinary clinic where he enjoys working with athletes and dancers.
Debra graduated from Sutherland-Chan in 1984. Prior to becoming a massage therapist, she worked with homeless and troubled teenagers and taught Women’s Studies at the University of Toronto and York University. She began teaching at Sutherland-Chan in 1985 and continues to teach Pathology and Theory & Practice courses. She has also held the positions of Director of Education from 1985-1989 and Executive Director from 1995 to the present, and in 1998 became a co-owner with Grace Chan.
Debra has represented Sutherland-Chan in numerous organizational roles in the massage therapy profession in Ontario and Canada, as well as at the American Massage Therapy Association’s Council of Schools, of which she was President from 1995-1997, and the Massage Therapy Foundation, where she served as a trustee for four years. She is also a textbook and journal article author and a highly respected continuing education instructor. In 1998, Debra was the recipient of the Ontario Massage Therapy Association’s Meritorious Service Award, and in 2000, the AMTA Council of Schools Meritorious Service Award.
Sophia graduated from Sutherland-Chan in 2012 and completed our Teaching Assistant program in 2014. She received her B.A. in Kinesiology and Health Science, Spec. Honours, at York University in 2011. In addition to teaching, she practices massage therapy at Toronto Western Hospital and the new Sutherland-Chan Clinic at Yonge and Bloor. Her love for challenges and knowledge always keep her motivated to continue learning and exploring various therapies. Critical thinking and clinical application are priorities of her teaching approach.
After graduating from the University of Toronto with a B.A. in Sociology, Michelle’s passion for offering healing to others led her to study at Sutherland-Chan. She graduated in 2001 and quickly became invested in her new profession as an educator, teaching the Sutherland-Chan Introduction to Massage course and in 2003 joining core faculty. She has also taught at Centennial College, Trimesters Education and the Canadian Chiropractic Memorial College.
In 2008 Michelle founded her own corporation, Es-Sense of Wellness Massage Therapy in Pickering, Ontario, achieving her life-long dream of becoming an entrepreneur. She started with three RMTs, but Es-Sense quickly grew into a multidisciplinary clinic.
In December 2011 Michelle moved into the position of Student Services Coordinator at Sutherland-Chan, a position he held until 2016. She continues to enjoy teaching, specifically in the areas of communication and perinatal massage instruction.
2006 alumnus Lesley Frow joined the Sutherland-Chan teaching team in 2008. The focus of her teaching is clinical assessment, remedial exercise and stroke rehabilitation; her clinical practice centres on sports injury rehab and involves interdisciplinary collaboration with chiropractors, physiotherapists and personal trainers. She strives to create an atmosphere in the classroom that is clear, energetic and promotes self development.
A 1996 Sutherland-Chan graduate, Sasha has been a member of the faculty team since 2006. Her academic teaching is focused on musculoskeletal dysfunction and disorders. Sasha has a passion for clinical instruction, supervising both student clinic and the breast massage specialty clinic. Her clinical practice is divided between a hospital setting and a private practice. Sasha is always expanding her skills through new courses and incorporates different approaches into her work. Most recently she received her certificate for Manual Lymphatic Drainage and Combined Decongestive Therapy and is currently enrolled in adult education courses. As a teacher, she believes that classroom experiences should promote therapeutic development and growth, spark enthusiasm and critical thinking, and encourage life-long learning.
Diana has been a member of the massage profession and an educator since 1989. She teaches hydrotherapy and instructs extensively in the clinical program. Her home-based practice involves working with people with physical and emotional trauma, focusing on the mind-body connection. In addition to massage therapy, she offers craniosacral therapy, visceral manipulation and homeopathy. Her style is explorative and encourages clients and students to engage in discovery. Diana’s focus with students is establishing solid communication skills and facilitating their finding their own talent and skills as therapists. With clients, it is empowering them to find the path to their own health and educating them about the power of self-care.
Tiina graduated from Sutherland-Chan on 2014 and after completing her training as a Teaching Assistant, joined the faculty at the school in 2016. Prior to studying massage Therapy, she received her Bachelor of Science with Specialized Honours in Kinesiology and Health Science. Her background in sports and exposure to various sports injuries piqued an interest in Tiina to learn more about the human body, and it has ultimately lead to her career in massage therapy. Her clinical practice, which is divided between a massage clinic and a multidisciplinary clinic, is focused on promoting wellness and active living to help maintain overall health. Her interests include injury prevention, sports rehabilitation, and health sciences. Tiina is excited to share her knowledge of the human body and her passion for learning with her students.
Shon completed his HBSc from University of Toronto in 2009 holding a double major in Human Biology and Zoology. In 2010 he graduated from Sutherland-Chan and returned to the school in 2014 to assume teaching and clinic supervision responsibilities. Shon is also Head Therapist at Yonge and Bloor and Richmond Hill Sutherland-Chan clinics and regularly hold workshops and seminars. On the side, he offers his time for a non-profit organization that works closely with the Toronto Raptors and Canada Basketball as a coach for youth basketball development. He stresses continuous learning and applying the skills and knowledge to practice
Nelson graduated from Sutherland-Chan in 1998 and started teaching at the school in 2004. His teaching focus is sports massage and instructing in Student Clinic. Nelson describes his approach to the classroom as relaxed and guided exploration – sports massage provides a great opportunity to apply the principles of massage therapy in very different scenarios. His clinical practice is somewhat eclectic and includes work at a health club, a massage clinic, and providing corporate on-site treatments. In 2002, Nelson received the Massage Therapist of the Year award from Bally Total Fitness.
Ian has been an instructor at the school since 1998 and has at different times also taken on the roles of Clinical Coordinator and Chief Examiner. His teaching focus is business skills and clinical assessment – he also offers postgraduate training in these areas. An RMT since graduating from Sutherland-Chan in 1997, Ian operates a neighbourhood massage clinic with another RMT and contributes to the advancement of the profession through writing for Massage Therapy Today.
Matvey graduated from Sutherland-Chan in 2004 and joined the faculty in 2007. He teaches joint mobilization techniques. He likes to stress the importance of foundational knowledge and how, once the case information is properly gathered, decisions about how to treat and the actual practical application are easy. Clinically, Matvey has a very eclectic practice – “from kids to grannies” and he brings a wide variety of tools to his treatments. He is currently a thesis candidate in osteopathy.
Bhavani graduated from Sutherland-Chan in 2011 and joined the faculty as an instructor in Pathology in 2014. Prior to studying massage Therapy, she worked as a Certified Pharmacy Technician for 10 years. Her pharmaceutical training provided her with a lot of knowledge of the human body, different pathologies and how medications worked, but Bhavani wanted to find ways to heal the body with a more holistic approach. This lead her to study massage therapy. Bhavani’s time is divided between her private practice and teaching. She believes in life long learning and enjoys being in a classroom setting where she can share her knowledge in Pathology as well as learn from her students.
Following her 2007 graduation, Jes was the inaugural person in Sutherland-Chan’s Teaching Assistant program in January 2008. The main foundations of her practice are yoga, massage, energy therapies and acupuncture. She teaches massage techniques and therapist body awareness, and is involved in several aspects of the clinical program. For Jes, teaching is as much about continuous learning, and never becoming too attached to fixed ideas, as it is about sharing what you know. This is reflected in her hands-on approach in the clinics and practical classes, where her goal is to create an environment that is easy-going, fun and professional.
Bruce graduated from Sutherland-Chan in 1990 and has been teaching at the school since 1991. He focuses on anatomy, joint mobilization and myofascial techniques. Bruce describes his teaching style as trying to make the material relevant, meaningful, and entertaining while addressing the various learning styles represented in the classroom. Bruce’s home practice includes “a little bit of everything” with a particular interest in workplace repetitive strain injuries. He also offers a number of continuing education courses focused on treatment of the neck, thorax, and temporomandibular (jaw) joints. Bruce has received two “Hands of Thanks” awards from the Registered Massage Therapists’ Association of Ontario.
After graduating with a physical education and health degree from the University of Toronto in 2011, Erin went on to pursue massage therapy. She graduated from Sutherland-Chan in 2014 and after joining us as a Teaching Assistant in 2015, became a member of the faculty as an instructor in 2016. She currently works in a multidisciplinary clinic as well as her own home based and out call practice centred around rehabilitative exercise, massage therapy and acupuncture. She loves working one on one with students and believes in lifelong learning.
Tanya graduated from Sutherland-Chan in 1997 and began teaching in 2001. In addition to her massage practice she provides pregnant women and their families with support during pregnancy, labour and post-partum. Her passion for working primarily with women’s health has led to her teaching focus on pregnancy massage, including treatment during high risk pregnancy. Tanya also offers postgraduate workshops on similar topics. She enjoys sharing knowledge and having students experience learning in their own creative ways, integrating both the science and the art of massage therapy.
Andre graduated from Sutherland-Chan in 2015 and has recently joined the faculty as a Teaching Assistant at the school. Prior to studying massage therapy, Andre has worked in the business sector as a manager and trainer. Interested in the human body, as well as a profession geared towards physical activity, Andre has made a career change into the profession he believes in. He hopes to help students explore the material and skills they will learn in order to help them become the great RMTs of the future.
Linda began teaching at Sutherland-Chan in 1980 and has been in the profession since 1979. She currently runs a home-based practice that focuses on developing and deepening the self awareness of her clients so they can better connect with their bodies. She has a keen interest in working with people who are dealing with mental illness, end-of-life issues and bereavement. Her teaching areas are massage techniques and palliative care. In the classroom Linda does her best to support students’ curiosity and exploration, seeing learning as a collaborative process where she is the experienced guide.
Monica is a 2003 graduate of Sutherland-Chan and has been an instructor at the school since 2007. She teaches myofascial techniques, research methods and continuing education courses on the abdominal and pelvic viscera. Monica sees her teaching style as a collaborative process in which she and her students explore and examine knowledge, concepts and ideas with a critical eye. She encourages them to find and utilize current research as part of their path of professional growth. Monica is also an osteopathic manual practitioner and maintains a treatment-focused private practice working primarily with people with chronic conditions.
Odette graduated from Sutherland-Chan in 1997. Since that time she has practiced and taught massage therapy in both Ontario and Nova Scotia. She presently practices at the Integrative Health Institute in Toronto. In both her practice and teaching Odette focuses on facilitating physical awareness, effective communication and exploring barriers to achieving health goals.
JP graduated from Sutherland-Chan in 2012 and actively volunteers his time to assist and supervise in the many events the school participates in. Before deciding to become a Massage Therapist, JP worked as a Rehabilitation Assistant for a rehabilitation clinic that specializes in neurorehab for 7 years where he was exposed to many different technologies and techniques used in the field. He practices at the Sutherland-Chan clinic and Bloor and Yonge and Aim2walk Rehabilitation Centre where he strives to grow as a practitioner and a clinician while learning from other healcare practitioners. JP hopes to share the same enthusiasm and enjoyment with his students in his Student Clinic at the school.
Victoria graduated from Sutherland-Chan in 2004 and started teaching at the school in 2006, primarily in sports massage and Student Clinic. She really enjoys working one-on-one with each student’s challenges in clinic. In addition to maintaining a private practice in which she treats mostly athletes and pregnant women, Victoria teaches a number of continuing education courses in Ontario and internationally. She brings a wealth of experience into her teaching, enjoying tying the academic and practical parts of education in with real-life scenarios, making it relevant and fun at the same time.
A 2000 Sutherland-Chan graduate and an instructor since 2002, Michelle’s main teaching areas are hydrotherapy and massage theory related to systemic conditions. She practices in a community-based multidisciplinary clinic focused on treating chronic conditions and sports injuries. Michelle’s history as a competitive swimmer – she participated in three Commonwealth Games – led to her awareness of the body and interest in becoming an RMT. In the classroom, Michelle passes on her passion for the work and makes every effort to connect with each student, adapting her teaching approach to the students’ needs and encouraging self exploration so they can better relate to the needs of their clients.
Irene is the founder and Director of Care Kinetics Fitness, Wellness and Exercise Rehabilitation Inc. She studied studied psychology, kinesiology and health science at York University and has been an active member of the Health and Wellness community since 2006. Irene works as a lifestyle coach and consultant, a mentor an educator and dedicates much of her time to projects that “make a difference.” An advocate of pet therapy, Irene serves as National Director of Communications and Public Relations for Therapeutic Paws of Canada. With her diverse background and wide range of experience she has developed a unique skill set that includes specializing in social media and business development. Irene joined the faculty at Sutherland-Chan in 2015.
Roderick Walker graduated from Sutherland-Chan in 1993 and returned in 1998 as an instructor in Massage Techniques, Rhythmic Techniques, Clinical Skills and Student Clinic Supervisor. He took a hiatus from teaching to focus on his clinical work and take on the clinic managers role at the Sutherland-Chan Spadina clinic where he has been in practice since graduating. He returned to the school in 2014 to teach Therapeutic Relations with Wendy Birks and Michelle Francis Smith. He also teaches the Rhythmic Techniques Term 4 elective course. Roderick’s background has involved studies in Hatha Yoga, Fitness Testing and Programming and he is currently studying the health benefits of Qi Gong.