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Lifetime Achievement Award

Becky Pansch

Becky Pansch, 2021 MTAM Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient
Nominated by Linnea Bowens-Larson, Jillian Kirkeide, and Claire Klein

Becky Pansch graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1994 with an equivalency degree (following a degree in Music Education from St. Olaf) and completed her internship with Osseo public schools in 1995. Becky was the first full-time hospice music therapist at Fairview Home Care and Hospice in 1995, one of the first of two hospice music therapy programs in the state. She continues to diligently and lovingly care for this program through many expansions, new hires, mergers, and changes. This program now employs six music therapists because of the foundation of clinical care she laid. Becky also earned further training in Neurologic Music Therapy at the 3rd NMT training in 2000 then brought the NMT training to Minnesota in 2003 which then launched the MacPhail Music Therapy program. She has mentored many students completing their practica. She established a strong music therapy presence with the Minnesota Network of Hospice and Palliative Care by serving on the Education Committee for 10 years. During this time, she advocated for music therapists’ presence at conferences providing music between sessions so clinicians can get a taste of music therapy and making it possible for music therapists to earn CMTEs at MNHPC conferences. She served as a co-chair for a Great Lakes Regional Conference in 2003. She served on the MTAM Board where it was her idea to start the Reimbursement Committee and she was the first appointed Reimbursement Chair. Becky and colleague Dawn McDougal Miller began the Minnesota Hospice Music Therapy group in 1996, with a goal of collaborating and sharing best practices. This group still meets regularly today and was an important resource for MN hospice music therapists during the pandemic. She is a vocal advocate for music therapy to the community and administrators and a caring clinician for patients and families.

Sandra Holten, MT-BC, NMT Fellow

Sandra “Sandi” Holten, MT-BC, Neurologic Music Therapy Fellow, 2020 MTAM Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient
Written by Mackenzie Uhlenhopp, MT-BC

Since becoming a music therapist in 1983, Sandra Holten has diligently and selflessly served both the Minnesota and national music therapy communities in numerous ways. She originated the music therapy position at Struthers Parkinson’s Center in Golden Valley in 1996 and has utilized her musical talents, creativity, and compassionate spirit to enrich the lives of members of the Club CREATE adult day program ever since. In this role, Sandi has additionally assisted numerous clients with Parkinson’s disease through individual music therapy sessions, and has provided education regarding music therapy and its efficacy in addressing symptoms to clients participating in Struthers assessment clinics. Her significant contributions to the Parkinson’s population have earned her two accolades: as part of the Struthers Parkinson’s Team, Sandi received the prestigious 2014 Health Partners President’s Award; in 2013, she was individually awarded the Minnesota Adult Day Services Association’s Direct Care Staff Award.

A Neurologic Music Therapy Fellow for over 20 years, Sandi currently serves on the NMT academy advisory council, further enhancing the quality, consistency, and legitimacy of the practice. NMT Academy faculty member, Corene Hurt-Thaut, says, “For over 20 years I have known Sandi as an amazing therapist, teacher, student, and friend. Her genuine nature, unwavering integrity, and passion to serve make her an outstanding and deserving recipient for this lifetime achievement award.”

Amy Furman, MM, MT-BC

Amy Furman, MM, MT-BC, 2019 MTAM Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

Amy served our state as the Hennepin County Special Needs Coordinator from 1984 until 1991 and has worked as a music therapist in the Minneapolis Public Schools since 1991, where she is now the lead music therapist. Her clinical specialties include early childhood, autism spectrum disorder, Hmong and Somali English Language Learners, and inclusion/mainstreaming in the music education classroom. Amy continues to serve our state as an appointed Member-at-Large on the MTAM Board and a member of our music therapy licensure task force. In addition, she continues to lead workshops for area music teachers and to serve as a state mentor for the Minnesota Music Educators in the areas of urban education and students with special needs.

Amy was the local co-chair for the AMTA national conference the last time it was in Minnesota in 2003. Amy has presented around the country and the globe, including for the World Federation of Music Therapy, the International Society for Music Education, and the Kennedy Center for the Arts, and has authored and co-authored book chapters and articles for a variety of professional journals including both the Journal of Music Therapy and Music Therapy Perspectives.

In addition, Amy works diligently behind the scenes to encourage the next generation of music therapists to serve in leadership roles on the state, regional, and national level. Her leadership and mentorship within the Minneapolis Public Schools’ music therapy team have led to tremendous growth in the number of music therapists employed by the district and the number of students receiving music therapy services. She continues to be an advocate for music therapy in the MPS district, in the state of Minnesota, and beyond.

Dawn McDougal Miller, MME, MT-BC

Dawn McDougal Miller, MME, MT-BC, 2018 MTAM Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

Dawn has worked as a music therapist for over 30 years and has been the AMTA National Roster Internship Director at Park Nicollet Health Services for 20 years, helping to guide 130 interns towards their goal of becoming professional music therapists. She has also served as an instructor at Augsburg College for many years. Dawn has tirelessly advocated for music therapy here in Minnesota, with her own hand in the creation, either directly or indirectly, in most of the hospital and hospice music therapy programs in the state. Her foundational work has helped to create the standard for music therapy programs in Minnesota and beyond. Dawn has represented music therapy to the greater community in many publications, from local newspaper articles to international medical journals to chapters in books. She has participated in and represented music therapy in numerous associations like the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, Minnesota Network of Hospice and Palliative Care, Minnesota Coalition for Death Education and Support, and Minnesota Hospice Music Therapists among others. Dawn has been a frequent presenter at a variety of state, regional, and national conferences. We join a large chorus of voices when we say Dawn Miller deserves the MTAM Lifetime Achievement award.

Bridget Doak- Spring 2017

Throughout the course of her career, Bridget has devoted her time and energy to furthering music therapy in the Fairview Hospital system and to educating music therapy students at Augsburg College, where Bridget served as Practicum Supervisor for 18 years. In her work at Augsburg College, she guided students in practicum and internship, provided significant support in the process of academic accreditation, and served as an ongoing mentor for young professionals in the field. She was the first female music therapist to earn a Ph.D. in music therapy, which she received from Temple University. She worked from 1991-2016 as a music therapist serving children and adolescents with mental illness, supervising music therapy interns, and shaping the educational programs for hospital employees and service providers, both in and outside of music therapy practice. Bridget has long-acted as a client advocate within the psychiatric hospital system and has engaged those with whom she works with clinical knowledge of trauma-informed care in order to ensure that the children with whom she worked received the best possible care.

Bridget’s colleague Roberta S. Kagin said, “Bridget was a constant source of inspiration to her students and the music faculty. She inspired me to pursue a doctoral degree from Temple. As a member of the Augsburg Music Faculty, Bridget was highly respected by everyone who knew her. She maintained high expectations for her practicum students, while at the same time nurturing and encouraging them to do their best. She helped students reach their potential and explore their unique abilities. Through her positive energy and love of her clinical work, she was an important part of the growth of the music therapy program at Augsburg.”