Faculty at Healing Arts Institute

Julie Maier, B.A.

Anatomy and Physiology Instructor

Julie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Dana College in Blair, Nebraska, where she minored in Chemistry and Spanish. She has taught computer classes for Toledo Head Start and has been a substitute teacher for the Toledo Catholic Diocese. In addition, she teaches classes in Allied Health and Medical Terminology at Monroe Community College. Julie has been teaching chemistry and biology at Owens Community College for several years and began teaching at Healing Arts Institute in 2002.

Patti West, RN, BSN, LMT

Anatomy and Physiology Instructor

Patricia West received her Bachelor of Science Degree from Bowling Green State University and has been a nurse for 40 years. Patti is also a graduate from American Institute of Massotherapy and has been a Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) for over 24 years. Patti wrote the book, The Art of Massage in the 21st Century, owned and operated the Northwest Academy of Massotherapy in Maumee for 14 years, and has been teaching for over 19 years.

Michelle M. Smolenski, B.S., LMT

Business Instructor

Michelle is a licensed massage therapist and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University. Prior to becoming a therapist, she served as the Communications Director for a national non-profit organization for 10 years and has significant experience with internal and external marketing, project management, budgeting, leadership, special event planning, public speaking and training as well communication avenues including, social media, print, television, and radio PSAs, public relations, and member recruitment and retention. She is also the owner and lead therapist at Be Well Massage Therapy. Michelle brings real world experience to students to help them be successful therapists after graduation.

Mary F. Taylor, LMT

Massage/Theory/Practice Instructor

Mary Taylor, a pioneer in Northwest Ohio massage therapy, began her career in 1992. Mary studied the sciences at the University of Toledo, and graduated from The American Institute of Massotherapy in Tiffin, Ohio and was asked to serve on board of her alma mater. Mary Taylor became licensed by the Ohio State Medical Board in 1992 and certified in Neuromuscular Therapy a year later. In 1993, Mary opened Hands for Health Therapy Center, which currently employs six massage therapists to serve the Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan communities. In 1995, Mary volunteered her time to help and provide massage therapy services to first responders and workers just after the Oklahoma City Bombing. Known for compassion, Mary began the Taylor Foundation in 2005. This foundation provides free massage therapy services to abused and neglected women and children as part of their rehabilitation process. Mary has also been an instructor with Healing Arts Institute since 1999, maintaining consistent and impressive pass rates with her classes sitting for the state medical board examinations. Mary has been a member of the ABMP for 20 years.

Gina M. Vargo, LMT

Massage/Theory/Practice/Ethics Instructor

Gina graduated from Healing Arts Institute in 2003 and has studied and mentored under her LMT father for over many years. In addition to working as an instructor at HAI, she also works as a Licensed Massage Therapist at the school. She remains active in her community volunteering numerous hours to various charities and as a volunteer motivational speaker focusing on the youth in the surrounding areas. Before starting her massage career she worked as a corporate administrative assistant for 15 years and currently works doing corporate chair massage for former employers. Gina has 2 children and spends her free time continuing her education and creating art pieces.

Faculty Support

Marcia Tillotson, B.S., LMT

Massage/Theory/Practice Department

Marcia M. Tillotson received her Bachelors of Business in Human Resource Management from the University of Toledo in 1995. She attended the Northwest Academy and became a licensed Massage Therapist in January 2001. She trained with the International Institute of Reflexology where she received her certification and is now presently nationally certified through the Reflexology Certification Board. Marcia has a private practice and works from Hands for Health Therapy Center in Toledo, Ohio. As a Registered Polysomnographic Technologist and a Registered Sleep Technician, she has worked in the sleep field for over 18 years. Marcia Tillotson has always had an interest in Holistic Health Care, and has expanded her knowledge in the field by receiving Diplomas in Herbalism, Flower Remedies, and Homeopathy and Certification in Chromotherapy. Her interest in this field also includes Natural Pet Care. She has a Diploma in Veterinary Assisting and attended classes to become a Pet Massage Provider through the Pet Massage Institute in Toledo, Ohio. She has taught at Healing Arts Institute for many years and will continue to teach as an adjunct faculty member, as well as, a seminar instructor.