Join Us
Find Banner

Follow AMTA
on Social Media

Facebook  Twitter  instagram_2016_icon   youtube   LinkedInLogo

Announcing AMTA 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients

March 16, 2024 07:02 PM

Each year, the AMTA Board of Directors honors two deserving individuals with the Lifetime Achievement Award. The 2023 recipients are Barbara Else, MPA, MT-BC and Dr. Edward Kahler, MT-BC.

Barbara Else, MPA, MT-BC received her BME from the University of Kansas and her MPA from the University of Arizona. She started her career in music therapy at DePaul Health Center in 1981. Over the course of her music therapy career, Barbara provided music therapy services in both in- and outpatient mental health settings, supervised staff and students, provided crisis counseling and served as a consultant. Barbara has also provided extensive consulting services, including over 20 years as a Senior Research and Policy Advisor and Special Projects Consultant for the American Music Therapy Association. During her tenure with AMTA, Barbara coordinated projects such as MTR 2025, interfaced with the NIH and other organizations, and served as the business manager for the AMTA journals. In her work with AMTA, she made a tremendous impact by providing grants management, disaster response coordination, strategic input, data analysis/analytic support, COVID-19 response , policy/legislative analysis, supervision, and continuing education.

In addition to her work in music therapy, Barbara also has extensive experience in research, grants, and analytics. She served as a Health Science Administrator and Project Officer for USPHS/Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, a Research Scientist/Project Manager for the Center for Pharmacoeconomics, University of Arizona, Director, Medco Health Solutions, Consultant/Analyst, Development Laboratory Inc., and Program Manager and Interim Associate Director for the All of Us research project with the University of Arizona-Banner Health. Through these positions, Barbara contributed grants management services, project development services, supervision, data analysis, graduate and continuing education, business planning, and development/implementation of measurement and evaluation plans. Barbara will be retiring in January of 2024.

While Barbara’s contributions to music therapy and healthcare are substantial, she will perhaps be most remembered as an organized and thoughtful colleague, friend, and mentor. Barbara has served music therapy tirelessly, often going above and beyond in her support of the music therapy community. Through her service, research, practice, and education, Barbara has made an impact on the lives of countless individuals in the profession of music therapy. Congratulations and thanks to Barbara for all that she has done for the profession.

Dr. Edward P. Kahler, II earned his undergraduate degree in Music Therapy and Music Education from the University of Georgia. Dr. Kahler began his career as a music therapist at Big Spring State Hospital in Big Spring, Texas. He then pursued a master’s degree in music therapy at Texas Women’s University. After completing this degree, he moved to Fort Smith, Arkansas, where he worked as a music therapist at Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Fort Smith (formerly HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital – Fort Smith). There Kahler developed a national roster music therapy internship program and represented music therapists from Arkansas at the Forever Young: Music and Aging: Hearing Before the Special Committee on Aging – United States Senate.

After working in Fort Smith, Kahler pursued his Ph.D. in Music Education with an emphasis in Music Therapy at The University of Kansas. Kahler then taught one year at Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma before accepting a position at West Texas A&M University (WTAMU) in Canyon, Texas, where he remained for 25 years. Kahler is the only second Professor of Music Therapy at WTAMU since its inception in 1973. While at WTAMU, Kahler progressed to full professor, served as Department Head for the Department of Music, and served as Associate Dean for the Sybil B. Harrington College of Fine Arts and Humanities for 13 years.

Dr. Kahler has been active both regionally and nationally in the music therapy profession. Kahler served the Southwestern Region of the American Music Therapy Association (SWAMTA) as Student Advisor, President Elect, President, Past President, Parliamentarian, and as an Assembly Delegate for numerous years. He also co-hosted three regional conferences. Kahler served nationally as AMTA-S Advisory Board Chair, Council Coordinator for the Council on Education and Clinical Training and the Council on Association Services, and as AMTA Treasurer.

Dr. Kahler has published articles in the Journal of Music Therapy, Music Perspectives, The Texas Journal of Distance Learning, Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, and Southwestern Musician. He has made numerous conference presentations both nationally and regionally. Additionally, Kahler was a co-author for a chapter in the text Music Therapy: An Introduction to the Profession.

Dr. Kahler has been recognized by WTAMU with the WTAMU Service Award, Outstanding Professor, Outstanding Advisor Award (Mortar Board), and Distance Learning Innovation Award. The Southwestern Region of the American Music Therapy Association recognized Kahler with the Harmony Award for Education and the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award. Kahler was also recognized by the American Music Therapy Association in 2020 with a Presidential Commendation.

Dr. Kahler retired at the end of May 2023. He is enjoying retirement with family and friends by cooking in his new outdoor kitchen and pulling for the Georgia Bulldogs. He would like to thank the current AMTA Board of Directors and President Lori Gooding for recognizing him with this wonderful award. He’d also like to extend his gratitude to past AMTA and SWAMTA Board of Directors for giving him the opportunity to serve this wonderful profession. Finally, Ed recognizes that achieving this recognition does not happen alone. He’d like to thank his parents Edward (Ed) and Jane, his wife of 40 years, Tamara, and his daughter Dr. Elyse Kahler and son Reverend Edward P. Kahler, III (Eddie), for their continual love and support. He also extends his appreciation to all friends and colleagues in and out of the profession for their constant support. Equally important, none of this would be worth anything without our clients and students, so Dr. Kahler appreciates every client and student that has touched his life. It is the clients and students that make being a music therapist or music therapy educator worth it EVERY DAY! Congratulations and thanks to Dr. Kahler for all his contributions to the profession.