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AAOM and AOM Alliance to Meet on Cooperating to Advance Acupuncture PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

ImageAAOM and AOM Alliance to Meet on Cooperating to Advance Acupuncture

Image In a joint statement released by the American Association of Oriental Medicine (AAOM) and the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Alliance (AOM Alliance), the two organizations announced that their leaderships will meet in August. The goal: "Discuss working together to advance the acupuncture profession."

According to the joint release, Leslie McGee, LAc, of the AOM Alliance stated: "We are looking forward to working together to find common ground that will benefit the acupuncture community. There is much work to do and working together just makes sense." Will Morris, DAOM, MSEd, LAc, president of the AAOM stated: "We are open to exploring all possibilities to effectively move the profession forward. It is critical for us to work more effectively together to accomplish our mutual goals."

Image
Will Morris, DAOM, LAc, President, AAOM
A query from IBN&R revealed that both parties to the discussions have agreed to share nothing more, publicly, regarding plans for the meeting. The summit, scheduled for August 2006, grew out of a meeting of members of boards of the two organizations in May.  Each will select a set of board members to represent their organization. Funding for the meeting will be provided by the  American Acupuncture Council, a malpractice insurance provider.

Image
Leslie mcGee, LAc, President, AOM Alliance
Comment: This meeting is a long time coming, and should be welcomed by all, inside and outside the acupuncture professions, with a stake in quality integrated health care. Those who have followed the history and development of the two associations may surmise that the following factors played into the timing:

  • Members of the licensed acupuncture profession are tired of the split between the two groups. Frustration has led some to let go of membership in either.
  • Changes in leadership of both associations have diminished the roles of individuals historically viewed as divisive. Professionals who wish to see the rift healed have come to the fore.
  • Neither association is in robust financial shape.
  • Core functions of a national association, such as developing and promoting a federal Congressional agenda, have virtually no funded support or plan. (See IBN&R article on the DeFacto Federal CAM Agenda.) 
  • The last two years have seen some successful collaboration between the two organizations on shared projects. Examples are the Traditional Medicines Congress and the Doctoral Task Force of the Accreditation Commission on Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM).

A further factor in the timing may be the changing environment for integration. Battle lines were early drawn over whether acupuncture should be shared with any professions which did not meet the ACAOM standards. The twin emergence of both certification in acupuncture for medical doctors, on one hand, and of acupuncture for detox by less trained individuals, on the other, may have made moot the earlier battle.


Here is hoping that
the AAOM and AOM
Alliance leaderships
do more, rather than
less, to consolidate
their efforts into a
  robust force for AOM. 

We all benefit if they
act
in strength.

 
In fact, integration has taught some leaders that medical doctors with 200-300 hour certification may be the best advocates for licensed acupuncturists inside mainstream medical delivery. Evidence of this transition toward a new MD-LAc alliance of practice is in the IBN&R feature on the program to certify medical doctors developed through an accredited acupuncture college, the Five Branches Institute.

Resources are hard to come by in the world of CAM professions. Government provides virtually no support. Most philanthropists have yet to discover that CAM professions and institutions are their allies in working to transform American health care. Individual practitioners typically don't have practices that can spin off significant membership fees, donations to institutions, or lobbying efforts.

Here is hoping that the AAOM and AOM Alliance leadership teams do more, rather than less, in their move to consolidate their efforts into a robust force for enhancing the status of acupuncture adn Oriental medicine in US health care. We all benefit if they act in strength.

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