Update from the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
By Amy Kaufman
The Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM) is in a vibrant state of growth. We have recently expanded to a total of 43 member colleges throughout the United States, having added the Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the Institute of Clinical Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in Honolulu, Hawaii at our latest meeting in May.
To accommodate for our continued growth, the Council moved its headquarters earlier this year to Greenbelt, Maryland. We have been busy providing extensive benefits to our members; forwarding our legislative campaign with the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program; offering our expertise in legislative affairs; and working with national and international organizations on issues that affect, and will advance, our field.
The CCAOM has participated in a number of meetings with the Food and Drug Administration, the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine, and various government officials and organizations. Our discussions have been useful, and we've had the opportunity to educate these organizations about the CCAOM and its high educational standards.
As the leader in the field of acupuncture and Oriental medicine education, representatives from our organization have been invited to participate in both national and international meetings. CCAOM president Elizabeth Goldblatt, PhD, MPA/HA will participate on a steering committee for a national policy dialogue to be hosted by Georgetown University. The conference will include CAM and biomedical health care providers, as well as representatives from colleges; accreditation commissions; insurance hospital associations; government agencies; and other health care advocates. Dr. Goldblatt will also attend the NAFTA Acupuncture Commission meetings in Mexico this summer, and has been invited to attend the EATCM (European Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine) meeting this fall.
The CCAOM is active in issues involving Chinese herbs, particularly as they pertain to aristolochic acid. The CCAOM Herbal Committee met this spring to discuss these issues and take proactive steps to protect access to our herbal pharmacopoeia. We have developed guidelines informing college clinics as to how they should respond to FDA alerts, and are working with the FDA and related organizations in discussing potential appropriate regulation of Chinese herbal materials. The CCAOM believes that Chinese herbs should be properly identified and should not contain contaminants or adulterants. We also believe that some Chinese herbs should only be distributed to qualified health care professionals.
The CCAOM continues to promote national standards in states that are developing new legislation or revising existing legislation governing the practice of acupuncture and Oriental medicine. The CCAOM has already offered its expertise in California, Nevada, Rhode Island and New Mexico, and is more than ready to provide assistance and guidance where needed.
Over a year ago, the CCAOM hired a lobbyist to work toward including acupuncturists in the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program. This program provides underserved communities across the country with health care by paying for the education of health professionals in exchange for their service in designated underserved areas. While we have yet to be included, we are still working toward that goal, and are planning to sponsor an "Acupuncture Day" on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. as part of the effort to educate Congress about our particular form of medicine.
By respecting the wide range of traditions of acupuncture and Oriental medicine and remaining committed to academic freedom, the CCAOM helps expand the knowledge, understanding and skills of those who practice this ancient healing art. We stand ready to serve the acupuncture and Oriental medicine profession.
For more information, contact:
CCAOM 7501 Greenway Center Drive, Suite 820 Greenbelt, MD 20770 Tel: (301) 313-0868 Fax: (301) 313-0869 www.ccaom.org