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Acupuncture Today
September, 2003, Vol. 04, Issue 09
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Update from the American Association of Oriental Medicine

Submitted By AAOM Action Committee

The American Association of Oriental Medicine (AAOM), established in 1981, is a professional organization representing practitioners of Oriental medicine.

Our Mission

The mission of the American Association of Oriental Medicine is to promote excellence and integrity in the professional practice of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, thereby enhancing public health and well-being.

Our Purpose

  • To serve as the official representative and spokesperson for the professional acupuncturist and Oriental medicine practitioner in the United States.
  • To establish, maintain and advance the professional field of Oriental medicine, with acupuncture and other modalities, as a distinct, primary care field of medicine.
  • To integrate acupuncture and Oriental medicine into mainstream health care in the United States.
  • To protect and advance the science, art and philosophy of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, and the professional welfare of our members.
  • To educate legislators, regulators, health care interests and the public regarding acupuncture and Oriental medicine.
  • To develop and maintain standards of ethics, education and professional competence, and to promote research and interprofessional relationships, nationally and internationally.

The AAOM's strategy for reimbursement in the federal employee benefits packages and Medicare involves direct contact with the Department of Health and Human Services through key personnel. This way, we can try to influence internal administrative changes and at the same time, be properly advised on the wisest choices for legislative strategies. Successful jobs for Oriental medical providers in this system will pave the way for hospital placements, and potentially will provide reimbursement for residency programs in Oriental medicine.

AAOM is committed to the Visioning Search Task Force project and the unification of this field with respect to a common vision for which we can all work together. This is potentially one of the most significant developments for our field in decades.

It is the opinion of the AAOM that abbreviated programs in acupuncture and Oriental medicine pose a potential endangerment to the public because of their inadequacies. At the same time, these programs represent an ethical breakdown. The Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine has already prohibited their accredited and candidate schools from offering these inadequate programs. Unless such programs can demonstrate authoritatively the safe practice of acupuncture and Oriental medicine - and the burden of proof is on those who would promote and practice abbreviated programs - the AAOM is committed to the pursuit of lawful rectification.

AAOM's Board and Herb Committee have sent their input on the ephedra controversy to the FDA's "comment request period" via the Secretary of Health and Human Services office to ensure our profession's - and especially our members' - concerns on the issue are considered carefully before any actions are taken. We hope to participate in a meaningful way in any further discussions the FDA has on this issue.

The AAOM supports the opposition to California Senate Bill 228. AAOM has sent its position of opposition to Senator Richard Alarcon, and joins with the California associations in their requests to have the bill properly and fairly amended.


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