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Acupuncture Today
June, 2008, Vol. 09, Issue 06
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By Editorial Staff

I Am a Doctor

Dear Editor:

Regarding Marilyn Allen's May editorial regarding why acupuncturists aren't generally for doctoral programs: Let my response try to resonate something in your general body of knowledge to give you a little more understanding.

I am good enough with the education I have. I should have the title "Doctor" in front of my name already, having attended a four-year master's program in TCM that cost me $100K. Chiropractors are doctors after four years; why not us? Why isn't the energy put into changing the laws that allow doctors and chiros to practice acupuncture, instead of saying that acupuncturists are somehow below standard?

When I graduated with a master's degree in TCM, and then passed the NCCAOM and California licensure board exams, I assumed I was ready to begin in the real world. And I was. Now, after five years of being in practice, I can say it is rigorous work that takes constant reflection and study. I knew this going in . It's one of the reasons I wanted this work. I'll never know it all. No one ever will.

There are people who make a profession out of being a student. There are people who love, but will never be able to grasp the complexity/simplicity of this medicine and will never feel ready to handle the onslaught of challenges people with health problems present, no matter if they stay in school for 500 years. If they think the title of "Doctor" is going to somehow miraculously open doors, either to the absorption, understanding and utilization of the medicine, or to their local hospital (thereby giving them the security of a paycheck), I've got a feeling disappointment may be in their future.

I could be wrong. But I'm right for me. I became a doctor in my own eyes, after seeing patient after patient get well. Although it would be nice, I don't really need the title.

With all of that said, there is a lack of support among us. The ego gets too involved in any community or other meeting I've been to. Back stabbing, power mongering, you name it; we're human. Just refer to the issue of the specialty boards on infertility for an example of the craziness. A lot of us don't know how to, or choose not to, play politics. There is a world under the radar from which we operate. We like it that way. We don't care if we're accepted by the mainstream because we don't like the mainstream.

However, since we do have to have at least one foot in that common world, I wish one of the acupuncture organizations could come up with a specific set of goals that need to be reached, write them down articulately, mail them out to all licensees, and we would respond. Gather all the responses and take action. Stop all this bouncing from one thing to another, never getting anything done. My number-one choice for a goal would be to change the laws regarding allowing other practitioners the right to do acupuncture without the same training as licensed acupuncturists.

And I'm back to the beginning.

Joanne Fanucchi, MS, LAc, Dipl. OM
Via e-mail


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