Autumn is approaching, and at this time of the year, our thoughts turn to the rich colors of the harvest and the gathering of the fruits of our labor. From a Chinese medicine perspective, it is time to gather in energy as it begins to turn outside.We look to the reassess our goals, reorganize our offices and examine the depths of our practices. Now is the time to reconsolidate and strengthen things. The hues of fall are rich and deep; the harvest is full and abundant; and the days are fresh, crisp and cool.
It is important to keep calm and have an open mind. It is during time that the leaves turn to colorful shades of red, orange and yellow and fall from the trees - giving us time to regain calmness and re-evaluate our situation.
Autumn is a great time to look and review your office from top to bottom. Do you have enough regulations in place? (It may seem an odd question to ask, but not having enough rules can be just as bad as having too many.) Are these procedures serving your patients and their needs? Are you gathering all the information necessary to run the office effectively? Is your paperwork complete, or does it need to be updated and retyped? Do the forms used in the office look professional? Are the policies and procedures complete, and do they meet HIPAA compliance? (I promise to mention HIPAA only one more time in this article.) Does the office appear clean and efficient? Is the design in harmony with nature? And do you like spending time in the office?
Occasionally, it is imperative that you revitalize your office. Most people think about this at the end of the year, but given the holiday season and the deadlines you may have to meet for other projects, that may not be the best time. In my opinion, autumn seem to be the best time to look inward and take stock of our lives and surroundings. It is a time to renew old concepts and open our minds to new ones.
This year, the fall brings a special event to the Oriental medicine profession. That day is October 24th, which is being touted as "Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day." This is a national day of recognition for the entire profession, and a great time for you to capitalize on the recognition by planning a special event for you and your office. I realize this is only September, and AOM Day is still several weeks away, but all good plans take time.
Planning an event for the office is a great opportunity to get your name out there and establish good relations with the public. It also just so happens that this year, October 24 falls on a Friday. This is a perfect day for holding an open house, or you could make it part of a larger, weekend-long event. There are many ideas for celebrating this day, some of which I will share with you below. A website recognizing Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day has also been created (www.aomday.org), and I recommend you visit it often for information and ways to network with practitioners, associations and/or schools in your area.
One way to publicize AOM Day (and yourself, in the process) is to issue a press release to the local media. "Media" in this case includes local newspapers or newsletters; chamber of commerce publications; radio stations; or newsletters or e-mail from your office. A good way to position yourself with the local newspaper is to contact the paper and find out who is in charge of writing about local events, features, and health-related stories. These are the people who should receive your press release. Along with the press release, you might want to send a curriculum vitae and some historical information about Oriental medicine in the United States.
Another idea is to have a proclamation created that declares October 24 as National Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day. Proclamations are created by government officials, and can range from local city council members up to senators, representatives and members of the state legislature. These entities can be contacted by telephone, and you can ask them how to procure a proclamation. In some cases, you may need to complete a form and present to a state or local representative. The forms with which I am familiar, ask for a list of "whereas" items (i.e., "Whereas acupuncture and Oriental medicine have helped heal millions of people in the past few decades," and so on). After completing the form, you - the constituent, the person who lives and votes in a specific district - write the important data to be included in the proclamation. Each state and city has its own deadlines for you to complete the form so that all the paperwork can be completed by the desired date. It's time-consuming, but well worth it. Once it's completed, the proclamation is issued on the official letterhead of the agency that issues it. A framed proclamation would look great in your office, and it could be used to inform the public about the importance of AOM Day. It is also a great conversation piece, and could be used as the basis for you sending a press release.
A third idea is to plan some sort of event or celebration commemorating Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day. You could hold an open house at your office in the early evening or on a weekend afternoon. Two to three hours is an adequate amount of time for the event. Attendees can include patients; friends; family; local business associates; members of service clubs; and members of your church. Invite everyone you know, and let them decide whether to attend. Have literature about your clinic and Oriental medicine readily available for attendees to take with them.
What about refreshments? Green tea comes to mind. You can serve it hot or cold, depending on the weather. You may want to include small sandwiches or other food depending on your time frame, number of guests and your budget. Fortune cookies might be a nice touch as well.
All of the above are ideas I've come up with to help you create a "buzz" about Oriental medicine on October 24. What ideas do you have for celebrating AOM Day? If you'd like to share, send your suggestions to me at ; we'll print the best ideas in the next issue, so that all of us can celebrate AOM Day and inform the public about what we have to offer in the best way possible.
Best of luck, and Happy AOM Day!
Click here for more information about Marilyn Allen, Editor-at-Large.