August 4, 2004

AAOM Answers Questions About Move to California

By Editorial Staff

The American Association of Oriental Medicine has published a letter regarding the organization's relocation from Silver Spring, Maryland to Sacramento, California. Visitors to are encouraged to read the AAOM's letter below, and to visit the AAOM's website ( for more information.

AAOM Letter to California

July 20, 2004

Some questions have been raised regarding the reasons behind the American Association of Oriental Medicine's (AAOM) movement of our offices to California.

The purpose of this letter is to clarify some of our intentions and policies so that the California practitioner community can develop some understanding about our move and our relationships with state organizations.

The principles of autonomy, professionalism and collaboration in the AAOM's relations with state organizations are integral to our mission and purposes. (Please see Mission Statement, Purposes and AAOM Principles and Guidelines for State Interactions below.) An example of the autonomy principle is California's prerogative to provide its own licensing examination. In this regard, the AAOM has no intention to lead California towards replacing its licensing examination with the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) examination. Another example is the AAOM letter of support to the legislature for AB 1943 at the request of California organizations. In addition, at the request of California organizations, the AAOM did not testify before the Little Hoover Commission, based on the concern that the Little Hoover Commission was not receptive to input from organizations outside the state.

An example of professionalism is AAOM's empowerment of state organizations in the maintenance and advancement in the field of Oriental medicine. In states where practitioners have limited scopes or regulations that limit their independence of practice, we work closely with state associations to bring the experience and resources that will make a difference. The most recent example of this is in Illinois, where the Illinois State Acupuncture Association was able to get its new licensing law amended to create independent practice, removing physician referral. Claudette Baker, president emeritus of the AAOM, led the effort and used AAOM contacts and resources to pass the new law in Illinois. She wrote the language, and she and the AAOM lobbyist worked hard to get this passed.

We also work with states that have emerging associations and even provide them with a model set of bylaws. In our work with states, the AAOM, as a national organization, has resources that many states do not have, and part of our work is to make those available to states, and protecting and promoting the integrity of the professional practice of Oriental medicine. Thus, at a state association's request, we intervened in Arkansas during an attempt by certain parties to lower the state's standards and to create a 142-hour entry-level standard for acupuncture. The AAOM intervention prevented a crushing blow to educational standards for Oriental medicine in the U.S.

Promoting excellence and advancing the profession of Oriental medicine also involves supporting appropriate and higher standards of education. Since its inception, the AAOM has worked to promote the higher educational standards that are necessary for practitioners to meet the ever-growing needs of their patients in order to provide them the best possible care. AAOM attended the public hearings for the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) and promoted the development of the doctorate as a first professional degree. ACAOM created and named the postgraduate clinical specialty doctoral programs the "Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine" (DAOM). (We fought to maintain the title "OMD" but lost on that one.) Through public hearings at AAOM conferences, ACAOM commissioners walked into a firestorm of discontent just after releasing the DAOM first programs. Immediately following this, ACAOM conducted the national surveys that revealed a 50 percent desire for a first professional doctorate nationally, and a 66 percent preference for a first professional doctorate in California. Fulfilling its mandate, ACAOM then convened a "doctoral task force" to create a doctorate as a first professional degree, and the AAOM is directly involved in that discussion, along with other stakeholders. The AAOM supports the doctoral as a first professional degree nationally, as well as the doctoral entry-level standards in California, which are evidenced by our record of support for AB 1943.

AAOM Mission Statement

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.

AAOM Purposes
  • 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.

AAOM Principles and Guidelines for State Interactions

Professionalism, Autonomy and Collaboration

Professionalism: To protect, maintain and advance the body of Oriental medicine.

Autonomy: In an individual state, the AAOM respects the dominion that the state organization maintains.

Collaboration: AAOM is committed to the development of collaboration with state organizations and national organizations to accomplish common goals and objectives. It is our goal to work with agencies such as the Federal Association of Oriental Medical Regulatory Agencies (FAOMRA) and state associations to enhance the field of Oriental medicine and to develop communications among these groups for the furtherance of independence and enhanced scope for our profession.



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