March 28, 2005

The Visioning Search Task Force: Celebrating its Success and Returning the Visioning Process to the Profession

Reported by representatives of the Visioning Search Task Force; submitted to Acupuncture Today by Thomas Haines, PhD

The Visioning Search Task Force (VSTF), which was established in August of 2002 as a joint standing task force of three representatives each from five of the major national acupuncture and Oriental medicine organizations (NCCAOM, AOM Alliance, ACAOM, CCAOM and AAOM), has worked very hard over the past two and one-half years and has accomplished a number of significant goals for which it was originally founded.

The VSTF was charged with the following tasks:

  1. To work together to find methods and means of improved communication and cooperation among the national AOM organizations;
  2. To improve communications throughout the professional world of acupuncture and Oriental medicine in order to provide improved planning and expansion of the practice of AOM nationwide;
  3. To model a consensual governance system that could serve as an example for future discussions with a broad cross-section of the AOM community; and
  4. To facilitate the development of a visioning process for the AOM community.

Among the significant accomplishments of the VSTF over the past 30 months, the following may be noted:

  • Hosting a series of "Town Hall meetings" at the national conventions of both AAOM and the AOM Alliance, during which AOM professionals were able to contribute to the national discussion about the future of the profession.
  • Improving the communications and working relationships among all the national AOM organizations.
  • Highlighting for each of the national AOM organizations the salient questions that have helped to bring a new and improved focus on strategic planning for the AOM profession nationwide.
  • Developing a proposed plan for conducting an AOM profession-wide Future Search conference.

The task force has been able to work toward accomplishing its goals over the past several years because of generous financial donations from the sponsoring national organizations and from the countless hours of volunteer effort from the task force representatives. The original plan envisioned that the task force would meet its goals in no more than five biannual national meetings, or within a two and one-half year time period realized this past January.

In light of the significant accomplishments of the VSTF to date, it has been decided that the VSTF process itself can now be concluded. Accordingly, effective March 15, 2005, the VSTF was terminated. To allow sufficient time for public review of the information pertaining to the history and accomplishments of the task force, the VSTF Web site will remain open until April 15, 2005.

The work of the Visioning Search Task Force over the past two and one-half years has laid the initial groundwork for the conducting of a profession-wide AOM visioning conference when, and if, an appropriate structure and funding can be achieved. Archived information relating to the work of the VSTF during this period, including the nomination forms, is available from each of the sponsoring organizations (please see the VSTF Web site for links).

The sponsoring AOM organizations that originally funded and appointed members to the VSTF are grateful for their shared work with the VSTF and the significant accomplishments the VSTF has produced. In terminating the task force process, the questions addressed by the VSTF visioning process now go back to the sponsors for consideration from their respective areas of interest and responsibility within the AOM community.

Over the next 12 months, the sponsoring AOM organizations will also continue discussions informally among themselves. Their officers and directors, joined by other organizations with contributions to make in these discussions, will meet at the annual conferences of the AOM Alliance (in May 2005 in Rhode Island) and the AAOM (in October 2005 in Chicago) in order to deepen their awareness and to continue to seek common ground.

The Visioning Search Task Force wishes to thank Acupuncture Today and, in particular, Michael Devitt, for hosting the VSTF Web site and keeping it current. Special appreciation must also go to the many AOM stakeholders who have stood by the VSTF process over the past several years. The public input provided through the many Town Hall meetings has helped guide both the ongoing VSTF process and the AOM profession in general.

Above all, we want to thank the board members and commissioners of the sponsoring organizations for their foresight and vision for bringing about this important process for the AOM community. We are confident that the communication process exemplified by the VSTF will continue to affect the AOM community in a very positive manner for many years to come and that a future search conference will become a reality. For now, we celebrate the successful completion of this phase of the work with an eye towards a bright and successful future for the expansion of AOM in the United States.


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