The American Association of Oriental Medicine's (AAOM) annual conferences bring together a panorama of Oriental Medicine professionals who embrace the expanse of Oriental medicine, nationally and internationally.For more than 75 years, the Wigwam, a Destination Resort and Spa, has been a favorite for visitors who yearn for an authentic Arizona experience. Set on more than 463 picturesque acres in the Sonoran Desert, the Wigwam resort set the stage for the most successful gathering of practitioners from across the nation. The 2006 AAOM conference was a testimonial to the progression of Eastern medicine in the U.S. today.
The "Chinese Medical Nomenclature Debate" was a landmark event and featured some of the most experienced minds in Eastern medical academia today. Discussions centered around the complexities and needs for standards of terminology. The panel was led by Miki Shima, chaired by Xiaotian Shen and Will Morris, and included Bob Flaws, Bob Felt, Marnie Ergil, Jeannie Kang, Dan Bensky, Charles Chace, Ding Weiyi, Jake Fratkin, Steve Given, Zev Rosenberg, Craig Mitchell and Adam Burke.
The keynote speaker at the AAOM general session was practitioner and well-known author Dan Bensky. Veteran practitioners offered "clinical pearls" to clinicians, including speakers such as Bob Flaws, Jeannie Kang, Miki Shima, Master SiFu Lim, Jake Fratkin, Shen Xiaotian, Master Li Junfeng, Mikio Sankey and many, many more. The AAOM conference offered something for all in the profession of Oriental medicine, from academics to educators to clinicians.
The AAOM continues to support state members. The state president's roundtable discussion yielded useful and informative discussion from all participating state associations, large and small. It was determined that a list-serve that included all of the state association presidents would be a quick and easy way to transfer information from AAOM to state members and from state members to one another. To be included in this list, please contact AAOM Vice President Martin Herbkersman.
The AAOM Herbal Medicine Committee (HMC) presented on Thursday night, outlining the AAOM's long-term plan to assist in the creation of a separate regulatory category for herbal medicine. In response to actions taken by the Food and Drug Administration since 2004, the HMC recognized the immediacy of preserving practitioners' access to our herbal pharmacy. For updates, visit the press room on the AAOM Web page at www.aaom.org.
The student caucus was held on Saturday, led by Cynthia O'Donnell, student committee chair. The student caucus is a forum for students to discuss and share their opinions on pressing national matters, thereby having a voice as an AAOM constituent. Joining Cynthia in the leadership of this meeting were student officers from the AAOM student organization. Students learned about AAOM, a myriad of issues on the state and national front, and the importance of student advocacy. The student caucus was developed in 2004; due to the diligent efforts of the student committee chair, our student membership has grown by 350 percent!
For the first time, the Oriental medicine community extended an invitation to share ideas and culture with the Native American healing community. This was highlighted on Saturday afternoon with a workshop that reviewed Native American philosophy and techniques in comparison to Oriental medicine. Friday night provided an opportunity to partake in Native American culture, as the evening was spent in a traditional pow wow celebration with ceremony, Native American flute and demonstration of Native American dancers that included hoop dancing and fancy dancers. The evening finished with the entire audience joining in a massive 200-person circle dance.
The Saturday night banquet was well-attended. Acupuncturist of the Year went to Neal Miller on the West coast and Deborah Lincoln in the Midwest. Both practitioners have dedicated decades to the improvement of the legal climate in their states. Seattle Institute of Oriental Medicine received the School of the Year award. Dr. Mikio Sankey received the Author of the Year award, Legislator of the Year went to Senator Hammerstrom of Michigan, while Lobbyist of the Year went to Stephanie Wuttke, also from Michigan. The keynote speakers were William L. Prensky and Gene Bruno, presenting, "Once Upon a Time in America: Oriental Medicine in the New World," the first installment in a progressive development of the historical record of Oriental medicine in America.
A new Honorary Society was established, titled "The Founders of the Profession Honor Roll." A work in progress, each year a founder or group of founders who have made a significant contribution to an original initiative in the founding of the profession will be inducted into the Honor Roll. Inducted into the Founders Honor Roll were William L. Prensky, OMD; Gene Bruno, OMD; Steven Rosenblatt, OMD, PhD, MD; Dr. Marshall Hoâ; Dr. Ju Gim Shek, posthumously; and Dr. James Tin Yau So, posthumously. The Special Achievement Award for 2006 went to Master Kai Ying Tung, teacher of tai chi.
Newly elected directors for the AAOM include Travis Buckmaster and Scott Cormier, with alternates Karen Reynolds and Jeannie Kang. (who recently represented the AAOM at the World Health Organization meetings on the development of the traditional medicine classifications in the ICD-11 coding system.) Doreen Chen was elected as the Chinese Advisory Committee chair; this is a significant role that helps to ensure collaboration and continuity in the complex and diverse Oriental medical community in the U.S.
Buckmaster willingly embraced his new role as membership chair: "On a personal note, I found all participants to be very approachable and relished the opportunity to communicate with both presenters and colleagues in such an energetic and hallowed environment," he said. Will Morris continues as president, along with board members Gene Bruno (president emeritus), Deborah Lincoln, Cynthia O'Donnell, Atara Noiade, Martin Herbkersman, Christine Chang, Shane Burras and Lloyd Wright.
The AAOM 2007 Conference will be held in Portland, Ore., at the downtown Hilton Hotel, Oct. 19-21. We look forward to seeing you there!