The American Acupuncture Council (AAC) surprised attendees at the annual meeting of the American Association of Oriental Medicine (AAOM) on Oct. 23, 2004 by announcing a 10-year, $1,000,000-plus commitment to advance the acupuncture profession. While the AAC has always supported the profession in the past, its commitment of $1 million over the next 10 years is expected to have a significant impact on the future of acupuncture and Oriental medicine in the United States.
According to AAC President Philip Stump, the reason for the $1 million commitment is simple.
"The acupuncture profession can only grow to its full potential with adequate funding for research, consumer education and legislation," Stump said. "With the proper resources, we can begin to demonstrate the benefits of all aspects of Oriental medicine and communicate those benefits to the consumer public. In addition, we must both establish and defend our rights to deliver that care in every state in this country.
"As leaders in acupuncture malpractice insurance for nearly two decades, we understand the need for long-term commitment. We believe our new 10-year program of funding and support will make a real difference both for the individual acupuncturist working to build a practice, and for the acupuncture profession, as we work to enhance its prominence in mainstream American health care."
The AAC, in conjunction with the AAOM, have designed a program to enhance the profession in several areas:
- Research and operations ($500,000) - Aimed at a combination of AAOM sponsored research initiatives and other AAOM operational initiatives.
- Legislative development program ($200,000) - Designed to further the political objectives of the profession within various states.
- Technology program ($150,000) - A series of initiatives aimed at enhancing the utilization of technological tools by the profession.
- Education program ($120,000) - Support to establish AAOM educational programs for its members.
- Promotional program ($180,000) - Aimed at building acupuncture participation in AAOM-sponsored programs as well as promoting acupuncture and Oriental medicine among consumers.
While there have been a number of significant grants for research and other activities, the AAC commitment provides the continuous investment of substantial dollars required to move the profession forward in a number of key areas. In years to come, this program will likely be considered one of the catalysts that takes acupuncture and Oriental medicine to a new level in the American health care arena.