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http://www.positivearticles.com/Article/The-History-of-Acupuncture-in-the-United-States/16719 By: ashu

Acupuncture has been an excepted medical practice throughout Asia for thousands of years. The history of acupuncture in the United States is less lengthy.

The History of Acupuncture in the United States

Acupuncture found its way into the United States in the same manner that so many other things have reached this country. It was brought with the immigrants. In this case, it was with Chinese immigrants brought into the West to work on railroads and in the fields. Large Chinese enclaves grew up in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and in New York City on the east coast. Acupuncture was a standard form of treatment in these settlements just as it had been back home in China. The Chinese had been using acupuncture for centuries and also had very little trust for Western Medical treatments.

Although there were a few incidents of Westerners becoming involved with the study and practice of acupuncture in the United States during the 19th century, it was never widely practiced outside Chinese areas. It also was never widely accepted. It was considered superstition and totally unscientific and little attempt to understand it was ever made. When the Communist Government started a campaign to rid China of all traces of Classical Chinese Medicine, many acupuncturists made their way abroad. Some of these came to the United States which increased the number, but still little was done to understand and adapt it to Western use.

One of the big turnarounds for acupuncture in the United States occurred during a State visit to China by Richard Nixon in the 1970’s. During this visit, a member of the U.S. delegation was given an emergency appendectomy. The only anesthesia that was used was acupuncture. The President was duly impressed and when he returned to the US, he called for further study of the procedure. It was the beginning of the move of acupuncture from a foreign voodoo-hoodoo type of thing to a respectable and accepted alternative Medical treatment procedure.

In 1994, the Washington Post was reporting that almost 15 million Americans had tried acupuncture. This was almost 6% of the total population. In 1995, The United States Federal Drug Administration classified acupuncture needles as medical instruments. The biggest turnaround came in 1997 when the National Institute of Health issued a report titled, “Acupuncture: The NIH Consensus Statement.” This report stated that acupuncture was indeed very useful in the treatment of certain conditions. It also stated that the side effects of acupuncture were less adverse than those resulting from either surgery or drugs.

The NIH report further encouraged Insurance Companies to give full coverage to acupuncture treatments for certain conditions. This was a major endorsement of the procedure. Today, acupuncture is becoming more and more accepted as an alternative treatment and is gaining acceptance by the Western Medical Community. Some Medical schools including UCLA have begun to offer acupuncture as part of the curriculum.

Acupuncture has been an excepted medical practice throughout Asia for thousands of years. The history of acupuncture in the United States is less lengthy.

Dr.Fan notes: Some of the points are not correct, such as the Nixon’s team member got sick and had operation under acupuncture anesthesia.

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Dr. Wu: A beautiful, moving and meditative song — In memory of Dr. Jing Nuan Wu, a pioneer of acupuncture and a Chinese medicine doctor in the United States.

Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine: 2012; 10(8): 837-840

http://www.jcimjournal.com/en/showAbstrPage.aspx?articleID=jcim20120801

1.         Arthur Yin Fan (McLeanCenter for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, PLC. Vienna, VA22182, USA )

2.         Ziyi Fan (McLeanCenter for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, PLC. Vienna, VA22182, USA )

Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine: Volume 10   August, 2012   Number 8

Received June 10, 2012; accepted June 13, 2012; published online August 15, 2012.

Full-text LinkOut at PubMed. Journal title in PubMed: Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Xue Bao.

Correspondence: Arthur Yin Fan, PhD, MD, LAc. Tel: +1-703-499-4428; Fax: +1-703-547-8197; E-mail: ArthurFan@ChineseMedicineDoctor.US

Few popular songs are titled a doctor’s name and even fewer are sung directly by the doctor’s patients. However, the song Dr. Wu might be the exception. After sung by Steely Dan[1], a well-known American jazz-rock band, Dr. Wu has been loved by many Americans for over 35 years. The beautiful, moving, and meditative song was written in 1975 after Steely Dan had abandoned touring and reconvened in Los Angles, the UnitedState[2]. As one of the best Steely Dan songs, Dr. Wu literally describes the love between Katy and a young Cuban man, and because of Dr. Wu, the girl leaves the young man. Actually, the song writer and singer Donald Fagen, wrote the song as a metaphor commemorating one of the band members’ recovery (probably himself) from drugs with the help of Dr. Wu[3]. Hence, the song is a cryptic lyrical tribute.

1  Who is Dr. Wu?

In the Steely Dan Dictionary[4], the titular doctor is identified as: “Doctor Jing Nuan Wu (1933-2002), an acupuncturist and artist based in Washington, D.C., emigrated from China to the UnitedState at a young age and graduated from Harvard to become a Wall Street venture capitalist, finally setting up a Taoist clinic in Washington, D.C. in 1973.”

I met Dr. Jing Nuan Wu (胡振南) in 2002, just one month before his death. At the time, I had only lived in the UnitedState for one year. I had just received my acupuncture license and planned to practice Chinese medicine in Washington, D.C., so I called Dr. Wu’s office to ask for some advice from him, and he agreed to see me. I did not know he was very ill. We met in one of his offices in Georgetown, located on the beautiful north bank of the Potomac River. He was very thin and wore a black traditional Chinese silk shirt. Because he could not speak Mandarin and I could not speak Cantonese, we used English to communicate. His voice was very soft due to his illness. Dr. Wu described the history of Chinese medicine in Washington, D.C. and he hoped that Chinese medicine could prosper from generation to generation. He said that he was aware that I was a young Chinese medicine doctor with several achievements and expressed that I could work with him should he recover from kidney cancer. It was a pity that the arrangement was never fulfilled. Dr. Wu passed away on December 3, 2002.

Dr. Wu was a legendary person. He was born in Guangdong, China, a province near Hong Kong, but was raised in Greenwich, Connecticut, in the United States. According to the recall of a friend of his[5], Dr. Wu came to the United States with his parents when he was five years old. His parents were laundry workers and worked hard to raise him. Their work paid off as he later graduated from HarvardUniversity with a degree in language and history. He moved to Middleburg, Virginia in the 1960s and caused a stir in Virginia hunt country when he bought the Rattlesnake Ridge retreat from Jacqueline Kennedy[6]. He had an “extreme crisis” in early 1970s before becoming a Chinese medicine doctor[5-7].

Dr. Wu was a venture capitalist in the 1960s and had interest in a firm that was developing Apollo space capsules. He had trouble with the authorities in that period; the immigration officials accused him for faking papers and the Securities and Exchange Commission suspected him of investment improprieties (he denied both wrongdoings). He was involved in a series of tiring law suits and became bankrupt. His United States citizenship was maintained, but he could no longer be a venture capitalist. During this crisis period, he visited his family in Hong Kong. During this visit, an elder relative gave him some life-changing advice — “It’s time for you to do service.” he said. It was then that Dr. Wu learned Chinese medicine from his uncle and was commissioned to write a book on Chinese medicine in English. When he realized that Chinese medicine was effective, he made a decision — instead of writing about Chinese medicine, he began to practice it.

He returned to the Washington D. C. to establish the Taoist Health Institute in 1973, and developed a stable stream of high-profile clients. Under the supervision of a medical doctor, he became one of the earliest acupuncturists/Chinese medicine doctors in the United States. At that time, Washington, D.C. was the first local authority that allowed acupuncturists to legally practice. Dr. Wu was most successful during the late 1970s to early 2000s[5-7]. At the time, when people in Washington, D.C. thought of acupuncture and Chinese medicine, the first name that came to mind was Dr. Jing Nuan Wu[7]. As his friend wrote in a book, “a Chinese idiom says, ‘death is not terrible; two decades later, he will become a hero again.’ Dr. Wu actually became a hero in Chinese medicine only several years after his ‘death in Wall Street’”[5].

2  Dr. Wu’s achievements

Dr. Wu established an acupuncture detoxification center, which is the first notable work of him in 1980s. Due to his deep concern for young American addicted to drugs and being encouraged by the initial success of his acupuncture detoxification test, Dr. Wu established a drug recovery center in 1983 or 1984 called the GreenCrossCenter for Traditional Medicine, located at 1510 U Street NW, Washington, D.C. This center was well-known because it was probably the second most successful acupuncture detoxification center in the United States. The first was established by Dr. Michael Smith in the LincolnHospital in the Bronx, New York, which saw 200 to 300 patients every day, and is financially supported by the state. In contrast, Dr. Wu did all the work on his own with great difficulty. His clinic had no funding from the city, the state, or the federal government. In an interview[7] by Dr. Redwood in early 1990s, Dr. Wu said that he and his associates at Green Cross did the work because they had hoped that it would encourage other people to do the same. However, the clinic required a great deal of money and dedication. “I know of many groups throughout the country that have tried to do what we have done, and they have not been successful because of the lack of one or the other. I can not tell you how much dedication it really does take. The staff are burnt out. We are basically on our second group of staff in seven years. Luckily, our practitioners work for very little. So what has happened is that no one works full-time except two of the administrative staff. Everybody else works part-time. They make money outside of this work, so that they can keep body and soul together. I subsidize the clinic through my personal work, and one or two of my friends have put in substantial amounts of money.” At that time, his detoxification clinic might have been the only one using Chinese herbs, alongside the acupuncture, to treat drug addiction and acquired immune deficiency syndrome[8] in the United States.

His second notable work was the push for the first acupuncture regulation in Washington, D.C., which was released in 1989. He served as the chairman of the Acupuncture Advisory Committee for the District of Columbia, which has advised the Board of Medicine, Washington, D.C., on the regulation and licensing of acupuncturists in the District for over 10 years. He did “one of the more frustrating jobs” in his career — the Washington, D.C. Board of Medicine, and Dr. Wu had agreed early on with regard to the acupuncture guidelines. It then took Dr. Wu and his colleagues three years and five lawyers to put out only 12 pages of rules and regulations. “That is because Washington, D.C. mires in a system of bureaucracy that is impossible to understand. That impossibility stems from one critical lack — that they have no one in the city bureaucracy that can type! So we ended up in a situation where the lawyers get so frustrated that after five months they quit. In dealing with this, it was not until our fifth lawyer that we finally got the rules and regulations into a piece where we could publish them. It is that type of procedure which I think is analogous to the drug situation.”[7]

Dr. Wu also played an important role in acupuncture development in the United States. In 1994, as one of three licensed acupuncturists (the other two were Dr. Lixing Lao, and Dr. Xiaoming Tian) was invited, he gave a presentation on acupuncture as a medical device and the safety of acupuncture in a workshop cosponsored by the Office of Alternative Medicine, National Institute of Health (NIH), and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Since this workshop, acupuncture needles were no longer listed as an investigational device in the FDA regulations (as it did for 20 years prior to the workshop). This was a milestone in acupuncture development and make acupuncture have broader applications in clinical practice. As a renowned acupuncturist, a Chinese medicine scholar and a practitioner, Dr. Wu was also invited to be one of the key board members listed for the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine — one of main journals in the research of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, in which he published an article introducing the history of acupuncture.

His third notable work was his introduction of Taoism and promotion of Chinese medicine in GeorgetownUniversity, GeorgeWashingtonUniversity, and many other institutions all over the country. He translated and published several important classic books related to Chinese medicine, completing the “homework” that his elder relative had given him many years before. Such works were the Spiritual Pivot (Lingshu, 《灵枢》, published by University of Hawaii Press, 1993), Yi Jing (I Ching, 《易经》,published by The Taoist Center, 1999 and earlier), and An Illustrated Chinese Materia Medica with the collaboration of Dr. Qian Xinzhong, the former Minister of Ministry of Health of the People’s Republic of China (published posthumously by the Oxford University Press, 2002). These books have been widely cited by Western scholars. Before his death, Dr. Wu also completed a translation of Tao Te Ching/Lao Tzu(《道德经/老子》), which, sadly, was not published.

Dr. Wu’s fourth notable work was the use of multiple natural remedies to treat patients. In the 1980s, there was a natural healing center located at Wisconsin Avenue and 30 Street that included acupuncture, Chinese herbology, nutrition consultation, Chinese medicine lectures, as well as an Oriental medicine book store and a small Oriental dietary therapy restaurant. One of my patients recalled that this center was also established and administered by Dr. Wu. Dr. Wu invited several renowned practitioners to take part in the center’s work. The center was unique and attracted many people. However, because of financial difficulties, it closed after several years.

Dr. Wu was involved in promoting Chinese herbology. He said that among Chinese medicine therapies, Chinese herbology is the major one. He was one of the earliest well-known Chinese herbalists in the Washington, D.C. area. Besides his daily clinical work, he carried out a clinical study for women going through menopause using Jia Wei Xiao Yao San, also called Free and Easy Wanderer Plus Powder under a NIH funding. His work was recommended by FDA to the public as an alternative therapy for menopausal women.

3  Dr. Wu, the artist for healing

In the 1980s, Dr. Wu began creating abstract art that embodies the holistic ideas of the traditional Chinese healing system, and had an exhibition at the National Botanical Gardens (Washington, D.C., USA). “My vision for the artwork grew when a patient who was ill with cancer asked me to paint a picture for him. Suddenly I realized that I had found a way to heal many more people than the number I could see in my office every day,” he said. His paintings and sculptures eventually evolved into therapeutic devices, used to promote health, balance, and relaxation by evoking responses from the inner aspects of our being (see Figure 1). Once upon a time, Dr. Wu mentioned that “visual art can and should be celebrated not only for its aesthetic and decorative value and as a record of historical events but also for its potential to help us express, understand and heal ourselves”. He said: “The quest for the transcendental experience has been a popular trip for mystics, and religious persons through the ages. They have followed the paths of meditation and spiritual practice. In the empirical vision and methods of traditional Chinese medicine, entry to the transcendental is an every day experience. The most significant outward manifestation of the transcendental state is relaxation of the physical body. I attempt with my art to change and to reset the clockwork of our inner being to the most beneficial and health-inducing rhythm. When reset and unburdened from the tics of anxiety and social pressure, one is being entered a calm field where new patterns of behavior can develop and take hold within. These quiet inner fields are my new medical country and my artwork is the way of passage.” Ten years after his death, his paintings are still available for purchase online[9].

Figure 1  Dr. Jing Nuan Wu is painting the impressionist paintings about Chinese medicine

This photo was taken in 1990s and was afforded by Ann Miller, Dr. Wu’s former assistant.

Dr. Wu passed away at age of 69, after almost 30 years of acupuncture and Chinese medicine working in Washington, D.C. During his practice, many patients were amazed by him and his work. “He was a genius,” Elizabeth Drew (an author and journalist, and a patient of Dr. Wu) recalled: “He thought beyond the normal ranges.” In a 1985 profile of Dr. Wu published in the Washington Post, the author observed that “there is something about this man. You believe him. His smile defuses skepticism. His Chinese slippers make no noises. In a city founded on convention, Wu is a soothing reminder that there is another way”.[6]

Dr. Wu did many beautiful things; people will remember him. His life of promoting acupuncture and Chinese medicine was just like the beautiful, moving and meditative song that shares his name.

4  Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Ms. April Enriquez for English editing; Ms. Ann Miller, a former assistant of Dr. Wu’s clinic, provided information about Dr. Wu, and permitted the use of the picture. The interviewer was Dr. Arthur Yin Fan.

5  Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

References

1.         Steely Dan. [2012-05-12]. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steely_Dan.

2.         Steely Dan. Katy Lied. [2012-05-12]. http://www.amazon.com/Katy-Lied-Steely-Dan/dp/B00000IPAB/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1336954673&sr=1-1.

3.         Craig Middletown CT, etc. Comments. [2012-05-12]. http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=6519.

4.         Steely Dan. Doctor Wu. (2012-03-05) [2012-05-12]. http://www.steelydandictionary.com/.

5.         Chen C. Acupuncture practice in the United States. Taibei: Blue Swan Co. 1987. Chinese.

6.         Zielinski G. Acupuncturist and artist Wu Jing-Nuan at 69. The Washington Post. 2002-12-6. [2012-06-12]. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-403078.html.

7.         Redwood D. Chinese medicine in modern America: Interview with Jing Nuan Wu LAc. (1995)[2012-05-12]. http://www.healthy.net/scr/interview.asp?Id=224.

8.         AIDS and the traditional healer. AIDS Action. 1990; 12: 7.

9.         Wu’s Healing Art. The healing art of Jing Nuan Wu. [2012-05-12]. http://www.wushealingart.com.

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Born in the year of the Metal Pig, in Dinging County(Arthur Fan notes:阳江县), Guangdong, southern China on July 14, 1911, Dr. Tin Yau So was a Chinese Christian minister and an accomplished acupuncture master who is known as the Father of Acupuncture in America.

Determined to help as many people as he could, Dr. Tin Yau So spent years traveling to villages near his home in southern China to treat thousands of patients in their local hospitals and meeting halls. After World War II, he spent approximately ten years traveling, preaching, and offering medical treatment, in addition to educating students in acupuncture in many countries and regions in Asia. As a result of this work, he trained many highly qualified acupuncturists.

Forever grateful for the gift of Christianity, he was determined to repay the West. He decided the best way to do this was to share the wealth of his experience and wisdom as a master of Traditional Chinese Medicine. President Nixon’s visit to China in 1971 sparked a new found interest in Chinese Medicine and acupuncture.  With the help of two of his American students who had studied with him in Hong Kong,  he came to the USA  in 1973 and worked with UCLA in establising a clinic there.  Since there was no legal vehicle allowing acupuncture to be practiced outside of a research setting, Dr. So and the same two students who were sponsoring him decided to move to Boston in 1975. Together, they created the first licensed acupuncture school in the U.S.A. in Watertown, Massachusetts: The New England School of Acupuncture.

Many of his students in America have started some of the most well-known acupuncture schools (all still in operation);  became involved and/or engaged in the governing of acupuncture in the country; introduced legislation; have taught or are teaching in some of the top educational facilities and hospitals; and continue to participate in groundbreaking research.

Enrolling in one of the first classes at NESA, Marsha Woolf  is one of Dr.Tin Yau So’s senior students, and continued to apprentice with him for many years.  In the 1990s, they worked together on developing a ‘barefoot doctors’ course in keeping with Dr. Tin Yau So’s treatment techniques to teach the Tibetan refugee health workers living in refugee camps in India.

Leaving a legacy of wisdom that spans the world, and continues on through his devoted students, he died in August, 2001 at 90 years of age.

His legacy lives on through his students. He always said to us, ‘I teach you everything”.  And he really, really, tried.

Dr. James Tin Yau So, N.D., LAc., (1911–2001) also known as Dr. So, was an acupuncturist.  http://www.enotes.com/topic/James_Tin_Yau_So

Dr. So’s teacher was Tsang Tien Chi who studied under Ching Tan An. He graduated from Dr. Tsang’s College of Scientific Acupuncture in CantonChina, in 1939. During the same year Dr. So opened his medical office in Hong Kong. In 1941 he opened his own school, The Hong Kong College Acupuncture.

In 1974, Dr. So was part of the NAA group that traveled to Massachusetts and opened the first acupuncture clinic in Boston and a second clinic in Worcester. Dr. Steven Rosenblatt and Dr.Gene Bruno assisted Dr. So in the translation of his three books on the points of acupuncture, the techniques acupuncture and treatment of disease by acupuncture. Dr. So, with the help of Dr. Rosenblatt and Dr. Bruno founded the first school of acupuncture in the US in 1974.[1]

References

  1.  {http://www.aaaomonline.org/}

苏天佑,是近代承淡安针灸大师的第三代传人,作为澄江『1』针灸学派传人,苏天佑(以下简称苏老)曾师从承公的弟子曾天治学习针灸,并于1939年创办“香港针灸医学院”,后因战乱复辗转多地,在极端困难的条件下坚持针灸济世。到抗战胜利1946年返回香港时已累计办学21期。

1962年苏老开始到日、韩、菲、新、马、文莱、泰、越、缅、印尼、美、加及台湾地区施诊、讲学,又培养了众多新生力量。马来西亚吡叻州的著名中医幸镜清『2』、招知行、丘荣清就是苏老的亲传弟子。苏老在马期间,于吡叻州怡保市仁和堂药行开班授课业医,幸、招、丘和已故李绍彬、刘庆忠都在其门下。1973年苏老到美国政府批准的第一家位于华盛顿的针灸治疗所任针灸治疗主持人,并开班传播澄江针灸医术。1975年3月和美国弟子合作开办“纽英伦针灸学校”,后来出版了第一本英文针灸书《经穴学》,此书广泛成为后来开办的针灸学校的教科书。在1986年麻省针灸学会举行第6届会员大会上,苏老获颁“美国针灸之父”,作为其在美国多年办学、培养针灸人才、对当时美国替代医学有巨大贡献的表彰。2001年8月28日,苏老先生病逝。

注1:“澄江”为中国江苏省江阴市古称,澄江针灸学派指的是以近代针灸大师承淡安为代表的精英及其传人几十年努力形成的学术体系。承淡安原籍江阴,为南京中医学院首任校长,在医、教、研方面卓有功绩,系近代杰出的医学家、教育家,他的中医教育思想和针灸学说随其弟子广播四方。澄江针灸学派的学术体系及思想正得到进一步的研究,丰富的针灸经验也为其传人在临床广泛应用。

注2:幸镜清,吡叻州名老中医,已届83高龄,近期曾获颁大马国际名医贡献奖,表彰其43年献身中医药事业和对大马医药保健作出的贡献。

参考文献:张永树·澄江针灸学派传人苏天佑海外医教史迹·中国针灸·2005,25(6):443-444

James Tin Yau So

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dr. James Tin Yau So, N.D., LAc., (1911–2000) also known as Dr. So, was an acupuncturist.

Dr. So’s teacher was Tsang Tien Chi who studied under Ching Tan An. He graduated from Dr. Tsang’s College of Scientific Acupuncture in Canton, China, in 1939. During the same year Dr. So opened his medical office in Hong Kong. In 1941 he opened his own school, The Hong Kong College Acupuncture.

In 1974, Dr. So was part of the NAA group that traveled to Massachusetts and opened the first acupuncture clinic in Boston and a second clinic in Worcester. Dr. Steven Rosenblatt and Dr. Gene Bruno assisted Dr. So in the translation of his three books on the points of acupuncture, the techniques acupuncture and treatment of disease by acupuncture. Dr. So, with the help of Dr. Rosenblatt and Dr. Bruno founded the first school of acupuncture in the US in 1974.[1]

尼克松总统访华与美国的“针灸热”

2010-11-16 15:04:43

孟庆云

针灸在美国的流行是20世纪70年代。此前在美国华盛顿、洛杉矶、旧金山等地虽然有不少中医,但精通针灸者未曾有闻。文献记载,早在30年代,有无钖中国针灸研究社社员方复兴移民美国,在罗州开展针灸活动。1947年美国医学界曾在学术讨论中论及中国的针灸术。1955年斯坦福大学曾邀请日本针灸专家赴美讲稿,但尚无针灸研究。

1997年2月21日至28日,美国总统尼克松访华,随行记者500名。记者中詹姆斯.罗斯顿(Jame reston)患阑尾炎,在北京协和医院做阑尾切除术,应用针灸疗法消除术后疼痛,取得成功。在华期间詹姆斯还参观了针刺麻醉,回国后即在7月2日《纽约时报》撰写有关报道,以大副醒目标题刊于头版,在美引起了轰动效应,从而促使国立卫生院(NIH)注意到中国的针灸疗法。

美国政府批准的第一个针灸诊所于1973年7月在华盛顿特区正式成立,由格里戈里奥.柯斯医生当主任,澄江学派传人苏天佑被聘为这家诊所针灸治疗的主持人。苏天佑原名苏佐仁,1911年生于广东阳江县,幼年随父到香港受教育,后来受业于曾天治学习针灸。曾天治是澄江学派创始人承淡安的高足。苏天佑除行医外,还开办学习班,培训针灸人员。1975年3月,苏天佑和美国弟子在波士顿创办“纽英伦针灸学校”(new England school  of Acupuncture)用英语教学,学制初为一年,后为三年。其第一本英文针灸著作是《经穴学》,其门人为此书学序文,文中称苏天佑为“美国针灸之父”。到20世纪末,全美国已有2万余人从事针灸业务,苏天佑首当其功。1997年,美国成立了替代疗法办公室。1998年,美国有高等医学院开设传统医学课程,有20余种针灸期刊,有100余所针灸院校。在美国,针灸主要用于治疗常见病及戒毒,也有报道用于宇航员的训练和治疗航天综合症。可见,针灸学传到美国以后,又与美国的科学文化相结合而有所创新。

摘自《中国中医药报》 2003年3月10日 星期一

what is James Tin Yau So

http://www.infosources.org/what_is/James_Tin_Yau_So.html

Dr James Tin Yau So, ND LAc (1911 – 2000) also known as Dr. So, was one of the most influential individuals of the 29th Century in bringing acupuncture to the United States

Dr So’s teacher was Tsang Tien Chi who studied under Ching Tan An. He graduated from Dr. Tsang’s College of Scientific Acupuncture in Canton China in 1939 During the same year Dr. So opened his medical office in Hong Kong In 1941 he opened his own school The Hong Kong College Acupuncture For the next thirty years Dr. So established himself as one of the most successful and well-respected acupuncturists throughout Asia Practitioner came from all over Asia and Europe to study at his college
Several acupuncturists from the National Acupuncture Association (NAA) sought Dr. So’s assistance in 1972 At the time the NAA offered Dr. So a position as acupuncturist at the UCLA Acupuncture Pain Clinic the only legal acupuncture clinic in California at that time Dr. So accepted and joined the NAA staff of acupuncturists and the UCLA Acupuncture Pain Clinic in 1973
In 1974 Dr. So was part of the NAA group that traveled to Massachusetts and opened the first acupuncture clinic in Boston and a second clinic in Worcester In the fall of 1974 Dr. So founded the New England School of Acupuncture Dr. Rosenblatt and Dr. Bruno assisted Dr. So in the translation of his three books on the points of acupuncture the techniques acupuncture and treatment of diseaseby acupuncture . Dr. So, with the help of his students Dr. Steven Rosenblatt and Dr. Gene Bruno founded the first school of acupuncture in the US, the New England School of Acupuncture (NESA) in 1974 With his approval Dr. Bruno and Dr. Rosenblatt founded the second school in the US, which became the California Acupuncture College located in West Los Angeles
majority of the acupuncture schools in the US were founded by students of Dr. So. This legacy of acupuncture in North America is unparalleled.

 

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Spotlight on the AOM Alliance

Part Two of Acupuncture Today‘s Interview With Floyd Herdrich, LAc, Dipl.Ac.

By Editorial Staff http://www.acupuncturetoday.com/mpacms/at/article.php?id=28391


Floyd Herdrich has played an integral role in the development of the acupuncture and Oriental medicine profession in the United States.

He was a founding member of the Acupuncture Society of Virginia and helped get an independent licensure law passed in that state in 1993. He has also been a board member of the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Alliance since 1994, most recently serving as the Alliance’s president.

 

In part two of our interview, Mr. Herdrich expresses his views on the current education levels in acupuncture schools, along with the role of the Alliance and the American Association of Oriental Medicine in the creation of the Vision Search Task Force.


Acupuncture Today (AT): You mentioned the doctoral program and the type of education these programs are offering. What do you think about the level of education the students are receiving now?

Floyd Herdrich (FH): It’s great. It’s wonderful.

ATDo you think there are any areas in which the schools could improve? Are they doing enough to prepare students for life after graduation?

FH: That’s part of the confusion about the business model. Yes, the schools can do more, and I know schools that are doing more, but it’s been a perennial problem, because the economic structure of acupuncture and Oriental medicine is basically entrepreneurial. Look at the number of restaurants that open and close. They’re known as the profession for turnover and failures, but that’s part of the entrepreneurial model: You’ve got something, and you take a chance, and you put your particular practice out there, and you either succeed or you don’t. Part of that has to do with your personality, your charisma and your knowledge, but it’s not for everybody. A lot of people just want to get a job. In any profession, there are people who just want to get a job. There are physicians who are giving up their private practices to work for an agency of some sort. On the other hand, there are also physicians who are giving up their licenses. A particular case that interested me recently involved some West Coast psychiatrists, who were sued by their patients because they refused to prescribe the drugs their patients wanted. In this case, the physicians actually turned in their medical licenses and took out counselor licenses so they could persist in that model.

In the face of the litigiousness of the population and the preparedness of the legal profession to go after medical practitioners, I’m really worried about the first case that we’re bound to see in which a patient goes after an acupuncturist, because the acupuncturist did not detect a medical malady that appeared five years later. In the medical profession, you already have patients who, in a malpractice suit, will look at their most recent MRI, and it’s clear the patient has a large tumor. The question comes up in court: “Well, doctor, you read my MRI five years ago. Didn’t you see it coming?” And the old MRI is reviewed, and the attorney says, “Ah, here’s a trace. This could have been the tumor that wasn’t clearly detected.”

This situation already exists in medical malpractice suits. The point is, acupuncturists have the luxury of very affordable malpractice insurance because we very seldom, if ever, hurt anybody. However, if we start having professional standards creep in state scopes of practice to the point that acupuncturists have the option of ordering MRIs and other medical tests, if anybody in the profession in a given state has that option, it becomes the obligation of all licensed practitioners in that state to be responsible for those tests.

AT: So you could see an increase in malpractice cases, and that could lead to an increase in insurance rates.

FH: Yes! We spend $1,000 or so a year for malpractice based on our history, but when we start getting lumped in with doctors, it’s going to go to $50,000 or $100,000 just like doctors. I know obstetricians personally who have given up their practice because their malpractice shot up to $40,-, $60-, $80-, $100,000 a year, and they can’t afford it. At the same time, the insurance industry has been cutting back on payments, so they’re caught right in the middle. They just look at the business plan and decide to sell Amway.

So, yes – students that came out of my class succeeded and failed 25 years ago probably in the same proportion, or perhaps less, than today, but the complaints from people coming out of the schools today are the same as they were then. Some people feel ill-prepared to go out and take the responsibility for developing a private practice. There’s always been an axiom that it takes three to five years to build a private practice. It doesn’t matter if it’s a legal practice, a medical practice or an acupuncture practice. If you don’t have the resources to get through three to five years to where you have a sound practice, you may fail. If people don’t face that fact when they go in, they’re asleep.

It’s not the fault of the schools. I was prepared to build a practice, and knew how to refer a patient to the allopathic profession, based on my diagnosis through acupuncture and Oriental diagnosis, because I was trained on how to refer out way back then. I don’t think schools have gotten worse at that training, they’ve only gotten better.

About six or seven years ago, we were getting to the place in the profession where we were looking at the problem of “curriculum creep.” When we became legitimate – and we got that way be accrediting the schools, then legitimizing the outcomes by legitimizing national board certification – we got locked into certain kinds of established patterns. To move from a master’s level accreditation to a doctoral level accreditation, you have to show there’s a significant difference and need. While the acupuncture schools were just naturally looking into more and more information, the numbers of hours five, six and seven years ago were already approaching what is taken as the definition of a doctor’s education. How do you show the difference? The question has been around for 10 years. Could we just morph the master’s into a doctorate, or did we have to legitimize ourselves because we’re already in a legitimate academic structure? That’s question has brought us the clinical doctorate as a postgraduate doctorate, but there are people who still think, “Just call us doctors and we’ll be doctors. Give us that title and let us go.” That leads into the probability of acupuncturists having the same kind of legal exposure that doctors have, but with only a half or third or quarter of doctoral training to back it up. I’m concerned about that.

ATI have a few more questions before you before wrapping things up.

FH: All right.

ATThe Alliance and the AAOM are working together; they’ve got the Vision Search Task Force, and they signed a memorandum of understanding so that they’re working for common goals. What’s your perspective on the organizations working together?

FH: You’ve mixed apples and oranges just a little bit. Historically, it’s always been said that there were four national organizations. When you look at it, it’s actually four functions: education, accreditation, certification, and the practitioners were organized. At a certain point, the practitioner branch became two different organizations with slightly different focuses. The organizations – the AOM Alliance and the AAOM – have worked under a memorandum of understanding over the last several years to put out bridges and work together. We’ve been working on an ethics model, which we hope to release as a joint document. We worked under some agreement on putting Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day forward. There are a number of areas that we’ve worked together.

The two organizations both participate in a bigger venue, which is the VSTF. That involves both practitioner organizations working together with representatives from accreditation, education and certification. It’s a different way of working together. One is part of a bigger community, where we’re working in parallel with the other members; the other is the groups directly working together to show where we do have significant agreement about the profession. Unfortunately, we still cannot figure out quite how to put forward both the doctorate as a new role, and the maintenance of the master’s level practitioner. That’s basically where the difference lies currently. That’s the one thing we haven’t figured out how to do both in one organization and make clear.

AT: A lot of people aren’t that familiar with the VSTF – its organization and objectives. Could you tell us more about it?

FH: As an observer as somebody who put that idea forward, some of the same people who have been working for the unity in the profession over the years put the idea forward three or four years ago. “Visioning search” is a particular model that exists for finding unity in all kinds of communities. It wasn’t figured out by the acupuncture profession. The basic concept of visioning search is that all of the stakeholders in a particular broad community are all there, and it’s based on putting forward needs and hearing one another’s needs. It’s a modern-day understanding of the idea that a number of stakeholders have their own view of needs. These needs are put forward and heard, and then somehow when the needs are all out in the open and heard by everyone, then you move to a mutual view that can include those needs.

Over the years, there have been several different waves of visioning that took place among the four functions. The boards of the four function groups used to go into a retreat once a year, at the annual conference; this became five members when the practitioner groups branched out. It became evident that one of the stakeholders was not at the table: consumers and patients. That was something the Alliance has held to all along. Some of our board members have been heavily into consumers’ rights. We have a lot of people interested in public health, which is generally underfunded. For instance, the Alliance has an association with NADA, in which some non-acupuncturists use a particular acupuncture protocol in public health venues. We see that as a very legitimate and helpful way to help society.

Some people think only an acupuncturist should touch an acupuncture needle. We don’t see that as a way for the medicine to reach and heal society, so our emphasis has been in large part on the consumer, and how they see us. There was a wonderful statement in the visioning hearing at the AAOM meeting by an old-guard practitioner and educator. She said, “We see the patient as the primary care person. They are the one who chooses who’s going to help them through their medicine.” So the idea that the patient takes on the responsibility of knowing, understanding and having the freedom to choose what form of medicine they choose.

The Visioning Search Task Force has a series of meetings – about two a year – with participants from all four functions of the profession. They became sensitive to the fact that the consumer/lay member public has not been present much in those hearings, but the opinion has been that after the conclusion of this preparatory phase, there would actually be a visioning search format put forward whereby all of those people would be present, and at that meeting, which has not yet happened, the actual “vision” would bubble up. There has been a lot of preparatory work over the last several years, which has looked at the people in the main part of the industry, with only minimal participation by the consumer. Hopefully, that would be a bigger part of the final vision search.

AT: You know, I’m a consumer. I wouldn’t mind being a part of things.

FH: Well, you ought to be!

One of the first annual conferences of the Alliance was in Washington, D.C. One of the plenary speakers at the conference was from President Clinton’s think tank. He had some very interesting things to say back then. One of the scenarios they could see was that in about eight years, the HMOs would have stripped out all the savings to be had from improved management. When that happened, we would see the rate of the costs of Western medicine increase as fast or faster than it ever had. The HMOs didn’t really stop anything; there was just this period where management would save money. So, here we are. We know that HMOs are “dropping out” all over the place, and that health care costs are escalating as fast as they ever have.

The speaker also said that the think tank could see that in about 10 years, we’d see a time where most of indemnity payment for health care would disappear. There would be regional shock trauma units for major medical intervention, and for the most part, all other forms of health care would go to fee-for-service. Now, we’re seeing that come to reality. Insurance hasn’t yet disappeared, but we see it shrinking. I watch the practice my wife has been in for 15 years – an obstetrics practice with 35,000 patient records – and its staff shrinks and expands over the last decade in six-month increments when the insurance industry cranks down, or opens up something. We also know that doctors in many cases have been given mandates: “You had 12 minutes to see a patient; you now have nine.” That’s a fact. I’m not making it up.

We have this industrial machine going on, with medical professionals making snap judgements and carrying out routine, by-the-book medicine. They’re having a hard time performing a science and art to healing. It’s become very codified, and a lot of doctors are dropping out – not in waves, but I know doctors personally who have dropped out and gone to sell Amway, because they could not make the business model they had in mind when they went to school 20 years ago. It just doesn’t work that way anymore.

I don’t take medical insurance. I’ve never filed an insurance claim for a patient. I don’t intend to, and I don’t think it’s necessary, because patients come to me because they want to get better, and they think that I can help them – and in many cases, I can. That’s the basis of my practice, as a master’s trained acupuncturist back when it was 1,200 or 1,500 hours of education, not 3,000. It’s got to be better with 3,000 hours than it was with 1,500, but my practice is sound.

ATAny final thoughts you’d like to share?

FH: Well, there’s the subject we talked about earlier: the recognition and support for the doctorate level of training, which is a legitimate form of academic growth and specialization, and the view that there will be a class of practitioners who will be doctors of Oriental medicine and may very well focus on primary care, but that’s just going to be a class of Oriental medicine, not all of Oriental medicine.

The current economic structure, with mainstream, insurance support, doesn’t have a place for 15,000 doctors of Oriental medicine. However, the American culture certainly has a place for all those people, and in their own level of economic existence, but the medical profession isn’t looking to expand in that way. One of my younger colleagues told me she filled in at a medically owned personal injury clinic in California, had a slot for an acupuncturist. She said she was being asked to see 27 patients before lunch and told me, “I don’t think I was helping them.”

You can’t industrialize acupuncture. This isn’t China. If it was, and everybody walked or rode a bicycle to work, and everybody had the same salary, and the workers were told to take a week off, go back to the clinic and get well – if this culture could let people take a week off when they got sick, they’d probably come back well even if they didn’t go to a doctor, but our culture doesn’t allow that. So to try the old Chinese model of going to the clinic every day for a week and coming back well – as one of the Chinese mentors I sat before said, “That’s in China. Over here, we’re lucky to get a patient in once a week.”

It’s a different culture, and it’s got to be a different model of medicine. It doesn’t go straight across the board because it worked in China.

AT: Thank you.

FH: You’re welcome.


Editor’s note: Part one of Acupuncture Today‘s interview with Floyd Herdrich appeared in the January issue.


Floyd Herdrich has played an integral role in the development of the acupuncture and Oriental medicine profession in the United States.

He was a founding member of the Acupuncture Society of Virginia and helped get an independent licensure law passed in that state in 1993. He has also been a board member of the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Alliance since 1994, most recently serving as the Alliance’s president.

 

In part two of our interview, Mr. Herdrich expresses his views on the current education levels in acupuncture schools, along with the role of the Alliance and the American Association of Oriental Medicine in the creation of the Vision Search Task Force.


Acupuncture Today (AT): You mentioned the doctoral program and the type of education these programs are offering. What do you think about the level of education the students are receiving now?

Floyd Herdrich (FH): It’s great. It’s wonderful.

ATDo you think there are any areas in which the schools could improve? Are they doing enough to prepare students for life after graduation?

FH: That’s part of the confusion about the business model. Yes, the schools can do more, and I know schools that are doing more, but it’s been a perennial problem, because the economic structure of acupuncture and Oriental medicine is basically entrepreneurial. Look at the number of restaurants that open and close. They’re known as the profession for turnover and failures, but that’s part of the entrepreneurial model: You’ve got something, and you take a chance, and you put your particular practice out there, and you either succeed or you don’t. Part of that has to do with your personality, your charisma and your knowledge, but it’s not for everybody. A lot of people just want to get a job. In any profession, there are people who just want to get a job. There are physicians who are giving up their private practices to work for an agency of some sort. On the other hand, there are also physicians who are giving up their licenses. A particular case that interested me recently involved some West Coast psychiatrists, who were sued by their patients because they refused to prescribe the drugs their patients wanted. In this case, the physicians actually turned in their medical licenses and took out counselor licenses so they could persist in that model.

In the face of the litigiousness of the population and the preparedness of the legal profession to go after medical practitioners, I’m really worried about the first case that we’re bound to see in which a patient goes after an acupuncturist, because the acupuncturist did not detect a medical malady that appeared five years later. In the medical profession, you already have patients who, in a malpractice suit, will look at their most recent MRI, and it’s clear the patient has a large tumor. The question comes up in court: “Well, doctor, you read my MRI five years ago. Didn’t you see it coming?” And the old MRI is reviewed, and the attorney says, “Ah, here’s a trace. This could have been the tumor that wasn’t clearly detected.”

This situation already exists in medical malpractice suits. The point is, acupuncturists have the luxury of very affordable malpractice insurance because we very seldom, if ever, hurt anybody. However, if we start having professional standards creep in state scopes of practice to the point that acupuncturists have the option of ordering MRIs and other medical tests, if anybody in the profession in a given state has that option, it becomes the obligation of all licensed practitioners in that state to be responsible for those tests.

AT: So you could see an increase in malpractice cases, and that could lead to an increase in insurance rates.

FH: Yes! We spend $1,000 or so a year for malpractice based on our history, but when we start getting lumped in with doctors, it’s going to go to $50,000 or $100,000 just like doctors. I know obstetricians personally who have given up their practice because their malpractice shot up to $40,-, $60-, $80-, $100,000 a year, and they can’t afford it. At the same time, the insurance industry has been cutting back on payments, so they’re caught right in the middle. They just look at the business plan and decide to sell Amway.

So, yes – students that came out of my class succeeded and failed 25 years ago probably in the same proportion, or perhaps less, than today, but the complaints from people coming out of the schools today are the same as they were then. Some people feel ill-prepared to go out and take the responsibility for developing a private practice. There’s always been an axiom that it takes three to five years to build a private practice. It doesn’t matter if it’s a legal practice, a medical practice or an acupuncture practice. If you don’t have the resources to get through three to five years to where you have a sound practice, you may fail. If people don’t face that fact when they go in, they’re asleep.

It’s not the fault of the schools. I was prepared to build a practice, and knew how to refer a patient to the allopathic profession, based on my diagnosis through acupuncture and Oriental diagnosis, because I was trained on how to refer out way back then. I don’t think schools have gotten worse at that training, they’ve only gotten better.

About six or seven years ago, we were getting to the place in the profession where we were looking at the problem of “curriculum creep.” When we became legitimate – and we got that way be accrediting the schools, then legitimizing the outcomes by legitimizing national board certification – we got locked into certain kinds of established patterns. To move from a master’s level accreditation to a doctoral level accreditation, you have to show there’s a significant difference and need. While the acupuncture schools were just naturally looking into more and more information, the numbers of hours five, six and seven years ago were already approaching what is taken as the definition of a doctor’s education. How do you show the difference? The question has been around for 10 years. Could we just morph the master’s into a doctorate, or did we have to legitimize ourselves because we’re already in a legitimate academic structure? That’s question has brought us the clinical doctorate as a postgraduate doctorate, but there are people who still think, “Just call us doctors and we’ll be doctors. Give us that title and let us go.” That leads into the probability of acupuncturists having the same kind of legal exposure that doctors have, but with only a half or third or quarter of doctoral training to back it up. I’m concerned about that.

ATI have a few more questions before you before wrapping things up.

FH: All right.

ATThe Alliance and the AAOM are working together; they’ve got the Vision Search Task Force, and they signed a memorandum of understanding so that they’re working for common goals. What’s your perspective on the organizations working together?

FH: You’ve mixed apples and oranges just a little bit. Historically, it’s always been said that there were four national organizations. When you look at it, it’s actually four functions: education, accreditation, certification, and the practitioners were organized. At a certain point, the practitioner branch became two different organizations with slightly different focuses. The organizations – the AOM Alliance and the AAOM – have worked under a memorandum of understanding over the last several years to put out bridges and work together. We’ve been working on an ethics model, which we hope to release as a joint document. We worked under some agreement on putting Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day forward. There are a number of areas that we’ve worked together.

The two organizations both participate in a bigger venue, which is the VSTF. That involves both practitioner organizations working together with representatives from accreditation, education and certification. It’s a different way of working together. One is part of a bigger community, where we’re working in parallel with the other members; the other is the groups directly working together to show where we do have significant agreement about the profession. Unfortunately, we still cannot figure out quite how to put forward both the doctorate as a new role, and the maintenance of the master’s level practitioner. That’s basically where the difference lies currently. That’s the one thing we haven’t figured out how to do both in one organization and make clear.

AT: A lot of people aren’t that familiar with the VSTF – its organization and objectives. Could you tell us more about it?

FH: As an observer as somebody who put that idea forward, some of the same people who have been working for the unity in the profession over the years put the idea forward three or four years ago. “Visioning search” is a particular model that exists for finding unity in all kinds of communities. It wasn’t figured out by the acupuncture profession. The basic concept of visioning search is that all of the stakeholders in a particular broad community are all there, and it’s based on putting forward needs and hearing one another’s needs. It’s a modern-day understanding of the idea that a number of stakeholders have their own view of needs. These needs are put forward and heard, and then somehow when the needs are all out in the open and heard by everyone, then you move to a mutual view that can include those needs.

Over the years, there have been several different waves of visioning that took place among the four functions. The boards of the four function groups used to go into a retreat once a year, at the annual conference; this became five members when the practitioner groups branched out. It became evident that one of the stakeholders was not at the table: consumers and patients. That was something the Alliance has held to all along. Some of our board members have been heavily into consumers’ rights. We have a lot of people interested in public health, which is generally underfunded. For instance, the Alliance has an association with NADA, in which some non-acupuncturists use a particular acupuncture protocol in public health venues. We see that as a very legitimate and helpful way to help society.

Some people think only an acupuncturist should touch an acupuncture needle. We don’t see that as a way for the medicine to reach and heal society, so our emphasis has been in large part on the consumer, and how they see us. There was a wonderful statement in the visioning hearing at the AAOM meeting by an old-guard practitioner and educator. She said, “We see the patient as the primary care person. They are the one who chooses who’s going to help them through their medicine.” So the idea that the patient takes on the responsibility of knowing, understanding and having the freedom to choose what form of medicine they choose.

The Visioning Search Task Force has a series of meetings – about two a year – with participants from all four functions of the profession. They became sensitive to the fact that the consumer/lay member public has not been present much in those hearings, but the opinion has been that after the conclusion of this preparatory phase, there would actually be a visioning search format put forward whereby all of those people would be present, and at that meeting, which has not yet happened, the actual “vision” would bubble up. There has been a lot of preparatory work over the last several years, which has looked at the people in the main part of the industry, with only minimal participation by the consumer. Hopefully, that would be a bigger part of the final vision search.

AT: You know, I’m a consumer. I wouldn’t mind being a part of things.

FH: Well, you ought to be!

One of the first annual conferences of the Alliance was in Washington, D.C. One of the plenary speakers at the conference was from President Clinton’s think tank. He had some very interesting things to say back then. One of the scenarios they could see was that in about eight years, the HMOs would have stripped out all the savings to be had from improved management. When that happened, we would see the rate of the costs of Western medicine increase as fast or faster than it ever had. The HMOs didn’t really stop anything; there was just this period where management would save money. So, here we are. We know that HMOs are “dropping out” all over the place, and that health care costs are escalating as fast as they ever have.

The speaker also said that the think tank could see that in about 10 years, we’d see a time where most of indemnity payment for health care would disappear. There would be regional shock trauma units for major medical intervention, and for the most part, all other forms of health care would go to fee-for-service. Now, we’re seeing that come to reality. Insurance hasn’t yet disappeared, but we see it shrinking. I watch the practice my wife has been in for 15 years – an obstetrics practice with 35,000 patient records – and its staff shrinks and expands over the last decade in six-month increments when the insurance industry cranks down, or opens up something. We also know that doctors in many cases have been given mandates: “You had 12 minutes to see a patient; you now have nine.” That’s a fact. I’m not making it up.

We have this industrial machine going on, with medical professionals making snap judgements and carrying out routine, by-the-book medicine. They’re having a hard time performing a science and art to healing. It’s become very codified, and a lot of doctors are dropping out – not in waves, but I know doctors personally who have dropped out and gone to sell Amway, because they could not make the business model they had in mind when they went to school 20 years ago. It just doesn’t work that way anymore.

I don’t take medical insurance. I’ve never filed an insurance claim for a patient. I don’t intend to, and I don’t think it’s necessary, because patients come to me because they want to get better, and they think that I can help them – and in many cases, I can. That’s the basis of my practice, as a master’s trained acupuncturist back when it was 1,200 or 1,500 hours of education, not 3,000. It’s got to be better with 3,000 hours than it was with 1,500, but my practice is sound.

ATAny final thoughts you’d like to share?

FH: Well, there’s the subject we talked about earlier: the recognition and support for the doctorate level of training, which is a legitimate form of academic growth and specialization, and the view that there will be a class of practitioners who will be doctors of Oriental medicine and may very well focus on primary care, but that’s just going to be a class of Oriental medicine, not all of Oriental medicine.

The current economic structure, with mainstream, insurance support, doesn’t have a place for 15,000 doctors of Oriental medicine. However, the American culture certainly has a place for all those people, and in their own level of economic existence, but the medical profession isn’t looking to expand in that way. One of my younger colleagues told me she filled in at a medically owned personal injury clinic in California, had a slot for an acupuncturist. She said she was being asked to see 27 patients before lunch and told me, “I don’t think I was helping them.”

You can’t industrialize acupuncture. This isn’t China. If it was, and everybody walked or rode a bicycle to work, and everybody had the same salary, and the workers were told to take a week off, go back to the clinic and get well – if this culture could let people take a week off when they got sick, they’d probably come back well even if they didn’t go to a doctor, but our culture doesn’t allow that. So to try the old Chinese model of going to the clinic every day for a week and coming back well – as one of the Chinese mentors I sat before said, “That’s in China. Over here, we’re lucky to get a patient in once a week.”

It’s a different culture, and it’s got to be a different model of medicine. It doesn’t go straight across the board because it worked in China.

AT: Thank you.

FH: You’re welcome.


Editor’s note: Part one of Acupuncture Today‘s interview with Floyd Herdrich appeared in the January issue.

Read Full Post »

Spotlight on the AOM Alliance

An Interview With Floyd Herdrich, LAc, Dipl.Ac., ABT – Part One

By Editorial Staff

Since he first enrolled at the Traditional Acupuncture Institute in 1983, Floyd Herdrich has been an active supporter of the acupuncture and Oriental medicine profession.

He was instrumental in getting an independent licensure law passed in Virginia in 1993, and was one of the founding members of the Acupuncture Society of Virginia. In addition to acupuncture, he is certified in Asian bodywork therapy by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). He currently operates a pair of successful practices in Falls Church, Va., and Bethesda, Md., with a model of patient care that combines elements of acupuncture, tai chi and Oriental bodywork.

 

Along with his role as a healer, Mr. Herdrich has been one of the acupuncture and Oriental medicine profession’s most influential leaders of the past decade. He has been on the board of the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Alliance since it was created in January 1994, and has served a variety of functions in the organization, including treasurer and vice president.

In May 2003, Mr. Herdrich’s affiliation with the Alliance reached new heights when he was named president of the organization. In this exclusive interview with Acupuncture Today‘s managing editor, Michael Devitt, Mr. Herdrich reflects on his career in acupuncture and Oriental medicine; his role as Alliance president; the importance of the Vision Search Task Force; and his concerns about the future of the profession.

Acupuncture Today (AT): Good afternoon, Mr. Herdrich. Let’s begin by providing our readers with some background information. Where did you go to school, and how long have you been in practice?

Floyd Herdrich (FH): I’ve been involved in the profession for about 20 years. I entered formal schooling in 1983 at the Traditional Acupuncture Institute (now Tai Sophia Institute) in Columbia, Maryland. It became one of the first accredited schools in acupuncture around that time. I’d had some exposure to the work of J.R. Worsley before that. That specific type of work attracted me to the school, along with the school getting itself on the ground firmly.

I graduated from TAI, started licensure in Maryland after that, and continued studying with Dr. Worsley over the years, right up to the present. I started practice as a registered acupuncturist, which was the available entry at the time. It was technically a “physician extender” position: We were registered to a particular physician’s license. It felt independent, but it was not an independent model.

Within a couple of years, I became a licensed acupuncturist in the District of Columbia, which had independent licensure, but with a physician collaborator as a specific requirement, which is not unlike that of nurse practitioners. I’ve lived in Virginia the entire time, where my wife practices as a nurse widwife and nurse practitioner, and as I continued on in my career, I got directly involved in bringing licensure to Virginia. I became a lay lobbyist and saw to it that we got independent license practice in Virginia. As a result, we are licensed practitioners of acupuncture with unrestricted practice of acupuncture and Oriental medicine. I’ve got license #5 in Virginia.

I’ve been involved in the national practitioner organizations throughout all this time, first as a member of the old AAAOM (American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) back when I was a student. Living here in the Washington, D.C. area, I’ve had access to a lot of changes. I participated in the first NIH round table on complementary and alternative medicine, which was a phenomenon in itself. There also were efforts to get recognition of acupuncture needles out from under the FDA; that overlapped with the evolution of the Office of Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the NIH.

ATWhat’s your relationship with the Alliance?

FH: I became a life member of the AAAOM as a practitioner. There was a time in the middle of its history where the beginnings of a diversion in practitioner focus took place. There was a difference between those who sought to have a unitary model of the doctor of Oriental medicine, with some leanings toward integration into the Western medical field, and those who saw the acupuncture and Oriental medicine model as a true alternative to mainstream medicine, putting patient responsibility for wellness first and being life coaches and energetic medicine providers. I was there when it came right down to a 51-49 split in the AAAOM. At that time, I was elected to the AAAOM board by the minority, who hoped that we could keep both conversations going within the same organization. I stayed on as a board member for about a year before it was made evident by the majority that my views weren’t consistent with their views, and I wasn’t fit to be a board member.

This is when the Alliance was founded. I was on the founding board of the Alliance, and I’ve been on the board since then. I was elected president of the Alliance last May, and was vice president the year before.

ATWhat’s a typical day like for you as president of the Alliance?

FH: A typical day for me is that of a practitioner. I would like to see a time in my future when I would be more of a practitioner, so that I could be with patients more exclusively. As it is, I have fielded calls from various people over the years who have expressed an interest in expanding licensure and fine-tuning organizations. I was a founder of the Acupuncture Society of Virginia. I’ve moved out of that leadership role already, and the society has gone on its own. Somebody always manages to find me to ask a question about how something might work, so I’ve delved into that pretty willingly over the years.

ATAre there any drawbacks to being president?

FH: Well, acupuncture isn’t a wildly economically grounded profession. We don’t have a product like the AMA’s CPT codes, so there are very few paid positions. I have given significant amounts of my economic time to the voluntary development of the profession. There’s a new generation of people coming on board. I’m the last board member who was on the original founding board of the Alliance. We’re all going on to become grandparents, and I’m looking forward to that. I’m a literal grandfather now, and I’d like to spend a little more time with my grandkids as opposed to the second and third generations of practitioners. It’s been good – I’m not complaining, but I’m just looking out beyond this present time in my personal life.

AT: That’s understandable. What are the most important issues that you see facing the profession?

FH: You know, I just made an address to the Council of Colleges at the AAOM meeting in Florida, and I observed that over the past 20 or 25 years, a lot has changed and nothing has changed. Some things remain the same. The big change is in the numbers of us that are present in the American culture as health care providers, and the fact that what we practice is recognized in almost every state now. Still, even since the very beginning, acupuncture and Oriental medicine are not well understood by the American population. People are discovering it constantly, but if you ask anybody on the street, they may still think it’s just for pain or backaches, and they don’t recognize that it is a broad medicine for a range of human ailments. Those problems persist, and have persisted since the 1970s. Clearly, we’re a household word; we just have not become so firmly established as an economic entity as the old mainstreams. I think that’s one of the main focuses right now.

I was just reading an article in the December issue of Acupuncture Today, and have heard other commentators in other venues. I’m concerned by the comments in AT and elsewhere that feel that AOM graduates are underprepared for entry into the health care profession. The writer of the article, on the other hand, illustrated how well she was prepared, because she talked about how she built a private practice, and everything that she went through, and she was sharing her wisdom with other people. I find that kind of article in your sister publication for chiropractors, and they’ve been out there for more than 100 years.

There’s still a constant need for new practitioners and new graduates to hone their skills at practice building, because it’s an entrepreneurial business model, as opposed to an industry. The mainstream allopathic medical industry is as old as the coal and railroad and steel industries, and the modern-day graduate of a medical school or other health profession seldom goes out and builds a private practice. In allopathic medicine, people go out there and get a job. Very few people go out of AOM training and get a job. It’s just not a reality.

When I look at the numbers of people that come out of the general education or business education models, and go out into entrepreneurial business models, they don’t succeed more often than our practitioners succeed. Some people lament that some practitioners may not continue practicing Oriental medicine, or may not be completely successful economically, but in an entrepreneurial world, we’re really strong when you look at it in that light. Thousands of us have succeeded for decades clinically. Clinically, ours is the safest of professions. It’s proven efficacious for many conditions, it’s known to be a clinically effective treatment by millions of patients, and it’s a viable economic opportunity. We are “all that.” We were that 20 years ago coming out of school, and we are that now. It hasn’t gotten any worse; it’s only gotten better.

There are a myriad of concerns these days, such as fine-tuning regulations, getting increased insurance access, working with the CPT coding to enhance coding for those who do practice with third-party reimbursement, and working with fee-for-service. We’re working on both sides in all of those streams. As the very bottom line, I would have to say that the Alliance clearly has supported the evolution of doctoral education in AOM, which has brought us so far to the postgraduate doctorate program that’s up and running. We can envision that there would be a growth of a class of AOM professionals – doctors, many of whom will integrate into the allopathic industry – but that evolution in no way diminishes the legitimacy and importance of the present and future practice of the AOM master’s-level independent practitioner.

As I mentioned earlier, I was speaking to the Council of Colleges. My friend at that moment was a Korean practitioner and educator from Virginia. He was speaking to the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, and was trying to legitimize his teaching of students, which has been basically up to this time, tutorial – a master/student approach. My standing for the Alliance was that at the present, his and my greatest hope was that his children and my children would be able to continue to practice what he and I practice, as opposed to a model that is medically based.

I’m very concerned with a few models out there that have looked at an escalating biomedical component to the AOM education. The issue is that when you look at it in absolute terms is, none of these models put forward are any stronger in biomedicine than, say, the “barefoot doctors” of Mao’s China. If you want to be a medical doctor and know that trade, you probably need to be a medical doctor. The models that are being presented out there in some circles and called doctoral programs, are really about the educational level of a physician assistant, which isn’t an independent practitioner.

I value my lifestyle as an independent practitioner, having my practice built over many years and continuing to build it constantly. Patients value what I do. They come to me because they become frustrated in many cases with an allopathic model that hasn’t cured them of their ailments, and in many cases it has provided them with side-effects that are very degrading to their health. They come because they want an addition or alternative to that model.

One of the things that has occupied my mind occurred two days ago. I received a call on my voice mail. It began, “Hello. I’m calling for my daughter, who’s been your patient. She won’t be coming to her appointment this week.” There was a slight pause, and the voice continued, “Or ever. She passed on last night.” This is a person who came to me a year into allopathic treatment for the radical eruption of a very aggressive cancer, which happened to pop up within months of her husband having gone to work at the Pentagon on Sept. 11 and not coming home. She came to me when she’d already had one breast removed, which was being reconstructed. Her liver metastases were shrinking somewhat with about her fourth or fifth series of chemotherapy. She went through some findings of metastases on her brain, and had more radiation.

I occasionally challenged her to ask why she was coming to me. Obviously, I was not curing her of her cancer; I never intended or thought I could. Why was she coming? I asked. She replied that every time that she came for treatment, she always felt better afterward. She had an appointment for me tomorrow morning, and unfortunately, she won’t be able to keep it.

That woman has been a huge inspiration personally, just to be a part of her life for a year. She was a single mother – she’d just delivered her second child when her husband died, and was nursing when the cancer was detected. So to work with her regularly, over that period of time, as a support for her treatment, and keep her spirit alive as she went ahead, I would consider myself extremely fortunate to have that role, and I wouldn’t want the job of being her allopath, and I wouldn’t want to take her allopath away from her, either. She would have been dead already if it hadn’t been for their heroic treatments. But I don’t want to change my role. I also don’t want to see my role disappear and become some kind of first-line primary care provider in terms of the insurance industry’s definition of “primary care,” because something like only three classes of allopaths are considered primary care, and they have to perform procedures like giving shots, which I don’t always believe in, and a few other ground-level allopathic practices.

There has always been a debate about how much education qualifies a physician to use acupuncture in his or her medical practice. When I was a student with Dr. Worsley, and the first round of physician acupuncturists was coming into being, he once commented, “I don’t know why a first-rate physician would want to become a tenth-rate acupuncturist.” Likewise, I don’t know why I, or anybody, as a first-rate acupuncturist, would want to become a tenth-rate doctor, by medicalizing my profession. That’s the bottom line. While there are those who will do that, and do it well, the majority of us out here are doing something that has been a complement and alternative to allopathic medicine, and I think we’re going to stand for the maintenance of that role, along with the evolution of those doctors who would want to find a way to become that industry’s primary care definition.

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Spotlight on the AAOM

A Question-and-Answer Session With Gene Bruno, LAc, OMD, Part Two

By Gene Bruno, OMD, LAc, FNAAOM and Editorial Staff


Gene Bruno has had a profound influence on the practice of acupuncture and Oriental medicine in the United States.

In the mid-1970s, he helped found two successful acupuncture institutions, and was one of the leaders in a project that introduced veterinary acupuncture to the U.S. He also helped write the scope of practice laws for acupuncture and Oriental medicine in Washington and Oregon. Since 2002, he has served as president of the American Association of Oriental Medicine (AAOM), and has played an integral role in that organization’s recent successes.

 

In part two of our interview, Dr. Bruno discusses the AAOM’s efforts to assist the acupuncture profession, and discusses issues such as new licensing laws, the FDA’s ban on ephedra, the Visioning Search Task Force, and other relevant topics.


Acupuncture Today (AT): How are the AAOM and the other acupuncture organizations working together to help keep the profession moving forward?

Gene Bruno (GB): One of the more significant changes in the last few years is that many AOM organizations are actually communicating more closely than ever before, and in most cases working very well together. The AAOM and the AOM Alliance just recently completed an ethics statement for our profession. This covered more than two years of cooperation and hard work. The Visioning Task Force is another example of this cooperation. The AAOM is working closely with ACAOM by participating in its Doctoral Task Force. The AAOM also communicates regularly with FAOMRA and supports its efforts to involve more regulatory agencies in their work.

The AAOM has close communications with most state associations, and we are often able to assist them in their efforts. Our House of Delegates is made up of AAOM member state associations. Through our House of Delegates, we provide means for regional and state interests to have a direct influence and voice on national issues.

ATOne of the biggest issues facing the profession concerns other health care providers and their ability to practice acupuncture. Currently, about three dozen states allow chiropractors to practice acupuncture, and the training they receive is often far less than what is required for a LAc to practice. What is the AAOM doing to stop, or at least slow down, the practice of acupuncture by chiropractors and other health care providers?

GB: As I mentioned earlier, the attempt by members of other professions to acquire the right to practice acupuncture with minimal, inadequate training has increased dramatically. It is not “often far less” training: it is always less training. And, as you say, it is a major concern. Since the mission of the AAOM is to preserve and protect the integrity of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, it is a full-time job working with the various states where this is taking place and where chiropractors are trying to get new privileges with insufficient training. In this capacity, we work with state associations to educate legislators and licensing boards about the accepted standards of education necessary to practice in order to protect the public trust.

The fact that chiropractors are allowed in some states to practice acupuncture with entirely inadequate training, according to the accepted standards of the profession in the U.S. and the standards of the World Health Organization, should alarm all qualified acupuncturists. This will lead to an increase in public endangerment and erosion of the public trust.

AT: Another big issue remains getting acupuncture licensing laws in all 50 states. What are the prospects of that happening in the near future, and what is the AAOM doing to see that these types of laws get passed?

GB: We expect the last few states to be the most difficult. We hope to have a new law in Michigan soon, and are using our connections and resources to get laws passed in every state that does not yet have a law. The AAOM provides model bills for state associations in their efforts to pass licensing laws, and we provide model bylaws for use by the state associations themselves. We are very supportive of state organizations’ individual desires when working with them.

Additionally, some existing state practice laws often come under challenge. This happened last year in Arkansas. The AAOM took the lead in stopping an attempt to literally gut the standards for licensure in Arkansas. A law was stopped that would have reduced the requirements to 142 total hours of training, which would have completely destroyed the level of competence in the state, and ultimately have a negative impact on national standards.

ATIn April, the FDA’s ban on ephedra went into effect. Do you think the FDA will start removing other herbs and supplements from the market, and if that happens, what effect will it have on the practice of Oriental medicine in the U.S.?

GB: It seems the FDA will continue to remove other herbs unless the work the AAOM and other organizations are doing can lead to a satisfactory agreement that will allow us continued use and access. It is important to understand that the FDA has always considered herbs as drugs, but they have historically avoided pursuing a reclassification of herbs. Although there is a posting on the FDA Web site that states the new ruling on ephedrine alkaloids does not apply to Asian herbal formulas, this language is not included in the rule itself. Because this language is not in the rule, it implies that the labeling of herbal formulas should not list them as supplements.

The effect of this is already apparent in the problems that suppliers are having with importation of herbs. The AAOM and the AHPA have been working together and meeting with the FDA to obtain more clarification so that practitioners will still have access to herbs and so that suppliers will be able to provide that access. But this process will be a lengthy one and will take time.

ATThe Visioning Search Task Force (of which AAOM is a member) is working on a vision process to help shape the profession for the next 10 to 20 years. What role does the AAOM play as a part of the VSTF? Where do you see the profession 10 years from now? Twenty years from now?

GB: The AAOM supports the VSTF in the development of a “Future Search” process. In this regard, we provide leadership, personnel and meeting space in order for the potential common vision that exists within this community to be realized.

It is not the job of the AAOM or any other single agency to determine the future vision of Chinese medicine in America. We are here to serve the vision that is emerging from the key stakeholders within the field. That said, it has been mutually agreed that within 15 years, practitioners will enter the field with doctoral degrees, that there is parity with other professions with regard to reimbursement, and that the profession successfully maintains the treasure house of knowledge that we call Oriental medicine.

AT: There are roughly 4,000 students currently enrolled at acupuncture schools in the U.S. Many of them will have just graduated by the time this interview is published. If you could give these students and new graduates any advice about the profession, what would you tell them?

GB: Join your state association and the AAOM, and support their work. Your state and national associations are a major part of why you have this opportunity to practice the medicine you have worked so hard to master. By contributing to your state and national associations, your ideas, contributions and leadership will help shape the future of your profession.

AT: Any other final comments you’d like to add?

GB: I would like to thank Acupuncture Today for allowing me to address the concerns of our profession in this forum.

ATThank you.


Dr. Gene Bruno is President Emeritus of the American Association of Oriental Medicine and in private practice in Salem. Ore. He may be contacted at www.acudoctor.com.

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Spotlight on the AAOM

A Question-and-Answer Session With Gene Bruno, LAc, OMD, Part One

By Gene Bruno, OMD, LAc, FNAAOM and Editorial Staff

http://www.acupuncturetoday.com/mpacms/at/article.php?id=28470

Gene Bruno is one of the acupuncture profession’s most respected members. He began studying acupuncture and Oriental medicine at the Institute for Taoist Studies in Los Angeles, Calif., in 1970, and later received a bachelor’s degree from UCLA.

He was one of the leaders of a project that brought veterinary acupuncture to the United States in the mid-1970s, and helped to establish both the New England School of Acupuncture (the nation’s first acupuncture institution) and the California Acupuncture College. He also participated in some of earliest acupuncture research performed in the country at Harvard Medical School.

In addition to his research efforts, Dr. Bruno has also been influential in having acupuncture recognized on a state level. He has been licensed to practice in Alaska, California, Oregon and Washington, and wrote the scope of practice laws for acupuncture and Oriental medicine in Washington and Oregon. He has also served on the acupuncture committees for the states of Oregon and Washington, and maintains a private practice in Salem, Oregon.

More recently, Dr. Bruno has served the AOM community as the president of the American Association of Oriental Medicine (AAOM), a position he has held since 2002. In this exclusive interview with Acupuncture Today, Dr. Bruno discusses several issues of importance to the profession, including the AAOM’s efforts to keep the profession moving forward, licensing laws and scope of practice issues, and the FDA’s recent ban on ephedra.

Acupuncture Today (AT): How did you first get involved with AAOM?

Gene Bruno (GB): I first began my studies in acupuncture and Oriental medicine in 1970, studying with the Institute for Taoist Studies. The chief instructor was Dr. Gim Shek Ju. During this time, I completed my pre-med major at UCLA and received a Bachelor’s degree. In 1972, I continued my studies and work with the National Acupuncture Association, initially as a co-director of the Veterinary Research Project, which introduced veterinary acupuncture into the U.S., and later as a part of the Acupuncture Pain Research Clinic at UCLA Medical School. I was part of a team that brought Dr. James Tin Yau So to the U.S. in 1973, and then in 1974, established the first school in the U.S., in Boston, Massachusetts. As a staff acupuncturist at Harvard Medical School, and a research associate at Amherst University, I participated in some of the earliest research done in the U.S. on acupuncture.

After finishing my studies with Dr. So, and having completed nearly five years of full-time study with over 3,500 hours of clinical study in acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, I returned to Los Angeles, and continued in private practice. Dr. Steven Rosenblatt and I started another school in 1975 that became the California Acupuncture College.

In 1975, I took and passed the Oregon exam in acupuncture. In the fall of 1976, I moved to Oregon to practice. Since 1976, I have also been licensed in California, Washington and Alaska. I wrote the scope of practice law for acupuncture and Oriental medicine in Oregon and Washington, and served on the acupuncture committees for those states.

I have been a long-time member of the AAOM, but have spent most of my time working with issues that primarily concern the states of Oregon and Washington, so my association with the AAOM was very minimal until just the last few years. At the AAOM conference in Hawaii in 2001, I was nominated and elected as a director to the board. I was elected president in November 2002, and re-elected in November 2003.

ATWhat are some of the challenges you face as the association’s president?

GB: The biggest challenge seems to be budgeting my time. There are an incredible number of issues going on within our profession. Just keeping up to date on all the information, so I can help my board make decisions that affect our profession, is a task in itself. There is also a future to plan and a foundation to build for the organization itself. The directors of the AAOM all serve voluntarily. They all work very hard and spend much of their own resources in their efforts to promote the profession. We are also incredibly lucky to have found our attorney, Mark Thoman, who volunteers his time and resources unselfishly. He greatly values what our medicine offers the public, and he dedicates himself to the advancement of our profession.

Like all of the directors, I actually have a day job and a family. So as president of the AAOM, finding enough time to manage all the affairs of the association is a daunting task. For me, the work we do is stimulating and certainly challenging.

ATIn a recent poll, Acupuncture Today found that nearly two-thirds of the voters thought the state associations weren’t doing a good enough job representing the profession’s interests on the state level. How would you respond to that, and on a national level, how do you think the AAOM is doing in representing the acupuncture and Oriental medicine profession?

GB: Responding to the survey regarding the poll on state associations is not a simple task. The poll was not specific about the interests or the actual states involved. I’m sure you are aware that the poll’s Web engine allows the same person to log on multiple times from the same computer. So, in that regard, it’s not an objective poll.

Nevertheless, I will comment in a general way, assuming the poll has an element of validity to it. The challenges that acupuncture and Oriental medicine are facing at this time are as significant and threatening as they ever have been. The attempt by members of other professions to acquire the right to practice acupuncture with minimal, inadequate training has increased dramatically. The attraction to weekend “wonder workshops” and the willingness of certain states to allow these individuals to practice this form of acupuncture is a challenge for many states. The current climate that is threatening our use of herbs is resulting in legislation in many states that will affect our use and access to our herbal medicines.

I would suggest that the results of the poll may reflect a reaction to these and other serious issues that practitioners are worried about, and not necessarily a reflection of the job the state associations are doing. The independent people who have developed licensure in their own states have called together their colleagues and developed legislation that they thought was the best they could get in the situations they faced.

As the profession in each state matures and legislation evolves to embrace that maturity, I hope to see more interaction between the state and national organizations on a foundational level, as in bylaws, corporate structure, and basic freedom to practice. Then we hope to be able to work to enhance state organizational strength with communication links via the Internet and other forms of interaction. Through legislative initiatives, we can work together to help build scopes of practice and provide our profession with the ability to do the best we can possibly do for our patients.

I personally know of a number of state associations that the AAOM works with who have done an excellent job in dealing with the different challenges that face them. It doesn’t mean that they have completed their work, but they have been, and are, doing everything they can to protect the integrity of our medicine, given the resources available to them.

With regard to the AAOM’s efforts to represent the profession, there are actually three areas of involvement: international, federal and state. Internationally, we participate in the work the World Health Organization (WHO) does on acupuncture and Oriental medicine. We also work closely with the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies (WFCMS), which is associated with the WHO. AAOM Vice President Dave Molony is one of the vice presidents from North America on the WFCMS. The WFCMS has representatives in North and South America, England, Western and Eastern Europe, Asia and Australia.

Nationally, the AAOM is focused on expanding its influence and ability to protect licensed practitioners’ right to practice and to protect the integrity of acupuncture and Oriental medicine in the U.S.

As AAOM president, I am part of the five-member planning committee for the Society of Integrative Oncology’s 1st International Conference to be held this November. The AAOM is in direct contact with the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services. We have direct meetings with the lead counsel for the FDA. We were present and participated in all of the hearings held by the Institute of Medicine on complementary and alternative medicine. The AAOM is actively participating in ACAOM’s Doctoral Task Force. We are also sponsoring and participating in groundbreaking research on herbs at the University of Tennessee. And the list goes on.

In our participation with all of these agencies and organizations, our primary goal is to promote excellence and integrity in the professional practice of acupuncture and Oriental medicine. Sometimes that is done by working with federal regulators and educating them about our medicine. Sometimes is means working to develop and maintain standards of ethics or education. Regularly it also means communicating the information we gather to our members, through The American Acupuncturist, list servers, and publications like Acupuncture Today.

Certainly everything the AAOM does is limited at times by our funds. Although the AAOM directors and the members of our committees are volunteers, many of our projects are not inexpensive to fund. At times this can limit our activity, but it doesn’t prevent us from persisting in our efforts to represent the interests of the profession.

Finally, at the state level, the AAOM works closely with member state associations and non-member states to assist them when they ask for our help. On a weekly basis, states request our assistance with the different challenges they face.

So the short answer to your question is that I feel the AAOM is doing a good job and working harder than ever in the most ethical and professional ways to be the national spokesperson for our profession, to protect the rights of practitioners, to promote education and research, and to protect the public trust.


Editor’s note: Part two of Acupuncture Today‘s interview with Dr. Bruno will appear in the July issue.


Dr. Gene Bruno is President Emeritus of the American Association of Oriental Medicine and in private practice in Salem. Ore. He may be contacted at www.acudoctor.com.

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