Over this past week we had the honor of participating in an astounding process that we believe will dramatically improve the practice of acupuncture and Oriental medicine in the United States. Nineteen states, represented by experienced association leaders, met in person in Columbia, Maryland. With the unanimous consensus of those present, those states crafted a vision for a highly representative, highly accountable, impressively integrated professional association structure. We were assisted in this by one of the top non-profit association lawyers in the country, ensuring that the vision was both legal and achievable. Together, we believe we have a vision that can improve both your bottom-line while promoting the profession legislatively and in the public eye more effectively than we have seen to date.
First, some history on what the CSA is and how it has evolved over the past eight years. The CSA began as an informal networking group of state association presidents that met during annual AOM conferences. The presidents would explore issues facing their states and offer support and solutions to one another. This evolved into a more formally structured meeting referred to as the President’s Council (PC).
Eventually, as additional state leaders began to join in, the PC expanded to include non-president representatives. It ultimately developed a charter, bylaws, code of conduct, and a new name: the Council of State Associations (CSA). The CSA has grown to be a collaboration among 37 state associations, representing the most inclusive umbrella yet achieved in our profession.
The model we are now proposing represents the result of at least 3 years of “beta-testing” done through the work of the CSA. Thus far, this structure has been one of the most highly functional, collaborative, and representative models our profession has seen. The group holds as its highest vision a cooperative professional environment that empowers the practitioner, represents this medicine in all its rich and historic diversity, and continues to work towards unity in our profession.
II. The Challenge
Until now, our national professional association has always been in competition with the state associations for both membership and dollars. This inherent conflict works against us in our efforts to unify our voices. At a time when many practitioners struggle to make a living, expecting them to join two separate groups divides resources and dilutes our numbers. Success in bringing positive governmental change for our profession and acquiring membership benefits is dependent on “strength in numbers”.
Furthermore, without a developed mechanism for understanding the subtle differences of challenges faced within each state, we cannot coordinate our legislative agendas and have not been able to integrate efforts towards national legislation. We also have had difficulty in vetting our leaders, and ensuring that member voices make their way up to the leadership to influence policy development and decision-making on behalf of the profession.
III. The Vision - A Unified Structure
1. Members join one organization, via their state group(s), and simultaneously gain membership in the national association.
2. State association members elect their own board of directors, and those boards select two representatives to sit on a national governance council. Through this council, each state has an equal opportunity to express its needs in a federation, senate-style environment. States can share expertise, experience, and information. This shared information leads to a more informed, cohesive group to gauge and determine direction for the professional members. They also remain completely autonomous in crafting and implementing policy within their own state.
3. The senate-style council forms national policy, informed by the ‘on-the-ground’ realities expressed by members in each state. This council would elect an executive board to coordinate representation of the profession at the national and international levels. It would also carry out the core fiduciary duties of the larger association. The senate-style group would vet candidates for these positions, ensuring that those who step up are able and committed to the job.
V. Benefits and Aims of this Model
If current leaders and membership are amenable, this model can be integrated into the existing framework of AAAOM. This option fully eliminates the competition already in existence between the professional associations. Its success, however, depends on a high level of professionalism and vision from all in current leadership.
Decision making on policies and activities are far more connected to the individual practitioner than existing models, allowing states to voice the realities their practitioners face more effectively. All practitioners are encouraged and supported to thrive in a practice model and tradition that resonates most with them.
Competition for membership dollars between national and state associations is eliminated.
Expertise is shared to support states in operational management, licensing issues, policy development, and legislative efforts.
The profession is more effectively promoted to the general public nationally, as we all share in coordinated public education efforts.
Legislation at the federal level is coordinated and more likely to succeed in representing greater majorities of practitioners.
The board of directors has greater accountability with this senate-style council than existing structures require. This means more accountability to state boards, and hence more accountability to the state association members. This will help avoid non-representative leadership.
NCCAOM, CCAOM, and ACAOM are invited to have permanent, non-voting guest seats on the council in an advisory position. This dramatically improves the flow of information from these critical groups to and from the practitioner on the ground.
The collaborative structure helps to develop leaders for the profession, improving talent retention and maturation of future visionaries.
V. Actions Requested & Discussion
This vision was presented by the CSA Chair and Vice-Chair at the AOM Leaders meeting also hosted in Columbia, Maryland by CCAOM on March 21.
For this vision to be implemented with trust and accountability, the CSA has asked for a definitive commitment from existing AAAOM board members to share in it. The commitment would necessitate a temporary, complete turnover of leadership in both organizations. The new board would be repopulated by leaders ultimately nominated via the council nominating group. The decision required on the part of current AAAOM board members is significant, and we have been in frequent contact with their leadership to clarify questions and concerns through this process. If the current AAAOM board is not interested in this structural transformation, the CSA will move forward independently to fulfill the vision described above.
State association leaders remain your best source of accurate information regarding this challenging but exciting opportunity facing our profession, and we welcome direct questions, comments, or concerns.
We will keep you updated as we identify steps and timelines necessary for implementation of this vision. We have asked the AAAOM Board for a partnership commitment within ten days of our meeting. While this appears short, it actually represents an extension of a 3-to-5 year process of collaboration, and many months of preliminary emails and other communications.
This is a time of substantial hope for our profession. We always seek and welcome constructive comments and participation from our members. We are so proud of the work that has been done, and hope it serves you well.
Thank you for your membership,
David W. Miller, MD, LAc
Board Member, Legislative Director, ILaaom
Chair, Illinois Acupuncture Federation
Vice-Chair, Council of State Associations
Lindy Camardella, LAc
Board Member, ILaaom
Public Education Chair, Council of State Associations
Hello ILaaom members and friends! We are hoping you can join us for our Annual Meeting and an Ethics Class taught by Laurie Walsh, free to our members.
Please join us to learn about and discuss:
• ILaaom's activity in the year past
• An update from Dr. David Miller's legislative committee
• ILaaom's financial report
• The latest national and out-of-state news
• CEU Program Classes
• Events and plans for the year ahead
This is also a great chance to netork with ILaaom members and mingle with your colleagues! We will also provide a light lunch of appetizers and refreshments during the meeting, free to ILaaom members.
Nominations for the ILaaom Board of Directors are made at the meeting. Please consider if you might serve, or nominate another willing to serve our community. This is a unique opportunity to work with your colleagues and to contribute to your community!
The Ethics class will be divided into halves on the day of our Annual Meeting - the first half in the morning and the second half in the afternoon. Laurie Walsh, LCSW, L.Ac. will be teaching the Ethics class—please read Laurie’s bio here.
May 4, 2014
10am-12:15pm: First half of Ethics Class.
12:15pm-2:30pm: ILaaom Annual Meeting and a light lunch for Members
2:30pm-4:45pm: Second half of Ethics Class
Midwest College of Oriental Medicine
4334 N. Hazel Chicago, IL 60613
Save the date for our upcoming CEU classes this year:
- Integrative Endocrinology: Dr. David Miller will present a model of integration between Chinese and Western physiology by demonstration that looks at this material through the lens of endocrinology. Please visit our website for venue and times to be announced.
Save the date for our upcoming events this year:
- ILaaom’s Annual Asian Moon Festival –September 2014
Join us for a delicious family-style dinner that includes vegetarian dishes, cash bar and a raffle for great prizes.
- ILaaom’s 2nd Annual Walk-A-Thon Fundraiser
Grant Park in Chicago -- Sunday, September 7 --8:00 am – 12 noon
We are inviting individual and group registrations — dogs are welcomed to walk as well!
Click the image to download a copy of The Illinois Acupuncturist 2014, Vol. 1.
What's going on with "Dry Needling?" What is the state AcupunctureBoard? Who is this "National Policy Group" we've been seeing emails from? What is being done with Section 2706 of the Health Care law? See Dr. Miller's legislative update.
Justin Pomeroy gives us a richly detailed article and case study on "Contralateral Circuit Needling," a method used by Dr. Tan and in Master Tung's treatment style.
Sheri Moor is back with a summary of recent research. Lindy Camardella tells about the 10th World Conference last fall. Helen Strietelmeier offers an engaging reflection on her first four years in practice.
Thanks to all our authors, and a big thanks to Mavis Bates for pulling it all together.
Dear ILaaom members,
As we begin the new year of 2014, we are transitioning our Vice President position to Lamya Kamel. ILaaom is grateful and appreciative of all of Dr. Frank Yurasek's contributions and work for the association.
Dr. Yurasek will remain closely connected to ILaaom and he remains a valuable resource to our community.
Thank you for your continued support of the association and our board.
Please read Lamya’s bio:
Lamya Kamel, L.Ac, MSTOM graduated from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) and opened a practice with her partner and fiancée Kate in Lincoln Park. Apart from being the co-owner of Inner Compass Acupuncture and Integrative Health she stays connected to the community by working as the Director of Student and Alumni Services at her alma mater. She is also the Director of Acupuncture for Aligned Modern Health where she hires and trains acupuncturists to work hand in hand with other practitioners in a true integrative environment.
She is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine at PCOM in San Diego. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family and particularly her nephews!
She has been a faithful member of ILaaom for the past 5 years, first as a student member and later as a Board Member. She is excited to continue to work towards building a larger and more cohesive community for acupuncturists in Illinois.
ILaaom is happy to announce our first CEU class of the new year!
Practical Moxibustion: A Class on the Direct Practice of Moxibustion will take place February 16, 2014, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine here in Chicago. For more information, see the Class Information and Details.
Practical moxibustion is taught by ILaoom's own Tom Hurrle, who has studied with Junji Mizutani and a variety of other Japanese teachers, and has used direct moxibustion in clinic since 1998. In this hands-on seminar, students will learn how to use direct moxibustion in the clinic safely and effectively. The class will build on diagnostic and palpatory techniques given in previous classes.
It's been a busy few months for ILaaom!
The board, committee members, and volunteers have been hard at work bringing you events that support our mission and celebrate the AOM community. To our members, friends and supporters who joined us, donated, spread the word, or offered encouragement, a sincere thank you!
If you're new to ILaaom or weren't able to attend the recent happenings, here are some highlights:
On September 7, ILaaom hosted the first annual Illinois Walks for Acupuncture walkathon in Grant Park. The event was both a fundraising and awareness-building success. Planning for next year's walkathon is already underway!
On the evening of September 29, ILaaom celebrated its annual Asian Moon Festival. More than 100 of our friends came together for a delicious meal at Lao You Ju, a raffle and a silent auction, and words of wisdom from keynote speaker Steve Bonzak. For those who weren't able to hear the speech, you can read it in its entirety here.
Earlier this month ILaaom brought renowned practitioner, author and teacher Debra Betts (all the way from New Zealand!) to Chicago for three days of seminars. Ms. Betts shared her wisdom and experience on the use of acupressure and acupuncture in pregnancy and postpartum. If this topic interests you, take a look at her Facebook page where she shares her favorite resources on obstetric acupuncture.
We are very excited about the great articles in this issue, including:
- Dr. David Miller on responding to critics of Chinese medicine
- Eric Brand, in a new piece, exploring the question of pesticide residues in herbs
- Jason Bussell, PhD on the Society for Acupuncture Research conference
- Amanda Kreiss on a comprehensive perspective and explanation of the myriad of benefits of raw herbs