AAAOM Membership–Who and how many?

My recent posting –Put Your Input In-while focused on the mission, purpose and values of the American Association Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine AAAOM, raised questions and comments about who the AAAOM is, and who they represent.

Two board members from AAAOM responded to this posting with invitations for more dialogue and participation in the AAAOM’s processes. I am having a dilemma in that I want to participate, but do not have any time I could commit to sitting on an AAAOM committee, nor can I allocate more funds to professional organization memberships at this time…already belonging to 2 organizations as an active member… my hope is that the dialogue continues despite membership status, and out of a desire stated by…. my hope is that the dialogue continues despite membership status, and out of a desire stated by Mark Evans in one of the comments generated by this posting that: “the AAAOM would want to have 100% participation from the acupuncture community.”I responded via email to both Mark Evans and Rebekah Christensen,who’s comments this letter is a response to:

Dear Rebekah,

I am writing you in response to your recent post on the Community Acupuncture Network (CAN) Blog. Thank you for your compliment, and interest in the Community Acupuncture Network. In recent weeks you and another AAAOM board member, Mark Evans, have responded to my posting where I proposed a re-write of the mission statement of the AAAOM, as well as stated purposes and values.

My interest in the AAAOM’s role in AOM stems from my own experiences in the acupuncture profession, as a practitioner of nine years, a community acupuncture clinic founder and employee and now as a board member of CAN, an active member of my state organization, and a business owner. When I first read the AAAOM document I was surprised to see the first professional doctorate listed as a value because I don’t actually see this as a value like integrity, compassion, or truth, and secondly because the first professional doctorate (or entry level doctorate) has been a much debated topic within our profession without a clear consensus or mandate.

Your response sets out to clarify AAAOM’s membership numbers, and possibly to imply that AAAOM represents more of the profession than others commenting on this posting suggested.

If AAAOM’s professional membership is now 1235 as you state, this still only represents just under 5% of the practitioner population in the U.S. Of these 1235 members, how many are individuals who joined to receive liability insurance discounts? How many are members by virtue of belonging to their state organization? How many are lifetime members?

You state that the total AAAOM membership is 2399. Total members minus professional members or 2399-1235=1164

AAAOM claims 982 student members, however are these students who joined the AAAOM as individuals, or are they members because they attend a school that has an AAAOM membership? or have attended an AAAOM conference, wherein to obtain student registration discounts they must be members? or have they become members to access health insurance?

You claim that the students are active in committee work and yet the student forum on the AAAOM website shows very little activity in the past year. Individual student members have no vote.

Non-professional members minus student members or 1164-982=182

So the total number of non-practitioner, non-student, allied, or national organization members is 182. My guess would be that of these 182 members about 40 come from of ACAOM , CCAOM, FAOMA, and NCCAOM . There are about 15 business members and so that would leave about 125 members who are not directly involved in the practice, business, or regulation of AOM. That seems impressive.

As a board member in the past for a state organization I know the difficulties of a few active members trying to represent the interests of the entire group, particularly when there is not much input generated from members at large. My editing of AAAOM’s mission, purpose and values aims to create a document that will hopefully reflect the interests of a majority of AOM practitioners and the ethics and responsibilities that come with our choice to be a part of a helping profession.

I appreciate your invitation to volunteer on a AAAOM committee, but I am unable to make such a commitment at this time. Is there a way for me to submit this new version for consideration of the board and membership of the AAAOM?

I am posting this letter on the CAN blog as a follow up to my previous post and hope that you can post your response there as well, to allow for others to participate in the conversation.

Thank you,Cris Monteiro

Author: crismonteiro

I've always thought that I would live to be 100 years old and now that I have an actual idea of what it might be like to inhabit this body for a century I want to be damn sure that Community Acupuncture is around to help me through my days and in the end, on my way. In the meantime, I am passionate about getting shit done, and also having fun.

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  1. thanks for all of this, Cris;

    This represents a lot of work on your part, already. 

    I wonder what would get large numbers (much less 100%) of acupuncturists involved in the AAAOM?  Maybe there’s something to be learned by the level of grassroots involvement in the Obama campaign?  Do they need to have regional nodes?  A more democratic process in determining their agenda and values?  A better web interface?  I really am not sure what it would take to get me involved at this point; I’ve never been much of a joiner, but I’ve been marginally involved in CAN and the Obama campaign…I guess I would have to feel like my values were reflected and my input was valued, and that the fight was worth fighting.  I’m not sure I see that happening.  People are pretty busy and there are a lot of big fish out there to fry right now.

  2. AAAOM Values Statement

    While I generally think the whole first professional doctorate is a bit more nuanced of an issue than perhaps CAN does, I gotta agree with you on this one. That AAAOM would stick this in their “Values Statement” is just bizarre. It is inappropriate both in terms of being misplaced, but also as you point out there clearly is no consensus on the issue.

    I have expressed my concern accordingly to AAAOM, whose dues I have not yet paid for the year.

    I don’t really think “Validity of current practice standards” and “Fully trained AOM practitioners”
    are values either, but whatever….

    Hey, I just went to check the wording on something and “First Professional Doctorate” IS GONE from the values statement. Wonder how these committees of theirs work exactly?


  3. AAAOM Forums

    Thanks for pointing me to that Ann.

    Here’s a problem though….I have no idea how to find this forum from AAAOM’s website! Cannot find it. I can get there using your link, but I have no clue where these forums live otherwise.

  4. It’s on the AAAOM home page,

    It’s on the AAAOM home page, you might have to scroll down a bit to the lower right hand corner.  There’s a headline AAAOM Forums, a screen shot and the link below.

  5. We’ll I’ll Be….

     Darned if it ain’t gone… how about that?


    I got a response from Rebekah Christensen to let me know that she’s on a deadline until next week and will respond to my letter then.

    Okay… standing by.

     In the mean time I will submit the proposed changes to the statements above to AAAOM’s board and see what happens.