First-Professional Doctorate Action Alert!

On the weekend of February 11th to 14th, 2010, the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
(ACAOM) will hold its annual commissioners meeting.  At this meeting, the
fate of the first-professional doctorate (FPD) in AOM will be decided as to whether
or not ACAOM can petition the US Department of Education (USDE) to develop standards for and enable schools to pilot a FPD.  If ACAOM
decides that there is consensus from all stakeholders in the AOM community, and
the USDE agrees, acupuncture schools may begin to
appeal to their state department of education to
pilot these programs. This is a necessary step toward changing the entry-level
for the profession from the masters to the doctorate level.

As it is the perspective of the CAN board and a large portion of its membership
that such a shift is NOT in the best interest of the students, practitioners,
employers, patients and the general public and, in fact, violates the
principles of access to education, access to care, equal rights, sustainability
and social justice, CAN is taking a strong stance
of opposition to the first-professional doctorate.  With that in mind, it
is our collective task to organize and to act.

What is needed from the CAN community is urgent, focused and direct action in
order to challenge power and protect the public.  To that end, the board
has conceived of a series of direct actions that will harness the power of the
CAN community and ensure that it is clear that consensus does not exist on the
matter of the FPD.  The CAN community consists of students, practitioners,
educators, employers, administration staff, patients and the public. 
Organizing these intersecting groups of people is our immediate goal.  To
achieve this end, we have coordinated a series of tactics and actions that capitalize
on the collective power of our broad community. We have created a series of
threads in the FPD forums
for each tactic. There are support threads for
students, practitioners, employers, administration and staff, patients, patient signature gathering for clinics,
and educators.  These threads are designed to offer assistance to the
particulars of implementing these tactics for each particular group.  For
instance, if you own a clinic, there is a support thread for you to ask any
questions about gathering signatures from your patient community.  Questions
about how to go about gathering signatures from your patient community with
little disruption to overall clinic flow can be asked here.  If you have a question, post.  In the true CAN fashion, others will be there to offer
advice and assistance and you can figure out what works best for your
situation.  Keep in mind that you may fall into several of these catagories and should act accordingly. 

For each category we will also have a data gathering thread. 
We want to know who is doing what so that we are able to understand how much of
an impact our actions will have.  We also want to know which folks we are going to have to annoy the hell out of to get their
butts in gear!  Please go to the FPD forum, download the documents that
are there and start organizing.  We have also composed Fact and Myth
sheets in regards to the FPD.  These documents are meant to stimulate
discussion and generate as many questions as they answer. It must be stated
that what really matters in determining the presence or lack of consensus for
the FPD are physical documents from concerned stakeholders sent to ACAOM. 
We can talk all we like.  What is truly needed, however, is action. 
CAN is a fantastic umbrella organization for the
CA movement at the national level.  Defeating the FPD will require real grassroots
from all of us at the local level.  We all must do our part.

Us board folk will be really trying to organize the lot of our members over the
next couple of months.  We may email you.  We may call you.Don’t make us come to your homes. 
Wink The deadline for any written/fax submissions to ACAOM is January 15th. Comments
must be submitted via fax at 301-313-0912 or
regular mail (ACAOM, 7501 Greenway Center Drive, Maryland Trade Center 3, Suite
760, Greenbelt, MD 20770).  Get in the FPD forums and start
organizing!  The people united can never be defeated!

We believe that the values of access to education, access to care, equal
rights, sustainability, and social justice are integral to the practice of any
medical discipline and that the FPD violates these critical social
values.  The brilliance of CA and the core reason for its unprecedented
success in delivering acupuncture care to people of ordinary income, is that CA marries these culturally ingrained and familiar
values, beliefs and sensibilities with that which is culturally unfamiliar,
namely, acupuncture.  If you are a CA practitioner, how many times have you
heard someone say in your clinic, “I just love what you are doing here!  I
have told everyone I know about this place.”  Why is this sentiment so
common in CA communities?  It is because our cultures core values are
reflected in CA; access to education and practice, access to care,
sustainability, equal rights and social justice propel and define CA.  Our
communities recognize this and respond.  This is what makes CA so popular,
appreciated and utilized.

The mere fact that acupuncture is a viable modality for chronic pain and stress has had little resonance with
our communities of interest and acupuncture institutions have heretofore
attempted to leach onto familiar aspects of our culture in an attempt to gain
traction.  Hence, the spa approach and the medical approach to acupuncture
care and delivery taught in schools and consumed by a thin slice of the public in our
society.  It is in the medical vein that the FPD comes along.It is another move by the establishment
in a line of failures to increase the market share of a product that few are
buying.  What we now must voice as a community is a collective “NO!”  We will bring the concerns
and voices of un-represented stakeholders to the attention of the larger AOM
community and demand that the professional organizations
long-term planning and data gathering processes address them.  Only by
refocusing the goals of the AOM profession toward patient care, access, affordability regarding both care and education can the
type of wide-spread use and acceptance of AOM that is desired by all
stakeholders be realized.  The FPD will only exacerbate existing problems
with education and practice, care and delivery.  The time to defeat the
first-professional doctorate has come.

Author: LarryG

CA punk for 12 years. AZ License #600

Related Articles


  1. How many heads

    does this monster have? Guess we have to go all out this time and slay the FPD insanity dragon with direct action which involves all of our patients. I just faxed my practitioner letter to ACAOM – (only took 5 minutes to print, sign and fax), and will post some patient petitions at the clinic later today. Thanks Larry, Jessica and everyone else behind this latest campaign.

  2. first patient question

    My first patient signed the patient, but asked me if I needed any further information (i.e. In order to have a valid petition, do we only need to collect signatures, or do we also need printed names, etc.)?

  3. Tangent…

    Out of curiosity, why is our medicine here titled “acupuncture”? The word itself is not very illuminating to the varied treatment methods employed within “Chinese medicine”… historically, acupuncture being only one modality among many, each having their appropriate time and place, but none more significant than the other.

    Likewise, “acupuncture institutions” does not well convey the great potential of this medicine nor the wisdom preserved within its colleges.
    Our growing presence and loud voices within any community or political endeavor should educate clearly: this great and proven medical discipline is well equipped for managing a plethora of disease and disorders arising within life. We are more than needle technicians serving standardized “point prescriptions” (as doing so would only demonstrate an antithesis of “Chinese medicine”)… we are doctors, and skillful!!

  4. Don’t forget the USDE

    I highly recomend the CAN Board also go directly to the USDE to make clear there is nothing close to broad consensus within the A/OM community.


    Matthew Bauer

  5. I had antithesis once…

    It hurt like hell. I don’t want to speak for anyone else, but actually, I pretty much am a needle technician, doing the same standardized point prescriptions, over and over and over. In fact, I really don’t believe in Qi or much meridian theory either. Who knew apostasy could feel so good? They keep wisdom preserved in the colleges? I always wondered what that funky stuff in the glass jars in the herb dispensary were. Huh!

  6. we are set up to be needle technicians

    The current AOM (Acupuncture and “Oriental” Medicine) education system and the national/state board exam content set us up to be mere “needle technicians.” What we do after graduating and passing the exams (continuing education, self-study, practice) determines whether or not we transition to “Doctor.”