Put Your Input In…

Since the AAAOM is supposed to represent the entire profession I wanted to understand more clearly how they are attempting to do this.  I went to this page on their website to learn more: About the AAAOM

What I found was the following MISSION/PURPOSE/VALUE statement.  The original is presented here in BLACK and in the exact order that it appears on the AAAOM website.  

I have  re-written these statements to create those that are a more balanced reflection of the practice and practitioners, as well as the patients, and other stakeholders in the profession.  My changes are in red and language that I removed appears with a strikethrough.  In addition I renumbered several of the Purposes and Values to indicate a sense of priority.  I’d like to submit a new Mission/Purpose/Values  statement to the AAAOM for review and vote.  So if you have any further input, IN PUT IT…

AAAOMMission Statement:To promote excellence and integrity in the professional practice of acupunctureand Oriental medicine, in order to enhance public health and well-being. To enhance and support the well being ofour communities and our profession through the practice of Oriental medicine that embodies both excellence and integrity.

AAAOM Purposes

$To establish,maintain and advance the professional field of Oriental medicine, withacupuncture and other modalities, as a distinct, primary care (ability toexercise professional judgment within the scope of practice) field of medicine.

·We believe  Acupuncture and Oriental medicine comprise a distinct medical system that throughout its existence, has enabled practitioners to assess and treat illnessand disease.

Our purposes are :

·1  To integrate acupuncture and Oriental medicine into mainstream health care in the United States.

·5 combine with value below To advance the science, art and philosophy ofacupuncture and Oriental medicineadvance to where? how do you advance a philosophy?

·combine with value 5 above …and To protect thebody of knowledge acupuncture and Oriental medicine.

·3 To advance the professional welfare of our members through the promotion of financially sustainable business models.

·6 To educate legislators, regulators, healthcare interests and the public regarding acupuncture and Oriental medicine.

·4 To develop and maintain standards of ethics,education and professional competency that reflect our mission to practice AOM for the health of our patients, our communities and our profession.

·7 To promote research and inter-professional relationships, nationally and internationally that reflect our mission to practice AOM for the health of our patients, ourcommunities and our profession.

$Already stated in new #2 To insure that thepublic receives high quality AOM services

$To educate the publicredundant, this is already a part of another value listed above

·2 To serve the public effectively through improving access to (our) high quality services  (it is very strange to me that this is the last purpose on the list for the AAAOM.  Even if not intentionally left to the end of the list it still is significant to note where access comes as a priority…)

AAAOM Values

As a profession we value the following:

1.Integrity – that we do what we say we do

1.That our words and actions are based on achieving our stated purposes as a profession. (as listed above) and that the advancement of the profession is not at counter purposes to our highest priority of providing care and access to care to our patients, and communities.

2.Honesty – that we say what we do

2.That we are truthful in all of our statements

3.Excellence – that we seek the highest qualityin all of our efforts

4.Impeccability – that we act authentically fromour values

(Excellence and Impeccability can becombined.)

3. That we practice our medicine with tothe best of our abilities to achieve the greatest good for all involved.

5.Trust – that we are impeccable in ourcommunications and treatment of each other

4.With honesty and transparency we cultivate trust in theprofession between all practitioners, students, administrators, and educators.

6. Compassion – that we care for each other, ourcommunity and the planetThis value is inherent inthe entire Mission, Purposes, and Values.

5.7. Responsibility – that we act with integrity and honesty in the fulfillment of our purview stated Mission and Purposes as written above.

8. Consideration – that we are thoughtful of ourourselves, the leadership team, the membership, the profession, and thewellness of the public and the place where they reside.

9.Diplomacy – that we communicate in a waythat is imbued with emotional intelligence and for the greatest good

10.Transparency – that we maintain nocovert processes

6.Transparency that the planning, communication, and decisions, made by the leaders of the professionbe made public knowledge, and that any possible conflict of interest, by anymember of any board, or regulating body, be disclosed.

11.Diversity – that we respect and embrace thefull plurality of practices within the medicine

7. (This is the old #8,9,&11 combined)

Oriental medicine is a convergence of many diverse practices, and in the US has several distinct stakeholders i.e.the patients, the practitioners, the educators, and the administrators and regulators.  To work with all members of this community requires diligence and a focus consistent with  the stated Mission, Purposes and Values of the profession, and will require all participants to act with consideration,and diplomacy.

12. Validity of current practice standardsthis is a sentence fragment…what does it mean? Practice standards vary by state.

13. First professional doctorateHow can this even be here with transparency and honesty when more than half of the stakeholders are opposed?

14.Fully trained AOM practitioners The phrase “fully trained” is completely unqualified here.A NADA practitioner with NADA training is “fully trained.” It is ironic that many of our teachers and senior practitioners were trained before the existence of Master’s levelprograms in the U.S.Our “full training” is different than theirs.

This would better read:

8.All practitioners of the various levels and modalities of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine should be able to demonstrated proficiency in their training and practice scope.

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. a word about the AAAOM and membership numbers

    sorry to get of on a bit of a tangent here, this may be better for a separate thread, but i think it’s worth noting because Cris you mention AAAOM is supposed to be representing our entire profession of acupuncturists.

    The number of current AAAOM members (exact quote given via phone when i asked about joining): 

    “ballpark membership is 1,150”

    number of acupuncturists in the U.S. in 2004 (compiled by the NAF):


    hmmm…  1,150 / 22,000 = about 5%

    so, check it out, by the numbers, our national professional organization represents at most 5% of acupuncturists nationwide.

    if there are more L.Ac. ‘s  practicing today than in 2004 ( i hope so for the sake of our profession but i have my doubts until i get the rest of the numbers from the state agencies), then we probably have at least 25,000 practicing nationwide. ( there are over 9,000 in California alone).  If the numbers have gone down since 2004, we have around 20,000 nationwide.  

    hmmm… 1,150 / 25,000 = 4.6%

    If there are a certain number of student memberships, say 150 out of 1,150, then the percentage of L.Ac.’s that AAAOM represents goes down further, possibly as low as 4 % .  (1,000 / 25,000 = 4%)

    Ergo, an organization that is purported to represent our profession basically represents somewhere between 4 and 5% of L.Ac.’s.

    So my logic has some asterisks, I’ll admit.  First, I don’t currently belong to the AAAOM.  I am considering joining AAAOM, and I am weighing the pros and cons.  My non-membership in AAAOM does not diminish my being a stakeholder in the El Doc discussion.  Second,  everyone will not pay an extra $250 / year to belong to the AAAOM, probably a minority of acupuncturists will be attracted to join and pay dues.  Thirdly, the AAAOM has done a lot for the profession and continues to advocate for us all, even if it is a minority of acupuncturists supporting it with dues.  I am not bashing the AAAOM per se, but I do disagree with members of the pro-doctorate community that are using the AAAOM as one of the tools to say that all acupuncturists are on board with the El Doc.  We are all not on board, and it is a difficult pill to swallow to say that AAAOM represents all acupuncturists when only 4% to at most 5% belong and pay dues.




  2. Who Counts?


    I am so glad you knew those numbers and posted them here.

    I felt hesitant when I wrote that the AAAOM  was supposed to represent our profession really having no idea what their membership numbers are.

    Actually they are surprisingly low to me, mostly because of the way AAOM and now AAAOM  posture to be the voice of the profession.  

    Of the 4 or 5% membership, I wonder what percent is actually active in any decision making process and how many of those who are involved have other ties to the profession that could be construed as conflicts of interest….?



  3. good points

    Many good points by everyone. I like your reformated Mission Statement and Purposes Kris….

     A few comments:  I think the word “compassion” is pretty powerful and I would find a way to slide it in there somewhere…perhaps in your reworded number 1 value:

     e.g. Thatour
    words and actions are based on achieving our stated purposes as
    aprofession. (as listed above) and that the advancement of the
    profession is not at counter purposes to our highest priority of
    providing compassionate care and access to care to our patients,and communities.

    6. The statement about ethics and disclosure is powerful. Any non-profit organization I believe is legally required to adhere to this standard anyways, so it almost seems a little damning of one’s organization to have to say it….as if there was any question…Well, obviously, there seems to be some question, otherwise, you wouldn’t be stating it.  

    Thanks for doing this Kris,


    All true religions seek to gain access to that level of consciousness which is not ego-bound.</

  4. Compassion

    is quite a powerful word, and I agree Jordan, that it should be included.  I like where you added it.  

     Thanks for the feedback. 



  5. AAAOM

    Hello All,

    Forgive the intrusion into your blog here. A friend pointed me to this link. I wanted to say hello and introduce myself. I have met Cris before and thanks for your comments Cris. I am the newest board member for the AAAOM. The following is my opinion only and not that of the AAAOM as a whole.

    The AAAOM would want to have 100% participation from the acupuncture community. I think the numbers put forward are correct we have about 5% membership (going by memory). The question would be, how can that be achieved? I liked some of the thoughts put forward. It seems like you all have put some thought into it. Perhaps if your discussion group can come to some sort of consensus on a single statement that I can take to the board we can start working towards that 100% goal.

    I probably won’t come back to this blog. Anybody on this list can feel free to email me with concerns or suggestions, whether you are an AAAOM member or not.

    Best of Health and Prosperity,
    Mark Evans
    Board of Directors AAAOM

  6. A word about AAAOM membership and membership numbers

    Greetings all…first and foremost, I want to compliment and thank all of you for the interest in the AAAOM demonstrated in your discussions. I wanted to comment on the membership numbers, as I’ve talked with staff about the statistics that were reported, and the number provided (1150) represented “only” practitioner members. This rose significantly over the last quarter due to our annual event. As of this afternoon, our total membership base is currently 2399, of which 1235 represent professional members (either 1st year, 2nd year, professional (3rd year and above), joint members (those that are members of both a state and professional association and lifetime members.) (There are various other categories that combine to create this total; Friends of Acupuncture, Schools, Business members, allied members and non-profit/national associations.) The other dominant category of membership is student, representing 982 members. Our student organization (the AAAOM-SO) is a very active voice in all committee activities as well as having one voting seat on our board of directors. Another area that is important in this equation is that we have 32 state associations as members which provides outreach to the entirety of our country. The AAAOM is highly active with our 32 state associations, hosting a listserv for presidents of each state association (one need not be a member state association to participate) through which national issues are discussed daily, and a meeting at our annual conference where we all meet face to face. We feel that our outreach through the State Associations also reaches our practitioner constituency; although not directly. Additionally, representatives from the president’s listserv are participating on our committees, to include the AAAOM Bylaws committee. This committee is charged with the enormous task of rewriting the AAAOM Bylaws. Equally the quarterly publishing of the American Acupuncturist (our professional journal) and the monthly publishing of our E-newsletter, the QiUnity Report provides us two-way outreach and communication into the AOM community at-large.

    I hear the interested voices on this blog to include rewrites of our mission and purpose. I’m suggesting those that are interested volunteer to serve on committees to take your voice into the governance of the association. (We have quite a few practitioners-at-large that serve on our committees as well.) The Board Bios, to include contact information, and board committee lists can be found at: https://www.aaaomonline.org/default.asp?pagenumber=12. Post reunification, the AAAOM is the national professional association representing the practice of licensed professional acupuncturists in the US. It is as representative of the profession at-large through the diversity of our board of directors, and equally through volunteer efforts and/or active members. We too would like the membership to grow extensively and recognize that this growth will be the output of the expansion of all committee activities – internally and externally; all of which are reflective of the needs (and input) of the broader community. We truly welcome all to our table (through membership or volunteer activity); there is always more work than resources can support! Hope this provides added insight and support to your discussions.


    Rebekah J. Christensen
    Executive Director
    American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM)
    P. O. Box 162340 (Mailing Address)
    909 22nd Street
    Sacramento, CA 95816
    Phone: 916-443-4770 Fax: 916-443-4766
    800: 866-455-7999

  7. “Post reunification, the

    “Post reunification, the AAAOM is the national professional association representing the practice of licensed professional acupuncturists in the US.”

    Your organization doesn’t represent the practice of licensed professional acupuncturists in the US. Your membership base consists of only a VERY SMALL percentage of the licensed professional acupuncturists in the US! Your organization doesn’t represent me or any other licensed professional acupuncturists that I know. CAN represents me.

  8. Thank you Rebekah for posting the numbers

    2399 / 24000  is still only 10%.  AAAOM still has many miles to go before it represents the majority of our profession.


  9. AAAOM Mission and Purpose

    Hi Chris and All –

    I participate here as a practitioner and am not necessarily expressing the views of the AAAOM.

    Thank you for this excellent forum. I support the efforts of the various forms of community acupuncture and am committed to transforming lives and communities through Oriental medicine.

    Chris: I think that your comments on the AAAOM mission and purpose are excellent and encourage you to submit them for consideration in the next cycle of review.


    Will Morris