“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change” ― Heraclitus
As I look back at the nearly 15 years I have served as the CEO of the NCCAOM, I am proud to recall an amazing journey that involved a transformation of an organization in every aspect to include NCCAOM’s examination development and administration activities, governance structure, services and products provided and even our operations and headquarters. Last year, I was delighted to announce the organization’s move to Washington D.C., which allows more financial resources to be focused more on valued services such as advocacy and public education to promote our NCCAOM National Board-Certified Acupuncturists™. This year, we also embarked on a major branding campaign that resulted in a fresh and contemporary look for the NCCAOM and a new, more user-friendly website. See more in this issue of the newsletter.
These past 10 to 15 years have been breakthrough years for the NCCAOM as we continue to be an organization that has positively affected so many people and remains positioned to continue the growth of our external capacity based on the decisions and the oversight of the Board of Commissioners, and the management support of our staff, consultants, vendors, and subject-matter experts serving on the NCCAOM committees, taskforces, and panels.
As I will be retiring from my NCCAOM CEO position at the end of this year, I acknowledge that this leadership change is in keeping with NCCAOM’s desire and comfort with change within the organization. Ongoing change has been a constant element that has led the NCCAOM to many accomplishments such as the recognition of Acupuncturists by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the development of criteria for the Veterans Affairs to hire only NCCAOM Board-Certified Acupuncturists, and improving efficiencies within the organization to the benefit of our candidates and Diplomates such as a reduction in application processing time, by more than half, through the use of online dedicated portals for applicants, Diplomates, school officials and the Council of Colleges for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM). The transformation of our certification exams in 2006 to computer-based testing was not without controversy; and now all candidates have come to rely upon and desire the efficiencies that year-round certification exam testing offers. More recently we transformed our organization to a completely paperless and online environment.
Maya Angelou once said, “Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but no more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole woman”. This has been the philosophy by which I have lived my life and my career as a life-long learner, first as an educator at The Ohio State University, the Executive Director at the American Society for Clinical Pathology’s Board of Registry and the CEO of the NCCAOM. I observed early on that without change, growth is not possible. Some changes such as implementing a public education program or moving headquarters are planned while others such as a breach in our examination in 2006 that led to the revamping of all of our exam content and the move to computer-adaptive testing was not planned but resulted in improved outcomes. In experiencing the unexpected change, it is important to remain open to change and be flexible in order to best reap the benefits of the outcomes. This is the wisdom that I have passed down to my staff and volunteers as resistance to change will result in stagnation and bureaucracy. Why not a revolution rather than evolution – the former can be better managed and predicted.
In this issue of The Diplomate Newsletter, you will be provided an update on some of the changes that I mention above, such as the new, improved NCCAOM Diplomate portal, which allows our Diplomates to update their profile, post photos, edit their Find-A-Practitioner profile, and recertify while checking the status of their recertification with just one click. This article, written by our Director of Communications and Customer Relations, Olga Cox, can be found in this newsletter. Our Board and staff are especially pleased with the progress of our advocacy and government relations campaign since the recruitment of our federal lobbyists, please see update on this initiative by our advocacy staff.
In addition, we are very excited to be featuring our Diplomate Spotlight, Esther Moux, who works tirelessly at the Ft. Belvoir Community Hospital treating our military men and women while touting the benefits of acupuncture and Oriental medicine. Ester has joined our newly formed Veterans Hospital and Department of Defense Certificate of Qualification Advisory Committee, which is determining the need and potential content for a new voluntary, micro-credential that will potentially better prepare our Diplomates to be more successful in obtaining and maintain positions within VHA hospitals and/or in military hospitals or on the battlefield. Be watching our website for more information in this new professional development area of credentialing for our Diplomates.
We at NCCAOM continue to embrace changes. As stated in the April 2019 issue of Acupuncture Today, “Although it is still early in the year, NCCAOM is changing things up again”. Yes! NCCAOM continues to embrace change, and deliberately plans for it – a revolution, not evolution. No dinosaurs here. The search for the next CEO is underway and the job posting can be found on the NonProfit HR website. Stay tuned for further NCCAOM updates on our staff and Board of Commissioners leadership transitions, and information on our new certificates of qualification, advocacy efforts, our plan for digital badging, and the response to our new, time-limited Certification Route in Oriental Medicine for Active California licensed acupuncturists.