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Message From the NCCAOM Board Chair and CEO

NCCAOM Board Chair Janet Zand and NCCAOM CEO Mina Larson

As we step into the Year of the Dragon, a symbol synonymous with strength, power, and good fortune, the NCCAOM Board and staff are filled with a sense of optimism and excitement for the journey that lies ahead. Just as the dragon represents prosperity and wisdom, inspiring hope, and resilience, so too do we embark on this new year with a spirit of determination and ambition to continuously provide you with the best services.

Reflecting on the past year’s challenges and triumphs, it is our privilege to share with you some of our remarkable accomplishments and notable achievements. Together, we have navigated through uncertainty with resilience, embraced change with agility, and forged ahead with unwavering dedication.

Looking back, 2023 proved to be a year of significant milestones for the NCCAOM. One of the most notable achievements was the establishment of a groundbreaking cooperation agreement with state licensing boards nationwide by the NCCAOM Professional Ethics and Disciplinary Committee (PEDC). This collaboration aimed to facilitate the exchange of disciplinary data, ensuring that practitioners facing disciplinary actions could not evade accountability.

In our commitment to fortify ethical standards and accountability within our profession, the PEDC underwent crucial updates under the leadership of Chair Michael Taromina, Esq., that included detailed Diplomate reporting requirements, emphasizing the critical duty of self-reporting within thirty days. This crucial responsibility places emphasis on the importance and urgency of addressing significant ethical concerns promptly. The Acupuncture National  Discipline Database (ANDD) of acupuncturists  on disciplinary alert was launched in January of 2024 offering a one-stop search engine that captures and publishes state and national public information on all discipline matters pertaining specifically to licensed and certified acupuncturists in the U.S. ANDD sets the new standard of healthcare self-regulation, public disclosure and professional ethics, and will serve as a model for other professions to replicate. pedr.nccaom.org

Through the cooperative agreement with state licensing boards and the implementation of updated ethical standards, we have demonstrated our commitment to fostering ethical practices and ensuring a strong partnership with our state regulatory boards and exchange of information.

Considering the recent advancements in the organization, we would like to share with you news from the recent winter meeting of the NCCAOM Board of Commissioners. On behalf of the NCCAOM staff and volunteers, we would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation to long-time Commissioner, Dr. Daniel Jiao, DAOM, Dipl. O.M. (NCCAOM)®, L.Ac. for his outstanding dedication and commitment to our organization. Dr. Jiao has been appointed as the inaugural Commissioner Emeritus after a total of fifteen years of Board service. The NCCAOM would also like express our gratitude to Dr. Iman Majd, MD, MS, EAMP/L.Ac., Dip. ABFM, ABoIM, Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM)®, DABMA, ABIHM  for his service as Immediate Past Chair.

The NCCAOM would like to extend a warm welcome to two new Commissioners, Tuesday Wasserman,  and Wu-Hsun (Tom) Yang. Both new Commissioners bring a wealth of knowledge and creative energy to the table. Please read article on the NCCAOM Governance Update in this newsletter

We are delighted to have launched our 2024 Job Task Analysis Survey on March 13. The participation of licensed acupuncturists and herbal medicine practitioners in this survey is instrumental in defining and updating the content of our NCCAOM exams at the entry-to-practice level. The demographic data collected helps advance the profession with government agencies, employers, and other institutions. A successful Job Analysis ensures that exam content remains pertinent, impartial, and suitable, thereby resulting in legally justifiable, top-notch certification exams. More information can be found in the Job Analysis 2024: Enhancing Professional Certification article in this newsletter.

Our Advocacy team in partnership with the American Society of Acupuncturists, remains steadfast in its tireless efforts to acquire Medicare recognition for acupuncturists. In May 2023, Representatives Chu and Fitzpatrick re-introduced H.R. 3133, the Acupuncture for our Seniors Act, aiming to grant Medicare recognition to licensed acupuncturists. This recognition would allow them to provide covered services to over 60 million Medicare beneficiaries without supervision and bill Medicare directly, which in turn will improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs through evidence-based, non-invasive pain management interventions. The NCCAOM and ASA sponsored a townhall meeting on February 13, 2024, The Most Important Thing You Can Do for the Profession:  Support H.R. 3133.  In addition, the NCCAOM will be attending and sponsoring a booth at the ASA Annual Conference in Arlington, VA. We hope to see you there. To register, please go to: American Society of Acupuncturists 2024 Live In-Person Conference – American Society of Acupuncturists (asacu.org)

The NCCAOM has a history of fostering international collaborations to enhance the standards of acupuncture practice globally. Building on the success of our first educational crosswalk between UK and US standards, completed two years ago, we are excited to introduce a streamlined verification process for British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) members, enabling direct credential verification for UK educated acupuncturists. This initiative further strengthens our commitment to global collaboration and advancing acupuncture standards worldwide, with support from partners such as BAcC, British Acupuncture Accreditation Board (BAAB), and CGFNS International.

These are just a few examples of the numerous initiatives undertaken by the NCCAOM to ensure the ongoing growth and excellence of the acupuncture and herbal medicine profession. As we move forward together, the NCCAOM remains dedicated to its mission of promoting and protecting the integrity and quality of acupuncture and herbal medicine. We are dedicated to providing our valued Diplomates with continuous support and resources, ensuring that they are at the forefront of advancements in education, research, and advocacy.

Thank you for your ongoing support and for being a part of the NCCAOM.

Janet Zand Signature

Janet Zand, O.M.D., Dipl. Ac., C.H., O.M. (NCCAOM)®, L.Ac., CCN
NCCAOM Board Chair

Mina Larson, M.S., MBA, CAE
NCCAOM Chief Executive Officer

NCCAOM Job Analysis 2024: Enhancing Professional Certification 

In the realm of professional certification and licensure, ensuring the relevance and validity of examinations is paramount. The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) recognizes this importance and conducts periodic Job Analysis Surveys every 5 – 7 years to gather crucial data directly from practitioners in the field. This article examines the ongoing progress of NCCAOM’s Job Analysis Survey, spotlighting the robust engagement of practitioners, buoyed by effective communication strategies.

Understanding NCCAOM’s Job Analysis Survey

The NCCAOM’s Job Analysis Survey serves as a foundational element in maintaining the integrity and relevance of its certification exams and programs. By surveying all licensed acupuncturists and herbal medicine practitioners, the NCCAOM gains insights into the evolving landscape of the profession. This comprehensive data collection process informs the development and refinement of examination content, ensuring that NCCAOM certifications align with current practice standards.

The demographic data collected is also instrumental in sharing with government agencies such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Center for Medicare Services to ensure that they have accurate data on our profession for inclusion and recognition of Acupuncturists. Collection of data from the profession is an important part of our advocacy efforts.

Achieving Excellence in Response Rate

One of the pivotal goals of NCCAOM’s ongoing Job Analysis Survey is to foster high levels of engagement and participation among practitioners. Despite the survey being in progress, early indicators already suggest a promising response from the community. This proactive involvement underscores the commitment of NCCAOM-certified and licensed professionals to shaping the future of their field.

Several strategies have been instrumental in encouraging practitioners to participate:

  1. Clear Communication: NCCAOM has effectively communicated the importance of the survey and how practitioners’ input directly influences certification examinations and Federal recognition. Clear messaging emphasizes the impact of their participation on the integrity of the profession, motivating practitioners to contribute their insights.
  2. User-Centric Platform: The survey platform has been meticulously crafted with practitioners in mind, acknowledging the importance of their time and convenience. Understanding the comprehensive nature of the survey, NCCAOM prioritized the development of a user-friendly interface that facilitates seamless participation. Recognizing that practitioners may need to complete the survey over multiple sessions, the platform incorporates a robust progress-saving mechanism. Practitioners can exit the survey at any point without fear of data loss, with the option to resume from where they left off at a later time. By prioritizing user-centric design principles, NCCAOM has ensured that practitioners can engage with the survey on their own terms. This approach not only respects practitioners’ time but also maximizes the quality and depth of the feedback received, ultimately enriching the insights gathered through the survey.
  3. Personalized Outreach: NCCAOM has implemented targeted outreach efforts to reach practitioners across various channels and demographics. Personalized invitations and reminders highlight the relevance of the survey to individual practitioners, fostering a sense of ownership in the process.

While the survey is ongoing, the early response from practitioners is encouraging. NCCAOM remains committed to maintaining this momentum and ensuring that practitioners continue to actively engage with the survey.

Through collaborative efforts, NCCAOM and practitioners will shape the future of certification examinations, ensuring that they remain relevant and reflective of current practice standards.

Exceptional Incentives to Encourage Participation

In addition to the intrinsic value of contributing to the advancement of their profession, practitioners were incentivized to participate in the Job Analysis Survey through a range of enticing rewards. NCCAOM recognized the importance of acknowledging practitioners’ time and effort, thus offering incentives that resonated with their interests and professional needs.

Notable incentives included:

  • Continuing Education Credits: Practitioners are eligible to receive three (3) NCCAOM Professional Development Activity (PDA) points/credits in the NCCAOM Core recertification categories for completing ratings for each exam content section in the survey. The total number of PDA points awarded will be based on the total number of content sections completed. The completion of up to four exam content sections may result in up to 12 PDA points. Certificates of completion with PDA points for JA Survey participation will be distributed to all participants within four (4) weeks after Survey close date of April 21, 2024.
  • Entry into Raffle Drawings for Valuable Prizes: To add an element of excitement, all survey participants were entered into raffle drawings post survey completion for coveted prizes such as free recertification or technology gadgets. NCCAOM is delighted to announce that raffle drawings will be held following the survey’s close date of April 21, 2024, and the processing of all survey completion data. This ensures that every participant who completes the survey has an equal chance to win one of our fantastic prizes.

In Conclusion

NCCAOM’s Job Analysis Survey stands as a testament to the power of collaboration between NCCAOM and practitioners in ensuring the relevance and validity of certification examinations as well as collecting pertinent data to advance the profession in the federal arena. By achieving an excellent response rate and offering compelling incentives, NCCAOM reinforces its commitment to supporting the professional growth and development of acupuncture and herbal medicine practitioners. As the profession continues to evolve, ongoing engagement through initiatives like the Job Analysis Survey will remain essential in maintaining the highest standards of practice and certification.

Artificial Intelligence in Acupuncture: A Prudent Path Forward

As healthcare continually embraces new technologies, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is making a notable impact in acupuncture. While AI’s integration promises enhanced treatments and patient outcomes, it necessitates a cautious approach focused on safety and efficacy.

Balancing AI’s Innovation with Safety

AI’s potential to revolutionize healthcare through data analysis and insights must be balanced with safety and ethical use, particularly in acupuncture. Ensuring patient safety involves several critical steps:

  • Validation and Regulation: AI tools in acupuncture must undergo thorough testing and meet safety and effectiveness standards before clinical use.
  • Transparency and Accountability: Acupuncturists should clearly communicate how AI is used in their practice, including the benefits and risks, to maintain trust.
  • Education and Training: Practitioners need ongoing training on AI usage, focusing on data security and integrating AI insights with traditional acupuncture methods.
  • Ethical Use: Patient autonomy, privacy, and consent are paramount. AI should be used ethically to prioritize patient well-being.
The Role of the NCCAOM AI Taskforce

In recognition of the potential of AI to transform acupuncture practice, the NCCAOM has established an AI Taskforce. This task force aims to explore the responsible integration of AI into acupuncture practice, with a focus on ensuring patient safety, maintaining ethical standards, and promoting the highest quality of care.

The NCCAOM AI Taskforce is seeking Subject Matter Experts with defined skills and education to serve in various capacities. These experts will play a crucial role in shaping the future of acupuncture by providing guidance, expertise, and insights into the responsible use of AI technologies. If you are interested, qualification requirements and online volunteer application instructions are available here: https://www.nccaom.org/certification/diplomate-benefits/volunteering-for-the-nccaom/.

Collaborative Efforts for Safety

Successful AI integration in acupuncture requires cooperation among practitioners, developers, regulators, and patient groups to ensure safety and develop best practices.

Conclusion

AI’s union with acupuncture offers exciting possibilities for healthcare, demanding a careful, ethical approach to realize its full potential safely. By working together, the acupuncture community can leverage AI to improve patient care while upholding the highest safety and ethical standards.

NCCAOM Webinar: Recertification 1:1

Join us for this informative webinar hosted by the NCCAOM on

April 17, 2024 at 7:00 PM EST.

This webinar is designed to provide valuable insights and guidance to acupuncture and herbal medicine practitioners seeking recertification. Whether you’re a seasoned practitioner or new to the field, this session offers an opportunity to learn about recertification requirements, address any questions or concerns, and gain clarity on the recertification process.

Don’t miss this chance to ensure your certification remains current and compliant. Register now to secure your spot and take proactive steps towards maintaining your professional credentials.

For details and registration, click here.

We look forward to seeing you there!

NCCAOM Governance Update

The NCCAOM is grateful to all our dedicated volunteers who devote countless hours to ensuring that NCCAOM meets its mission. This is especially true of the NCCAOM Board of Commissioners. In this section, we provide an update on the latest news and developments from the NCCAOM Board of Commissioners, which oversees the strategic direction and governance of the organization.

Daniel Jiao, DAOM, Dipl. O.M. (NCCAOM)®, L.Ac.

The winter meeting of the NCCAOM Board of Commissioners was bittersweet as we bid farewell to long-time Board member Dr. Daniel Jiao, DAOM, Dipl. O.M. (NCCAOM)® L.Ac. after a total of fifteen years of Board service (not consecutive years). Dr. Jiao continues to serve on the NCCAOM Exam Review Committee (ERC), the Injection Therapy Certificate Examination Taskforce, the Job Analysis Panel and the NCCAOM Global Taskforce.

Dr. Jiao is a renowned educator, researcher, and clinician, who has authored numerous publications and taught at several acupuncture schools in the US and abroad. 

Dr. Jiao’s departure leaves a legacy of dedication and leadership for the NCCAOM and the acupuncture profession. 

Iman Majd, MD, MS, EAMP/L.Ac., Dip. ABFM, ABoIM, Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM)®, DABMA, ABIHM

The NCCAOM also extends its gratitude and appreciation to Dr. Iman Majd as he steps down as Immediate Past Chair of the NCCAOM Board of Commissioners.  Dr. Majd joined the Board in 2014, becoming its Chair in 2020 following several years of service on various committees and taskforces of the NCCAOM. He is the first to receive the title of Immediate Past Chair in recognition of his years of service, his wisdom and dedication to the NCCAOM and the profession.

Dr. Majd is the Founding Director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine Clinic at the University of Washington. He is an Integrative Medicine physician, who has a wholistic approach to health. In His practice, Dr. Majd, combines a whole-health approach with conventional medicine to optimize patients’ health.

Dr. Majd will continue to support the work of the NCCAOM as he serves as the Chair of the NCCAOM Global Taskforce reaching out to international partners to broaden the commitment to standards of excellence in the profession.

The NCCAOM Board also welcomed two new Commissioners: Tuesday Wasserman from Denver/Boulder, Colorado and Wu-Hsun (Tom) Yang from Seattle, WA. Both new Commissioners come to the Board with a history of working with and on NCCAOM committees for a number of years and now bring fresh perspectives and expertise to the NCCAOM Board.

Tuesday Wasserman, DACM, Dipl. O.M. (NCCAOM)®, L.Ac.

Dr. Wasserman has a Doctorate in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM) from Pacific College of Health and Science and works as a clinician at the Birth Center of Boulder; Dr. Wasserman is also a faculty member and clinical supervisor at the Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the Southwest Acupuncture College. She has been part of the NCCAOM Exam Development Committee (EDC) since 2015 and is currently the head of the EDC Biomedicine Subcommittee. She contributes to the quality of the profession through her volunteer work with the ASA and NCCAOM; and continues to educate and cooperate with medical colleagues by developing continuing medical education (CMEs) for MDs, and by presenting acupuncture research in hospitals, medical conferences and to policy makers.

Wu-Hsun (Tom) Yang, ND, Dipl. O.M. (NCCAOM)® , L.Ac

Dr. Yang earned his Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University and is a licensed naturopathic physician and acupuncturist in Seattle, WA. He works with a team of holistic medicine practitioners at the University of Washington Osher Center for Integrative Health and has private practice in Burien, WA. He aims to promote acupuncture and other natural medical modalities in Integrative Care settings in clinics and hospitals. In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Yang is an adjunct faculty member for the Acupuncture and Eastern Asian Medicine department at Bastyr University.

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