CEO and Chair Holiday Message: Celebrating our Past, Embracing our Future
The NCCAOM Board of Commissioners and staff share our warmest wishes for a Holiday Season filled with Joy and a New Year of Peace and Prosperity. As we close out 2022, we wish to thank all our dedicated volunteers who contributed to another year of milestones and achievements. The last month of 2022 remains a busy time for the NCCAOM, as we continue serving our valued Diplomates. Reflecting on 2022, a year that marked ACAHM, CCAHM and NCCAOM’s 40th anniversary, we have seen great progress and accomplishments in promoting our Diplomates and collaborating with organizations such as the ASA to advance our profession. You can read about our regular advocacy updates such as Medicare grassroots training and guidance to our Board-Certified Acupuncturists (BCA), and the profession, in the National Advocacy section of our website. With the 40th anniversary of the AHM leadership organizations, we captured the theme perfectly with the slogan, Celebrating our Past, Embracing our Future.
This past year the organization celebrated the selection of Dr. Steven L. Rosenblatt, M.D., PhD, Dipl. O.M. (NCCAOM)®, L.Ac., to the NCCAOM Board of Commissioners (BOC). While we embrace the future with the new faces, it is important to celebrate the efforts and accomplishments of our retiring commissioner: Zonglan Xu, MD (China), Dipl. O.M. (NCCAOM)® (NCCAOM Board Commissioners 2011-2022) and staff member: Jennifer Nemeth M.Ed, NCCAOM Director of Education and Professional Development, who will be retiring after more than 16 years of service at NCCAOM. The NCCAOM and the AHM profession owe a great debt of gratitude to Zonglan and Jennifer for their many contributions and years of service.
This year was a pivotal year for the NCCAOM, as all our certification programs (Acupuncture, Chinese Herbology and Oriental Medicine) were granted reaccreditation by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) for a period of five years through August 30, 2027. NCCA accreditation is another demonstration that NCCAOM’s certification programs have received impartial, third-party validation and also met recognized national and international credentialing industry standards for the development, implementation, and maintenance of certification programs. The public and state regulators can depend on this accreditation and feel confident that an NCCAOM Board-Certified practitioner has met nationally recognized standards of competency and safety in acupuncture and Herbal medicine.
As part of our diligent review and quality control of our policies and procedures, the Professional Ethics and Disciplinary Committee under the leadership of Chair Michael Taromina, Esq., updated the NCCAOM Code of Ethics and Grounds for Disciplinary Review, which was unveiled to the public at the ASA-NCCAOM Town Hall on October 26, 2022. The PEDC thanks all individuals who provided their input and suggested revisions to the Code of Ethics via the public comment period.
We remain confident that the need for our medicine will continue to grow during this challenging time and that NCCAOM Board Certified Diplomates will continue to be sought after by the thousands of patients that seek acupuncture services. Updating the Code of Ethics and other organizational policies and procedures will ensure the NCCAOM is prepared to embrace our future, provide advocacy, stability, and guidance for our 20,000 plus Diplomates and ensure the protection of the public.
During the festive Holiday season, the NCCAOM Board of Commissioners and staff are grateful to all of the many talented and committed volunteers who made the accomplishments of 2022 possible. The hard work and diligence of the NCCAOM leadership and staff will help guide the ongoing development of our organizational strategy and goals as well as our continued commitment to you as our valued Diplomate. We wish you and your loved ones a pleasant and peaceful Holiday season.
Please be advised that the NCCAOM offices will be closed for a holiday break starting Friday, December 23, 2022, at 1:00 PM EST.
Our offices will reopen at 9 AM EST on January 3, 2023. If you need assistance from our staff please contact us as soon as possible.
By Molly Giammarco, Senior Manager, Policy & Government Relations
The NCCAOM® Advocacy team represents NCCAOM certification, Diplomates, and stakeholders by providing information to promote acupuncture services to state and federal policymakers, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), as well as other stakeholder groups.
Support for H.R. 4803: A Year in Review
The NCCAOM, in partnership with the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA), wrapped up a successful year of promoting H.R. 4803, the Acupuncture for Our Seniors Act, within the U.S. House of Representatives, the acupuncture profession, patient communities, and the integrative health networks.
The ASA/NCCAOM advocacy efforts established H.R. 4803 as bipartisan—a critical step for a bill’s viability—by securing Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick’s (R-PA) support, raising awareness among the acupuncture profession of Medicare-recognition efforts, and equipping the acupuncture community and its allies to help promote the bill with their Congressional representatives, among colleagues, and with their patients.
The ASA/NCCAOM 2022 Summer Push brought acupuncturists together from across the country to meet remotely with their Representatives’ D.C. offices about H.R. 4803 and to raise awareness of the evidence base for acupuncture. To keep the profession updated on advocacy efforts, the ASA and the NCCAOM launched a monthly newsletter that included bill updates, reports on Congressional activity, and opportunities for acupuncturists to get involved in advocating for the profession. The ASA and the NCCAOM also enabled the profession and its allies to contact their U.S. Representatives’ offices and Twitter accounts via a quick text.
A Look Ahead
The end of 2022 marks the close of the 117th Congress (2021-2022). All bills that have not yet been passed will expire when Congress officially adjourns the 117th Congress in late December. Early in 2023, Congressional champions will re-introduce many of these bills for consideration in the 118th Congress (2023-2024). These bills will receive a new bill number and will again be referred to their committees of jurisdiction.
The Acupuncture for our Seniors Act, known today as H.R. 4803 will be reintroduced in the 118th Congress with a different bill number. The ASA and the NCCAOM advocacy team are working closely with Rep. Judy Chu’s staff on theAcupuncture for our Seniors Act’s re-introduction.
The goal is to hit the ground running in early 2023 to enable as much time as possible in the 118th Congress to advance the bill. To help promote this legislation in the 118th Congress, the ASA and the NCCAOM will again look to the profession. Look for more information from the NCCAOM and the ASA about the Acupuncture for our Seniors Act and how Diplomates can get involved in early 2023.
A big thank you to all Diplomates who participated, encouraged their colleagues to participate, and told their stories to their Representatives’ offices about H.R. 4803 during the 117th Congress. Contact the NCCAOM advocacy team [email protected] to learn more about getting involved in 2023.
Obtaining provider status under Medicare would enable acupuncturists to directly bill Medicare for the covered services that they provide to Medicare beneficiaries (generally those 65 and older). This recognition is critical to advancing the acupuncturist profession, as it would grant more individuals access to qualified acupuncturists—and more qualified acupuncturists access to those over 65 years of age. Medicare recognition would also help the profession collect and generate data on the acupuncture benefits, particularly with regard to quality and cost.
CMS just covers acupuncture services for chronic lower back pain (cLBP), but does not recognize acupuncturists as providers of this service. This lack of recognition prevents much of the profession from readily providing cLBP services to Medicare beneficiaries. The resulting barrier inhibits those with the most expertise and training in acupuncture from providing these services.
The NCCAOM and ASA continue to maintain a series of resources to help educate the profession on Medicare recognition and the steps required for Medicare provider status. Read more about how Medicare provider status would affect the profession by visiting the NCCAOM’s Advocacy Page.
The NCCAOM and ASA Advocacy Team Represents You
The NCCAOM and ASA advocacy team works tirelessly to advocate for its Diplomates—you. If there is an issue, challenge, or opportunity you would like to convey to the team, please do not hesitate to reach out!
The cornerstone of the NCCAOM’s commitment to ethical business practices and professional conduct is the NCCAOM Code of Ethics. Every NCCAOM Diplomate and applicant pledges to abide by the NCCAOM® Code of Ethics standards and procedures as a condition of NCCAOM certification and certification maintenance.
The Professional Ethics and Disciplinary Committee (PEDC) began its work to update the Code of Ethics during the summer of 2021 and placed a first draft of the updated documents on the NCCAOM website for a 30-day period of public comment on September 1, 2021. Upon reviewing the approximately 400 comments made by Diplomates and NCCAOM community members at the end of this public comment period, the PEDC decided to conduct more research.
The updated Code of Ethics is not meant to expand or codify enforcement measures with respect to diversity and cultural mindfulness. Rather the update comes in response to the serious and valid concerns received via public feedback and internal conversations. These additions were made so the Code of Ethics better reflects NCCAOM’s commitment to ensuring the public safety of everyone our Diplomates interact within the work they do.
To provide more clear avenues for our Diplomates to understand their role in upholding and adhering to the standards set by the updated Code of Ethics, the Grounds for Professional Discipline has also been updated as it is the mechanism to codify the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Background: NCCAOM Certified Diplomates are the heart and pride of the organization. To recognize and celebrate our valued NCCAOM Diplomates, we spend countless hours developing new benefit programs, drafting communication campaigns, and planning events to nurture and grow those invaluable relationships.
To name a few, since 2019, the NCCAOM has removed unnecessary restrictions by developing and implementing a new Reinstatement Route for former Diplomates in terminated status; simplified the NCCAOM Recertification Process for Certified Diplomates by introducing a New CE Banking Process; and introduced Digital Badging for Diplomates and PDA Providers to provide them with additional marketing opportunities for their hard-earned credentials.
However, we are not stopping there. The NCCAOM is getting ready to introduce a new and enhanced Find A Practitioner Directory (FAP) in January 2023. The Find A Practitioner Directory (FAP) is a voluntary benefit available to all NCCAOM Diplomates, as long as they are certified. This type of searchable, digitized list allows anyone (patients, public, other healthcare professionals, regulatory agencies, and third-party payors) to review practitioners who are nationally Board-Certified, find qualified professionals in the industry and refer patients to one another.
While those are reason enough, the FAP directory provides a number of advantages, including:
FAP directory helps toexpand acupuncture businesses. When certified Diplomates can find one another easily, this can also serve as a source for referrals.
FAP directory boosts your professional reputation. This type of online directory gives Diplomates the opportunity to promote a growing list of qualified practitioners. As aforementioned above, a public directory offers the opportunity to highlight or feature Diplomates’ achievements and credentials.
FAP directory adds to the Diplomate’s digital footprint. A public list of certified Diplomates earns prominent web traffic from a number of other sites. Let’s say that someone searches for Jane Smith, who happens to be one of NCCAOM’s Certified Diplomates. The FAP directory listing with Jane’s profile will most likely appear in the list of search results. This kind of additional traffic, especially when compounded with over hundreds or thousands of certified Diplomates, is beneficial to both: the FAP and the Diplomate’s name.
Diplomates can opt-in or opt-out of FAP listing at any time by logging in to their NCCAOM certification account and clicking on the “Update Profile” link in the left sidebar. On the next page, at the bottom of the screen, there is a “FAP Preference” option that can easily be changed.
ASA-NCCAOM Town Hall Meeting January 18, 2022
State of the Profession:
Where Do We Go from Here?
All Licensed Acupuncturists are Encouraged to Attend
Town Hall Overview:
The NCCAOM and ASA will co-host a virtual Town Hall meeting.
By Chris Minar Manager, Marketing and Communications
Monday, October 24th, 2022, marked the 20th annual Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Day. This year marked two special occasions. The 40th anniversary of the CCAHM, ACAHM, and NCCAOM in the United States, and the 20th anniversary of AHM Day. To celebrate those milestones the NCCAOM partnered with the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA), the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine (ACAHM), and the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine (CCAHM). These four pillar organizations in the AHM profession combined forces to honor our profession’s founding practitioners for Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Day 2022.
To honor our profession’s founding practitioners and embrace our future, it is ever more important to encourage research and educate the public about what the AHM profession can do to treat the millions of Americans suffering from pain, addiction, and many other ailments. Acupuncturists have been willing to look within so that you may speak and teach and heal from a place of compassion and understanding. That philosophy has helped to increase access so that anyone seeking treatment shall be able to find it.
AHM Day is a vehicle by which all acupuncture practitioners have a powerful voice. AHM Practitioners expressed their appreciation and excitement for the future through the creativity of the AHM Day celebrations. These AHM Day celebrations showed the world your strength, resiliency, and healing power. Through the events of AHM Day, YOU celebrated our past and embraced our future. This year’s theme was inspirational stories of advocacy for our profession. We hosted a 1-hour webinar highlighting the work of our senior practitioners and teachers who paved the way for the growth of this medicine and the profession in the U.S.
“Consumer use of acupuncture and herbal medicine has increased significantly since NCCAOM was established 40 years ago,” said Mina Larson, M.S., MBA, CEO of NCCAOM. “We are so delighted to celebrate this milestone year while continuing to provide greater access through our collaborative Medicare initiative. In honor of AHM Day, patients should ensure that the practitioner they visit is properly trained and is NCCAOM Board-Certified.”
ASA-NCCAOM Town Hall
In honor of Acupuncture Medicine Day, the ASA and NCCAOM came together and co-hosted a virtual Town Hall meeting and celebrated our 20th AHM Day. While the actual AHM Day was on October 24th, the live webinar was on Sunday, October 23, 2022. Jewel Thais-Williams, MSOM, LAc., Arthur Fan, CMD, PhD, LAc., and Effie Chow, PhD, RN, LAc. shared fascinating stories about their live in the AHM profession. Their inspiring stories highlighted the contributions of practitioners in the United States whose work had significantly impacted advocacy, community outreach, and laying the foundation of the AHM profession. The Town Hall was hosted by Afua Bromley, MSOM, LAc, Dipl Ac (NCCAOM) & LiMing Tseng, MAcOM, LAc, Dipl OM (NCCAOM), co-chairs of the NCCAOM & ASA Cultural Competency Task Force. Click here for the webinar replay!
40th Anniversary Reflection Photo Drive
The 40th Anniversary Reflection Photo Drive platform allowed participants to upload a photo of a founding leader in the profession, along with a tagline for their achievements, and a 250 – 500 words essay about that founding father/mother who has championed one or more of the below categories. The purpose of this celebratory event was to honor those who have led the way in our profession.
Regulation & Acupuncture Licensure in the United States
Foundational Institutional Organizations
Working in Underserved Communities
Significant Impact on the Promotion of our Profession
*This was not a contest, but rather a means to showcase inspiring members of our profession.*
NCCAOM and the ASA also partnered with many state and local acupuncture organizations in an effort to have the AHM Day holiday officially recognized. This year AHM Day was officially proclaimed a holiday in New Mexico, Arizona, Missouri,Oregon, Washington D.C., Wisconsin,Nebraska, Massachusetts, and Vermont! To view all of the places that proclaimed Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Day a holiday please click here. Thank you to the ASA and our partnering state and local acupuncture associations. Your contributions to AHM Day 2022 were tremendously impactful.
AHM Day Events
Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Day events or gatherings returned in 2022. While we urged everyone to be cautious as many people remained vigilant to prevent the spread of illness. Many didn’t forget how effective online or remote events and activities can be. With a combination of in-person events, video lectures, online demonstrations, or discounted treatments. Participating events registered their celebrations on the Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Day website through the event submission page.
Another long-time staple of AHM Day returned this year, the AHM Day Testimonials page. Do not forget to encourage your patients to enter their own amazing stories of healing through acupuncture treatments on the Testimonials page.
AHM Day Marketing Kit
As part of the effort to raise public awareness of the progress, promise, and benefits of acupuncture and herbal medicine, Acupuncture Media Works and AcuPerfect Websites offered an AHM Day Marketing Kit and raffled a FREE Premium Acupuncture Website. Spread the news in your community that acupuncture works and attracts new clients along the way.
This Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Day we collectively embraced safety, and diversity, and fought for equality and inclusivity – our holistic medicine embraces the wholeness of all beings. The events and celebrations of AHM Day 2022 were a great success. Thank you to all who helped celebrate Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Day 2022.
By Dr. Aram Akopyan M.D. L.Ac. Dipl. O.M. (NCCAOM)®, MATCM MSCS,
Director of Communications European Traditional Chinese Medicine Association (ETCMA)
This November 16th, there was a concerted effort by the major associations and professional organizations around the world representing TCM and Acupuncture to commemorate and celebrate World Acupuncture Awareness Day. From New Zealand, and Australia to the United States and Canada, from the European Union and Britain to South Africa and the Middle East, a united campaign promoted Acupuncture and TCM via social media and the press.
Why is this important to you? Our profession is in a transitional state. In many countries, including the United States, through the dedicated and concerted efforts of organizations such as the NCCAOM, we have made great strides in establishing and validating the effectiveness of our profession. The World Health Organization not only recognizes our medicine as an effective component of world health but has created specific ICD diagnostic and therapeutic codes dedicated to Traditional Medicine. This progress has caught the attention of other healthcare and affiliated professions and they are eager to co-opt our techniques and modalities for their own benefit. From Physical Therapists to Personal trainers, from Massage therapists to Nurses, all have recognized the potential of our profession to enhance and expand their service offerings. This poses a real and tangible threat to our profession and to your careers.
To that end, a global effort is underway involving some fifty (50) major professional organizations and associations to increase visibility, improve recognition and create a worldwide movement to cement TCM as belonging firmly in our own purview. The commemoration of November 16th asWorld Acupuncture Awareness Day is one of the efforts to support this action. In November 2010 the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) inscribed Acupuncture and moxibustion in the list of intangible human cultural heritage. As the world gets more and more integrated, our profession needs to be prepared for a borderless global representation with such programs as unified global educational standards, international accreditation programs, and well-established public awareness campaigns.
It falls upon each of us to participate in this effort and contribute to the education and promotion of our profession, united and in One Voice. To learn more about how you can participate visit, www.Idoacupuncture.com where you will find tips, tools, news, and resources.
Coordinated by Melissa Dow Manager, Volunteer Development and Special Projects
Some of NCCAOM’s volunteers have served the organization for many years in varying capacities, on various committees, taskforces or panels or as an NCCAOM Board Commissioner. Their work often goes unseen by the public, but they are an integral part of our organization. In this newsletter we are featuring one of these dedicated and valued volunteers, Ruth Dalphin.
Ruth Dalphin has been a long-time serving volunteer for NCCAOM. Ruth first became involved with the NCCAOM as a Diplomate of Asian Body Therapy (ABT). She served on the NCCAOM Board of Commissioners (BOC) 2002-2007, and as a member of several committees. Her experience also includes time as the Chair of the ABT Exam Development Committee (EDC). Currently Ruth is a Dipl. Ac. and Chair of Acupuncture and Point Location EDC.
Ruth’s impressive achievements include being a Certified Instructor, former board member, and recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award of the American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia (AOBTA). She is also a 500-hour Registered Yoga Teacher, (Yoga Alliance).
Ruth’s professional ventures currently include being an acupuncture practitioner and director of Associates for Asian Healing Arts in Marlton, NJ. She was the co-founder and director of Associates for Creative Wellness and the School of Asian Healing Arts from 1985-2001. She has practiced and taught yoga, meditation, whole foods cooking, shiatsu and various wellness programs for over 20 years and at present teaches yoga and meditation live and on zoom.
Her interviews and articles have appeared in several national publications, most recently Natural Health, Total Health, and Longevity and Pulse. Currently, Ruth serves as a Chair of the Acupuncture and Point Location EDC.
What motivated you to apply as a volunteer for the NCCAOM all those years ago?
Ruth Dalphin Answer: I was interviewed by the NCCAOM Board and appointed to fill a recently vacated Board position as a Diplomate in both Asian Bodywork Therapy (ABT) and Acupuncture in 2002, shortly after selling my Shiatsu school and wellness center in Cherry Hill, NJ. I served as a Board member for five years and have continued doing committee work ever since then.
What kept you coming back as a volunteer?
Ruth Dalphin: What kept me coming back as a volunteer has been the challenge and stimulation of working with my brilliant, passionate and interesting colleagues on continuously improving the content and form of the exams. Of all the committees I served on during my tenure as a Board member, Exam Development was and is my favorite. I chaired the ABT EDC for five years then moved to the Acupuncture and Point Location EDC. This work calls on a different mindset than clinical work, which I also love.
How have you observed growth in the NCCAOM as an organization throughout your years of serving?
Ruth Dalphin: As an organization, NCCAOM is continuously improving through increased communication with our stakeholders, such as Diplomates, schools, psychometricians, staff, SMEs, the public and other organizations and programs. Security of exams and test protocols and validity have improved and continue to evolve.
As you have served on the Board of Commissioners and committees since, I believe, 2002. What is your fondest memory of your service?
Ruth Dalphin: My fondest memories are the little moments of meetings of minds, celebrations and the respect, affection and teamwork that develop during and outside of meetings as we share our passion and dedication.
What do you wish other people knew about the fields of Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine?
Ruth Dalphin: I wish more people would know more about Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine through the experience of this amazing medicine. It is important for more people to know that certified Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine practitioners are well qualified to do safe and effective work and that the field includes more than just needles and herbs. The work NCCAOM and practitioners continue to do has helped greatly to bring this information to the public. Also, our patients too are spreading the word that many of the physical, mental, and emotional conditions rampant in today’s world are well addressed with this medicine. But when someone experiences the deeply relaxing and healing effects of treatment, they really KNOW what no number of “facts” can teach them.
What might someone be surprised to know about you?
Ruth Dalphin: Someone might be surprised to know that throughout grad school and for several years afterwards, I was a professional bassoonist freelancing in the Philadelphia area and teaching yoga and meditation to some of my students and colleagues.
What do you do when you’re not working?
Ruth Dalphin: When I’m not working, I might be found in the kitchen baking healthy cookies or in my library/den reading with a cat (Ariel) on my lap. I particularly enjoy reading about people and places (real or fictitious) with experiences that are very different from mine. I am looking forward to getting back to more travel, more classical music concerts, more museums and dining in interesting restaurants with friends.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Ruth Dalphin: I am so grateful to have been part of the Acupuncture/ABT community since 1985 and to be doing the work that I love and that helps make the world a better place that it is a pleasure and a privilege to be able to give back as a volunteer with NCCAOM.