President's Message: Surveys reveal diverse membership traits – which gives AAMA strength
By Richard F. Hobbs, III, MD, FAAFP, FAAMA
There are a number of things that set us apart as a group of acupuncturists, but chief among these is the fact that we all share a Western medicine background. Along with that training, of course, come certain obligations to maintain knowledge base and skills in our chosen specialty. Similarly, we have an obligation to continually strive to improve our knowledge and skills in the field of medical acupuncture. Otherwise, we have no basis for discovering the appropriate balance between therapies derived empirically from an ancient tradition and those which are based upon modern medical science. It is a matter of choosing the best from both worlds. We owe this to the patients who entrust us with their care.
From the Academy’s point of reference, providing educational programs would be complex enough if we were all doing pretty much the same thing with respect to acupuncture. However, as I have mentioned in previous messages, we are a diverse group, and this poses special challenges in planning educational programs. We have a couple of member surveys taken over the past decade that reflect this diversity. I thought you might be interested in seeing some of the numbers.
Currently in the United States, there are approximately 1,350 physicians who are members of the AAMA. At the time of the most recent survey, 33% of respondents were family physicians, 18% were specialists in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 9% were anesthesiologists, 9% were specialists in Internal Medicine and the remainder included specialists in OB/GYN, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Neurology and others. In terms of practice type, 52% were solo practitioners, 26% practiced in a group, 6% were in academic settings, 4% were hospital-based and 3% were in the military. (1)
The mean age for respondents was 49 years. (1)
More than 50% of respondents indicated that acupuncture constitutes less than or equal to 30% of their practice. Only 12% were practicing acupuncture full time. (1)
By far, the majority (85%) of physician AAMA members who responded were trained by the Helms Medical Institute. Other sources of training included the Harvard Program (8%); Canadian programs; US acupuncture schools and off-shore programs in China, Germany, France, England and Russia. (1)
Also according to the most recent survey, 1% of respondents received training prior to 1980; 3% between 1980 and 1989; 33% between 1990 and 1999; 41% between 2000 and 2005 and 17% in 2006. (1)
There is considerable variability in acupuncture modalities and styles practiced by physician acupuncturists in the US. 22% of respondents reported that they use French Energetics in their practice; 8% use Korean Hand Acupuncture; 36% employ TCM principles; 36% use Five Elements theory; 62% use Neuro-Anatomic approaches; 25% practice Auricular Acupuncture; 14% practice Scalp Acupuncture and 28% practice a variety of other therapies, including Craig PENS, Japanese Acupuncture, Yamamoto New Scalp Acupuncture, methods developed by Richard Tan, OMD, etc. (2)
My view is that this rich diversity, though it poses challenges, is a particular strength of the AAMA. It provides all of us the opportunity to continually broaden our horizons and to learn new ways to help our dear patients. The 24th Annual Symposium provides the perfect setting to come and be immersed in new ideas (some of which may be thousands of years old.) Please plan to join us at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Atlanta, GA April 26-29, 2012.
- Member Survey, American Academy of Medical Acupuncture, 2006.
- Member Survey, American Academy of Medical Acupuncture, 2001.
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AAMA Webinar Series
“How To Get Paid: Reimbursement Principles and Pearls for Workers Compensation and Accidents”
The American Academy of Medical Acupuncture's second webinar for members at no cost, “How to Get Paid: Reimbursement Principles and Pearls for Workers Compensation and Accidents,” will be presented live by John P. Kohler, MD, FAAMA, starting at 8pm EST on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011.
“This talk details step-by-step principles on how to avoid problems with being reimbursed for your work by emphasizing good medical records, quality effective treatment and following the rules,” said Dr. Kohler. “In the event the insurance company refuses to reimburse properly, then you will also have all the evidence you need to contest their denial of reimbursement. You can fight back.”
He added that these principles have been learned from years of providing care to seriously injured patients and taking a no-tolerance policy when reimbursement is inappropriately denied.
Watch for details on how to sign up for this webinar in the next couple weeks. The webinar will be taped and available for download in the Member Area of the AAMA website shortly after the session airs. This webinar will be offered at no cost to members.
Subsequent webinars will include Rey Ximenez, MD, FAAMA, offering a webinar on coding and reimbursement basics. Webinar dates will be Oct. 26th, Nov. 30th (dark in December) and Jan. 25th. They will be held at 8pm on those dates (the last Wednesday of the month).
Past webinars are posted online.
Watch for details on the webinars in the AAMA Newsletter and the Academy’s online calendar and then log on with your peers.
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Physicians complete process for 10-year ABMA recertification
The following physicians have completed the process set by the American Board of Medical Acupuncture Board of Trustees to be recertified as a Diplomate for another 10 years:
Kathleen E. Bishop, MD, of Casa Grande, AZ; Martha E. Calden, DO, of Chicago, IL; Catherine W. Cheung, MD, of Concord, NC; Leonid Gordin, MD, of Cambridge, MA; Michael Green, MD, of Minneapolis, MD; Allison Lee, MD, of Walled Lake, MI; En-Su Lin, MD, of Vineland, NJ; Dee Wee Lim, MD, of Upland, CA; Alston C. Lundgren, MD, of Santa Fe, NM; Allen McDaniels, MD, of San Pedro, CA; Hiroshi Nakazawa, MD, of Catonsville, MD; Monte B. Pellmar, MD, of Wayside, NJ; Adnan K. Sammour, MD, of Bradenton, FL; Dein M. Shapiro, MD, of Branchburg, NJ, and Frederick Tan, MD, of Palos Heights, IL.
After 10 years, each candidate for recertification was required to submit the following:
· Application for recertification.
· Copy of current active medical license.
· Documentation of 150 hours of continuing education credits in medical acupuncture since certification. CME credit is preferred. Topics must be primarily acupuncture. Independently awarded CEU credits may be acceptable, at the discretion of the Board.
· Submission of two written Case Reports on actual cases treated to demonstrate continued knowledge and proficiency in the discipline. Specific Case Report Guidelines will be provided.
· Payment of a recertification fee of $250.
There is no written examination required for recertification.
Applications for recertification should be submitted at least 60 days prior to the expiration of the original certification to assure sufficient time for Board review and approval. Each submission is submitted to the Board for review to confirm the adequacy of the Case Reports and to confirm that the continuing education requirements were met.
For those designees who are unable to complete the process by the expiration date, an automatic extension of up to three years is available upon request.
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ICMART Board Meeting looks toward International Conference in Athens
Bryan L Frank, MD, FAAMA, vice president of ICMART and AAMA co-delegate to ICMART, attended the fall Board Meeting in Istanbul. Dr. Mehmet Abut graciously hosted the Board Meeting in his clinic.
ICMART looks forward to the International Congress on Medical Acupuncture and Related Techniques to be held in Athens on May 25-27, 2012. Registrations and applications for oral and poster presentations will be available soon via www.ICMART2012.org.
Future Congresses are to be in Vienna in 2013 and likely in Istanbul in 2014, then Indonesia in 2015. The Board further discussed and reviewed many of the legislative processes in the EU that may greatly impact medical acupuncture in Europe and potentially have a spill over effect in other countries, including the US.
AAMA members are encouraged to attend and present in the Athens Congress.
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Medical Acupuncture Research News
The following is a review of reported research results and related news recently announced or released through Internet outlets:
·The abstract, “Treatment of autism with scalp acupuncture,” was published in the Chinese journal, Zhongguo Zhen Jiu (Aug. 31, 2011). To verify the efficacy of autism treated with scalp acupuncture for regaining the consciousness and opening the orifice in children, 70 cases were divided into observation and control groups. After treatment, scores in Clancy Autism Behavior Scale, CARS and ABC were lower in observation group compared to before treatment. Researchers concluded that scalp acupuncture for regaining the consciousness and opening the orifice can significantly improve efficacy on autism, relieve child autism symptoms and enhance the intelligence, language ability and social adaptive ability.
·The abstract, “The Antioxidative Effect of Electro-Acupuncture in a Mouse Model of Parkinson’s Disease,” was published in PLoS One (May 23, 2011). This study administered 100 Hz EA stimulation at two acupoints to MPTP-lesioned mice for 12 sessions starting from the day prior to the first MPTP injection. Results showed that electroacupuncture has a neuroprotective effect on the brain because it's an antioxidant. Researchers concluded that stimulation with electroacupuncture protects the brain by creating antioxidative and antiapoptosis effects.
·The abstract, “True and Sham Acupuncture Produced Similar Frequency of Ovulation and Improved LH to FSH Ratios in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome,” was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (Aug. 3, 2011). The objective of the study was to determine whether true vs. sham acupuncture aids women with PCOS. During the study and followup, there was no difference in the number of women in each group who ovulated every month. Researchers pointed out that the acupuncture was standardized for all women, and in the real world, practitioners develop the best treatment for patients’ needs. That could be why sessions didn't seem to help women more than fake acupuncture.
·The abstract, “A safety and efficacy pilot study of acupuncture for the treatment of chronic lymphoedema,” was published in Acupuncture in Medicine (June 18, 2011). This was a pilot study of the safety and effectiveness of acupuncture in women diagnosed with chronic lymphoedema for six months to five years. Study goals were met after nine subjects were treated: four women showed at least a 30% reduction in the extent of lymphoedema at 4 weeks. Researchers concluded that acupuncture appears safe and may reduce lymphoedema associated with breast cancer surgery.
·Check out British Medical Acupuncture Society's new Facebook page, Acupuncture in Medicine. The group aims to promote the scientific understanding of acupuncture and related treatments by publishing scientific investigations of their effectiveness.
·The abstract, “Glia atrophy in the hippocampus of chronic unpredictable stress-induced depression model rats is reversed by electroacupuncture treatment,” was published in the Journal of Affective Disorders (February 2011). Chronic unpredictable stress-induced depression model rats were used to study effects of electroacupuncture. Exposure to CUS resulted in a decrease of behavioral activity, whereas a daily session of treatment significantly reversed the behavioral deficit of these depression model rats. Researchers concluded that electroacupuncture has an antidepressant effect and prevents atrophy of brain cells.
·The abstract, “Active Albuterol or Placebo, Sham Acupuncture, or No Intervention in Asthma,” was published in the New England Journal of Medicine (July 14, 2011). They assigned 46 patients with asthma to use an albuterol inhaler, a placebo inhaler, sham acupuncture or no intervention. Albuterol resulted in a 20% increase in FEV, compared with 7% with sham acupuncture and other interventions. Although albuterol improved FEV in patients with asthma, it provided no incremental benefit. Placebo effects from sham acupuncture can be clinically meaningful and rival effects of medication in patients with asthma.
·The abstract, "Acupuncture for chronic nonbacterial prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome: A systematic review," was published in the Journal of Andrology (March 24, 2011). This study assessed the effectiveness of acupuncture for chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome. Literature searches were performed to identify 128 RCTs of acupuncture for CP/CPPS. Researchers concluded that the evidence that acupuncture treats CP/CPPS is encouraging and warranted.
Please send information you find on research involving the efficacy of medical acupuncture to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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AAMA Member News
AAMA’s 24TH Annual Symposium will be April 26-29, 2012. The Review Course will be on April 24-25, 2012, the Pre-Symposium Workshops on April 26, 2012 and the ABMA Certification Exam on April 29, 2012. The location will be at Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Atlanta, GA. For the AAMA discounted room rate of $159/night (sgl/dbl) pending availability, call the hotel by April 1, 2012 at 404/237-1234 and be sure to mention the AAMA Symposium.
Bryan L Frank, MD, FAAMA, had a busy mission schedule in the summer, with great projects in the beautiful, cool jungles of southeast Ecuador in June and in Kenya in July. Global Mission Partners, Inc., a 501-c-3 not-for-profit charitable corporation, organizes medical mission projects throughout the year. Many AAMA members have joined past projects. Join them in 2012 to Nepal in February, Kenya in June, Ecuador in July, Mexico in September and India in November. Go to www.GlobalMissionPartners.org for details, photos and applications.
The Malcolm Grow Medical Center Acupuncture Clinic held a Battlefield Acupuncture course in August for military medical professionals to learn the innovative pain relief technique. Rather than servicemembers opting for pharmaceutical drugs with possible adverse side effects that could affect job performance or duty abilities, Battlefield Acupuncture is an effective alternative to treat mild to moderate pain. Learn more about the technique developed by Richard C. Niemtzow, MD, PhD, MPH, Air Force Acupuncture Clinic director, in 2001.
The Medical Acupuncture Review Course is available on DVD. Visit the AAMA Store to purchase this valuable learning tool.
Members participating in AAMA's referral program will be happy to hear that there were 2,671 unique visits to the website referral page in August and 2,922 in September from patients seeking medical acupuncturists in their area. Members interested in participating in the Patient Referral Program should visit the physician listings online to verify that they are listed. Only Practice level members are eligible to participate, and the Academy staff needs explicit notice to include a member in the program.
The Academy held its first webinar in September. Led by Dr. Claudia Harsh, “Getting Started: Setting up an Acupuncture Practice” was recorded and is now posted in the Member Area of the AAMA website. See related article in this issue on free webinar Oct. 26. “How to Get Paid: Reimbursement Principles and Pearls for Workers Compensation and Accidents” will be presented online by John P. Kohler, MD, FAAMA.
AAMA reminds members who meet special qualifications in Medical Acupuncture about the certification mark to convey their accomplishments. The certification mark is available only to Full Members and Fellows of the AAMA who are currently Board Certified by the ABMA. See the image of logo posted online. An application has been submitted to the US Patent Office to register this Certification Mark so that it is available for the exclusive use of those who meet the specified credentials. See the Certification Mark Guidelines posted online for standards on how the mark should be used in printed materials including acceptable type face, size, color, etc. For an electronic copy of a reproducible jpeg copy of the logo to provide your printer, Full Members and Fellows who are currently Board Certified through the ABMA may send a request to email@example.com. Upon verification of your status, a jpg file will be sent to you.
Jay Sandweiss, DO, FAAMA, will lead, Integrative Manual Approach to Cervical Spine Pain and Dysfunction, Oct. 8-9 at Covenant HealthCare Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation in Saginaw, MI. An algorithm of treatment will be presented, which includes manual muscle testing, tender point analysis, trigger point analysis, motion testing, anatomical positional analysis and more. Call 734/995-1880 or visit doctorjaysandweiss.com.
Symposium 2011 sessions on CDs and syllabus for Pre-Symposium and Symposium can be ordered online.
The fall schedule for “Alternative Medicine Seminars” is now available on the Academy’s website. The seminars series address some of the most sophisticated techniques that could prove to be an asset to alternative medicine practices. Seminars address basic and advanced auricular therapy, auricular medicine techniques, the three- phase hand acupuncture, and workshops training in both auricular medicine and the autonomic vascular signal. Academy members are offered special discounts for seminars, books and atlases.
Around the world, cities from Los Angeles to Lagos are bursting at the seams with citizens coming from the country who seek new economic opportunities. Meanwhile municipal budgets are being constrained as energy prices increase, building materials become more expensive and fresh water supplies decline. Experts are forecasting the "urban acupuncture" movement will transform urban life in the coming decade. Check out, "Could Cities' Problems be Solved by Urban Acupuncture," in The Guardian.
The next Helms Medical Institute "Medical Acupuncture for Physicians" course starts on Dec. 8 in Tempe, AZ. Clinical units will be in February and May 2012. Details posted at www.HMIacupuncture.com.
Editor-in-Chief Dr. Richard Niemtzow of the journal, Medical Acupuncture, is seeking volunteer reviewers to review manuscripts. Reviewers will access manuscripts online. Reviews must be completed and returned within one business week. Reviewers successfully completing a series of timely, high-quality reviews may be invited to join the Editorial Board (at the discretion of the editor in chief). Please send brief qualifications and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As part of AAMA membership, practice members are being offered access to more than 400 journal articles categorized by disease/health application which promote the efficacy of Acupuncture. Contact Karyn Scurti at email@example.com to obtain your unique password to access this information anytime. Then go to www.hmiacupuncture.com and click on "LINKS."
Please send news items and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Arizona Chapter meetings are held at 9 am the second Saturday of the month at Dr. Martha Grout’s office, Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine, 9328 E. Raintree Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85260. For details, call 480/240-2600 or e-mail email@example.com. There are monthly speakers on topics related to medical acupuncture, as well as Chinese and Functional/Integrative medicine. Email Dr. Grout to get on the email list for meeting announcements.
Chapter officers are working hard to come up with innovative ideas for CME credits. They are continuing their membership drive to make the Chapter stronger. Academy members interested in joining the California Chapter are encouraged to contact President Haleh Sheikholeslami, MD, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Georgia Association of Medical Acupuncturists will have its quarterly meeting on Oct. 9, 2011.
GAMA invites everyone to visit their website to learn more about their organization’s philosophy, mission, events and much more. Their site includes a “Member” page, which includes contact information for each GAMA member. For information regarding membership and seminars, contact GAMA President Carlos Parrado, MD, at email@example.com.
The goal of President Lorene Wu, MD, DiplAc, and Secretary/Treasurer Anthony DeLorenzo, DO is to provide education and support to members. They plan to interface more with the wider acupuncture community by serving on the Illinois Acupuncture Board and by attending meetings of the local acupuncture society.
Meetings are held every other month at Memorial Hospital in LaGrange, IL.
Members of the Maryland Society of Medical Acupuncturists (MSMA) are looking forward to an active fall lineup and are planning a weekend workshop with Darren Starwynn, OMD. He is the inventor of the Acutron (Microlight: The Science and Business of Energy Medicine). This device is used to improve mood, health and PTSD.
Joan Ordman, MD, FAAMA, is president of the MSMA. The chapter offers educational programs and wants to increase participation. Treat yourself to a nice evening. It is free, and members whose dues are paid receive a nice free meal. The lecture is on the Chapter. Contact Dr. Ordman at firstname.lastname@example.org to join MSMA.
An educational event is being planned. Dr. Yun-Tao Ma is scheduled for Oct. 29, 2011 at the Alliance Institute for Integrative Medicine in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Ohio Chapter members would love to see more active participation of the current membership. Please join them and invite medical acupuncture colleagues. For more information or questions, contact Liz Woolford, MD, at Liz.Woolford@myhealingpartner.com.
New Jersey & Pennsylvania
John Kohler, MD, FAAMA, is the president of the Pennsylvania Chapter. Visit www.pamedicalacupuncture.com/ for details on this chapter.
“We are encouraging you to instill a little new blood and energy into our Washington State Chapter,” said J. Kimber Rotchford, MD FAAMA. “Is anyone out there willing to be an officer and take over the reins? There is a little bit of money in our bank account, and we do need to figure out how best to spend it? You can best contact me at JKRotchford@gmail.com.”
Click here for an up-to-date listing of AAMA Regional Chapter officers, their contact information, Websites and members. Think about joining a Chapter to learn more about medical acupuncture specific to your area. And if there’s not a Chapter in your region, please consider forming one by contacting Jim Dowden, AAMA executive administrator, at email@example.com. Chapters provide fellowship, professional camaraderie, education and curbside consults.
Chapter representatives, please send your news and photos for the AAMA Newsletter via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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·Well-established mixed medical acupuncture, physical medicine and rehabilitation, alternative pain clinic and general practice available immediately in central Georgia's Lake Country. Recreational opportunities abound. Due to family illness, Penelope Brooks, MD, FAAMA, is relocating to California. She has an office building for sale with one stable tenant who is LPC, PhD in psychology. Her 16-acre horse farm/home with pool/barn/fenced pasture is also available. All very affordable. Her office is 10 minutes from her home. Wonderful place to live and raise children. Contact Dr. Brooks at 478/457-6317 or email@example.com.
List any medical acupuncture-related job vacancies here free by contacting AAMA Staff Associate Barton Ortberg.
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Consumer Reports survey: 3 of 4 adults using complementary and alternative medicine
A new reader survey published in the September issue of Consumer Reports and posted online found that three of four adults use some form of alternative therapy such as medical acupuncture for general health.
Readers rated prescription drugs as helping the most for the majority of 12 health problems, but complementary and alternative medicine was cited for discomfort from conditions such as back pain, neck pain, and osteoarthritis. The survey also suggests that CAM are being used to treat a range of conditions, including anxiety, headache and migraine, depression, and insomnia.
The report indicates that doctors are more open to alternative therapies than most people assume. The magazine listed the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture as a resource for readers to locate a medical acupuncturist. Also cited is AAMA President Richard F. Hobbs, III, MD, FAAFP, FAAMA. The report includes a brief user's guide for hands-on and mind-body therapy with an assessment of the evidence.
The Consumer Reports National Research Center conducted the survey of readers. A total of 45,601 magazine subscribers answered questions on their use of CAM. A total of 30,332 survey respondents offered their perceptions of the helpfulness of treatments for the 12 medical conditions queried.
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Maria del Carmen Guerra Roman, MD -- 1947-2011
By Allen McDaniels, MD, FAAMA
Dr. Maria Guerra was a person I thought I knew, but like a brilliant cut gem seen from only one side, not all facets of her life were apparent. During the years I knew her as a student of medical acupuncture, as a colleague occasionally conferring about her patients, and as a participant in a professional relationship Maria always had a smile and a cheerful attitude even though her profession as a hematologist/oncologist and her own chronic health issues challenged this optimism. But beneath her effervescent exterior lay the complexity of a multifaceted life.
Maria loved medical acupuncture and used it to complement her oncology practice, especially while treating patients for the symptoms of cancer and the side effects of chemo- and radiation therapy. She received her training at the HMI/UCLA Medical Acupuncture for Physicians program, became a member of the AAMA in 1997, and received her ABMA diplomacy in 2001. Dr. Guerra was devoted to complementary and alternative medicine and was an associate of a private practice and research clinic for complementary and alternative cancer therapies after she retired from her positions at Kaiser West Los Angeles and Kaiser South Bay.
Maria was always, it seemed, traveling to Peru, her homeland. Although she mentioned dealing with family issues there, I learned later of her opening a non-profit clinic in Peru called One Source to assist cancer patients. Through her influence on colleagues in the Peruvian Medical Association, she helped establish a research center for an adjuvant cancer therapy called immune photonics. Maria’s vision was to see this innovative cancer therapy alleviate some of the suffering of cancer patients by being an effective, less invasive treatment.
Maria was devoted to her two children, Rosemarie and Emanuel Zevallos. She enjoyed her garden and travel. But most especially, Maria del Carmen Guerra lived a life that resonated with Mother Teresa’s advice: “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you.”
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