Message from the AAMA Board

What is Your AAMA Niche?

The AAMA is made up of a very diverse group of physicians who share the common goal of improving the wellness of our patients. Our physicians hail from all parts of the world. We have a very wide range of specialties and interests. We practice on all ages of patients and treat many conditions. This is what makes us strong. We use our different backgrounds and expertise to make the AAMA an organization that celebrates all of us. Each member adds a special touch to the organization.

The AAMA has several, unique committees that work together to help us achieve our goals. With the Board of Directors, these committees create and execute the initiatives and activities AAMA. These groups cover topics such as membership, CME, education, legislation, communications, the symposium, the review course and research. The wide range of topics discussed within these committees mirrors the diversity of our organization.

You are instrumental in the construction and functioning of our organization. The AAMA is very interested in your ideas and your views about the practice of medical acupuncture (MA). We value the hard work you do every day, and we flourish on your expertise. We would like to extend our invitation to you to join one of our committees — one that best suits your unique circumstances and interests. There is a place for each of you to create your own niche within the AAMA.

The Membership Committee is an excellent fit for any member wanting to enhance the experience of being an AAMA member. This team works diligently to provide members with tools to better their practice, to recruit new members and to harness new ideas. Our membership is varied, and members may have different needs. This committee is for you if you enjoy making connections with medical acupuncturists around the country and beyond. This niche is for those who enjoy encouraging others to be part of our amazing organization. You may also have ideas about new services you would like to see as a member; if so, this would be a great place to contribute.

The CME Committee and the Education Committee work diligently to bring the highest quality MA education to our members. These committees identify and fill the gaps in education that our members need and want. New and exciting advances in education are always a part of these discussions. This group has been prominent in the last year through their work adapting to the digital education needs of our members due to the pandemic. Despite a worldwide shutdown, these teams have arranged many webinars and lectures for our members. These groups are ideal for any member who enjoys education, either teaching or receiving. This is also an ideal place for those interested in technological advancements in education and learning. If this is you, please hop on board!

The Legislative Committee is a great fit for any member interested in the structure of MA law and policies. A lot goes into our ability to practice MA. States differ in their legal requirements for practice. There are many changes happening throughout the country regarding our practice. This committee monitors and responds to legislation put forth that may affect our practice. They also assist specific members/states that are undergoing legislative change. If you have a passion for advocating for MA, this is your home.

If you have been a member of the AAMA for a few years and you have attended any of our symposia, then you are well aware of the amazing work of the Symposium Committee. This group of members plans year-round to give us an unforgettable experience at our yearly symposium. They handle everything from choosing topics and speakers to arranging accommodations and seeing to the enjoyable experience of all those who attend. They have worked tirelessly this past year to adapt our symposium to a virtual venue. Although we will not be together in person this year, our symposium promises to be marvelous thanks to the hard work of this group. If you accel at scouting talent and enjoy planning and arranging events, this would be a great niche for you.

The Communications Committee is a group of members who work on the communication between the AAMA and our members, as well as to fellow physicians and the general public. Being connected to one another is very important, as we have all learned over the last year. There are so many ways to communicate and connect that the AAMA has developed a committee to work on bringing members many forms of communication that works for each. Technology has also advanced our ability to communicate. This group manages announcements and social media outreach on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Communication can always be improved, and we are interested in how you communicate. If you enjoy finding new and creative ways to connect people and/or are interested in using communications technology, we welcome you!

The Review Course Committee works to create a solid board review course. This is a comprehensive course that touches on each aspect of MA. It is an incredible tutorial to take if you are preparing for the boards or if you want to review your knowledge of MA. This committee is ideal for those who enjoy comprehensive education.

The last committee is the Research Committee. This is a new group recently added to the AAMA to enhance the fellowship of our members and colleagues who are interested in advancing the efforts of MA research. The goals of this group are under construction; we would welcome your input. If you enjoy following the latest research in MA, this would be an ideal group for you. Stay tuned for more details on this committee.

As you can see, our committees are as varied as our members. Your personal expertise and character  make you exceptional. We want you to help us learn and grow. We need your input and involvement to continue to be the best we possibly can be. Take some time to reflect on your own special talents and interests. We hope you’ll consider where you can find your niche — and help us advance the goals of the AAMA. (Find more details about the AAMA’s committees.)

Kendra Unger, MD, FAAMA

AAMA Vice President

Upcoming Professional Development & Educational Opportunities


AAMA 2021 Annual Symposium – VIRTUAL
April 30-May 2, 2021

Medical Acupuncture Review Course – VIRTUAL
May-June 2021

SAR International Research Conference
June 14-16, 2021
Virtual event

ABMA Examination Session
June 27, 2021
Sheraton Suites, 6501 Mannheim Rd, Rosemont, IL (near Chicago O’Hare Airport)
Board Certification Process and Application

ICMART World Medical Acupuncture Congress
July 2-4, 2021
Athens, Greece

AAMA Website: Education Listings
The AAMA maintains an ongoing calendar of educational events and professional development opportunities related to medical acupuncture. The calendar is accessible on the AAMA website. Members are encouraged to share events and calendar items from their regions and about educational topics that may be of wider interest among peers and fellow AAMA members.

Established Medical Acupuncture Practice for Sale

AAMA member, Dr. Teresa Black, is selling a thriving, 24-year-old medical acupuncture practice in Marin County, California. 

She writes: “Twenty-four years ago I established a solo medical acupuncture practice in Marin County, CA. It has been a wonderful and successful cash-based practice with a lovely clientele. Due to high demand, I closed my practice to new patients about six years ago. I am now retiring and moving to Olympia, WA.   I had planned to retire in few years and move to Olympia, but with the COVID pandemic it became clear to me that I wanted to be close to family sooner. Most of my clients come regularly.  Some weekly, some biweekly and many monthly. They are anxious to have someone I would refer them to to continue treatments.  I am hoping to find the right practitioner to continue the practice. Read more about this wonderful practice opportunity.

AAMA News & Announcements

Welcome Our New AAMA Members

Please join us in welcoming the following new members who became part of the Academy in March 2021.

  • Kim Pham, DO, of Dallas, TX
  • Cynthia Wallis, DVM, LAc, of New Castle, CO
  • James N. Suojanen, MD, of Medfield, MA
  • Josephine A. Conte, DO, of Winthrop, ME
  • Carrie R Hyde, MD, of North Little Rock, AR
  • Winnifred Margaret Lin Kwan Wong, DO, of Davis, CA
  • Faleh Atassi, MD, of Valparaiso, IN
  • Brandi Flagg, MD, of Omaha, NE

If you have peers or colleagues who aren’t currently members of the AAMA, please encourage them to learn more about the benefits of membership by visiting the website or contacting Janice Brown, the membership committee chair.

Legislative Advocacy – Committee Update

The AAMA Legislative Committee is currently monitoring 36 bills that address acupuncture, chronic pain, opioids, and dry needling. Tennessee has passed a bill which will allow OTs to do dry needling. Activity of note includes:

  • The committee sent a letter of support for an amendment to restore practice rights to Oriental Medicine Practitioners in Ohio. Earlier this year legislation was passed removing their ability to prescribe herbal preparations under their licenses. 
  • A letter was sent to a WV state representative asking that acupuncture be included with other modalities to be covered by insurance. The current bill covers PT, OT, and chiropractic but fails to include acupuncture as a covered treatment for pain in place of opioids.
  •  Ohio AAMA members were updated on the new Medicaid regulations covering acupuncture services.
  • The committee is awaiting further information from the Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine regarding changes to regulations in acupuncture for physicians and Oriental Medicine practitioners.
  •  The committee is awaiting a response from the Department of Defense to a proposed federal rule change regarding TRICARE coverage for acupuncture.

Legislative tracking and advocacy are ongoing priorities of the AAMA Board of Directors. If you become aware of legislative issues/bills being proposed in your state that would affect medical acupuncturists, we encourage you to let us know. Contact the AAMA by email ( or phone (310-379-8261).

Jim Dowden, AAMA Executive Administrator, Passes Away

Headshot of man smiling

In a heartfelt email to AAMA members sent Wednesday, April 7, AAMA President, Freda Dreher, shared news that Jim Dowden, the long-time Executive Administrator of AAMA, had passed away peacefully at the end of March. “May Jim Dowden rest in peace with the comfort that we appreciate his many years of dedication to our organization and will remember him with love,” she wrote.

Jim’s daughter and business partner, Tracey Dowden, will assume Jim’s leadership role as executive director. She has worked with the AAMA for many years and will be an experienced leader who is familiar with the AAMA’s activities and initiatives. “I have absolutely no doubt that Tracey is exceedingly capable of serving as our executive director in such a way that will carry us through and beyond our first virtual symposium and into the next era of AAMA in which we will truly thrive,” wrote Dreher.

For additional information about Jim’s life, please view the full email.

2021 Medical Acupuncture Review Course
Virtual Lectures and Live Q&A with Faculty!

The Medical Acupuncture Review Course provides a broad-based refresher course on the major subject matter areas with which a well-trained physician should be familiar. The review course is especially useful as a refresher for (1) those who obtained their acupuncture training some time ago and for (2) those who are seeking an organized review prior to taking the ABMA Board Certification Examination.

The overall objectives of the Medical Acupuncture Review Course are for a participant to be able to:

  • Analyze and solidify previously acquired knowledge and experience in medical acupuncture
  • Organize and reinforce understanding of the basic material appropriate for a physician practicing acupuncture in North America
  • Differentiate and examine participant’s previous studies of certain specialized aspects of acupuncture not always utilized in traditional practice

Learn more about the 2021 Medical Acupuncture Review Course now. Register soon. Sessions begin May 7, 2021!

British National Institute for Health and Care Excellence Recommends Acupuncture

A newly released NICE guideline formally advises against the use of painkillers for unspecified chronic primary pain, recommending instead exercise, psychological therapy and acupuncture, among other treatments. Read the full article.

Call for Abstracts: 2021 SAR International Research Conference

The Society for Acupuncture Research recently sent out a call for abstracts and symposia for its 2021 International Research Conference. The conference theme is “Pandemics, Pain & Public Health: Roles and Relevance of Traditional East Asian Medicine.” The event is to be held as a virtual conference, June 14-16, 2021. Late-breaking Abstract Submission Deadline: Friday, May 7, 2021 (midnight EDT). More details.

Submit Your Clinical Pearls: Treating Osteoporosis

Medical Acupuncture, the official journal of the AAMA, publishes an interactive section called Clinical Pearls in each issue. For the next issue, we are seeking opinions and feedback about how to successfully treat osteoporosis in the elderly with acupuncture and/or Chinese herbs.

Please send your 500-750 word contribution for possible publication. Submissions should be in a Word document that contains your complete name, degrees, affiliation, mailing address, and full contact information, including telephone and fax numbers and e-mail address. Submission deadline: April 30, 2021.

Virtual Symposium

Last Chance to Register for the AAMA’s 2021 Virtual Annual Symposium

Participate in real time or access sessions on-demand when your schedule allows!

If you haven’t already made plans to participate in the AAMA 2021 Virtual Symposium, April 30-May 2, now’s the time to act. The sessions will maximize interaction between participants, faculty and industry specialists and on-demand recordings of each session will be available to attendees on the AAMA site until August 1, 2021.

Featured Speaker: Helene Langevin, MD, Director, NCCIH
Dr. Langevin will discuss the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health’s new Strategic Plan is focused on Whole Person Health, or helping individuals improve their health in multiple interconnected biopsychosocial domains. Acupuncture is an ancient practice that incorporates many of the principles of Whole Person Health. This talk with outline NCCIH’s strategic priorities on whole person health and explain who acupuncture fits into this framework.

Other Presentations Will Include: 

  • Basic Acupuncture Curriculum and Implementation At a Pediatric Academic Medical Center
  • New Science at the Tip of the Needle: How the Acus Foundation’s “Think Acupuncture First” Program at Nellis Air Force Base is Improving Care for Military Members Around the World
  • Aspects of Classical Herbalism and its Integration with Acupuncture
  • Using Food as Medicine: 5 Phase Dietetics in the Kitchen
  • A Day in the Life of the Family Medicine Acupuncturist
  • Tackling Maternal Obesity with Electroacupuncture
  • Predicting Clinical Response to Acupuncture in Treating Chronic Low Back Pain with Multi-dimensional Phenotyping and Machine-learning: Results from Two Clinical Trials
  • Qigong Exercise for Individuals with Chronic Pain and Parkinson’s Disease – Clinical Outcomes and Biomarker Findings
  • Advanced Acupuncture for Menopause
  • Using Electroacupuncture in Treating Several Chronic Pain Conditions and Practical Tools for Clinical Research on Acupuncture and Chronic Pain
  • One Needle and More: A Multidimensional Approach to Acupuncture and Pain
  • Somatotopic Mapping and Its Relevance to Chinese Medicine
  • Physical Examination Evidence of Six Stages Primary Channel Coupling: Pilot Study & Implication
  • Modern Science: Demonstrating Fundamental Principles of Traditional Chinese Acupuncture
  • Men’s Health: Chronic Prostatitis
  • An Evolutionary Biology Understanding of the Organ Systems and Channels
  • Integrating 6 Stages Principles with Biomechanics and Neuroanatomic Acupuncture for Treating Joint and Spine Pain
  • Pulse Diagnosis

Check out the AAMA website for additional Symposium details including registration.

Register Now for AAMA Pre-Symposium Workshops

Four optional, add-on workshops are available to learners who are seeking enhanced educational opportunities in addition to the Annual Symposium. Separate fees apply. Discounts available for learners who register for more than one workshop.

“Extraordinary Vessels: A Structural Approach – Integrating clinical and psychological presentations with structural examination findings to determine optimal EOV combinations” Presented by Joseph F Audette, MA, MD

The workshop will present the theory of Extraordinary Vessels (EOVs) with a focus on the practical application in order to determine the optimal EOV combination to treat a variety of chronic musculoskeletal pain and other clinical conditions. These methods will be developed as they relate to a Structural Acupuncture approach, integrating clinical and psychological information about the patient with physical exam findings to determine the best treatment approach. Based on this approach, careful palpation will uncover painful reflexes that direct us to specific EOV treatments. Participants will be encouraged to practice these techniques on themselves during the webinar, to enhance their ability to apply the techniques upon return to their own clinic. Case presentations, as well as practical demonstrations, will also be used.

“History, Clinical Applications, and Practice of Eight Treasures Qigong-Infusing Modern Medicine with Ancient Wisdom” Presented by Barbara de la Torre, MD, FAAMA

Watch a Sneak Peek Video of the Presentation!  

Qigong is the oldest branch in Chinese medicine, predating acupuncture. Medical qigong has tremendous applications to improve modern medicine for the health of both practitioners and patients. This workshop provides an in-depth introduction to one of the oldest qigong forms known as Ba Duan Jin, or Eight Treasures. This form is challenging enough to promote health without exhausting the practitioner. Participants will be able to review general principles and historical roots of qigong before diving into the practice of this form. Participants will leave with the ability to practice the form for self-cultivation of their own health while learning functions and clinical applications for their patients.

“Acupuncture as an Adjunctive Therapy in Post-Concussion Syndrome” Presented by Ayla Wolf, DAOM, LAc

Patients suffering from on-going post-concussion syndrome can have widely different clinical presentations. Research suggests a multi-disciplinary approach addressing the individual patient’s unique presentation is the key to success. This lecture explores the areas in which acupuncture can be used as an adjunctive therapy. We will cover acupuncture treatment strategies that address mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, sleep disorders, chronic pain, post-traumatic headaches, oculomotor dysfunction, dizziness, and vertigo.

“Introduction to Balance System Acupuncture” Presented by Sonia Tan, DAOM, RAc, RTCMP
This workshop will be LIVE only on April 29th at 8am PT and again at 3pm PT

This course is a modified condensed glance at the basic foundations of the main systems of Balance System Acupuncture, an evolution of the Balance Method. The systems are rooted in the concept of healing the body by balancing channels. Students will learn the history of the Balance Method/System, the basis of the systems, and the logical processes for determining the meridians to acupuncture, including an easy-to-use format to outline the treatment plan. A detailed explanation of the Mirroring and Imaging Formats will also be explained to assist participants in effective point selection. Dr. Tan will show how to use distal points in order to avoid aggravating the area of discomfort and will include demonstrations. Particular attention will be paid to musculo-skeletal conditions in this introductory level.

Learn more and register.

In Case You Missed It Last Month

Two Kinds of Acupuncture Can Relieve Pain in Cancer Survivors

After a three-year clinical trial that included 360 cancer survivors — the largest of its kind to date — Memorial Sloan Kettering researchers found that two types of acupuncture significantly reduced survivors’ chronic pain. In an interview, Jun Mao, Chief of the Integrative Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering, explains how the results published in JAMA Oncology on March, 18, 2021, could improve cancer care and hopefully lead to more insurance coverage for this therapy. Read the full interview.

Practice Acupuncture for Veterans

Working directly with Optum on behalf of AAMA members, the AAMA Legislative Committee recently assisted three members in successfully getting contracts to provide acupuncture services to veterans through the Community Care Network. Are you interested in additional information about how to practice acupuncture for veterans? Learn more.

New Scientific Research Related to Acupuncture 

Historical perspectives on using sham acupuncture in acupuncture clinical trials
[Integrative Medicine Research]
“Conclusions: There are significant problems with sham interventions and how they are applied in trials of acupuncture. Further research is needed to explore the effects of this both for future trials and for interpreting existing evidence.”

Acupuncture for post-stroke depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis
[BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies]
“The current review indicates that acupuncture has greater effect on PSD and better safety profile than antidepressants, but high-quality evidence evaluating acupuncture for PSD is still needed.”

Perioperative Electroacupuncture Can Accelerate the Recovery of Gastrointestinal Function in Cancer Patients Undergoing Pancreatectomy or Gastrectomy: A Randomized Controlled Trial
[Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine]
“Our study has shown that perioperative EA in patients undergoing pancreatectomy or gastrectomy was safe and efficient. EA was an effective measure to accelerate postoperative gastrointestinal function recovery. Patients undergoing PD, IORT surgery, TG, PG, or DGB-II could benefit from preoperative and postoperative EA treatment. EA can shorten parental nutrition maintenance, accelerate walking independently, and decrease hospital stay.”