Message from the AAMA Board

AAMA’s Productive, Pandemic Year

As I begin to reflect and write this piece for the final newsletter of 2020, I couldn’t help but visualize the beauty of a swan, swimming peacefully on a quiet calm lake. All the while, under the surface, its legs are paddling with the force and velocity of an Olympic crew champion. This most historic year is one I suspect we all are anxious to exit and move into 2021.

In spite of it all, your Academy Board of Directors has been hard at work keeping the day-to-day operations of our organization going and effectively dealing with the challenges of the pandemic and its effects on our medical acupuncture practices.

AAMA committee members, too, have been diligently working in their respective areas of expertise.

  • The Symposium Program Committee, facing the significant challenge of transforming a popular in-person event into an interactive, compelling virtual event has met the obstacles head on and has planned an excellent program for April 2021.
  • The Education Committee has set records putting together virtual educational opportunities for CME. The AAMA’s webinars this year have covered a vast array of topics with speakers of the highest caliber.
  • The Legislative Committee has maintained a most efficient and thorough command of legal issues that continue to evolve at both state and national levels, as acupuncture continues to work its way into mainstream western medicine.
  • Social media has been a priority this year, as the Communications Committee worked to make our field more accessible to all and to bridge the lay and medical communities. The more we share about what we do as medical acupuncturists, the better.

This is just some of the important work being accomplished by the AAMA’s committees under the leadership of your Board. Their individual and collective efforts play a vital role in advancing medical acupuncture as it continues to integrate into our allopathic, western medicine.

As we move into 2021, I, and the rest of the AAMA Board of Directors, wish you and your loved ones a very blessed, happy, healthy and safe holiday season.

Gerald J. Leglue, Jr., MD, FAAMA
Immediate past president of AAMA

Serve on the AAMA Board of Directors and/or Committees

The Academy is a member-driven organization. Members of the Academy serve on the Board of Directors and on Committees advising the Board and make decisions regarding the priorities, programs and activities of our organization. They help guide the future of the Academy. All members are invited to take part in this volunteer governance process. You can take on a small task with a clearly defined time commitment, or you can play a more significant leadership role as a member of a standing committee or as a Board member. Committee volunteers are welcome year-round. The Board of Directors holds elections in the spring each year, when Directors and Officers are chosen by the members to guide the Academy for the following year. If you are interested in being considered for a seat on the Board of Directors, please reach out and let us know. We welcome your inquiry! Learn more.

Upcoming Professional Development & Educational Opportunities


VI SAME Symposium: Medical Acupuncture: Evidence-based Medicine
Spanish Medical Acupuncture Society (SAME)
Early-bird rates until January 3, 2021.
January 16, 2021
4-8pm (Madrid, UTC/GMT +1)

AAMA Webinar – Auricular Acupuncture in Sleep Disorders
Presented by Gary Stanton, MD, DABMA
New 1-Hour Live Webcast
8pm EDT, 7pm CDT, 5pm PDT
Wednesday, January 13, 2021

AAMA Webinar – Medical Acupuncture in the Practice of Integrative Neurology
Presented by Mitch Elkiss, DO, FAAMA
New 1-Hour Live Webcast
8pm EDT, 7pm CDT, 5pm PDT
Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Integrative Healthcare Symposium
January 14-16, 2021
New York, NY

2021 Medical Acupuncture Review Course
Virtual event
Details coming soon.

AAMA 2021 Annual Symposium- VIRTUAL
April 30-May 2, 2021
Save the date!

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

AAMA News & Announcements

Welcome New & Returning AAMA Members

Please join us in welcoming the following new member who became part of the Academy in November 2020:

  • Norman R. Hurst, DO, MS of Fairfield, CA
  • Mark T. Fisher, MD, of Olathe, KS
  • Stefani L. Diedrich, MD, of Shalimar, FL

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. Remember: Your recommendation could earn you $50 if the individual joins the AAMA!

Physician Completes 10-Year ABMA Recertification Process

Congratulations to the following physician who has completed the process set by the American Board of Medical Acupuncture (ABMA) to be re-certified as a Diplomate for another 10 years:

  • Lynn A. Gershan, MD, DABMA, of Minneapolis, MN

Learn more about DABMA certification and recertification.

Legislative Advocacy – Committee Update

The AAMA Legislative Committee works to advocate for and protect AAMA members’ rights on a number of critical fronts. During the last month, the committee has focused efforts on these issues:

  • Evaluating options for new, affordable legislative tracking software that will allow monitoring of key subjects like dry needling, integrative medicine, Medicare, and veterans’ health in addition to acupuncture.
  • Communicating with ASA Legislative Committee chair regarding upcoming legislation on dry needling. Thirty-seven states and DC already permit physical therapists with additional training to do dry needling. Our attention will turn to organizations of athletic trainers, PT assistants, and occupational therapists who may request dry needling permission next.
  • Working with AAMA members who continue to have problems getting contracts with Optum to provide acupuncture services to veterans through the Community Care Network. We have reached out to a contact at the VHA Office of CCN Management for assistance in achieving a resolution.

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 by email or give us a call at 310-379-8261.

Support the NO PAIN Act in Congress

The Non-Opioids Prevent Addiction in the Nation (NOPAIN) Act (H.R. 5172/S. 3067) is bipartisan legislation designed to incentivize the utilization of non-opioid pain management approaches by addressing outdated federal reimbursement policy. Among other things, it expands access to non-addictive drugs, biologics, and medical devices that have been clinically proven to replace or reduce opioid consumption in a clinical trial or a peer-reviewed journal and, for five years, applies to all treatments provided in all outpatient surgical settings. Read about the NOPAIN Act and consider contacting your Congressperson if you support the legislation.

AHRQ Protocol on Integrated Pain Management – Deadline: December 21

The Evidence-based Practice Center (EPC) Program at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has posted the protocol for Integrated Pain Management Programs and seeks feedback and additional supporting research. The purpose of the comment and review period is to evaluate the effectiveness and harms of integrated pain management programs and describe contextual, process and structural factors that may impact outcomes particularly in the Medicare population.

Allen McDaniels Grant – Medical Acupuncture Research Foundation

The AAMA’s Medical Acupuncture Research Foundation was established to draw attention to the important work our members are doing and to support clinical and scientific research relating to medical acupuncture. The annual Allen McDaniels Grant – Medical Acupuncture Research Foundation awards up to $30,000 to a qualified applicant. All current AAMA members are eligible to apply for the grant. Deadline January 29, 2021. Learn more and apply.

New AAMA Webinar: Auricular Acupuncture in Sleep Disorders

Presented by Gary Stanton, MD, DABMA
New 1-Hour Live Webcast
8pm EDT, 7pm CDT, 5pm PDT
Wednesday, January 13, 2021
Details and registration.

This webinar will focus primarily on French auriculotherapy as taught at the University of Paris XI. Sleep neurophysiology will be briefly reviewed in general. Then specific sleep disorders including insomnia, hot flushes, sleep apnea, and restless legs syndrome will be discussed with respect to their pathophysiologies as the basis for auricular acupuncture treatments. References to traditional acupuncture and Chinese auricular acupuncture will be included where appropriate. Obstacles to treatment will be discussed. The main questions to be addressed will be: When it is appropriate to consider auricular acupuncture in sleep disorders, and which auriculotherapy treatment protocols may considered in the specific sleep disorder syndromes under discussion?

New AAMA Webinar – Medical Acupuncture in the Practice of Integrative Neurology

Presented by Mitch Elkiss, DO, FAAMA
New 1-Hour Live Webcast
8pm EDT, 7pm CDT, 5pm PDT
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Details and registration.

Neurology has helped explain some of the mysteries of acupuncture. Medical acupuncture has enriched the practice of traditional neurology. Integrative neurology refers to the blended use of these two disciplines. Basic neuroscience research into the mechanisms of acupuncture and clinical approaches gleaned over the past forty years will be presented and discussed. Questions will be welcomed.

Discounted Rates for AAMA Members: Upcoming VI SAME Symposium

The Spanish Medical Acupuncture Society (SAME) has extended an invitation to AAMA members to attend the VI SAME Symposium, “Medical Acupuncture: Evidence-based Medicine,” which will take place on January 16, 2021, from 4-8pm (Madrid, UTC/GMT +1). Lectures will be presented in Spanish and English with subtitles in English and Spanish. Special discounted rates for medical acupuncture organizations, including AAMA, and early-bird rates until January 3, 2021. Learn more.

In Case You Missed It Last Month

2021 Annual Seminar Going Virtual
For the 2021 Symposium, the Board of Directors and Program Committee have made the decision to hold a virtual meeting as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Virtual Symposium will take place April 30-May 2, 2021 – please mark your calendars now. Further details, including times and presenters, will be announced in the coming weeks and months.

New AAMA Website In the Works
The AAMA website is transitioning to a more user-friendly platform with added features for our members — and for our physician colleagues and patients. Not all functions are up and running at this time. Please pardon our construction as we build a better site to serve our members. And let us know if you need something you can’t access.

Clinical Registry: COVID-19 and Integrative Health
Call for participation: a clinical registry aiming to capture key case, treatment/supportive care, and outcome variables related to the use of traditional, complementary, and integrative health and medicine products and practices in response to the COVID-19 crisis. More.

New Scientific Research Related to Acupuncture 


Do the effects of acupuncture vary between acupuncturists? Analysis of the Acupuncture Trialists’ Collaboration individual patient data meta-analysis
[Acupuncture in Medicine]
“Although differences in effects between acupuncturists were greater than expected by chance, the degree of variation was small. This suggests that most chronic pain patients in clinical practice would have similar results to those reported in high-quality trials; comparably, we did not find evidence to suggest that greater standardization of acupuncture practice would improve outcomes.”

Electroacupuncture vs Prucalopride for Severe Chronic Constipation
[The American Journal of Gastroenterology]
Electroacupuncture was noninferior to prucalopride in relieving severe chronic constipation with a good safety profile. The effects of 8-week electroacupuncture could sustain for 24 weeks after treatment. Electroacupuncture is a promising noninferior alternative for severe chronic constipation.

Efficacy and Safety of Electroacupuncture for Insomnia Disorder: A Multicenter, Randomized, Assessor-Blinded, Controlled Trial
[Nature and Science of Sleep]
Ten sessions of electroacupuncture can improve the sleep quality of patients with insomnia without serious adverse effects. Thus, it can be recommended as an effective, safe, and well-tolerated intervention.