Message from the AAMA Board

A Year of Action and Advocacy in Support of Medical Acupuncture

The Legislative Committee is tasked with monitoring state and national legislation that may affect AAMA members. In the past 14 months we have responded to bills and inquiries at the federal level and in 18 states and the District of Columbia: Arizona, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Florida, New Jersey, South Dakota, Hawaii, New York, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Washington, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin. The majority of these bills fell into four categories.

Coverage for Acupuncture Services

The AAMA supports inclusion of acupuncture as a paid service for treatment of conditions like chronic pain and substance use disorder. Several bills promoted coverage of acupuncture by Medicaid and private insurers. However, as in the case of Medicare, we stated that the reimbursement rate must be commensurate with other procedures requiring specialized training and expertise otherwise physicians will not be able to provide this service to their patients.

Acupuncture for Substance Use Disorder

The Legislative Committee endorsed legislation in seven states that advocated for acupuncture as a treatment for Substance Use Disorder or as an alternative to opioids.

Dry Needling

Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia now permit physical therapists to perform dry needling. Requirements vary from state to state, but many require 50 hours of classroom and hands-on training before PTs may add this technique to their practices. While the AAMA’s official position has been that dry needling is not within the scope of practice for PTs, we are recommending guidelines for training. This is important since athletic trainers and PT assistants are now petitioning state legislatures to grant them permission to do dry needling as well.


Many legislators and insurance administrators do not understand that DOs and MDs may train to provide acupuncture just as licensed acupuncturists do. The Legislative Committee has encountered several instances where bills regulating the practice of acupuncture excluded medical acupuncturists or restricted our ability to provide this service. For example the District of Columbia licensing board changed regulations so that physicians had to be board certified by the American Board of Medical Acupuncture before being able to practice. However, the AMBA requires two years of clinical experience and 500 acupuncture treatments before applying for certification. Gavin Elliot, the Legislative Committee co-chair, convinced DC’s licensing board to overturn the new regulations since new medical acupuncturists would never be able to gain the clinical experience to become certified.

The Legislative Committee will continue to watch for bills that affect our AAMA members and respond to the authors and co-sponsors appropriately. We will also contact you when legislation in your state may affect your ability to practice acupuncture. We ask that you write your representatives and senators since they prefer to hear directly from their constituents. Together we can advance medical acupuncture for our patients who depend on us.

Donna Pittman, MD, FAAMA
Co-chair, AAMA Legislative Committee
Member, AAMA Board of Directors

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


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

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

2021 Medical Acupuncture Review Course
Virtual event
Details coming soon.

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.

AAMA News & Announcements

Welcome New & Returning AAMA Members

Please join us in welcoming the following new and returning members who became part of the Academy in December 2020.

New Members:

  • Anthony Ohotto, MD, of Portland, OR
  • Andrew Jurovcik, DO, of Pike Road, AL
  • Yuping Wu, DO, LAc, of Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Returning Members:

  • Amit Tailor, MD, DABMA, of Hasbrouck Heights, NJ
  • Megan Britton, MBBS, of Belfast, ME
  • David Kamlet, MD, of New York, NY

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 Earns ABMA Certification

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

  • Jenniene Foster, MD, DABMA, of Flagstaff, AZ

Learn more about DABMA certification and recertification.

Legislative Advocacy – Committee Update

As described in detail above, 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:

  • Researching and selecting a new legislative tracking platform for the committee to use in its monitoring efforts.
  • Working with members regarding the matter of AAMA members not getting contracts with Optum to provide acupuncture services to veterans through the Community Care Network. Contact has been made with the VHA Office of CCN Management and with an agent from Optum.

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).

Deadline January 29: 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.

Save the Dates: AAMA’s 2021 Virtual Annual Symposium

The Symposium Committee is transforming the Annual Symposium into a virtual event you won’t want to miss! The Symposium will explore the mechanisms of acupuncture from several different perspectives and examine current scientific research in the field of medical acupuncture, offering the opportunity to earn CME through plenary sessions and concurrent sessions — all from the comfort of your office or home. The virtual sessions will maximize interaction between participants, faculty and industry specialists.

On-demand recordings will also be available to registered participants for a time following the meeting dates so you can take advantage of all educational options.

Speaker/topic SNEAK PEEK!
Finalized program details will be available in the next several weeks, but below are a few of the speakers/topics that have been confirmed:

  • Jennfer J. Dilts, DO, DABMA – “Basic Acupuncture Curriculum and Implementation at a Pediatric Academic Medical Center”
  • David Carr, MD, PhD – “Tackling Maternal Obesity with Electroacupuncture”
  • Jason Oreskovich, DO, DABMA & Kendra Unger, MD, FAAMA – “A Day in the Life of the Family Medicine Acupuncturist”
  • Peter Dorsher, MD – “Meridian Analysis in Sports: Long Kinetic Chain and the Use of Manual Therapy and Acupuncture”
  • Larissa Bresler, MD, DABMA – “Men’s Health: Chronic Prostatitis”
  • And much more! Additional details including final program details will be announced in the coming weeks.

Check out the AAMA website for more Symposium details as they are announced.

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.

Clinical Pearls Request – How Do You Treat Psoriasis?

The official journal of the AAMA, Medical Acupuncture, publishes physician comments, or Clinical Pearls, in each issue. Share your expertise! This month the question is: How do you treat psoriasis with acupuncture and/or Chinese Herbs? Submit your feedback by 2/21/21 for possible publication in Medical Acupuncture.

In Case You Missed It Last Month

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.

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 


Effect of acupuncture on capillary refill time in healthy adults: A clinical study

[Microvascular Research]

Capillary refill time decreased significantly after acupuncture on only KI3. Quantitative CRT decreased significantly after acupuncture on KI3 and LI4. Heart rate changed significantly after acupuncture on KI3 and ST36.


The Role of Acupuncture Improving Cognitive Deficits due to Alzheimer’s Disease or Vascular Diseases through Regulating Neuroplasticity

[Neural Plasticity]

In view of acupuncture’s therapeutic efficiency and regulation of neuroplasticity, it may be beneficial to develop acupuncture as a potentially promising therapy for Alzheimer’s Disease and vascular cognitive impairment. However, the exact mechanisms underlying acupuncture’s influence on neuroplasticity is still unknown.


The mechanism of electroacupuncture for depression on basic research: a systematic review

[Chinese Medicine]

Treatment of depression by EA involves multiple therapeutic mechanisms, including inhibition of HPA axis hyperactivity and inflammation, regulation of neuropeptides and neurotransmitters, modulation of the expression of particular genes, restoration of hippocampal synaptic plasticity, increased expression of BDNF, and regulation of several signaling pathways.