American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

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  • 16 Mar 2017 2:12 PM | AAAOM Admin (Administrator)

    2016 Acupuncturist Landmarks in Focus  

    By

    Rhonda Bathurst, LAc.

    PPC Chair and Director of the Board


    • The CDC recommends nonpharmacologic therapy as frontline treatment for chronic pain.1


    • Acupuncture is more effective than intravenous morphine in the Emergency Department, 2 according to a study published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine.  


    • A recommendation to establish a new code for this distinct occupation, “29- 1291 Acupuncturists,” is made by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) Standard Occupational Classification Policy Committee (SOCPC). 3  


    • When providing services in health system and hospital facilities within 43 states, licensed acupuncturists are credentialed as Licensed Independent Practitioners to be in compliance with The Joint Commission quality assurance standard for healthcare system accreditation. 4  


    • 46 states regulate the profession [47 as of 3/6/2017], clearly defining educational, credentialing, and practice standards.5  


    • The Kansas Acupuncture Practice Act is signed into law by Governor Brownback in May 2016. 6 [Governor Matt Mead signs the Wyoming Acupuncture Practice Act into law on 3/6/2017].7 Proposed acupuncturist licensing laws are considered in the three remaining unregulated states.


    • The American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM) historic federal bills debut in the U.S. Congress as the “Acupuncture for Heroes and Seniors Act of 2015.” Sponsor Congresswoman Judy Chu champions the proposed law which permanently opens access to qualified licensed acupuncturists by veterans, military, seniors, disabled, and more.8  


    • Congress and the United States Department of Veteran Affairs modify the operating parameters of the temporary VA Choice Program, and TriWest receives approval in January 2016 to extend clinically authorized episodes of care as appropriate for certain conditions, from the previous 60 days, up to one year. 9 [Claim payments are brought current in January 2017.] 9  



    References


    1. Center for Disease Control. 2016 CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain. [Online]. [Cited: January 9, 2017.] https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/rr/rr6501e1.htm


    2. Grissa, Baccouche, et al. Acupuncture vs intravenous morphine in the management of acute pain in the ED. American Journal of Emergency Medicine. 2016;34(11):2112-2116.

    http://www.ajemjournal.com/article/S0735-6757(16)30422-3/fulltext


    3. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) Standard Occupational Classification Policy Committee Standard Occupation Code Docket 2018 Response. [Online] [Cited: January 9, 2017.] https://www.bls.gov/soc/2018/soc_2018_docket_responses.pdf


    4. Gale, M. Hospital Practice: Recognition of Acupuncturist as a Licensed Independent Practitioner (LIP) Meridians. 2016; 3(4): 11-16. [Online] [Cited January 9, 2017] http://www.meridiansjaom.com/files/MERIDIANSJAOM_A003.4.pdf


    5. Gale, M. Ho Hospital Practice: Recognition of Acupuncturist as a Licensed Independent Practitioner (LIP) Meridians. 2016; 3(4): 11-16. [Online] [Cited January 9, 2017] http://www.meridiansjaom.com/files/MERIDIANSJAOM_A003.4.pdf


    6. Kansas Acupuncture Practice Act 2016. [Online] [Cited January 9, 2017] http://www.kslegislature.org/li_2016/b2015_16/measures/hb2615/


    7. Wyoming Acupuncture Practice Act 2017 [Online][Cited March 7, 2017] http://legisweb.state.wy.us/2017/Enroll/HB0165.pdf


    8. H.R.3849 (114th): Acupuncture for Heroes and Seniors Act of 2015. [Online] [Cited January 9, 2017.] https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/hr3849/text


    9. TriWest [Online] [Cited March 7, 2017] https://vapccc.triwest.com/PCCCWeb/index.html#/provider-home 10https://www.facebook.com/aaaomonline/


  • 14 Mar 2017 1:21 PM | AAAOM Admin (Administrator)

    Guest Blogger: Steven H. Stumpf, EdD

    COMPARISON OF THE TWO “BEST” ACUPUNCTURIST WORKFORCE SURVEYS

    The 2015 OA and the 2013 NCCAOM Job Task Analysis are state of the art when it comes to describing how acupuncturists go about earning a living. Knowledge of acupuncturist work habits has been slightly better than hearsay. My co-authors and I prepared a manuscript that compares the findings from the two surveys. Findings were not too unlike what myself and co-authors found in our 2010 publication on the same topic.

    Before we get to the findings I would like to discuss why these are so important now. The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) recently announced that acupuncture would receive its own SOC – Standard Occupation Classification. There has never been a singular SOC for acupuncture before, the reasons for which are not relevant now. The “award” of our own SOC is important because (i) acupuncturists are now recognized as a distinct medical/health profession, and (ii) the profession must collect its own workforce survey data.

    If acupuncturists had jobs along the lines of nursing, physical therapy or imaging technology then the federal government would collect the data. However, because three quarter of all acupuncturists work in a private practice of some kind we must collect our own data; at least if we do not want to wait until five or six years when the IRS will collect our data from individual tax returns. I suppose we have waited more than thirty years we can wait another half dozen. However, waiting that long would delay benefits available to health professions that can help and improve work prospects for the profession. An example would be eligibility for training funds to support expansion, especially into the mainstream.

    Our paper Comparing Workforce Outcomes for the Two Most Recognized Acupuncturist Workforce Surveys has been accepted for publication in an integrative medicine journal. We spent almost two years pulling together the original data from the two surveys: NCCAOM and the California Occupational Professional Exam Services. There are drawbacks with both surveys which I will not discuss here. I am waiting for a timeline to publication.

    Both surveys are primarily focused on something other than collecting workforce information. Both surveys use different scales for key items such as income ranges and part time versus full time work. We need a standard survey focused on acupuncture practice. Fortunately, there are standard models for such a survey favored by the BLS. We could easily adapt these to create a standard acupuncturist workforce survey. Such as survey would have to demonstrate endorsement of the profession. Anyone who has worked with our collection of professional groups that claim to represent acupuncturists will understand how challenging it can be to forge consensus.

    The findings are not encouraging, especially when compared to other health professions. I also believe they will not be unfamiliar to working acupuncturists.

    • 70% to 80% of acupuncturists work fewer than 40 hours weekly
    • approximately 76% work in solo practice or in shared space with other acupuncturists
    • 5% to 6% work in a “mainstream” setting
    • more than 70% of the national sample have been in practice fifteen years or less
    • median income is between $40,000 and $50,000.
    • a preponderance of acupuncturists is less than fifty years of age, and fewer than 15% of all respondents have been in practice more than 20 years.

    There are more findings and much more useful discussion in the paper which I hope everyone will read. These findings are very similar to those described in our 2010 publication which compared survey reports – not actual data - from the same sources. It is puzzling to me that there seems to be only minor interest in this information. I wonder if this has something to do with the view many acupuncturists have that acupuncture is an alternative medicine and not part of the mainstream. I am fairly certain income and practice time is driven down because so few acupuncturists seem to participate in the medical mainstream. It would appear a substantial number of acupuncturists leave the profession altogether within ten years. Is this because they just give up on earning a living?

    What does the future hold for the acupuncture profession? We are in a seminal moment. Gainful Employment guidelines which focus on for profit schools - have placed enormous pressure on acupuncture schools - most of which are for profit. Whatever it is that is taught in acupuncture schools would seem to be uncorrelated with earning a living This is the gist of gainful employment. The President of ACAOM has announced twice in the past 18 months that a third to half of all acupuncture schools will close under pressure from the federal the gainful employment initiative. This federal initiative known as Gainful Employment squarely aims at predatory vocation schools and programs whose graduates are unable to earn a living sufficient to pay down their federal loans. What will that mean for the future of training programs and the profession? How well prepared are AOM schools to demonstrate successful workforce outcomes for their graduates? What does it mean for the current and future workforce if 20 to 30 schools close by late 2018?

    I hope to cover these questions in a future post.

    Steven H. Stumpf, EdD

    NGAOM Vice President Research and Education


  • 02 Dec 2016 12:51 PM | AAAOM Admin (Administrator)

    One of our favorite projects in the field is a volunteer group called Global Acupuncture Project (GAP). They are doing innovative work to help people around the world to fight HIV/AIDS and other debilitating diseases affecting the indigenous cultures. GAP is a nonprofit organization, and always looking for volunteers. We at AAAOM have such respect for their work, so we wanted to highlight GAP and their needs. Below is a description of their mission, work, and needs. We hope that this helps to spread awareness. 

    Here are their current works:

    1. We have partnered with Kisoro Hospital, Kalisizo Hospital, and Biikira Health Center and successfully created a permanent acupuncture department in each. Our next partnership will take place in a city called Mbale, where we are working with the District Health Officer to create permanent acupuncture departments in facilities within this district. We will continue to train providers and expand the creation of acupuncture departments across the country. All of this work is accomplished in partnership with the Ugandan Ministry of Health.


    2. We have partnered with Shanti Uganda to train their midwives and secure acupuncture's permanent place within women's healthcare.


    3. We helped our Trainees create the Uganda Society of Acupuncture Protocol Specialists (USAPS), the first such association within Uganda. USAPS will keep acupuncturists in contact with one another to provide mutual support, educate the public, and advocate for the integration of acupuncture within the health-care system. GAP will continue to provide support for USAPS.



    From Global Acupuncture Project:


    GAP teaches local healthcare workers how to use simple and effective acupuncture techniques that enable them to treat the symptoms associated with HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB, dengue, and other debilitating conditions.


    The first training program conducted by the Boston-based Global Acupuncture Project was the culmination of two years of preparation and the expression of a dream to bring acupuncture to people in Africa who are struggling with HIV/AIDS. In 2003, three licensed acupuncturists from the United States began an intensive, two-week acupuncture training program in Kampala, Uganda. The trainings were conducted at the KISWA Health Centre, a clinic that focuses on care for those who are HIV+. The Trainee class of 13 local health-care providers included midwives, physiotherapists, a traditional healer, and medical doctors.


    In 2013, GAP partnered with Doctors for Global Health (DGH) to conduct its first training in Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, Mexico. Our shared approach and philosophy is to serve communities through health promoter training and sharing of cultural knowledge, to address not only specific disease states, but also the individual, social, and economic factors that affect health.


    Today, GAP has trained over 300 health-care workers in Uganda and southern Mexico, provides ongoing support and training to participants and advocates for better integration of alternative therapies into health-care systems. Since its founding, more than 80,000 people have been treated by GAP-trained health workers who incorporate acupuncture into their patient care.



    2. GAP services and needs.


    GAP encourages community empowerment and wellness by training local health-care providers and health promoters to use simple, effective acupuncture protocols to treat the symptoms of HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, dengue, and other debilitating conditions. Treatments, as provided by the Trainees, serve to reduce pain and suffering and improve quality of life. GAP works with local governmental and nongovernmental agencies and health-care facilities to improve access to and effectiveness of care through collaboration with Western and traditional health-care modalities. Since 2003, GAP has trained more than 300 local health-care workers in Kenya, Mexico, and Uganda. These Trainees provide more than 50,000 treatments per year.


    Oaxaca is home to the largest number of indigenous peoples in Mexico, with more than 16 different ethnic groups, each with their own unique language and culture. Yet, with all the richness in culture, the state of Oaxaca trails behind the rest of Mexico in its health and economic indicators. It is one the poorest regions in the country, with the average daily income less than half of the national average. Oaxaca faces challenges in literacy, sanitation, unemployment, and access to healthcare services. Indigenous communities in Mexico have an infant mortality rate that is 58 percent higher, a life expectancy five years lower than the national average, and there is only one hospital bed per every 1,000 residents. This severely stretched health infrastructure underscores the need for less expensive, more community-based and grassroots-led network of health care providers. The promotion of traditional healing practices as natural and inexpensive alternatives to conventional medicine is the cornerstone of our vision to empower communities to strengthen their own health and wellbeing.


    To best serve Tehuantepec and the surrounding communities, GAP has created a new program: El Proyecto Acupuntura del Pueblo. This program will include a clinic and training center in Tehuantepec, with satellite clinics spread out throughout the surrounding areas. GAP/PAP will continue to train and support its previous Trainees at this clinic, and the clinic will also employ the Trainees to run the clinic and its satellites. Volunteer licensed acupuncturists from GAP will provide ongoing trainings for new providers and advanced trainings for its certified Trainees.


    GAP Trainers teach new providers the basic principles and techniques of acupuncture. The program consists of three week-long sessions spread out over a year during which time they learn safe, effective, protocol-based treatments. An examination is given at the end of the first week to determine if the Trainee has gained the necessary skills and understanding to become a certified Acupuncture Protocol Specialist.


    Between each training session, Trainees are expected to practice and improve their skills by providing acupuncture to patients. After the 3rd training, Trainees continue to provide acupuncture treatments at the main clinic in Tehuantepec and at satellite clinics throughout the surrounding communities. GAP provides Trainees with the necessary acupuncture supplies and conducts periodic refresher and advanced-training sessions. GAP maintains access to these Trainees via email, text messaging, and the local coordinator.



    3. The Project’s target population.

    Indigenous communities in Mexico live on the margins of Mexican society, with higher levels of poverty, poorer health outcomes, lower life expectancies, and poor academic performance (Sevran-Mori et al, 2014). Their clothing and food often have cultural and traditional ties and that they have a strong affiliation towards community, local organizing, and traditional forms of medicine. They also have a preference for traditional healers such as herbalists, massage specialists and spiritual healers.

    Over the course of one year, GAP will train new health-care workers, who will then provide care for approximately 3,000 people in Oaxaca over one year. GAP will also provide advanced training for previous participants. One hundred percent of Trainees will be from the communities in which they will ultimately serve.



    4. Specific objectives and outcomes of the program. How we evaluate the impact of our services.


    Program Objectives:


    Empower thousands of residents of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, Mexico and surrounding areas to live healthy, prosperous, autonomous lives by improving access to culturally-sensitive, integrated acupuncture education, care and support in the communities where they live. Specific objectives are:


    1. Empower program participants with basic acupuncture skills through three one-week training sessions led by volunteer licensed acupuncturists;

    2. Increase access to effective and affordable acupuncture at both community and city levels, including providing 3,000 treatment sessions each year;

    3. Provide the skills and expertise for certified Trainees to earn a living wage by offering low-cost acupuncture treatment in the communities they serve.


    Project Outcomes:

    1. Increased access to and usage of acupuncture as a means to relieve the burden of acute, chronic, and environmental health concerns.

    2. Increased understanding of preventative health, and indigenous peoples’ right to quality health care services.

    3. Improved economic stability for Community Health Workers.


    Program Evaluation:

    To monitor progress and evaluate overall project impact, GAP will design a comprehensive, monitoring and evaluation plan to be an essential management tool to support GAP’s commitment to accountability, efficient use of donor resources, and effectiveness of interventions. Through a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods, GAP will monitor progress towards project objectives.


    Biannual statistics will be collected on Trainees and their patient interactions, consultations, and utilization of acupuncture services. Periodic testing to evaluate subject matter retention will be conducted, in addition to providing regular opportunities for current and former trainees to share best practices with other program participants and practitioners.



  • 03 Oct 2016 8:42 PM | AAAOM Admin (Administrator)

                Earlier this month we were contacted by a reporter from the O magazine looking for information on innovative Acupuncturists volunteering their time and helping at-risk people that would otherwise not have access to our care. We reached out to our members and to Acupuncturists on Facebook, and the response was overwhelming! So many of you are contributing countless hours and your time/treasure/and talents toward helping others. I think that is one of the aspects of our profession that is so unique and amazing--our compassion and willingness to help others. Not that other professions do not do this, but over and over again you will meet acupuncturists giving of themselves without any expectation of return or glory. Due to this, I thought we could take some time to highlight the individuals that were brought to our attention (keep in mind, there are many, many more). If you know of someone that should be on this list that has a unique volunteering project, please contact us.

    **If you would like more information or would like to volunteer and are looking for connections, please contact us at admin@aaaomonline.org**

    In no particular order, here is some of the great work going on in the field:

    • Global Acupuncture Project http://globalacupuncture.org/
    Also known as the PanAfrican Acupuncture Project, trains local healthcare workers to use simple and effective acupuncture techniques that enable them to treat the symptoms associated with HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB, and other debilitating conditions.
    • Integrative Care Outreach, Seattle, WA https://integrativecareoutreach.org/mission/
    Our mission is to provide quality holistic and integrative health care for people experiencing homelessness and low income.
    • Project Buena Vista http://projectbuenavista.org/aboutus.html
    Project Buena Vista believes that we will reach our conservation mission by providing educational opportunities and health care to the people who live in the rain forest. Buena Vista is a 100 acre property located in the cultural zone of the Manu Biosphere Reserve in southeastern Peru. The place provides an ideal living laboratory for students of all levels and nationalities.
    • Wendy Henry with Acupuncture Mobile Services, New York City, NY http://acupuncturemobileservices.com/
    Reaches out to the communities it seeks to serve bringing Acupuncture, Imagery and Stress Reduction services into the community. Acupuncture Mobile Services has offered services in the New York City area since "9-11" and provided services in Louisiana post Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. 
    • Outside In, Portland OR, http://outsidein.org/index.php/about-us/
    Our mission is to help homeless youth and other marginalized people move towards improved health and self-sufficiency.
    • Traditional Roots Healthcare, St. Paul MN, http://www.traditionalrootshc.org/about.html
    Traditional Roots Healthcare is a Minnesota based, 501c3, non-profit dedicated to heal, strengthen and empower through traditional medicine.Our vision is to organize sustainable, safe, and culturally diverse healing spaces that incorporate elements of traditional medicine such as, acupuncture, herbal medicine, dietary and lifestyle guidance. Especially for underserved communities affected by acute, chronic, secondary and generational trauma.
    • The Fountain Project, Bay Area CA http://fountainproject.org/
    The Fountain Project Foundation, Inc., consists of volunteer health workers from Eastern and Western traditions striving to provide free medical treatment to the underprivileged and those with low income.
    • The Immune Enhancement Project, Portland OR http://www.itmonline.org/iep/
    IEP is a medical specialty clinic where therapy is offered primarily for patients with cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, stroke recovery, chronic pain, and HIV infection.
    •  Returning Veterans Project Oregon & Washington https://www.returningveterans.org/
    Our volunteer providers are mental health professionals, acupuncturists, naturopaths, chiropractors, massage therapists, and other complementary health care practitioners. We believe it is our collective responsibility to offer support and healing for the short and long-term repercussions of war zone service on veterans and their families.
    • Sign of Jonah Partnerships in Healing, Washington D.C. http://www.sojpartners.org/
    Sign of Jonah Partnerships in Healing accesses the wisdom of nature and communities to manifest physical and emotional well-being through heart-centered education, treatment and wellness partnerships. 
    • Tara Spalty with Streetside Acupuncture Project, San Francisco CA  http://www.slowpokeacu.com/mobile-sessions/
    Streetside Acupuncture is a pop-up, mobile community acupuncture clinic that comes to your site to provide acupuncture for a group of people. In collaboration with Saint Francis Homelessness Challenge; A Woman's Place women and transgender shelter; and Homeless Youth Alliance
    • CORE El Centro, El Centro CA http://www.core-elcentro.org/mission/
    CORE/El Centro offers healing to all individuals and communities and has a passion to create access for those who are of low income. We provide integrative healing therapies designed to nourish body, mind, and spirit in a culturally sensitive environment. 
    • Chicago Women's Health Center, Chicago, IL http://www.chicagowomenshealthcenter.org/about
     Chicago Women's Health Center facilitates the empowerment of women and trans*people by providing access to health care and health education in a respectful environment where people pay what they can afford.
    • Trauma Healing Center, Eugene OR http://healingattention.org/center/
    The Trauma Healing Project was initiated ten years ago by a coalition of survivors, lay community members, professionals, students and researchers concerned about the negative impact of trauma on individual and community health.  We believe that in order to improve the quality of life in our communities and to end violence and abuse, healing and recovery must be understood, promoted, and accessible.
    • Jade Women de LeLonde, Lakewood CO http://jadewomandelalonde.org/about
    The purpose of Jade Woman de LaLonde, Inc., a 501 (c)(3) tax exempt corporation, is exclusively for charitable, scientific and educational purposes, more specifically to help others by promoting healing, health and wellbeing through training and treatment using the nature based theory of Chinese Medicine at an affordable cost to the patients and clients.
    • Unicorn Pins and Potions, Seattle WA  http://www.unicornpinsandpotions.com/
    It is our mission to create an accessible healing space using acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and body work with special consideration for the needs of queer and trans people of color.
    • Third Root Community Health Center, Brooklyn NY http://thirdroot.org/TREE/
    At Third Root Community Health Center, social justice is at the core of healing. Among our goals are to challenge systematic health disparities, hierarchies within different modalities of healthcare, and to provide a different model of care that grows out of love. We work to provide holistic healthcare for everyone, in acknowledgement of the living realities and histories of the many communities that our clients and students come from. We are also a worker-owned cooperative that believes in work place democracy.
    • Acupuncture Relief Project http://acupuncturereliefproject.org/
    A volunteer-based, 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Our mission is to provide free medical support to those affected by poverty, conflict or disaster while offering an educationally meaningful experience to influence the professional development and personal growth of compassionate medical practitioners.
    • The Wu Project http://www.thewuproject.com/
    Aims to bring safe and effective Chinese traditional health care practices to medically underserved communities in remote rural regions of the globe by providing free education and training in Chinese traditional health care and related modalities.
    • Old Pine Tree, Free Acupuncture for Veterans, East Lyme CT http://www.oldpinetree.com/asomne/CAV.html
    CAV (Community Acupuncture for Veterans) is a non-profit-pending organization founded in East Lyme, CT by citizens and vets who want to make a difference for those who served.  
    • Penn North Community Health Initiative, Baltimore MD http://www.penn-north.com/
    Maryland Community Health Initiatives, Inc. (Penn North) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that has been delivering essential behavioral health and recovery services through its Penn North Community Resource Center in Baltimore City since 1993. Our mission is to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals and families struggling to overcome substance abuse, homelessness, unemployment, poverty, crime, and violence.  
    • Mindful Medicine Worldwide Chicago, IL http://www.mindfulmedicineworldwide.org/
    Mindful Medicine Worldwide is a non-profit organization, bringing long-term integrative health care to people of developing areas, by establishing and operating free integrative health care clinics.
    • Alternative Healing Network, San Diego CA http://althealnet.org/
    Alternative Healing Network(a 501(c)(3) non-profit) promotes the use of integrative healing arts and improves access to ‘alternative’ health care in under-served neighborhoods.
    • Healing Warriors Program Denver, CO http://healingwarriorsprogram.org/about-us/
    Provides Acupuncture, CranioSacral therapy and Healing Touch to our Active Duty and Veteran service member community, for assistance with pain management and PTSD symptoms.
    • Suitcase Clinic, Berkeley CA http://www.suitcaseclinic.org/
    The Suitcase Clinic is a humanitarian student organization and volunteer community offering free health and social services to underserved populations since 1989. Structured around the principles of public health, social welfare, community activism and empathy, the Suitcase Clinic currently operates three weekly multi-service drop-in centers in the city Berkeley: the General Clinic, the Women’s Clinic and the Youth Clinic. 
    • Humanitarian Acupuncture Project (Ann Arbor, MI) Sikkim, India https://humanitarianacupunctureproject.org/
    For Humanitarian Acupuncture Project President, Anne Biris, the comprehensive vision of her profession always has encompassed the use of acupuncture to relieve the suffering of those who have few or no options for ongoing healthcare,  treat the populations of impoverished and isolated communities, and empower women at the grassroots level by giving them a medical education and an income-producing profession.
    • Acupuncturists Without Borders, http://www.acuwithoutborders.org 505-266-3878  admin@acuwithoutborders.org
    Provides disaster relief, recovery and support for building resiliency--to communities affected by disasters, human conflict, environmental devastation, poverty and social injustice. Unresolved trauma affects not only the health of individuals, but the well-being of families, communities, and entire nations. Trauma often has repercussions for generations, preventing cooperation, co-existence and peace among the world's people. 


                                                                
   


"American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine" is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. 

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