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Degree title survey controversy

  • 07 Dec 2016 12:03 PM
    Message # 4445215

    [edited and updated] Recently we sent out a survey to the profession regarding degree title designation. This has stirred up a lot of controversy and response from the profession, so we thought it best to create a discussion forum for members to voice their concerns.

    First, let me be clear, this is not our survey. AAAOM did not write the survey, nor are we capable of doing anything about title designation--that is not our scope. We were given one vote to a survey provided us by ACAOM (accreditation commission) as to what our opinion is for the best degree titles on behalf of our members. We decided to create a similar survey to provide our members and open this up to the whole profession, thereby basing our vote off of the majority (rather than an arbitrary vote based on the opinions of the Board of Directors). However, there has been some backlash, and a lot of people are upset with not only the survey, but then associating the survey and its purpose with AAAOM. 

    But this is, again, not our survey

    After talking a little more with ACAOM, it became clear that really the survey is only data collection and its goal is to start narrowing down the plethora of degree titles available for the Master's degree and transitional doctorate degrees. This survey does not change anything, it is simply data gathering. ACAOM recognizes that one issue with acupuncture education is that there are so many different names for the same degree, and this is confusing for professionals across all fields as to why this is done. So they wanted to begin collecting data to see if the degree titles were limited down to one or two things, what would the field like those titles to be. 

    Because this seems to be such a polarizing and divisive subject, we thought it best to open up a forum about this and start getting comments and discussion from practitioners. Maybe if we get enough people involved, we could get volunteers to form a sub-committee and create action on your behalf. 

    **Let me also be clear that AAAOM recognizes that this is barely a drop in the bucket for the concerns of our practitioners and members. Degree title designation is not in our scope or our field of vision. We only thought it fair to not make a vote on your behalf without getting your input**

    So let's go: Let's discuss FPD vs. DAOM vs. Master's degree titles as a whole!

    Last modified: 12 Dec 2016 8:31 PM | Anonymous
  • 12 Dec 2016 9:54 AM
    Reply # 4454923 on 4445215

    On Wed, Dec 7, 2016 at 7:59 AM, <> wrote:

    In looking at your Survey it does not take into account many of us with early license.

    I also have a BS in Nursing and a BS in Medical Technology.  I had an active practice for 10 years in Florida

    and was integrated in Bethesda Hospital due to my being Western and Eastern Medicine.

    As I moved to Taos NM, I had the worse time transferring my license and eventually due to economics

    have moved to Colorado.  I have not transferred my active NCCAOM status to Colorado but instead

    work in Interventional Radiology.  

    You do not take any consideration in regard to TCM practitioners getting accepted in different states, but

    rather you worry about our designations.  And what about us who have been doing this for YEARS!?

    I know Lic Ac here in Boulder that can't make a living, some are RN's also and the TCM NCCAOM, 

    AAAOM, AOM and whatever have very WEAK Lobbyist to promote TCM.  I have seen this my whole


    All the knowledge and PDA's I have done for years are just another way for all these State, Local

    companies to make more money with no help getting TCM where it should be.  Her in Boulder the school still

    keeps pumping out practitioners thus making their money but these practitioner struggle.  Patients can't pay

    the going prices so I see all this "% of what you can pay"  or I know some of them that work at the hospital

    in "Cancer Care" but get paid shit and can not do full TCM.

    I was had an advantage due to my Wester degree and TCM wonderful extra schooling getting my AP.

    I can not use my title here in Colorado, a title I work towards, but have to call myself a LAC!  So now I have to go get another degree, title or what?  And these titles are going to make me know more or just pay some

    committee more money?!

    When I was in China I remember one of my instructors saying "you in the West Market TCM TOOO much."

    TCM is TCM.  Certain small things have changed with knowledge BUT the same TCM I did in 1996, I do now

    with the same great results.  

    Where does all the experience and knowledge go for people like myself and my coworkers?

    Your survey does not include ALL TCM practitioner.  In my day it was State and then NCCAOM licensure!

    Now its all sorts of titles!  When you skin us we are ALL TCM practitioners.

    I studies with Andy Ellis, Efram and Harriet some of the big practitioners of the day because my Dean

    knew these people personally, I've taught, been in the news, on TV.  Not to brag but then where do the

    Original Successful one fit?

    And when you use the word College, it makes me cringe.  What College?  What are all these commissions

    doing to help practitioners of TCM make a living?



    -----Original Message-----
    From: AAAOM <>
    To: Walter Young <>
    Sent: Tue, Dec 6, 2016 7:15 pm
    Subject: REMINDER: Acupuncture & OM Degree Titles Survey for ACAOM

  • 12 Dec 2016 8:12 PM
    Reply # 4456007 on 4445215
    AAAOM Admin

    Hi Dr. Walt,

    Thank you for posting your concerns on the forum. It is SO important for practitioners like us--you, me, and all the AAAOM practitioners--to have a place to voice our concerns. I will do my best to answer them, although obviously I will not be able to really do justice to your concerns because there are so many tiers of issues facing our profession at the moment. But I will do my best.  

    First, the survey is not ours. We were given the survey by ACAOM as they are doing their fourth round of evidence collecting for title designation and they gave us one opportunity to vote in the survey on behalf of our members. We didn't think it right to vote for you, so we decided to open it up to the public so that we voted in regard to the entire profession--not just us. So, we copied the survey accordingly. We did not create it from scratch, nor are we able to do anything with the data other than provide a platform for our members to express their opinions. 

    Secondly, I definitely understand your frustration. I myself have a Masters degree in medical anthropology, followed by a masters in acupuncture from Bastyr, and then a DAOM from OCOM. I, like you and so many of us, have dedicated countless hours and resources to my craft, and still am unable to be licensed in every state or have the same kind of credit that is given to other healthcare providers--some of whom have even less education than I do! However, the survey is not meant to address this--nor is it really meant to address anything. It is a data-collecting survey to start the ball rolling on narrowing down the plethora of degree titles available so that the Universities and colleges offering AOM degrees can start to have some uniformity. It is an oddity of acupuncture that there are SO many different degree titles for essentially the same licensing requirements. So this, along with several surveys before and after it, are a way of trying to narrow down the degree title options. 

    There are a lot of hurdles that our profession must traverse in order to get the recognition it deserves and other healthcare professionals already enjoy. One MAJOR hurdle, which you yourself have had to deal with, is the state-to-state differences in licensing and regulation. While NCCAOM has been instrumental in providing national board exams, and now an occupational code with the bureau of labor and industries, there are still 4 states that do not license acupuncture and almost all states do not agree as to the regulation of it. This is one of the major focuses of our org, and most of our undertakings are around trying to create legislative work to start bridging these gaps. But this is extremely labor intensive and takes time. 

    Another hurdle is that while our Masters' programs have almost the same amount of coursework as a professional doctorate--as seen in physical therapy, for example--it is still labeled a masters degree. For some this is just fine, as it is the minimum requirement for licensing; but for others this is not satisfactory. I myself was not happy without the doctorate level, and spent another 2 years in school, deepening my student loan debt. There are some colleges and universities that are aware of this deficit and are offering transitional doctorate degrees to make up the difference between the masters and professional doctorate titles. 

    But I think one of the biggest hurdles is seen within the professionals themselves. There is SUCH a discrepancy between the opinions, needs, and concerns among practitioners. Our profession is relatively in its infancy, really only about 30 + years. That's one generation, and I think you can clearly see the generational gap between certain sects of acupuncturists. Some prefer to keep it the way it is/was, being more separate from mainstream and more in line with classical practice. Others want to be mainstream and practice in hospitals alongside of doctors. Both sides are clearly divided, as you can see by watching posts on FB. The thing is, we represent the profession and have to take into account the needs of both sides. This is not an easy feat, but those of us volunteering our time to this organization feel that it is so important for us to come together, find middle ground, and move forward as a profession to give practitioners a working chance to make a living while being a healer.  

    This survey does not address any of those things. Nor would any single survey possible hope to do so. But data collection is vital to create a starting place. If we do not hear your voices on each decision made, those decisions will get made anyway and you won't have an opportunity to be a part of it. That is why we opened this to the profession at large--because we truly believe every practitioner should have a voice in all decisions made, even if we are not the ones making those decisions. The goal of this survey is only to gather data on one drop in the bucket of issues facing our field, and does not in any way take away from our notice that those other issues are of vital importance. 

    I hope this helps answer your concerns. Please believe that every volunteer working for AAAOM is aware of how difficult it is to practice in the U.S., and we are doing our best to help and serve. 

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