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You are here  >   For Physicians  >  Academy Newsletters  >  April 2020

April 2020 Newsletter

Table of Contents – April 2020

Who Are We? AAMA Member Make-up

The AAMA recently launched a survey to gain insight about our membership. The goals of this survey were (1) to identify common ground among members to build fellowship and (2) to highlight our diversity. We are, indeed, a rich and well-rounded group of practitioners. Thanks to all of the members who responded to the survey, we now have important demographic information that will allow us to fine tune our goals to meet the needs of our members. We wanted to share the information gleaned from this survey with you, our members, so that you may also appreciate who we are. 

Most of our members currently practice medical acupuncture. A small number of you treat more than 60 patients per week, while the majority treat up to 30 patients per week. These numbers illustrate your dedication to the use of medical acupuncture in your everyday practice. We are a very active group of acupuncturists and are using this modality to help our patients. 

The conditions that we treat are diverse and include all systems. The majority of conditions we treat are musculoskeletal conditions, with headaches being a leader in this realm. A pattern that stands out is that many conditions treated involve the central nervous system. These include neuropathic pain, CNS disorders, central sensitization pain syndromes, and other pain disorders. Success with these treatments demonstrates the fact that medical acupuncture works through neuro-modulation. 

Psychological and psychiatric concerns also ranked very high on the list and even surpassed some of the pain concerns. This also suggests that neurotransmitters are actively affected by our treatments. Wellness was one of the leading responses, showing that both practitioners and patients value holistic medicine. There were many other conditions listed, indicating that the entire body was represented, showing the versatility of your skill set. 

We are an amazing melting pot of specialties. We range from general practitioners to specialists with very specific niches. The majority of us are family practice doctors, followed by integrative medicine practitioners, internists, and anesthesiologists. Our specialties did not stop there. We have OB/GYNs, pediatricians, general surgeons, oncologists, psychiatrists, neurologists, palliative care specialists, physiatrists, addiction specialists, functional medicine practitioners, neurosurgeons, sports medicine doctors, otolaryngologists, orthopedic surgeons, wound care specialists, infectious disease specialists, gastroenterologists, emergency physicians, and geriatricians. What a beautiful patchwork that creates our magnificent quilt of Medical Acupuncturists!

Most of us practice in the private sector but some of us also work in academics, the military, VA, and in research. Some are hospital based, while others work in an outpatient setting. Most of us are not DABMAs or FAAMAs, but we certainly should be – how better to establish our legitimacy in the greater medical world? This survey shows that you are in the trenches and that you are making a difference. Please consider becoming board certified in medical acupuncture or achieving fellowship status as you continue your work. (http://www.dabma.org/recertification.asp)

The types of acupuncture used are as diverse as we are, illustrating that our treatments are patient-centered and can be specifically tailored to the patient. You are doing this. The most common type of acupuncture being used is auricular. This is likely due to its ease of use and its impressive results. This is followed by electro-acupuncture and neuroanatomical acupuncture, both very useful in treating many conditions. Other very common techniques included French energetics, TCM, five phases, dry needling, scalp acupuncture, and hand acupuncture. Many indicated very specific and specialized types of acupuncture used, which again shows how truly versatile we are. 

About 60% of us are Medicare providers; 40% of us are not. We will need to learn from one another as we move forward with healthcare reform and the changing Medicare guidelines. I look forward to hearing all of your thoughts about this in the near future.

We did learn some other special things about you. Most of use learn best through visual (seeing and reading) and hands-on practice. Others learn best by a combination of these techniques. This information will help our organization design curricula for you to best help you continue and sharpen your acupuncture skills. We overwhelmingly like to communicate via e-mail, so keep your eyes open for more communication from the AAMA in your inboxes. 

Topics that respondents felt were important for the AAMA to support were very timely and in line with our mission. These included: legislation, marketing to the public and to patients, insurance influence, education and CME, online services, and research, just to name a few. All of these things are important to our organization, too, and the Academy has active committees to address these concerns. We are always looking for passionate physicians to help us in the cause. Please consider joining one of our committees to contribute your time and ideas. You can find a list of these on our website; reach out to us about the committees that interest you, and we will welcome you with open arms. 

The world is changing, as is healthcare. We are an important part of that change, and by working together we can help shape the future of medicine. As shown by this survey, we are diverse in our skills yet united in our cause. 

Kendra Unger, MD, FAAMA
AAMA Board of Directors, Communications Committee Chair

Welcome New AAMA Members

Please join us in welcoming the following new members who became part of the Academy in March 2020:

  • Wendy L Miller, DO, of Tucson, AZ 
  • Zhenyu Zhou, MD, PhD, LAc, of New Rochelle, NY 
  • Myka D Fisher, MSN, FNP, of Greeley, CO 
  • Diane Mary Aslanis, DO, of Farmville, VA 
  • Justin F. Neill, MD, of Springboro, OH 
  • MengLan Chen, LAc, MD (Montserrat), of Lake Mary, FL 
  • Jenifer L. Matthews, MD, of Oakland, CA 
  • Anelys Torres-Rivera, MD, of Trujillo Alto, PR 

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. 

Physician Completes 10-Year ABMA Recertification Process

Congratulations to the following physician who has completed the process (http://www.dabma.org/recertification.asp) set by the American Board of Medical Acupuncture (ABMA) to be re-certified as a Diplomate for another 10 years: 

  • Elizabeth Sebestyen, MD, FAAMA, of Centennial, CO

Legislative Advocacy – Committee Update 

Action has been taken on the following items this month: 

  1. LA HB 152: This bill would require insurance coverage for acupuncture services provided by LAcs. A letter was sent requesting an amendment to include physician acupuncturists. Emails were sent to AAMA members from LA regarding these bills.
  2. MN HB 3889: This bill would require insurance coverage for acupuncture services provided by LAcs. A letter was sent requesting an amendment to include physician acupuncturists. Emails were sent to AAMA members from MN regarding these bills.
  3. Washington, DC Section 4703: Washington, DC changed its criteria for physicians to provide acupuncture. The new wording prevents physicians that are not board-certified by the ABMA from becoming licensed. It appears that there was a misunderstanding by the DC BOH as to what board certification by the ABMA meant. Gavin is working on getting this revised. It was to be an item of discussion at the BOH monthly meeting in March but that meeting was cancelled due to Coronavirus. The meeting in April will be a video meeting and Committee Co-chair Gavin Elliott is trying to be included in that.

Legislative tracking and advocacy are ongoing priorities of the AAMA Board of Directors. Please remember: 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 (info@medicalacupuncture.org) or phone (310-379-8261). 

Medical Acupuncture Research – Committee Update

The AAMA Research Committee members have received and graded submissions in the annual Research Paper Competition, and prizes have been awarded. See details about the winning research. 

The committee also reviewed and scored the grant applications that were received as part of the first Medical Acupuncture Research Fund Grant cycle, and committee members are currently corresponding with potential awardees regarding necessary application revisions. As a reminder, this grant has been dedicated to the memory of Dr. Allen McDaniels, a founding member of the AAMA, who passed away in late 2019. The prestigious Allen McDaniels Grant from the Medical Acupuncture Research Foundation will support research projects that further the field of medicine to which McDaniels contributed so much during his career. 

If you have questions or suggestions for the Research Committee, we encourage you to let us know by email (info@medicalacupuncture.org) or phone (310-379-8261). 

Member Development – Committee Update

A membership committee meeting was held in February, at which Laura Peterson, Tatyana Strong and Janice Brown discussed topics including the attraction and retention of members along with would-be symposium activities. A key take-away was the need to collaborate closely with the Education Committee because so much of the value of an AAMA membership is rooted in the educational benefits it offers; as physicians, we value quality education and the ability to earn CMEs in a hassle-free way.If you have questions or suggestions for the Member Development Committee, we encourage you to let us know by email (info@medicalacupuncture.org) or phone (310-379-8261). 

AAMA Research Paper Competition Winners Announced

Congratulations to our colleagues who authored the research papers selected as winners in the AAMA’s annual research competition. While the 2020 Annual Symposium was canceled due to the world conditions related to Covid-19, the submissions had been reviewed by the Committee prior to the meeting cancellation. We want to celebrate the efforts and work of these colleagues and recognize them as winners of the 2020 Research Paper Competition!

The first-place submission was authored by Shiu-Lin Tsai, MD, Michelle Bombacieb, MS, Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM), LMT, LAc., Maureen Licursic, MS, RN, CPNP, Yunzhi Qiand, BS, Gayla Marie Stilesc, MS, L.Ac., RYT, and Margaret T. Leeb, MD, MS. The authors were recently informed of the win and have agreed to record a presentation of the material to share with AAMA members through this website. The paper is entitled, "Acupuncture for Pediatric Sickle Cell Pain Management: A Promising Non-Opioid Therapy."

Stephanie Cheng, MD, Ryan M. Norman, MD; Danya DeMeo, BS; Haoyan Zhong, MPA; Moira M. McCarthy, MD; Robert G. Marx, MD; Sabrina M. Strickland, MD; Lauren H. Turteltaub, MD; and Anne M. Kelly, MD authored the second-place paper: "The Feasibility of Blinding with Intraoperative Electro Auricular Acupuncture for Analgesia After ACL Surgery: A Randomized Controlled Trial."

Peter Dorsher, MD, Edsel Bittencourt PT; George Pujalte MD; and Li Zhuo, MS authored the third-place paper: "Pilot Study: Physical Examination of Acupuncture Principal Meridian Coupling."

For the 2020 competition, the top three submissions received the following cash awards:

  • First Place: $1,500 stipend. Paper will be presented and recorded and made available on the AAMA website. 
  • Second Place: $750 stipend
  • Third Place: $350 stipend

All members are invited to enter their eligible research in next year’s competition. Plan now to share your findings.

Publisher of Medical Acupuncture Offers COVID-19 Resources

From Mary Ann Liebert Publishers: "As an academic publisher of many important resources such as Health Security, Viral Immunology, Telemedicine and e-Health, and Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, we are keeping our finger on the pulse of the spread of COVID-19 around the world. We have taken the opportunity to host a coronavirus research portal and allow for free access to all papers within our portfolio related to relevant coronavirus research in hopes that it can be a useful resource as a successful vaccine is developed and implemented." 

Medical Acupuncture Now Indexed in PubMed

The AAMA is pleased to announce that more than 200 scientific articles from the journal Medical Acupuncture are now indexed in PubMed Central and searchable on PubMed, one of the largest and most respected databases of biomedical literature in the world.

After a lengthy application process and a thorough scientific review, Medical Acupuncture was approved for inclusion. With its acceptance, the official journal of the AAMA has joined scores of prestigious global health journals whose work is disseminated via PubMed platforms to millions of readers and researchers around the world.

Bob Vrooman, New Business Development Publisher at Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., which publishes Medical Acupuncture, shared news about what this means now and what comes next. “It should be noted that the journal is not yet indexed in Medline, he said. “This remains a long-term goal, but the PMC indexing meets the immediate needs of many authors by allowing searchability for their articles in PubMed.”

This is an exciting and important milestone for the journal and for the field of medical acupuncture. The articles published in Medical Acupuncture are fully now accessible to clinicians and researchers through both PubMed and Scopus. For authors this brings the potential for expanded readership and more frequent citations of their research. And for the larger research community this means greater access to groundbreaking discoveries. 

REMINDER: AAMA 2020 Annual Symposium Canceled

The AAMA’s 32nd Annual Symposium and all associated live activities scheduled for April 22-26, 2020, in Orlando, FL, have been cancelled. If you have made hotel reservations, please contact the hotel to cancel that reservation directly (407-351-5555). We have begun the process of refunding attendee registrations and will continue until all eligible refunds have been made. If you prefer to have the fees roll over to either the re-scheduled meeting or to next year’s Annual Symposium, please let us know (info@medicalacupuncture.org). We are sorry for these interruptions and changes, but it is the Academy’s highest priority to keep members and attendees safe and healthy so that you may continue to provide a positive health care impact within your own communities. 

FREE CME Opportunities for AAMA Members

Many AAMA members rely on the Annual Symposium for more than peer networking and skill building. The CME credits offered at the Pre-symposium and Symposium are vital to our members’ yearly professional development plans. As a reminder for those members who need to earn CME credits, the AAMA provides multiple opportunities for its members to earn CME, much of it at no cost. 

Journal Article CME: The AAMA website maintains an archive of CME articles that have been published in Medical Acupuncture. Currently, 20 free articles are available for members to access with their log-in credentials. 

Symposium Recording CME: The AAMA website also maintains an archive of recordings from past Annual Symposia. Currently, there are 25 workshops, plenaries and seminars available for members to access with their log-in credentials. These are also free to AAMA members. 

On-demand Webinar Recordings: More than 10 recent educational webinars are available on the AAMA website. Offerings include single webinars and multi-part webinar series. There is a fee to access these recorded webinars. 

New AAMA Webinar Announced: Evaluation and Treatment of TMJ Disorders 

Save the date! A new AAMA live webinar — "An Introduction to the Evaluation and Treatment of TMJ Disorders Utilizing a Neuroanatomical Acupuncture Approach" — has been scheduled for May 19, 2020, at 8pm ET/5pm PT. It will be presented by Anil Rick Soordhar, DDS. Registration details available soon.

AAMA Fall Workshop Focuses on Common Musculoskeletal Conditions

Save the date! “Treating Common Musculoskeletal Conditions with Osteopathic Manipulation, Meridian Therapy, Dry Needling and Manual Muscle Testing” will be presented by Jay Sandwiess, DO, and Joseph Audette, MD, in Chicago on October 24-25, 2020. Learn more and register now. 

This workshop will offer participants an opportunity to learn applied kinesiology and osteopathic muscle testing strategies for common musculoskeletal conditions in order to identify neuro-muscular inhibition patterns. Participants will learn to integrate basic osteopathic manual methods with acupuncture techniques, such as dry needling and meridian therapies, to resolve the condition and restore muscle and joint function instantly. These methods are part of a series of acupuncture techniques that produce rapid effects. Drs. Audette and Sandweiss will present a highly effective approach for diagnosing and treating common problems such as: tennis and golfer elbow, rotator cuff syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, knee pain, ankle sprains and neck and back pain issues throughout the spinal regions. Upon completion of this workshop attendees will have new tools for quickly assessing and treating musculoskeletal conditions throughout the body.  

Calls for Papers/Articles and Submissions

Call for Papers: Acupuncture, Internal Medicine, and COVID-19

Medical Acupuncture is planning a Special Issue focusing on how acupuncture and auricular medicine can be used as an effective adjunct to treat a variety of internal medicine related conditions. In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, we are also seeking articles highlighting the use of acupuncture and/or traditional Chinese medicine in caring for patients affected with COVID-19. Deadline for Manuscript Submission: August 31, 2020.

Call for Articles: Acupuncture as an Adjunct Treatment

Medical Acupuncture has issued a call for articles for a special issue focusing on how acupuncture and auricular medicine can be used as an adjunct to treat a variety of internal medicine-related conditions, such as cardiovascular, neurologic, pulmonary, and gastrointestinal illnesses. Manuscripts must be submitted by May 1, 2020. 

Present at the AAMA’s 2021 Annual Symposium

The AAMA has issued a call for proposals for the 2021 Annual Symposium presentations, including workshops, plenary sessions and pre-symposium workshops. As the Symposium Committee continues to strengthen educational opportunities, it encourages members to share their knowledge and expertise. We invite you to submit a proposal for next year’s meeting. Learn more. The AAMA Annual Symposium will be held in Cincinnati, Ohio, April 29-May 2, 2021.

Professional Development Opportunities

*CANCELLED: 2020 International Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health
April 28-May 1, 2020
Cleveland, OH

*POSTPONED: ICMART World Medical Acupuncture Congress
Now July 2-4, 2021
Athens, Greece

AAMA Webinar: An Introduction to the Evaluation and Treatment of TMJ Disorders Utilizing a Neuroanatomical Acupuncture Approach
May 19, 2020, at 8pm ET/5pm PT
Presented by Anil Rick Soordhar, DDS
Registration details available soon.

KIOM-SAR 2020 International Research Conference
September 10-12, 2020
Seoul, South Korea

AAMA Winter Weekend Workshop 2020
October 24-25, 2020
Chicago, IL
“Treating Common Musculoskeletal Conditions with Osteopathic Manipulation, Meridian Therapy, Dry Needling and Manual Muscle Testing”
Presented by Jay Sandwiess, DO, and Joseph Audette, MD

2021 Medical Acupuncture Review Course
April 27-28, 2021 - Cincinnati, OH
Save the date! 

AAMA 2021 Annual Symposium
April 29-May 2, 2021 - Cincinnati, OH
Save the date! 

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. 

Medical Acupuncture Journal Updates

Fast-Track Articles, Ahead of Print: https://www.liebertpub.com/toc/acu/0/0

Most Recent Issue: April 2020

Most-recent CME Article: Effects of Cathode Direct-Current Electroacupuncture Stimulus of the Promixal Anterior Lower Limbs on Heart Rate and Lumbar Blood Flow

New Scientific Research

Acupuncture for Migraine: A Round-up of Recent Research

Moving the Needle: Promoting the Research, Dissemination, and Implementation of Oncology Acupuncture
[Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine]
"This column continues the series from the Society for Acupuncture Research (SAR). The column has a hybrid purpose of informing and activating. The authors, SAR Copresident Jun J. Mao, MD, MSCE, and his colleague Kevin T. Liou, MD, both work at the Integrative Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) that just celebrated two decades of leadership in the integrative oncology space." 

Effect of Acupuncture vs Sham Procedure on Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (CIPN) Symptoms
[JAMA Network]
“Compared with usual care, acupuncture resulted in significant improvement in CIPN symptoms. The effect size observed between real and sham control will inform a rigorous and adequately powered trial to establish the efficacy of acupuncture for CIPN.”

Acupuncture for Breathlessness in Advanced Diseases: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
[Journal of Pain and Symptom Management]
"Acupuncture improved breathlessness severity in patients with advanced diseases. The methodological heterogeneity, low power, and potential morphine-sparing effects of acupuncture as add-on should be further addressed in future trials."

Acupuncture as a Nonpharmacologic Treatment for Pain in a Pediatric Emergency Department
[Pediatric Emergency Care]
"This study suggests that acupuncture is a potential nonpharmacologic therapeutic option for acute pain management in the PED." 

October 2020 Workshop

Treating Common Musculoskeletal Conditions with Osteopathic Manipulation, Meridian Therapy, Dry Needling and Manual Muscle Testing Weekend Workshop

Presented By:  Jay Sandweiss, DO, FAAMA and Joseph Audette, MD, MA

October 24-25, 2020
Chicago, IL


Scientific Research

Read more evidence-based research on acupuncture and its applications in medical practice.