December 2014 Newsletter

Table of Contents - December 2014

President's Letter - A Message from Sandi Amoils

I hope that many of you have taken advantage of our upgraded and user-friendly website. It has some great features that are certainly underutilized and that you may not be aware of. One such feature is the access to all of the past Medical Acupuncture Journals that have been published by Liebert since 2007.

If you’re anything like me with a huge stack of old journals piled up in your office or study, and can’t find that one article you want, here’s a quick and easy way to find it. Log on to our website (yes, you need to have your username and password available just like any other society), go to the Physicians tab and then to the Medical Acupuncture Journal tab. You will then find access to the most current Journal – a quick and easy way to browse the most current one. If you open the current journal tab it will then give you a list of all the journals back to 2007. You’ll find some searchable functions listed, too. Voilà! A much quicker and easier way to find that one journal article instead of going through that pile on your desk.

Now that you’ve learned this tidbit about our website, I hope you’ll browse around a little longer and explore even more of the useful features.

Wishing you and your families a healthy, joyous and restful holiday season!

Sandi Amoils

Recruiting Volunteers to Serve in Leadership Positions 

In the Spring each year, the Academy has an election of Directors and Officers to guide the Academy for the following year. Coincident with the change in officers and Board members, there are opportunities to serve on various committees that work with the Board throughout the year.  We are seeking volunteers who have an interest in serving on one or more of the committees or in serving on the Board of Directors.  Serving on a Committee or on the Board of Directors does not involve an extraordinary time commitment. Most business is done by telephone conference calls, generally held a couple times a year, with one live meeting at the annual symposium. Serving on the Board of Directors is a two-year term and the board meets for a one-hour call six times a year.

As a Board member, you will help set the direction and services of the Academy. Among the more active Academy committees where there are opportunities for new members are (1) the Symposium committee, (2) the Membership development committee and (3) the Education Committee. Each of these committees is actively engaged in developing and carrying out an important AAMA program. YOU can play a role and make a difference by volunteering today to be part of one of these groups.

If you are interested in being considered for a seat on the Board of Directors or if you are interested in working on one of the Academy committees, send an email to Executive Administrator James Dowden at or to President Sandi Amoils at

New Scientific Research

Don't forget: The AAMA website has a section devoted to current scientific research that may be relevant to your medical acupuncture practice. Check back often to read about these and other industry developments such as the following recently posted topics:

  • Low-dose laser acupuncture for non-specific chronic low back pain: a double-blind randomized controlled trial.  
  • Connectomics: A New Direction in Research to Understand the Mechanism of Acupuncture. 
  • Increased DNA fragmentation and ultrastructural changes in fibromyalgic muscle fibers.

 Find these topics and more in the scientific research section.

Sad News for the AAMA - Udd’hava Om (1941-2014) 

Founding AAMA board member, Udd’hava Om, DO, FAAMA, passed away suddenly at his home in Monte Nido, California, on December 9, 2014, at the age 0f 73. He had not been ill. Lowell E. Kobrin, MD, PhD, FAAMA, shared the following personal note about his friend and colleague: 

"I have known our colleague as a close personal and family friend since we were in the Medical Corps at Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, New Mexico, in 1975. Udd’hava was born Johannes Steenkamp in South Africa on May 6, 1941. He received his doctorate in homeopathy in South Africa and eventually moved the United States, where he received his DO degree. His understanding of medicine was always much more than conventional, and it was at Holloman that I saw my first acupuncture treatment performed by him. He took the UCLA Medical Acupuncture Course for Physicians in the mid-1980s, and subsequently became a founding board member of the AAMA. Udd’hava left private practice to head the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Dallas/Fort Worth, a position which he held for several years. Subsequently, he re-entered private practice in Malibu, California, where he was in active practice until his death. He was the first AAMA member to study Korean Hand Acupuncture when its founder, Tae Woo Yoo, came to San Francisco in 1987, and it was Udd’hava who influenced me into taking that training. But Udd’hava was far more than a superb technician. He was an outstanding healer, giving all of himself to his patients. In fact, through his practice of advanced yoga and Qi Gong, he demonstrated the highest level of healing that I have ever seen in a medical practitioner. He was also a superb teacher. In the years before his death, though only occasionally visiting one another, we shared many things – from good cuisine to Mozart to Bhakti Yoga – and then some. We all have lost a great practitioner and teacher, and I have lost a dear friend.  We’ll miss you Udd’hava."

Fellows of the Academy: FAAMA

The highest level of membership in the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture is Fellow.  Fellow of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture is available to those physicians who have earned the DABMA Board Certification, have practiced medical acupuncture for 4 or more years, and have taught acupuncture topics to medical professionals or have authored peer reviewed articles on acupuncture topics. To become a Fellow of the AAMA -- a FAAMA -- you must submit an application to document that you meet the criteria for Fellowship, and then your name is submitted to the membership for election as a Fellow. If you meet the criteria, you may obtain the application here. Submit the completed application along with the application fee by the March 31, 2015, deadline in order to be included on the Election Ballot to be sent out in April. Once approved by vote of the Academy members, Fellows may use the letters FAAMA in their formal signatures to show their special status and accomplishments within the Academy.

Call for Entries - Poster/Paper Presentations 

Share your expertise! Members are invited to submit an abstract to present a Poster Presentation and/or a Free (Oral) Paper Presentation at the AAMA 2015 Symposium, at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch in St. Louis, MO, April 23-26, 2015. The deadline to apply to present either a poster or a paper is February 28, 2015.

Member News

AAMA member Narda Robinson, DO, DVM, MS, FAAMA, recently published a guest editorial column on laser acupuncture. Robinson is the director of the CSU Center for Comparative and Integrative Medicine at Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Physicians Earn Board Certifications

The following physicians recently met the stringent requirements of the American Board of Medical Acupuncture (ABMA) and have achieved Board Certification in medical acupuncture. These doctors have earned the designation DABMA (Diplomate, American Board of Medical Acupuncture): Larissa Bresler, MD, DABMA, of Maywood, IL; Melanie A. Gold, DO, DABMA, of Paterson, NJ; Jennifer J. Halstead-Kenny, MD, DABMA, of Scarsdale, NY; Mary E. Hebert, MD, DABMA, of Poplar Bluff, MO; Gloria W. Hwang, MD, DABMA, of San Diego, CA; Sally A. Mravcak, MD, DABMA, of Hillsborough, NJ; Benie Cam-Hang Pham, DO, DABMA, of Albany, OR; John C. Porter, DO, DABMA, of Viroqua, WI; Clasina L. Smith, MS, MA, MD, DABMA, of Chicago, IL; Heather L. Wilkinson, DO, DABMA, of Johns Island, SC. 

The Academy has a list of physicians who are Board Certified posted online ( Diplomates (DABMA) are listed alphabetically by last name, along with their location, and dates of expiration. More details on the Board Certification process are posted here (

Physicians Complete 10-year ABMA Recertification Process

The following physicians have completed the process ( set by the American Board of Medical Acupuncture Board of Trustees to be recertified as a Diplomate for another 10 years: Kathryn E. Calabria, DO, DABMA, of Brookhaven, NY; Youngran Chung, MD, DABMA, of Winfield, IL; John C. Cianca, MD, FAAMA, of Houston, TX; Marc S. Goldstein, MD, FAAMA, of Sturbridge, MA; Anita D. Spitz, MD, DABMA, of Titusville, FL; Alan Watanabe, MD, FACP, DABMA, of Columbus, IN.

"Dry Needling" Position 

The Academy leadership reports that they have had numerous inquiries regarding our position on the regulation of "dry needling" as a treatment technique. After considerable study and deliberation, the Board has adopted a policy position on this matter. See the adopted policy here.  In essence, the policy indicates that the Board feels that "dry needling" is an invasive procedure akin to acupuncture which requires that practitioners using that technique have significant training and experience in the use of and treatment of patients with needles.  

Chapter News

Dr. Leslie Smith presented "An Integrated Approach to the Japanese Acupuncture Style: Using Haptic Feedback to Obtain an Optimal Qi Response" to members of the Ohio Chapter on October 25 and 26, 2014. The meeting, held at the Alliance Institute for Integrative Medicine in Cincinnati, was well attended, and Dr. Smith received high ratings from attendees. Most physicians were new to Japanese acupuncture, but reported feeling comfortable with the techniques Dr. Smith presented by the end of the weekend.

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