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February 2019 Newsletter

Table of Contents – February 2019

Physician Health and Wellness Series

Physician health and wellness is a large topic of discussion with national decrees to prevent and implement strategies to decrease burnout rates. Anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, or even completing suicide, is a major complication from burnout. Exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy are the emotional, physical, mental, and interpersonal responses that reflect burnout. Organizations, hospitals, patients also lose when it comes to physician burnout. Total financial loss is up to $500k-$1M when a physician quits and quality of care for patients decreases.  

Many risk factors for burnout include (but not all inclusive) un-supportive work environments, lack of community, decreased reward, and excessive work hours and administrative tasks. In addition, personal stressors in a physician’s life may also add to the burnout risk.  As medical acupuncturists, we are constantly interfacing with patients and their families on their path to healing, giving compassionate and selfless care. However, some of these traits can be detrimental when pressed to extremes by demanding and difficult patients or minimal improvements in a patient’s health.  

The American Academy of Medical Acupuncture is helping tackle the challenge of physician burnout by offering a “Physician Health and Wellness Series” at the 2019 AAMA Symposium in Phoenix, Arizona. While the AAMA can’t change each and every hospital’s and clinic’s work environment or every tier of healthcare, the symposium is a great avenue for introducing self-care methods for physicians and hopefully offering a new tool for your patients.  

Two workshops and a plenary will be devoted to physician well-being, including topics on Qi Gong and medical calligraphy. Dr. Barbara de la Torre, MD, will be discussing the evidence regarding the efficacy of Qi Gong for certain conditions in her plenary, as well as an experiential session in her two-hour workshop. You can also catch “Gong with Aung” in the mornings at the AAMA Symposium to practice Qi Gong before the sessions start! Dr. Stephen Aung, MD, PhD will also be presenting a four-hour workshop on classical Chinese calligraphy. Calligraphy is a mindful exercise to self-healing, enhancing one’s inner connection with the self. We hope that both the Qi Gong and calligraphy sessions, as a mind-body therapy, can help provide those who attend another avenue for cultivating peace, a sense of purpose, and well-being. 

Anna Esparham, MD, DABMA
AAMA Board of Directors 

Reference: McClafferty H, Brown OW. Physician Health and Wellness. Pediatrics: Section on Integrative Medicine, Committee on Practice and Ambulatory Medicine. 2014; Oct 134(4).  

Welcome New AAMA Members

Please join us in welcoming the following new member who became part of the AAMA in January 2019:

  • Monica Ray, MD, of Solon, OH 
  • Gay B. Richardson, MD, of London, KY 
  • Michelle Grua, MD, of Flagstaff, AZ 
  • Ray J. Begay, MD, of Caneyville, KY 
  • Tate M. Kauffman, MD, of Newville, PA 
  • Douglas A Saunders, MD, of Loveland, OH 
  • Victor Manuel Arellano of Mexico City, Mexico 
  • Nazih S. Iskander, MD, of Southfield, MI
  • Rollin Vaughn Oden, MD, of Denver, CO 
  • Laura Kaplan-Weisman, MD, of Rockville, MD 
  • John C. Haasis, MD, of Greenville, SC 
  • Timothy P Carman, MD, of La Jolla, CA  

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 Sue Sorensen, MD, FAAMA, the membership committee chair. 

Register Now: Opioid Educational Webinar Series

As you know, the AAMA board of directors has undertaken a multimedia initiative to inform consumers, physicians, journalists, and policy makers about medical acupuncture's potential to help address the opioid crisis currently raging in the U.S. (Download patient education PDF.) The AAMA has also arranged a 4-part webinar series specifically designed to enhance our medical acupuncture practices for our patients who are experiencing pain.  

Four 1-Hour Live Webinars:

  • Thursday, March 14, 2019: Part 1 - "Brain Disease" vs. Learning: How Pain, Trauma and Addiction Affect the Brain
  • Thursday, May 9, 2019: Part 2 - Beyond Pain Clinics and 12 Steps: New Paradigms of Pain and Addiction
  • Thursday, June 13, 2019: Part 3 - Integrative Management of Opioid Withdrawal
  • Thursday, July 10, 2019: Part 4 - Trauma: The Unifying FactorTime: 8:00 pm EDT, 7:00 pm CDT, 5:00 pm PDT

The presentations will include a review of the literature on the scope of the opioid crisis, including a discussion of the use of opioid therapy for chronic pain, the diagnosis of OUD, the social factors that contribute to the development of OUD and the barriers to treatment that patients encounter. It will also cover the neurological basis for chronic pain, addiction, and PTSD. The principles of Chinese Medicine as applied to OUD and the history of the use of acupuncture for OUD will be presented. The evidence on the use of acupuncture for the treatment of chronic pain, addiction, and PTSD will be presented as well. Finally, case reports will be presented to facilitate learning.While this series was developed and intended for people to attend all sessions, you may choose to attend one or more as your schedule permits. Starting with the second webinar, a quick recap of the previous sessions will be included so each can be a stand-alone activity.The AAMA designates EACH of the 4 parts for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ each. The fee to participate in these activities is $60/members and $90/non-members for each part. Learn more and register.

Become a Fellow of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture

Fellowship in the AAMA represents superior commitment to the practice of medical acupuncture. Election of Fellows occurs each Spring during the annual election of AAMA officers and directors. The application deadline for the coming year is March 11, 2019. To be nominated to Fellow of the Academy, members must submit applications documenting their qualifications.  

AAMA Board Responds to CMS Call for Evidence Supporting Acupuncture for Back Pain 

In response to the U.S. opioid crisis, HHS/CMS is focused on preventing opioid use disorder and providing more evidence-based non-pharmacologic treatment options for chronic low-back pain. Earlier this year, CMS opened a national coverage analysis to complete a thorough review of the evidence to determine if acupuncture for CLBP is reasonable and necessary under the Medicare program. The deadline for public comment was February 14, 2019. AAMA members were encouraged to submit individual comments, and the AAMA Board of Directors collaborated on an organizational response representing the Academy and its members. In a detailed statement, Acupuncture: Evidence-Based Approach to the Management of Chronic Back Pain, primary author Joseph F. Audette, MD, wrote: “With the recent concerns about the opioid crisis in the US, there is growing interest in integrating medical acupuncture and related techniques, such as acupressure, electro-acupuncture, and laser acupuncture, into conventional care. The American Academy of Medical Acupuncture, the American College of Physicians, and other medical organizations have endorsed acupuncture as a front-line treatment for pain in general as well as, more specifically, for chronic low back pain.”

Florida Judge Rules Dry Needling Is Acupuncture

In the finding, Judge Lawrence P. Stevenson ruled that physical therapists cannot legally practice dry needling, concluding:“A simple reading of the physical therapy scope of practice statute, section 486.021(11), in light of the definition of “acupuncture” in section 457.102(1), makes plain that dry needling is not within the statutory scope of practice for PTs in the State of Florida.” 

Call for Proposals: AAMA Annual Symposium 2020

The AAMA membership is strong and can grow with the help of generous volunteer members who contribute their time and expertise to support the mission and core values of our organization. You can help move our organization forward by sending us your submissions for 2020 Annual Symposium Presentations: pre-symposium workshops, plenary sessions, and workshops. As an added bonus, presenting at the AAMA Symposium is a prodigious national education experience to showcase on your CV and credentials. The symposium committee is looking to our membership to broaden the variety and array of presentations in 2020. We invite you to submit a proposal for next year’s meeting. Learn more. The AAMA Annual Symposium will be held in Orlando, Florida, April 24-27, 2020. Deadline: May 15, 2019.  

Register Now: 2019 AAMA Annual Symposium

The 31st Annual AAMA Symposium will be held April 11-14, 2019, at the Sheraton Grand Phoenix in Phoenix, Arizona. (Need help planning your visit to Phoenix?) The 2019 conference, Art of Healing:  Acupuncture Pearls in Clinical Practice, will provide you with "Monday morning" skills in workshops such as acupuncture for myofascial pain, traumatic brain injury, care for acute conditions, and integrative support for oncology patients, as well as self-cultivation workshops such as qi gong and classical Chinese calligraphy. You will have a chance to delve into the Luo Vessels with internationally renowned teacher Yvonne Farrell, as well as to consider the San Jiao and in its role throughout the lifespan and autism with Dr. Stephen Cowan. Please register now for this enlivening event that will bring you together with your peers from around the country, and beyond.

Pre-Symposium Sessions: Register Before They Fill Up   

The optional Pre-Symposium is intended to provide a concentrated learning experience in which faculty spend an entire day focused on a topic in greater depth and with more time for practical examples from clinical experiences. Workshops are scheduled concurrently on Thursday, April 11, 2019, from 8:00 am-5:30 pm. (Continental breakfast and refreshment breaks are provided. Lunch is on your own.) The AAMA designates this live activity (each Pre-Symposium) for a maximum of 7.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits.  

  • Workshop – "Pediatrics – The San Jiao and Its Role in Healthy Growth and Development" presented by Stephen Cowan, MD
  • Workshop– "Integrative Oncology: Supportive Care for Cancer Patients" presented by Butch Levy, MD
  • Workshop– "How to Successfully Incorporate Medical Acupuncture into Your Medical Practice" presented by Nick Kouchis, MD 

Learn more and register now.  

Review Course: Sign Up Now for a Broad-based Refresher

April 9-10, 2019
Phoenix, Arizona

The Medical Acupuncture Review Course has been developed to provide a broad-based refresher course on the major subject matter areas with which a well-trained physician should be familiar. The Review Course is especially useful as a refresher for those who obtained their acupuncture training some time ago and for those who are seeking an organized review prior to taking the ABMA Board Certification Examination. The overall objectives of the Review Course are to: 

  1. Review and solidify previously acquired knowledge and experience in medical acupuncture. 
  2. Reinforce understanding of the basic material appropriate for a physician practicing acupuncture in North America. 
  3. Refresh the participant’s exposure and awareness of certain specialized aspects of acupuncture not always utilized in traditional practice settings.     

ICYMI: In Case You Missed it Last Month 

Military Insurance Program Now Covers Acupuncture
After years of advocacy by AAMA members and officers, U.S. military insurance now covers auricular acupuncture for the first time. 

AAMA Medical Acupuncture Research Committee Seeks Volunteers 
The AAMA research committee and the Medical Acupuncture Research Foundation (MARF) Grant program invite volunteers to help develop efforts to empower AAMA members to improve treatment approaches in their respective specialties by pursuing and publishing their acupuncture research. Contact Larissa Bresler, MD, DABMA, for more information.

Help Build the AAMA and Earn $$
Don’t forget about the AAMA’s member-recruiting program designed to reward current members for referring peers to the AAMA for membership. If you nominate someone who joins as a full member, you'll earn a $50 credit to use on future AAMA events, including the annual symposium, workshops, or apply to your own future membership dues. You can read more on the AAMA website.  

Legislative Alerts about Acupuncture
If you become aware of legislative issues/bills being proposed in your state that would affect medical acupuncturists, please let the AAMA know. The Academy is following and actively engaged in several state-level legislative issues pertaining to acupuncture, but we need your help to alert us if you hear of anything pending. The sooner we know, the sooner we can review and engage if necessary. Reach out to the Academy by emailing info@medicalacupuncture.org or calling 310-379-8261.    

Serve on the AAMA Board of Directors
In the spring each year, the Academy has an election of Directors and Officers to guide the Academy for the following year. 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 or to Nominations Committee Chair Tom Burgoon before the March 11 deadline.       

Professional Development Opportunities

Opioid Educational Webinar Series
Four 1-Hour Live Webinars:

  • Thursday, March 14, 2019: Part 1 - "Brain Disease" vs. Learning: How Pain, Trauma and Addiction Affect the Brain
  • Thursday, May 9, 2019: Part 2 - Beyond Pain Clinics and 12 Steps: New Paradigms of Pain and Addiction
  • Thursday, June 13, 2019: Part 3 - Integrative Management of Opioid Withdrawal
  • Thursday, July 10, 2019: Part 4 - Trauma: The Unifying FactorTime: 8:00 pm EDT, 7:00 pm CDT, 5:00 pm PDT

2019 Review Course
April 9-10, 2019
Phoenix, Arizona

AAMA Pre-Symposium: Optional Workshops 
April 11, 2019
Phoenix, AZ

AAMA 31st Annual Symposium
April 12-14, 2019
Phoenix, AZ

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 

Most Recent Issue: February 2019 

Most-recent CME Article: Complementary and Integrative Health Education in the Medical School Curriculum: An Interest Survey 

Call for Papers: Special Issue of Medical Acupuncture — Acupuncture for Pregnancy, Fertility, Labor and Delivery, and Postpartum
Deadline: 4/30/19
Our journal, Medical Acupuncture, is planning a special issue on how acupuncture helps women achieve healthy outcomes for pregnancy, infertility, labor and delivery, and postpartum.  In the interest of fostering an understanding of the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating couples with infertility and in managing pain and address adverse conditions from prenatal to postpartum, we invite submissions of original research and review articles. Please visit the Journal website for manuscript submission guidelines. We look forward to receiving your manuscripts and to your active participation in the Journal  

New Scientific Research 

Study: FPs Who Learn Acupuncture Prescribe Fewer Opioids
[American Academy of Family Physicians]
In a letter (academic.oup.com) published online in the journal Pain Medicine, three researchers, including one member of the Uniformed Services AFP (USAFP), presented findings that showed an association between opioid prescriptions and acupuncture training when managing patients with chronic non-cancer pain. The authors found that family physicians trained in acupuncture prescribed fewer "strong" opioids such as oxycodone and fentanyl than did FPs without training. And, in fact, those with more advanced acupuncture training prescribed far fewer opioids overall after their training than they did before.

** Even more reason to register now for the AAMA Acupuncture, Pain & Opioid Webinar series! Register here. 

Can Acupuncture Help You Lose Weight?
[US News & World Report]
While the best research on acupuncture suggests it can be an effective treatment for chronic pain, the research on acupuncture for weight loss isn't robust or conclusive, or clear whether the results are due to the treatment itself or placebo effect. Still, there's reason to believe it may help you shed pounds when used in conjunction with diet, exercise and other lifestyle modifications. A 2018 review of 27 clinical trials including 2,219 patients, for instance, found that while acupuncture alone wasn't so effective for weight loss, it showed promise when paired with lifestyle modifications, especially among people who were overweight but not obese.

5 Things to Know About Alternative Therapies and Cancer
According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 40% of American adults used some form of CAM over the past decade, with use highest among women and those with higher education and income levels. Use of CAM alongside conventional medicine is even more common among patients with cancer, with some studies suggesting up to 83% of patients with cancer in the United States have tried some form of alternate therapy. 

Acupuncture for Treatment of Persistent Disturbed Sleep:A Randomized Clinical Trial in Veterans with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
[Journal of Clinical Psychiatry]
Real acupuncture, compared with a sham needling procedure, resulted in a significant improvement in sleep measures for veterans with mTBI and disturbed sleep, even in the presence of PTSD. These results indicate that an alternative-medicine treatment modality like acupuncture can provide clinically significant relief for a particularly recalcitrant problem affecting large segments of the veteran population.

New Member Recruitment - Earn $50!

Do you know someone who could – and should – become an AAMA member? Earn $50 for yourself by getting them to join the Academy! 

Reach out to your colleagues, people you met in acupuncture training – people you know need to be involved with the Academy. YOU are the best Academy Membership Ambassador we have!
Nominate a new member today and earn $50 credit for EACH new member you bring in!

Find all the details about this offer! (Member login required)

Membership Information