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You are here  >   For Physicians  >  Academy Newsletters  >  May 2016

May 2016 Newsletter

Table of Contents - May 2016    

Acupuncture in School-Based Health Centers in the NYC Public Schools  

I became the medical director of the seven school-based health centers (SBHCs) sponsored by New York-Presbyterian Hospital in August 2014, after completing the Helms Medical Institute Training in 2012 and my board certification in October of 2014. With the support of both my hospital and Columbia University Medical Center’s Department of Pediatrics, I incorporated acupuncture into the clinical services that I provide at the SBHCs and the adolescent medicine consults during my weeks of inpatient consult service at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York. 

In addition, we have created a new culture that supports integrative health care within the SBHCs, which emerged from a challenge I made to all our service providers to identify and incorporate an aspect of integrative health care into their service provision with youth. This challenge led to each service provider team identifying an area of learning and expertise that they wanted to focus on. The patient financial advisors who staff the registration desk now diffuse aromatherapy in the waiting areas; I have trained mental health providers to teach student patients self-hypnosis to manage anxiety; I taught the health educators to teach students mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques; and I have trained our medical providers acupressure for management of common conditions, including headaches, menstrual and GI complaints, anxiety, and pain management. The SBHC medical providers —predominantly nurse practitioners, a physician assistant and a physician — have all embraced learning acupressure with great enthusiasm and resounding success.   

The adolescent patients I have seen at our SBHCs are junior high school and high school students, predominantly Hispanic (Dominican Republic) or African American, and generally are either covered by Medicaid or are uninsured. I find that my adolescent patients are very receptive to acupuncture. Because most of these patients are minors (under the age of 18), I have regular conversations with their parents regarding acupuncture as a treatment for their son’s or daughter’s medical condition, and they usually respond with strong enthusiasm and agreement to my providing this service to their children. In fact, most of my patients have family members who have had very positive experiences with acupuncture.   

To date, I have provided acupuncture treatments to student patients who presented with plantar fasciitis/foot pain or other musculoskeletal complains like chest pain, shoulder pain and back pain, anxiety, insomnia, menstrual cramps, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, fatigue, allergies, viral syndromes, and asthma, to name a few. Needle phobia is surprisingly infrequent, and my adolescent patients are my best advertisers of our acupuncture services. I use Battlefield Acupuncture for pain relief and Four Gates with Yin Tang regularly. I always show adolescents how to do acupressure at the end of a visit to empower them be more involved in self-care, and they are very receptive to learning. I am continually amazed at how quickly their symptoms resolve with short treatments — usually within a session or two. With the help of a Mailman School of Public Health student, we are now conducting an online computerized needs assessment to assess which integrative health services our adolescent patients are familiar with and which they would be most interested in receiving at their school based health center. In the upcoming year, we intend to expand our integrative heath services at the SBHCs and to conduct research on the use of these services, including acupuncture, in the management of common adolescent health conditions.    

If you wish to contact me about this work, I can be reached at   

Melanie A. Gold, DO, DABMA, MMQ
AAMA Board of Directors   

Winning Research Paper Presented at Annual Symposium 

The winning research paper in the AAMA’s annual competition was presented as part of the program agenda on Sunday, April 10, at the 2016 Annual Symposium. 

David Carr, MBBS, DipMedAc, MSc, presented: "Current provision of intrapartum acupuncture by independent acupuncture practitioners in the UK"

As the first-place winner, Carr received a $1,500 stipend, Symposium registration, travel reimbursement up to $500, and three nights hotel lodging for the presenting author. 

Vermont Fixing Acupuncture Legislation 

Vermont, like numerous other states, had a provision in its acupuncture licensing statute that exempted professionals licensed under some other statute if acupuncture was included in the scope of practice of that license. Somehow, apparently inadvertently, that provision was deleted from the statute a year or two ago, creating consternation and uncertainty among current physician acupuncturists, some of whom were concerned that the new acupuncture licensing law made it sound like MDs and DOs trained in medical acupuncture might have to go through the LAc licensing process to continue to practice. Some institutions would not grant acupuncture privileges until the matter was clarified. 

The Academy staff has received word that a legislative fix has passed one house of the Legislature and is up for final approval in the other with no apparent opposition. It restores the exemption of licensed physicians and others where the scope of their license includes acupuncture. The amendment is expected to pass within weeks.  Interestingly, in the course of the debate on this legislation, one source says that the legislators wanted to expand coverage beyond licensed physicians to include physician assistants and nurse practitioners, under the supervision of a physician trained in medical acupuncture.  We will have to await the language of the final bill as enacted to see the exact provisions regarding these additional practitioners. 

AAMA Chapter News  

Tentative OHIO Chapter AAMA Meeting
October 15-16, 2016

Venue: Alliance Integrative Medicine 6400 E Galbraith Rd Cincinnati, OH 45236  
Presenter: Poney Chiang Ph.D, R.TCMP, R.Ac, Dipl.OM (NCCAOM)
Title: Integrative Acupuncture for Neuro-Rehabilitation   

In China, the demand for acupuncture by stroke patients is second only to pain.  In this workshop, Chiang will teach various popular methods used in China to treat central nervous system disorders. Evidence-based research will be presented along with Traditional Chinese medical strategy on treating Wind-related diseases.   Details forthcoming in the next few months. If you are interested, please email Steve Amoils, MD, President, Ohio Chapter AAMA:   

Serve on an AAMA Committee 

The Academy is a member driven organization. Members of the Academy, serving on the Board of Directors or on Committees advising the Board, are making the decisions regarding programs and activities that set the future for the Academy.  All members are invited to take part in this volunteer governance process. You can take on a small task that is important but where the time commitment is clearly defined, or you can take on a more significant role by becoming involved as a member of a standing committee or Board where your activities will be more varied and spread over multiple months. 

Committee examples include: 
  • Budget Committee
  • CME Committee
  • Membership Committee
  • Journal Editorial Committee
  • Website Committee

Want to learn more? Visit the AAMA Committees landing page. 

Physicians Earn DABMA 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): Janine Rihmland, MD, of Claysville, PA; John Spieker, MD, of Lewes, TX.

Symposium 2017: A Sneak Peek

Laura Bowman has agreed to continue on the planning committee as the Annual Symposium Chair, with David Miller joining as Vice Chair.&nbsp;The committee convened for the first planning meeting in Anaheim. The Symposium will be heading east to Pittsburgh next April. Put it on your calendars! Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown, April 6-9, 2017.

New Scientific Research   

Acupuncture As A Treatment Modality For Migraine – A Systematic Review Of The Literature    
Acupuncture has been found to be at least as effective as conventional preventative pharmacologic treatment for migraine. It does not only relieve the pain of migraine but also improves the psychological profile of patients. Moreover, it is safe, cost-effective, long lasting and contributes significantly to the improvement of patients’ quality of life. 

More Than Needles: The Importance of Explanations and Self-Care Advice in Treating Primary Dysmenorrhea with Acupuncture
(Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine)
Most of the women in this study found improved symptom control and reduced pain. A contributing factor for these improvements may be an increased internal health locus of control and an increase in self-efficacy resulting from the self-care advice given during the clinical trial.    

Multiple Chronic Conditions and Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Among US Adults: Results From the 2012 National Health Interview Survey
People with multiple chronic conditions have a high prevalence of CAM use. Longitudinal studies are needed to understand the association between CAM use and chronic disease prevention and treatment.

Laser Acupuncture As An Adjunctive Therapy For Spastic Cerebral Palsy In Children
(Lasers in Medical Science)
Laser acupuncture has a beneficial effect on reducing spasticity in spastic cerebral palsy and may be helpful in improving their movement.     


Symposium Recordings

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