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October 2019 Newsletter

Table of Contents – October 2019

AAMA’s Future: A Bold Vision and a Growing Evidence-Base

I have found serving on the AAMA Board of Directors highly rewarding and a great learning experience. Our current board of directors is decidedly motivated and hard working. We met for the strategic retreat on August 17, 2019, and developed a mission and vision statement to guide our efforts and activities. 

AAMA Mission Statement: The American Academy of Medical Acupuncture is the professional organization of allopathic and osteopathic physicians that advances the evidence-based integration of the practice of medicine and acupuncture to serve our patients. 

AAMA Vision Statement: Raising standards and increasing access on the front lines of medicine … acupuncture that works.

I would like to share my enthusiasm for the future direction of our organization, which includes our work on advancing AAMA’s role in supporting rigorous acupuncture research. We have formed the AAMA research committee and established a Medical Acupuncture Research Foundation (MARF) Grant program. Presently, we are inviting motivated AAMA members to volunteer for the research committee and/or to serve as research partners to build collaborative efforts between our academic and community partners. Such collaborations will enrich our acupuncture publications and presentations and ease IRB approval process for our community partners.

Recently, I was fortunate to have my acupuncture research work accepted for podium and poster presentations at several urological national meetings (American Urogynecological Society and American Urological Association), and it received much warmer reception than my prior acupuncture presentations to surgical communities. I think this demonstrates a shift towards acceptance of this powerful treatment modality by medical practitioners at large. 

I seek to empower AAMA members to improve treatment approaches in their respective specialties by pursuing and publishing their acupuncture research. If you are conducting or considering acupuncture-related research, I hope you’ll reach out

Larissa Bresler, MD, DABMA
Associate Professor of Urology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, LUMC, HVA
AAMA Board of Directors, AAMA Research Committee Chair

Welcome New AAMA Members

Please join us in welcoming the following new members who became part of the Academy in September 2019:

  • Ferda Sakman, MD of Sunnyvale, CA 
  • Brian James, MD of Chillicothe, OH 
  • Mark Henry Gerold, MD of Jeannette, PA 
  • Kristin Vogt, MD of Papillion, NE 
  • Amy C. Sedgwick, MD of North Yarmouth, ME 

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.

October Legislative Advocacy Updates

As the state legislatures have begun to adjourn for the year, new legislative proposals are fewer and fewer. A few bills are still alive in states that remain in session, and there are still a few bills before Congress at this time, but there has been little or no activity on those bills so far this session. Of note: 

  • Several AAMA members successfully advocated for the addition of language about medical acupuncture into HB 4710 in Michigan. The AAMA was contacted during the writing of the bill in an effort to include appropriate language to set the standard for education and training of physician acupuncturists. John Reed, a member of the AAMA Legislative Committee, with assistance from Brenda Donaldson, Jay Sandweiss and other members from Michigan, provided input so the bill’s advocates could include language that addresses the needs of physicians. The bill has bipartisan support and appears likely to pass. 

Trends of interest: 

  • Every proposal to require health insurance to cover acupuncture failed to pass (there were 4-5 such proposals).
  • No proposals to push alternatives, such as acupuncture, before the use of opioids passed.
  • One bill requiring physicians to review options with patients before prescribing opioids passed.

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).

AAMA Website: Updating Important Patient Education Resources

In an effort to provide current information and resources to patients who are interested in learning about the benefits of medical acupuncture, the AAMA staff is building a series of landing pages dedicated to specific disease states and conditions. For October, because it is both Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Depression Awareness Month, those topics were the first pages we built out. We hope you’ll visit the site — and please feel free to suggest other research or articles that should be included on the pages. 

Member News – Larissa Bresler Featured in Loyola Medicine Video

In the video, Larissa Bresler, MD, DABMA, shares her experience treating painful bladder syndrome, interstitial cystitis and other types of pelvic pain. Bresler is a urologist and medical acupuncturist with Loyola Medicine in Chicago. “By merging my Eastern and Western brain, I can help these women get better,” says Bresler. (Have you also been featured in a video? Please share the clip with us so we can add it to the AAMA YouTube channel’s playlists.) Watch Bresler video. 

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Adds Acupuncture Coverage

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts ("Blue Cross") recently announced that it will offer a new acupuncture benefit starting January 1, 2020. Blue Cross members — except for Medicare Advantage — will have coverage for acupuncture services when their coverage begins or renews in the new year. Eligible members will have coverage for up to 12 acupuncture visits per calendar year when performed by a network provider, such as a Licensed Acupuncturist, Doctor of Medicine, or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. Read more. 

Medicare Advantage Plans Get Creative with 2020 Benefits

“Anthem's Medicare Advantage plans in several states will offer a choice of new benefit options, including sessions with a dietitian or up to 64 healthy food deliveries per year. Other choices include quarterly pest control, health and fitness devices, an allowance to help care for a service dog, and access to acupuncture or massages.“ Read more.

Save the Dates for the AAMA Annual Symposium

The 32nd Annual AAMA Symposium will be held April 23-26, 2020, at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida. The theme is "One Root, Many Branches: Acupuncture Science for Our Modern Practices.” Save the date and book your hotel room today. We know this meeting will be a popular one for members who might want to extend their time to explore and enjoy Orlando in the spring. Don’t risk losing out on our hotel block! 

Register now! 2020 Medical Acupuncture Review Course

The Medical Acupuncture 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 course is offered each year during the week prior to the Annual Symposium (this year: April 21-22, 2020) in the same hotel as the Symposium. 

ICYMI: In Case You Missed It Last Month

Have You Joined the Private AAMA Group on Facebook?
A new private Facebook group for AAMA members was created recently to provide a closed forum where physician acupuncturists can ask one another for advice, share their successes, and network with each other professionally and socially. Only current AAMA members are eligible to participate in this private group. 

New! The AAMA YouTube Channel
The page features playlists of original and curated videos from AAMA members and trusted medical and health care institutions. Please let us know if you have additional videos about acupuncture that you’d like to share or if you find links to videos you’d suggest for the AAMA playlists.

Medical Acupuncture Research Foundation (MARF) Pilot Grant
AAMA members are encouraged to submit pragmatic clinical trial proposals (not placebo comparisons). One grant (up to $30,000) will be awarded each year. Submission deadline is January 30, 2020. Grant award will be announced at the 2020 Annual Symposium, April 24-26, 2020, in Orlando, FL. Read more on the AAMA website or contact Larissa Bresler, MD, DABMA, for more information. 

Serve on the AAMA Board of Directors or Committees
Want to learn more about how you might contribute your expertise to the AAMA’s Board of Directors or to one of the Academy’s committees? You’ll find details on the AAMA website pages (Board and Committees), or you can email us to set up a phone call.   

Professional Development Opportunities

Medical Acupuncture Review Course
April 21-22, 2020
Orlando, FL 

AAMA Annual Symposium
April 23-26, 2020
Orlando, FL

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: Special Issue – Acupuncture for Pregnancy, Fertility, Labor and Delivery, and Postpartum (October 2019) 

Most-recent CME Articles:

New Scientific Research

Clinical characteristics are associated with acupuncture treatment response for xerostomia in cancer patients
[Annals of Oncology]
Acupuncture has been recognized as an effective integrative modality for managing xerostomia, but data about predicting treatment response to acupuncture are limited. We explored patient characteristics and treatment response among patients who received acupuncture for xerostomia.

Integrative Approaches for Sleep Health in Cancer Survivors
[The Cancer Journal]
Cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia, mindfulness-based therapies, qigong/tai chi, and acupuncture have the most evidence for improving sleep and insomnia, whereas yoga, acupressure, massage, and reflexology are still being investigated or building their evidence base.

Effects of Acupuncture on Neurological Disease in Clinical- and Animal-Based Research
[Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience]
Neurological disease, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), which were caused by abnormalities in the nervous system involves the accumulation of false proteins, neurotransmitter abnormalities, neuronal apoptosis, etc. As an alternative supplementary medicine (ASM), acupuncture plays an important role in the treatment of neurological diseases. In this review article, we summarized the current evidence for the treatment efficacy of acupuncture in AD and PD from the perspective of clinical trials and animal model. Acupuncture can inhibit the accumulation of toxic proteins in neurological diseases, modulate energy supply based on glucose metabolism, depress neuronal apoptosis, etc., and exert a wide range of neuroprotective effects.

Factor analysis of electroacupuncture and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors for major depressive disorder: an 8-week controlled clinical trial
[Acupuncture in Medicine]
There was no significant difference between EA and SSRIs in the treatment of MDD with respect to our primary outcome. However, as a potential therapy for MDD, EA appeared to result in greater symptom improvement than SSRI treatment with respect to anxiety/somatisation and feelings of despair. The results of this secondary analysis should be interpreted cautiously given the inherent issues of multiple testing.

Acupuncture effect and mechanism for treating pain in patients with Parkinson’s disease
[Frontiers in Neurology]
Acupuncture could relieve pain in PD patients by modulating brain regions related to both sensory-discriminative and emotional aspects. The present study might increase the confidence of users that acupuncture is an effective and safe analgesic tool that can relieve PD-related pain.

Scientific Research

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

Symposium Recordings

Did you miss the 2019 Symposium in Phoenix, AZ? Did you forget to purchase recordings before leaving?  You can STILL purchase recordings - Stream or download videos.

Order today!

Resourceful Recordings

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)

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