AAMA's Rutenberg Testifies Before White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy
AAMA plays a role in access to holistic, coordinated medical care
BETHESDA, MD (December 11, 2001) - Endorsing physician practice of medical acupuncture will increase access to holistic, coordinated medical care within the American medical community, according to William D. Rutenberg, MD, DABMA, chair of Medical Acupuncture Advisory Committee for the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture.
Dr. Rutenberg testified before the final public hearing of the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy (WHCCAMP) at NIH in Bethesda, MD on Dec. 7. Dr. Rutenberg asked the commission to help promote access to medical acupuncture in this country by upholding AAMA's role as educator and provider of acupuncture within the evidence-based framework of American medical clinics and hospitals.
"In Western society, the demand for evidence-based medicine is inescapable," said Dr. Rutenberg. "Physicians, trained in medical acupuncture, presenting and publishing research based on sound scientific principles, at national medical meetings and in peer reviewed journals, are making believers of Western trained physicians."
Speaking on behalf of the Academy, a 2,000-person association of American and Canadian physicians incorporating acupuncture into their practices, Dr. Rutenberg urged the commission to uphold current, proven training standards for physician acupuncturists. The results of a national study published in JAMA in 1998 found that most CAM users first seek out conventional medical treatment and subsequently turn to CAM practitioners. Endorsement of medical acupuncture by the commission will create a cadre of physicians who bring acupuncture and by association, CAM, into medical centers, medical school curricula, and to patients, Rutenberg said.
"Patients know that we are applying Western pathophysiology to their problems, but they also value that we are looking at the mind-body relationship through an Eastern paradigm," Dr. Rutenberg wrote in submitted testimony. "I have repeatedly found that when people see my AAMA certificate on my office wall, they become open and discuss freely their desires for a more holistic approach to their healthcare, their desire for me to incorporate acupuncture into their care, and to the limits of my knowledge, other forms of complementary medicine. My training has also allowed me to become a more informed, a more knowledgeable referring physician."
Dr. Rutenberg stressed the quality of the AAMA and certification program, which adheres to the international standard of the World Health Organization as well as the core curriculum of the British Medical Association Board of Science and Education.
He also described ways in which the Academy can share its educational resources with the broader community, including:
- · Medical Acupuncture, AAMA's research journal published three times a year;
- · The Acubriefs website (www.acubriefs.com), an extensive information and news source for the acupuncture community; and
- · AAMA's annual Symposium, where medical acupuncturists continue their education and share clinical experiences.
Dr. Rutenberg also articulated AAMA's desire to work together with all acupuncture practitioners to present a "unified voice" to increase the stature of acupuncture as a valued healthcare alternative. He closed by quoting basic principles of integrative medicine as articulated by the University of Arizona's School of Integrative Medicine: "It is my hope the commission will adopt 'a philosophy that neither rejects conventional medicine nor accepts alternative medicine uncritically and recognizes that good medicine should be based in good science, inquiry driven and open to new paradigms.'"
Dr. Rutenberg, a specialist in pediatrics, allergy and medical acupuncture at the Grove Medical Center in Long Grove, IL, is board certified in pediatrics and medical acupuncture. A full copy of Dr. Rutenberg's testimony is available at AAMA's website: http://www.medicalacupuncture.org/acu_info/pressrelease/whctranscript.html
WHCCAMP's recommendations on policy and legislation are due to the President through the secretary of healt h and human services by March 2002.
Founded in 1987, the AAMA is the sole physician-only professional acupuncture society in North America, accepting members from a variety of medical specialties. With 2,000 members and 15 regional chapters, the AAMA promotes the integration of concepts from traditional and modern forms of acupuncture with Western medical training to offer patients a more comprehensive approach to health care.
For more information, visit: www.medicalacupuncture.org.