Monday, December 28, 2009

Action Alert - Help us defeat the plan for First Professional Doctorate for Acupuncturists!

At Sarana Community Acupuncture we take your access to quality acupuncture care very seriously. In fact, everything we do here is designed to make acupuncture as accessible as possible so that you can get the care that you need. We consider creating access to care a mission of social justice and we are entirely committed to partnering with you to create a positive impact in our community. And now we need your help in a big way.

Part of this commitment to social justice demands that we take an active part in ensuring that members of our communities also have equal access to acupuncture education. There is currently an effort by certain individuals in national acupuncture regulatory agencies as well as some influential acupuncture colleges to increase both the cost and length of education in acupuncture and Oriental medicine (AOM), programs that we believe already produce safe and effective practitioners. This is being done by raising the degree status for AOM from its current masters-level, to an entry-level first professional doctorate. The first step in that direction is attempting to develop standards for and pilot these programs at schools around the country. And that is what we are taking a stand against with you today.

Our position is that a first professional doctorate in AOM will have the effect of making access to acupuncture study and practice more exclusionary, thereby limiting the potential of acupuncture to integrate itself into more diverse communities. Increased costs for tuition will be passed onto the public through increased rates, further limiting access to care. There already exists an optional doctorate level program of study in AOM. Changing the entry-level is simply unnecessary.

We consider all of you that sit in our recliners the most important stakeholder in this conversation of a first professional doctorate. While we are happy when we can tell you that there is someone doing community acupuncture where your friends and family live, 90% of the time there is no one practicing acupuncture there the way that you experience it here. This is just plain wrong. This trend can only reverse if we all stand up and say “NO!” to the first professional doctorate in AOM together.

You all are our greatest resources, and we are asking you today to email your letter of opposition to (and a copy to in the name of access to care, access to education, equal rights and social justice in our communities. The deadline for comments is January 15th 2010. A sample letter is below.

Thank you for your continued partnership in true social change.

-The staff at Sarana Community Acupuncture

Maryland Trade Center #3
7501 Greenway Center Drive, Suite 760
Greenbelt, MD 20770

RE: Patients of OM OPPOSED to a First-Professional Doctorate

January XX, 2010

To the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine,

As a patient of Oriental medicine, I consider myself to be a key stakeholder in the successful practice of acupuncture and Oriental medicine in this country. I am strongly opposed to the development of standards for and subsequent piloting of a first professional doctorate in acupuncture and in Oriental medicine. As this will likely lead to a change in entry level education for the profession, I believe this would reduce the number of new practitioners entering the profession, thus limiting access to this medicine. Additional financial responsibilities incurred by students, if a doctorate became a requirement for practice, would very likely have the effect of increasing the cost to the consumer. I believe that the current level of education required that my practitioner received was adequate for me to safely receive the benefits of Oriental medicine.



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