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Advocate - Executive Director's Column (May 2013)

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Among the keys to the success of any organized structure—whether it’s an association, corporation, or even a club—is communication between its members. The old cliché about a chain being only as strong as its weakest link applies to the concept of information sharing. Without it, the organization suffers at the precise point where communication stops.

This is the first in a series of newsletters designed to communicate to and with you and others on matters of importance to your profession. The purpose of this missive is to discuss information, advancement and yes, even problems, openly, through communications. To quote an unknown author, "Sunlight is the greatest elixir.” In this case, s/he was referring to benefits of transparency, the panacea that leads to the success of all organizations.

In my short tenure as your new executive director, I’ve become increasingly aware that while acupuncture and Oriental medicine is a valuable science whose benefit to millions has been recognized for centuries, it also presents an interesting dichotomy.

As you well know, acupuncture is around 3,000 years old, based on the carbon dating of turtle carapaces carved by the Chinese in order to record their knowledge before inventing paper around 100 BCE.

The science may be even older than we realized. Ötzi the iceman, found in September 1991 in the Ötztal Alps, reportedly had acupuncture tattoos on his body that corresponded to points that would be placed to aid arthritis today.

And yet, even here in the west, where acupuncture has been known for hundreds of years, (Benjamin Franklin received acupuncture treatments in the 1700s), the question remains "Why is this centuries-old eastern science still not universally combined with western medicine (the dichotomy I mentioned earlier)?"

In part, the answer lies in communication. Those who revere acupuncture and who already know its benefits must do a better job communicating its values to those who’ve yet to realize the lengthy list of maladies this science helps and heals.

This is where the AAAOM comes in. One of our most important goals—to educate consumers, policymakers and insurers of the benefits of acupuncture—is definitely achievable. However, it takes communication, and much of it. We have a much stronger base of supporters than even we realize: those who depend on acupuncture to assist with their healthcare; physicians and healthcare professionals who already know the benefits of eastern medicine, and even some policymakers who, either personally or through family members, are proponents of acupuncture and Oriental medicine. Added to this is our never-ending need to partner with other organizations. This, too, can only be achieved through communication. We must continually communicate with them and with each other in order to achieve our goals.

I look forward to communicating with you and I hope you’ll communicate back to me so that together we can make the AAAOM’s voice even stronger than it is.

-Denise Graham

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