Volunteering for a national, non-profit organization brings with it such highs, lows, and accomplishments, as well as a steep learning curve. I started out my journey in the AAAOM Board of Directors in 2015, as the Secretary in the Executive Committee, and under the tutelage of then president, Don Lee. During this time I learned a lot about the expectations from the field, and putting my whole heart into the role of public servant. In these last elections, as it was the end of Don's term, I am proud to announce that I was elected into the leadership role and am the new President of the Board of Directors for AAAOM.
What an exciting time to take this role, as 2016 is shaping up to be a powerful, albeit controversial, time in the history of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. The brain child of AAAOM, the Federal Legislation bill H.R. 3849-Acupuncture for Heroes and Seniors Act, was put before congress at the end of 2015, and Representative Judy Chu continues to champion for veterans and seniors to have access to AOM, and to help bridge the gap between AOM and mainstream medicine for access to patients. Earlier this year the NCCAOM and their tireless committee members struck a huge victory for the profession by getting Acupuncture officially recognized by the United States Bureau of Labor and Industries, providing our field with an official occupational code. This has been an undertaking of massive proportions for many years, and is such an exciting step forward for the profession, so I, and the AAAOM, are so appreciative and grateful to Kory Cook and the NCCAOM for this incredible triumph.
On the controversial side, our field has been to battle to protect Acupuncture as Acupuncture, and refuses to acquiesce to the growing controversy of dry needling. Laws and regulation over whether or not dry needling is acupuncture--which it most certainly is--continues to bubble to a head, and the field stands at the precipice of our future in medicine. The battle against the over usage of opioids continues onward, and many in our profession have dug their heels in to say no more, and work to illuminate the benefits of AOM for pain management. It is clear that now, more than perhaps any other time in AOM history in the United States, we as professionals must band together to volunteer our time, talents, and treasure toward protecting the field and moving forward as a unified profession.
To address these need, our goals with AAAOM for the year ahead are to revitalize and fill our committees, to work and collaborate with the other organizations in our field, to finish the Unified Competency Model project begun in 2015, and to boldly address the needs of the field as they come up. We have revitalized and updated our organization with a new website, new educational and volunteering opportunities, and a fresh, new, modern look. We hope to inspire the field, and be a voice for the profession.
I am so grateful for this new role, and even more so to have such an amazing Board of Directors with whom to face any challenges to come. I want to also especially thank our past Presidents for all their hard work and sacrifice to pull AAAOM through the tumultuous growing pains of transformation to bring us to where we are now: ready and excited to meet the challenges, needs, and joys ahead. Thank you to Don Lee and Michael Jabbour for the endless hours you dedicated of your free time to the administration of this organization, and you have both left behind big shoes to fill.
I would like to also thank and introduce our new Board of Directors, the executive committee: Vice President Amanda Gaitaud, Dipl. OM, LAc, Secretary Aldo D'Aversa D.C., Dipl. OM, CCEP., and Treasurer Carlos Chapa, PhD, Dipl. OM, LAc.; and Rhonda K. Bathurst, Dipl. OM, LAc., Haihe Tian, AP, PhD., MD (China), and Joshua Saul, LAc, the Student Organization President. I am so excited with this amazing team of Board of Directors!
We have set big goals for the year to come, and I think the band of volunteers that have come together to devote themselves to the vision are the type of dedicated go-getters with whom our field can be proud. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us and volunteer your knowledge. I look forward to working with you and value your input.
Anne Biris, LAc., President of AAAOM