March 2014 John Weeks Integrator Round-Up: Professions and Organizations

by John Weeks, Publisher Editor of The Integrator Blog News & Reports Acupuncture association president Michael Jabbour taken to task in "AAAOM Making Promises it Can't Keep"The present dire situation at the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM) has led

by John Weeks, Publisher/Editor of The Integrator Blog News & Reports

Acupuncture association president Michael Jabbour taken to task in "AAAOM - Making Promises it Can't Keep"

The present dire situation at the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM) has led Acupuncture Today publisher Donald Peterson to take the leaders of the national organization for the licensed acupuncture field to task. In AAAOM - Making Promises it Can't Keep, Peterson begins by noting that in the last four years membership has dwindled by 50%, approximately 690 to 341, and revenues by 60% ($605,000 to $243,000). Five board members and an executive director recently departed. AAAOM president Michael Jabbour, MS, LAc attributes this to "a differing of opinions on the current top priorities: legislation and a unified competency model."

Peterson puts the source of dissension in Jabbour's lap. He cites resignation letters that speak of an "uncomfortable and controlled board environment coupled with a lack of healthy discussion and collaboration among board members limiting the ability to move projects forward." According to the article only 341 of the profession's 30,000+ licensed practitioners (1%) have chosen to become AAAOM members. The article notes that the profession's journal editor has not been paid and recently resigned and that the AAAOM has not held an annual meeting since 2010.  Peterson concludes: "These issues paint a tragic picture about the current status of the AAAOM leadership and the impact it is having on the profession. Other health care professions are competing in the race for health care reform, while the AAAOM stands motionless on the sidelines embroiled in power plays and exclusionist behavior." 

Comment: The AAAOM website presently (March 9, 2014) greets one with the following: "We are aware of an article published in Acupuncture Today about the status of the AAAOM. The article includes many errors, unsubstantiated claims and may be slanderous to AAAOM volunteers. The AAAOM is in the process of drafting a response to the article." As an observer of the organization and its leadership, my view is that Peterson has performed a service with this exacting account, which he based in part on interviews with Jabbour and the individual who is supposed to succeed him, Joshua Saul, MAcOM, LAc. The one significant place where I would amend this story is merely to reference that the national professional association activity of this profession has been a mess and battleground for at least two decades. Problems with organizing acupuncturists and getting them to see the value in a coordinated national effort pre-dated Jabbour's divisive reign in what appears via this article to be a sort of CAM-noir terror. Certainly a good starting place for healing would be, to steal a phrase from the naturopathic profession, "remove the obstacles to cure." Jabbour and those devoted to him should exit. 

Holistic medical organizations AHMA and ABIHM link together in new Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine

A recent issue of the newsletter of the American Holistic Medical Association includes a column by president Molly Roberts, MD and another by executive director Steve Cadwell that detail a significant move in the organizational foundation for activity in the field of integrative and holistic medicine. Write Roberts: "Our American Holistic Medical Association is in the midst of an ongoing evolution, one closely linked with the evolution of the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine as the two become one entity called the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM). Cadwell writes: "In December, the AHMA Board of Directors endorsed the creation of the new Academy and signed off on a Letter of Intent with the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine to outline how the sister organizations might go about joining forces and/or to identify how else the two might align for mutual support and benefit."

Comment: These developments, with which I have been involved as an adviser, are part of the formation of a fascinating new entity in the integrative health and medicine space. I will be reporting on developments in greater length soon. Stay tuned!

ACAM grants first physician membership to chiropractor, CTCA's James Rosenberg, DC, and names him to advisory board

The American College for the Advancement of Medicine (ACAM) has announced that it has appointed James Rosenberg, DC, the national director of chiropractic for Cancer Treatment Centers of America, to its Advisory Board. The February 27, 2014 ACAM press release notes that Rosenberg is the first chiropractic physician to be appointed to the board and that he is the first chiropractic member. Rosenberg "uses chiropractic treatment to relieve stress and pain in the muscles, bones and joints of cancer patients." Rosenberg earned his chiropractic degree from National University of Health Sciences and serves on the Integrative Practice Council of the American Chiropractic Association.

International College of Integrative Medicine offers $20,000 planning grant for a major chelation study

The International College of Integrative Medicine (ICIM) is offering a grant of $20,000 to stimulate further research on chelation therapy to treat vascular disease and/or diabetic complications. The Grant will be called the James P. Carter Memorial Grant for EDTA Chelation Research. According to a February 19, 2014 e-news note, the funds are to be used to plan a significant study. Applicants must submit an explanation of their proposal including such things as “the likelihood of a successful outcome based on previous studies, the possibilities for funding of the entire study, and involvement of experienced researchers and clinicians.” The deadline for proposals is May 31, 2014.

Comment: Looks like a smart strategic move to support research that will build on recent positive outcomes. It is particularly valuable to support research proposals by those who you know, ahead of time, are seeking to create the "likelihood of a successful outcome based on previous studies." Rarely is such objectivity so explicitly solicited. Credit ICIM for its strategic decision to offer this grant, if not for any diplomacy in its public message.

Naturopathic profession's organ, Natural Medicine Journal, publishes special oncology issue

The Natural Medicine Journal, the official journal of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), has published a Special Issue: Oncology. The issue begins with an interview with Columbia University’s Heather Greenlee, ND, PhD, recently elected to head the Society for Integrative Oncology and ends with a discussion with Heather Zwickey, PhD at the Helfgott Institute at National College of Natural Medicine, on chemotherapy-induced immuno-suppression. In opening comments, publisher Karolyn Gazella calls the issue "the collaboration critical to bring about the seismic shift that must occur in cancer research and prevention."

Comment: As a person disposed to focus more on naturopathic medicine’s potential value as a model of primary care -- the original integrative medicine as Tracy Gaudet, MD has honored it -- I find it fascinating how much the field has made a name for itself at the other end of things, in cancer treatment. Greenlee may be the first ND to head SIO but it won't be long until there is a second. Her colleague Suzanna Zick, ND, MPH, at the University of Michigan, is the integrative cancer organization's president-elect.

From "drugless" to "drug-free" - American Chiropractic Association endorses position of Chiropractic Summit

In a recent meeting of its House of Delegates, the American Chiropractic Association endorsed a profession-wide statement, from the Chiropractic Summit, that chiropractic is a "drug-free approach." The shift from "drugless" to “drug-free” is captured here: "When the [Summit] first approached the task, it realized that the profession could not legitimately use the word 'drugless' to describe itself. Surprised? It makes sense when you consider the FDA classifies the use of certain vitamins and supplements to treat a condition a form of drug use. With so many doctors of chiropractic using nutritional therapy to help their patients, it was obvious to even the most conservative among us that 'drug-free approach' more accurately describes what we all do."

Comment: Fascinating step and media release. My father, a somewhat salty fellow from a small town in Southern Idaho, used to reference certain professionals who enjoyed "separating fly shit from pepper." The chiropractors’ clarifying language feels a bit like that even though internally this endorsement symbolizes what must be a significant, negotiated agreement.  The average Joe or Suzy is not going to see a difference between “drug-free" and "drug-less." I am not sure I understand myself. Yet the awareness of the use of natural pharmaceuticals is clearly an acknowledgement of present clinical and organizational practices in a profession for which nearly every significant initiative is sponsored by supplement manufacturer Standard Process.  

National, multidisciplinary certification for health coaches advances

The National Consortium for Credentialing Health and Wellness Coaches keeps advancing in its step-wise way toward national, multidisciplinary standards for the field. According to a recent newsletter from Meg Jordan, PhD, RN, CWP, from the California Institute for Integral Studies, a workgroup for a "Job Task Analysis" for the emerging field will gather in Indianapolis on March 15-16, 2014. A 12-member panel consisting of educators and coaches will have two days "to figure it all out." Jordan calls this "the critical first step in advancing the standards in the health coaching field." Jordan is on the organization's board of directors.

Comment: The idea of a discipline-neutral, shared “ownership” of a health coaching credential is a terrific opportunity to foster interprofessionalism as well as to move a field that is focused on the engagement strategies on which profound reform of the medical industry, toward a system that focuses on health creation, depends. Credit Jordan and the rest of the team for continuing to persevere to bring these standards forward.