I first received acupuncture in 1989. I lived close to The Traditional Acupuncture Institute (now MUIH) and there were several practitioners in the area. I loved acupuncture and began attending my practitioner’s seasonal events. The more I learned about the medicine the more I liked it. There was nothing that required a leap of faith, nothing I couldn’t see unfolding in the natural world around me.
I soon decided that a career in acupuncture might be better suited to my nature than the future as a Certified Nurse Midwife that I’d been planning for. I set aside my nursing school application and began the prerequisites for acupuncture school, finally beginning my education at TAI in 1992.
During this time I was dating my future husband, a Virginia resident. As our relationship became serious I learned that there was no acupuncture licensure in Virginia. My practitioner lived in Virginia and was involved with the Acupuncture Society of Virginia (ASVA), a group of practitioners working to establish a practice act. I quickly joined and have been involved with ASVA ever since. Over the years I served as student liaison, membership secretary, newsletter editor, legislative liaison, and several terms as president. I became the 4th LAc in Virginia in February 1995, a few weeks after the practice act was signed into law.
While I was in school the split occurred between the AAOM and the Alliance. Attending a school that taught a minority tradition and stressed the importance of the diversity of our medicine, I felt more comfortable with the mission of the Alliance, and remained a member for the length of its existence.
I was appointed to the Advisory Board on Acupuncture to the Virginia Board of Medicine in 2004 and I served ten years, several as Chair, until I was term-limited out in late 2014.
In late 2009 I read some of Lisa Rohleder’s (then of WCA and CAN, now of WCA and POCA) writing. I was so glad to find someone else exploring the challenges facing the profession and that there was a group providing a great deal of practice assistance to practitioners. My own practice continues to focus on private room treatments, but with new attention to what I can do to make acupuncture more available to more people. I’ve been a member of CAN/POCA since early 2010.
Around this time I was asked by the President of ASVA to be a temporary representative to the CSA, the Council of State Organizations. I attended two meetings of this group in early 2011.
In late 2011 I was appointed to fill a vacancy on the AAAOM board and was elected to a full term in early 2012. I knew there were issues in the organizational leadership but was hopeful that my experience on the state level in both the political and regulatory arenas would be appreciated. By the annual meeting in April of 2012 it was clear that the current situation was unworkable and I, along with two of the three other newly elected board members, stepped down. Similar problems within the AAAOM erupted into public view in 2014.
You can read more about me here.
This is a critical time for our profession. I continue to do my best to serve the profession and the public by encouraging a deeper exploration of the professional choices we are making. This blog is an effort to provide a forum for the dialogue necessary for our success.
All of my writing for The Acupuncture Observer reflects my own opinion. I do not speak for any organization or board and am not representing any group here. I apologize in advance for any mistakes. Please let me know of any errors so that they can be corrected.
Elaine Wolf Komarow, LAc