In 1993 there was another major split in the profession – a result of the AAOM’s decision to restrict voting membership to those who had passed the NCCA (precursor to the NCCAOM) exam (primarily a TCM exam). Many practitioners believed the decision would destroy the diversity of the profession and the Alliance was formed. The “Seattle statement” of 1997 is worth reading.
In 2007, the AAOM and The Alliance merged, becoming the new AAAOM. The merger was handled and paid for by the AAC (the malpractice insurance group, also affiliated with the publisher of Acupuncture Today), and was presented as a reflection of a new unity on the ground. But at least one leader of today’s AAAOM tells it as a story of the AAOM coming to the financial rescue of a failed organization (neglecting to mention that the AAC had recently given the AAAOM significant financial help).
The profession has yet to find common ground. Our history is one of winners and losers.
Among the unresolved conflicts: is the diversity of the medicine worth saving; will adopting the U.S. system of health care delivery and financing save us or destroy us; will increasing professional standards lead to success for practitioners or only for credentialing agencies?
Twenty plus years without consensus on these and other issues has created a fractured profession. Institutions and organizations with straightforward goals and guaranteed revenue streams (the NCCAOM, ACAOM, and the AAC among others) stepped into the void and took control.
To our misfortune, many practitioners think these organizations are looking out for acupuncture professionals when they are really looking out for themselves. And the AAAOM, who should be serving the profession, seems unwilling or unable to provide a counter-weight.