Sixteen (or so) Questions for the AAAOM

AAAOM representatives advocate transparency and Board members have offered assistance. I’ve got some questions, and I look forward to getting some answers!

  1. What is the current dues paying individual voting membership of the AAAOM and how many individual members voted in the March 2015 elections?
  2. How many organizational voting members does the AAAOM have, who are they, and how many voted in the March 2015 elections?
  3. Who was on the Election Committee supervising that election?
  4. Why do the new bylaws close Board meetings to members unless invited by the Board?
  5. Why is there such a large range (9-15) allowed in the size of the Board of Directors?
  6. How will the size of each Board be determined?
  7. A 15 person Board requires a vote of 8 for a position to prevail. A 9 person Board only needs a vote of 5.  Isn’t there risk that dissenting members could be driven from (or removed from) a larger Board in order for what would otherwise be losing positions to prevail?
  8. Does the new provision that elections be held only for contested positions open the door for a board to manipulate elections by setting the board size?
  9. What or who determines whether a director’s meeting absence is excused?
  10. What is the hold-up in the whistleblower policy? Why has it been impossible to develop a policy acceptable to the Board over the past two years?
  11. In the past 5 years, how many past employees or board members have been threatened with legal action by the AAAOM after departing their positions?
  12. Who was on the Governance Committee in 2014, and who is currently serving on that committee?
  13. Are substantive changes being made in the draft legislation from the 2013 language? How is the AAAOM planning for a different outcome than in 2013?
  14. Who is on the expert panel reviewing the “unified competency model“?
  15. AAAOM 2013 990 states that annual reports are available to the public via the website.  However, currently access is limited to members. Where can the public access the AAAOM annual reports?
  16.  The AAAOM refers to itself as the “profession’s national flagship organization.”  Is this similar to this Flag Ship Service Organization?     Okay, just kidding on that one.

AAAOM, how about some answers?




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© Elaine Wolf Komarow and The Acupuncture Observer, 2013-2033. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express written permission from Elaine Wolf Komarow is prohibited. Excerpts and links are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given with specific direction to the original content.

13 thoughts on “Sixteen (or so) Questions for the AAAOM

  1. Hi Elaine and All,

    I apologize that I’m not going to be able to follow up on this too closely right now, but the Council of State Associations will be voting on May 5th as to whether or not we should incorporate into a new entity. The potential for representative governance is incredibly exciting to me, and if you all are involved with your state associations, please encourage them to join. If we do move forward, I hope you’ll put similar questions to us at that time. It is looking very positive right now, but until there’s a formal vote, nothing is a done deal. Thanks for keeping the conversation alive!

  2. I hear that positive change is coming. I’ve heard that before, but there are some reasons to think that positive change is more possible now than it has been in some time. I suppose if the AAAOM is willing to try to answer these questions, that would be a good sign. Let’s see what happens!

  3. I know that these are important questions but, oh for Gawd’s sake Elaine, you know that no answers to any of these questions are forthcoming. Even if AAAOM’s internal records were subpoenaed I doubt that they could produce them because, well, they probably don’t keep them. And if such records do exist they are, more than likely, so sloppy you would not learn anything from them. Perhaps I should give them more credit but I cannot. Furthermore there is frequently an advantage to be gained by inept record keeping. While we practitioners are expected, in most states, to keep adequate records and our boards and regulations keep us rather accountable there is certainly neither accountability nor transparency here. BTW you know from our previous exchanges that I think there is too little accountability in this ‘profession’ at ‘higher levels’ particularly among our self-appointed overlords. I think this applies to most of our education, accreditation, and certification infrastructures as well as many of our state boards. Certainly the Acupuncture Advisory Council in Delaware has operated for too long without one shred of competency, human decency, or accountability. So even if we could clean up the AAAOM do you really think there is any chance that the real interests of practitioners everywhere will suddenly start being respected? Personally, I am not optimistic. As is almost always the case—those with power and privilege take care of themselves first. That is just the way it is. If we want things to change we will have to fight like hell. I do not believe there is another way.

    • It doesn’t take much record-keeping to know who supervised an election that happened a month ago, or how many members the group has. I’ve heard there may be positive changes afoot. I’ve had hopes dashed before, so I am not hopeful, but whether I get responses, and what they are, will be helpful.

      • “It doesn’t take much record-keeping to know who supervised an election that happened a month ago, or how many members the group has.”

        Agreed, but the records have to be kept and there has to be a commitment to transparency before they will released. In my opinion these figures should be available, at the click of a mouse, to anyone who visits their website. At least that is the way I would do things.

  4. Yes, great questions. 2 comments:
    1 – have you thought of getting into the fray and be a AAAOM board member yourself/
    It is much easier to voice your opinion from within.
    2 – I think a larger board, like 15, gives the opportunity to spread out tasks and goals more efficiently. After all it is a national organization representing all of us. They have a lot to do, I think.

    • Augusto — Why yes, not only have I thought about getting into the fray, I have been on the board of the AAAOM. And my experience there is what informs my questions about whether the variable board size could be manipulated so that certain people get their way. If you read the two Acupuncture Today articles from March of 2014 you’ll see some of the history and some of the names of other folks who have been on the AAAOM Board an their experiences.

      As for your second question — well, do they represent all of us?

      Assuming 400 voting members, which may be close to the truth, the 5% of members that need to vote on bylaws is 20 people, and since only slightly more than half of those are needed to set a position — well, with a 15 person board…..

      Typically, organizations do not depend on board members to do the work — they hire people to do the work. That a long-standing national organization hasn’t been able to find any consistent help, or the money to hire folks, well, that’s an issue.

  5. I’ve been fighting a large scale development in my town and learned a lot about politics. There’s ALWAYS someone’s motivate behind the actions. When an organization is not transparent – there’s political bull crap going on. Someone is getting something to their benefit.

    Why should we care? Because this is a group of people who lack transparency in their actions – effect us. We pay the price of a poorly run profession. I guarantee someone is making a ton of money through the actions of the organization. While the rest of us struggle to make a living with limited options.

    I say we jump on board the “Freewind” and audit what’s going on.

    • Samantha, for all my concerns about the AAAOM, I really don’t think anyone is getting rich from AAAOM funds — with few members there is little money (check out the 990). It could be argued that other acupuncture-related groups are profiting from the lack of a strong professional organization, but that isn’t quite the same…. I think in the case of the AAAOM power has been the currency rather than money.

      • I agree. It’s not so much the money, there’s other “things” going on. In the end, thank you for bringing this to light. The more we ask these questions and don’t disappear, the better chance we have for change.

    • Well, Zinnia, I do. And I think all acupuncturists practicing in the US should. The AAAOM continues to present itself as the voice of the profession, gets listed on sites as the place to go to find qualified practitioners, and gets invited to meetings as the voice of the profession. If they are actually the voice of a few hundred practitioners, that is important to know. If they manage to get Federal legislation introduced by saying this is something “the profession” wants, that’s significant, even if the bill goes nowhere.

      I suppose it’s like W’s second term — should anyone still care how he ended up “winning” the election? I say yes.

  6. Great questions, Elaine.
    And I’m glad someone has finally documented the connection with the Church of Scientology… 🙂

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