A Publication of the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
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Summer Issue 2019
Bullet Message from the NCCAOM CEO
Bullet It's Almost Here! October 24th is AOM Day
Bullet Advocacy Update
Bullet Certification verses Certificate of Qualification: What's the Difference?
Bullet NCCAOM Recertification Made Simple
Bullet Meet the Team
Bullet NCCAOM Diplomate Satisfaction Survey
Bullet NCCAOM Events Calendar

Message from the NCCAOM CEO


By Mina Larson, M.S., MBA, CAE

It has been almost three months since I have assumed the role as the new CEO of the NCCAOM, and I have already learned so much from the many NCCAOM Diplomates, students and other members of our community that I have had the pleasure of meeting during my meetings and travels. I have enjoyed working with many of you during my years at the NCCAOM, and I look forward to our continued work in my new capacity.

It is an honor to have been selected by our NCCAOM Board of Commissioners, and I'm excited about the great projects this organization will be focused on going forward.

I have devoted the past 16 years to the NCCAOM overseeing various aspects of the organization, such as operations, development, regulatory affairs, advocacy, media relations, communications and marketing. As an instrumental role player, I helped to restructure the organization to better serve our valued NCCAOM National Board-Certified Acupuncturists™, as well as the broader AOM community. I also have been the primary contact for many state associations, regulatory boards, legislators, and members of the media. I am undertaking a role that I have much respect for since I started in 2003, and I have worked passionately and tirelessly for this great institution and the AOM community since then.

We have an amazing team here at NCCAOM, and I am already building upon that team as we continue to serve you at an even greater capacity at our headquarters in Washington D.C. I am proud to introduce our excellent Customer Relations team that is dedicated to providing you with support throughout your career as NCCAOM Certified Acupuncturists.  We will continue our work increasing public awareness of NCCAOM National Board-Certified Acupuncturists™ and the practice of acupuncture. This is especially important as consumer use of acupuncture is increasing and more patients have choices in selecting practitioners for their care. 

NCCAOM will continue:

Our plans for the future include streamlining and improving NCCAOM recertification and reinstatement processes, enhancing our cyber security to protect NCCAOM's high stake exams, introducing digital badging, the NCCAOM mobile app and much more. We also want to hear from you, as our valued Diplomates, as to how we are doing, where we can make improvements and what types of services you would like to receive from the NCCAOM. You can share your input with us through the Diplomate Satisfaction Survey, which should only take a few minutes of your time. 

On that note, I'd like to ask for your full support for me and our leadership team. I'm looking forward to our continued partnership and will be setting up regular communications via our newsletter, video messages and social media to provide transparency and dialogue. This constitutes a new chapter in the NCCAOM legacy, and we are ready!


Mina Larson, M.S., MBA, CAE

Chief Executive Officer


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It's Almost Here! October 24th is AOM Day



With over 60,000 (preventable) deaths per year due to opioids in this country, the acupuncture and Oriental medicine (AOM) profession needs to work together to get the necessary visibility to provide solutions to the crisis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s new analysis confirms that recent increases in drug overdose deaths are driven by continued increases in deaths involving synthetic opioids “No area of the United States is exempt from this epidemic—we all know a friend, family member, or loved one devastated by opioids,” said CDC Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat, M.D. “All branches of the federal government are working together to reduce the availability of illicit drugs, prevent deaths from overdoses, treat people with substance-use disorders, and prevent people from starting using drugs in the first place.” AOM Day, which is celebrated on October 24 across the globe, is an excellent vehicle to bring to light all the benefits of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, especially as we focus the spotlight on acupuncture services to combat addiction and pain.
Leaders of the profession have joined to spread the word about the benefits of acupuncture services for opioid addiction. The NCCAOM Opioid Crisis timeline is designed to spotlight all of the collaborative efforts to bring awareness to a simple and cost-effective solution, acupuncture services, to this national epidemic.
This year, the NCCAOM will be spreading the word about AOM Day through the many media outlets throughout the country by sending out a nationwide press release promoting AOM Day events. The NCCAOM cannot promote or advocate for AOM Day without its Diplomates, so we urge you to send us information about your AOM Day event. These celebratory activities can be organized to specifically observe AOM Day, patient testimonials to support acupuncture benefits or articles submitted to us highlighting acupuncture services. The AOM Day website, sponsored by the NCCAOM, is now ready for your AOM Day event postings, so start planning today on how to bring AOM awareness to your community. 

Continue reading for more details. 


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Advocacy Update



The NCCAOM® Advocacy team continues to represent NCCAOM certification, Diplomates, and stakeholders by providing information to promote acupuncture services to state and federal policymakers to include the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), as well as other stakeholder groups.  


 For a full NCCAOM Advocacy Update click here.


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Certification verses Certificate of Qualification: What's the Difference?


By Dr. Kory Ward-Cook, CEO Emeritus

The NCCAOM nationally accredited Diplomate of Acupuncture [(Dipl. A.C. (NCCAOM) ® )], Diplomate of Chinese Herbology [(Dipl. C.H. (NCCAOM) ® )], and Diplomate of Oriental Medicine [(Dipl. OM (NCCAOM) ® )], certifications are measures of professional competence within the acupuncturist community. Those who hold these certifications must achieve three significant requirements:


  1. Meeting eligibility to take a test by documenting education and professional preparation,
  2. Passing three, or four separate certification examinations (depending upon the certification held), and then,
  3. Maintaining continuing education requirements known as NCCAOM professional development activities.


Additionally, the Diplomate of Acupuncture and the Diplomate of Oriental Medicine certifications require a separate documentation of passage of a Clean Needle Technique Certificate (CNT), offered by the Council of Colleges for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM). Certifications have very unique purposes and differences in requirements, and have a focus on personnel competency assessment, with an emphasis on competency testing, while a certificate program, such as the CNT certificate program focuses on mastery of the learning content, and assessment that confirms that the learning content was mastered by the certificate holder. These are two different credentials used for very different purposes.

The objectives of this article are to:

  1. Explain the differences between a professional certification and a Certificate of Qualification (COQ), i.e., an assessment-based certificate program, and
  2. To review the status and development of the Chinese Herbal Compounding Safety COQs, so far.

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NCCAOM Recertification Made Simple



As you may already know, the NCCAOM completed its transition to a paperless environment in early November of 2018. The last phase of this transition required that all NCCAOM application processes, including Recertification, go completely cloud based/electronic.

It is very important to mention that, for security purposes, it was not possible to transfer each Diplomate’s account login credentials from the old database to a new system. In the new system each account was assigned new login credentials based on the account holder’s last name and ID number. If, for some reason, you do not have detailed instructions for your login credentials, please contact us at info@thenccaom.org.

New Recertification Portal Benefits:

  • Diplomates can report their continuing education courses/activities to the Recertification Transcript as they complete them, at any point during the 4-year recertification cycle.

To Report NCCAOM Approved Courses (NCCAOM logo in the background) use this Instruction
To Report courses from Non-Approved Provider use this instruction.  The process is the same, the difference is you just choose the activity type “Course from Non-Approved Provider”.
To report Safety, Ethics coursework use this instruction
To report CPR use this instruction
To report all Professional Enhancement Activities (non-courses) use this instruction

  • The Recertification Transcript Portal provides categorized Course/Activity requirements and completion information:


  • The new System automatically calculates all points reported and tracks the progress.

  • The Recertification Application is available one year in advance of your expiration date and can be completed by clicking the “Recertify” link.

Continued Improvements for CE Reporting

The NCCAOM Online Portal Automation did not stop with the launch of the new system in November of 2018. The NCCAOM staff is working tirelessly to perfect the recertification process for its NCCAOM Board-Certified  Acupuncturists. By working closely with PDA Providers, effective January 2020, the NCCAOM will be transitioning to an automatic CE reporting system for PDA approved courses. What does that mean for you as a an NCCAOM Certified Diplomate? That means all PDA points for NCCAOM PDA approved courses taken from January of 2020 going forward will be posted to your Recertification Transcript and automatically approved. The biggest benefit of all? This service will be provided to Diplomates free of charge!

With this big change coming up, it is vital that NCCAOM Board-Certified  Acupuncturists know their NCCAOM ID number. The NCCAOM ID number will serve as a unique identifier of a Diplomate during the CE reporting process. The NCCAOM ID number can be found:

  • On each Diplomate’s Wall Certificate or wallet size ID card;

 Stay tuned for further announcements!


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Meet the Team



The NCCAOM employees are our greatest asset – we say it often and with good reason. It is only with the determination and dedication of our team that we can serve our applicants and Diplomates, generate long-term value for our stakeholders and contribute to the greater purpose of the Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine profession.

To strengthen the relationship between NCCAOM and Diplomate Community, we decided to introduce NCCAOM’s teams to you, our stakeholders.

Customer Relations team consists of three people, our first line of defense, who care to go an extra mile to help every single caller, who recognize when there is crucial information that needs to be communicated up, who continuously make improvements based on your (our customer) feedback. They are the same people who answer phone calls, review and approve all documents for certification/recertification, process applications and state verification requests. This team makes sure all voice messages are returned, all emails are answered and all requests are completed in a timely fashion.

My name is Samantha Geer and I have been working in the Customer Relations field for over 15 years and this is my second year working for the NCCAOM. I hold an associate degree in Office Administration with a concentration in Billing and Coding. I also have retained my bachelor’s degree from DeVry University in Technical Management graduating with honors. Throughout my career with the NCCAOM, I have worked my way up to becoming the Manager of the Customer Relations Team where I am able to use my passion for the profession and deep knowledge of NCCAOM’s business to assist Diplomates and Applicants in a caring and efficient way.

Outside of the NCCAOM, I enjoy spending my days by the pool with my daughters and my new fiancé.

My name is Kahlil Jackson and I have been working with NCCAOM now for a little over a year. I graduated from VA State University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management. Since working with NCCAOM I have had the opportunity to assist some wonderful Acupuncturists via phone and email. Also, since working for NCCAOM I have spoken with several people about how acupuncture has made a major difference in their daily lives, and I’m just proud to be a part of that experience. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with family and friends, and I enjoy going out to eat and experiencing different foods and restaurants. As my coworkers would say “I love to eat!” and my favorite food is Italian. Lastly, NCCAOM has allowed me the opportunity to have a better understanding of how important Chinese Medicine is and the impact that it has on our daily lives. I’m so excited and look forward to what the future has in store for both Chinese Medicine and for NCCAOM.


My Name is Peter Garcia, I call myself the Texas Transplant. I was born and raised in San Antonio and I love my hometown. Later in life I have found myself living all over the east coast from Massachusetts to Virginia and now DC and soon moving to Maryland. I have been with my partner now for over 18 years and have a beautiful daughter in college. Life has been good to me in many aspects from a wonderful home life to a great work life and have experienced many exciting adventures not to mention the countless amazing friends that I have made along the way.

I come from a long career in the service industry starting as a package clerk at a local grocery store to my current association work with NCCAOM. I am always eager to assist anyone in any given situation and I feel that my well-developed background in the service industry allows me to provide you with an exemplary service experience. If you allow me to help, we can always find a solution to any issue and if I cannot provide a solution then I definitely will find someone with the knowledge to help.

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NCCAOM Diplomate Satisfaction Survey


Earlier this month, the NCCAOM sent out the 2019 Diplomate Satisfaction Survey. If you have not had a chance to participate, you still have the opportunity to do so.

The survey is completely anonymous. If you have already sent in your survey we appreciate your time and feedback.

Remember, with your valuable input, we can more effectively make changes that are important to you. The deadline to complete the survey is October 1, 2019. If you have any questions about this survey, please contact us at publicrelations@thenccaom.org.


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NCCAOM Events Calendar


The NCCAOM Events Calendar is here! As part of the NCCAOM's goal to provide you with more resources an NCCAOM Events Calendar has been added to the NCCAOM Website.
The NCCAOM Events Calendar is a great way to keep up with the dates that are important to you! Keep track of the conferences and events where the NCCAOM will be represented, important dates for NCCAOM Examinations and much more! 

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