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Autumn 2021
Bullet CEO and Chair Autumn Message: Adopting a New Mission and Vision Statement
Bullet 2021 NCCAOM Diplomate Satisfaction Survey Results
Bullet Advocacy Update
Bullet NCCAOM Recertification: Benefits for PDA Providers and Diplomates
Bullet Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Day 2021
Bullet NCCAOM Diplomate Spotlight: featuring Sheridan Horning, Dipl. OM. (NCCAOM), LAc

CEO and Chair Autumn Message: Adopting a New Mission and Vision Statement


By Iman Majd, MD, MS, EAMP/L.Ac., Dip. ABFM, ABoIM, Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM)®, DABMA, ABIHM, Certified GUNN-IMS and Mina Larson, CEO, M.S., MBA, CAE


The last months of 2021, continue to be a busy time for the NCCAOM staff and Board of Commissioners, as we continue serving our Diplomates. Looking back, we have achieved great accomplishments in 2021 through advocacy, by providing grassroots training and guidance to our Board-Certified Acupuncturists (BCA), and the profession. The NCCAOM continues to positively impact the practice of acupuncture and BCA through collaboration with other national and state associations. Due to our commitment to excellent service to our Diplomates, we have succeeded in streamlining the recertification process and introduced several new benefits such as “My Learning” section and Digital Badging. Despite continued uncertainty, we remain optimistic that the need for our medicine will grow during this pivotal time and the NCCAOM Board Certified Practitioners will continue to be sought after.

As part of adapting to new calls from the profession and changes in the field, the Board of Commissioners (BOC) and staff reevaluated our mission, vision and core values. During the Summer BOC meeting, our Board adopted a new mission and vision statement as well as new core values to reflect NCCAOM’s role as the only national credentialing organization for acupuncture and herbal medicine and as a leader in the field in the ever-changing healthcare landscape.


Our New Mission Statement:

“To assure the safety and well-being of the public and to advance and advocate for the professional practice of NCCAOM Board-Certified Acupuncturists by promoting established national standards focused on competence and credentialing.”  

To better understand our mission statement, the NCCAOM carries out its mission in the following ways: 

  • Document eligibility to sit for competency examinations, passage of which is required for certification. 
  • Develop valid and reliable certification examinations administered in highly secure test centers.
  • Require demonstration of competency maintenance and ongoing professional development through the recertification process, required every four years. 
  • Require adherence to the NCCAOM® Code of Ethics, enforced by the NCCAOM® Grounds for Professional Discipline.
  • Work closely with state regulatory boards for the exchange of information on examination score reports and disciplinary cases. 

In order to meet the intent of the new mission statement, to promote national standards of competence through NCCAOM credentialing and to actively assure the safety and well-being of the public, the NCCAOM will continue to play a more deliberate role in advancing the professional practice of its Diplomates. We will adhere to our mission while keeping in mind our new vision statement below of having NCCAOM credentialed practitioners be integral to healthcare and accessible to all members of the public.


Our New Vision Statement:

“NCCAOM Board-Certified Acupuncturists will be globally recognized and integral to person-centered healthcare and accessible to all members of the public. NCCAOM Board Certification will be nationally recognized by all employers and government entities as the standard for acupuncturists”

A good vision statement aligns with the mission statement and core values as well as guides the strategic plan as it sets future goals. Our new vision statement focuses on supporting the integration of NCCAOM National Board-Certified Diplomates™ as credentialed providers into the U.S. healthcare system while also distinguishing the NCCAOM as the expert source for acupuncture and herbal medicine credentialing and competency standards. 


Our Core Values

We identified our core values below through a collaborative and inclusive process with our Board of Commissioners and staff. Although not all organizations have core values, the NCCAOM Board of Commissioners felt that we must define these values as they are intrinsic to form the image of the NCCAOM presented to the public. They are the guiding principles as they form a solid core of who we are, what we believe in and how we want to be perceived going forward. As a result, we adopted the following core values:

“Through its commitment to lifelong learning and the highest quality of credentialing standards for public safety, the NCCAOM upholds the values of integrity, community, service, inclusiveness, advocacy, and accountability in all of its interactions and relationships.”

These core values permeate every aspect of our organization such as how we serve or customers and treat and value our volunteers and staff.

Each of these statements is the result of a shared strategic reflection and revision effort by NCCAOM Board and staff. During the last two years of collaborative leadership, we have experienced more change and uncertainty than ever experienced in the history of the NCCAOM. We have positioned ourselves to help and inform our Diplomates, candidates and other stakeholders by updating our procedures to assist them through the pandemic and offered informative townhall meetings.

During the Thanksgiving season, the NCCAOM Board and staff are particularly thankful to all of the many talented and committed volunteers who made the accomplishments of 2021 possible. The new mission, vision and core values will help guide the ongoing development of our organizational strategy and goals as well as our continued commitment to you as our valued Diplomate. We wish you and your loved ones a pleasant and peaceful Thanksgiving Holiday.


Iman Majd, MD, MS, EAMP/L.Ac, Dip. ABFM, ABoIM, Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM)®, DABMA, ABIHM NCCAOM Board Chair



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2021 NCCAOM Diplomate Satisfaction Survey Results




The NCCAOM has conducted the Diplomate Satisfaction Survey on a regular basis since 2005. The primary purpose of this survey is to obtain valuable feedback from our NCCAOM Board-Certified AcupuncturistsTM regarding their satisfaction with our services as well as providing us with comments and suggestions that will help the NCCAOM to offer more benefits to our Diplomates going forward. As a result of the feedback that we received from the previous satisfaction surveys, the NCCAOM created the following new services

  • Certificate of Completion Distribution system for PDA providers. 
  • CE Banking functionality where PDA points for NCCAOM approved courses are automatically reported to the Diplomate’s Recertification Transcript. 
  • “My Learning” section that houses Diplomate’s certificates of completion for PDA approved courses completed since January 2021. 
  • Digital Badging, a digital credential, created to be used by NCCAOM certified Diplomates to promote their NCCAOM certification.  Diplomates can access their Digital Badges by logging in to their NCCAOM certification account and click on “Diplomate Benefits” orange button at the top of the profile window.

The 2021 Diplomate Satisfaction Survey was conducted from July 1 to September 1, 2021. The survey was sent to all active Diplomates with an email address on file (approximately 20,300 Diplomates). A total of 2,632 Diplomates responded to and completed the survey. The NCCAOM would like to thank everyone who took the time to complete the 2021 Diplomate Satisfaction Survey. The results of this survey will serve as a new benchmark as NCCAOM continues to strive for increased customer satisfaction. In addition, Diplomates who provided their contact information, received a response from the NCCAOM staff regarding their survey comment.


When combining all survey responses, there is a 72% overall satisfaction with NCCAOM rating in the top two categories (“Very Satisfied” and “Satisfied”). 

We attribute this good news as a result of the staff’s commitment to continuously improve our customer service and to NCCAOM’s management who always strive toward an even higher goal of excellence in customer satisfaction. 

Graph1: Overall Experience with the NCCAOM 


Graph 2 below shows the Diplomates’ perceptions on the Importance of Improvements to the Recertification Process currently offered. 

Graph 2: Qualitative and Quantitative Data of NCCAOM Recertification Process 


As a result of your direct feedback, the NCCAOM worked on the following action items: 

  • Additional instructional materials about recertification have been posted to the Diplomate Resources section and Certification Renewal section of the NCCAOM website. 
  • A link to instructional materials for CE reporting has been posted to the CE Reporting section of each Diplomates’ Profile. 
  • Articles are being published regularly in the “Diplomate News You Can Use” newsletter. For details, visit our newsletter archives
  • The NCCAOM® Recertification Handbook is being updated to better portray the recertification process in a more clear and concise manner. 
  • NCCAOM offered a Diplomate webinar with specific instructions on the new recertification process as well as updates on NCCAOM policies and procedures. 

The NCCAOM staff is also working tirelessly to perfect the online recertification process for its NCCAOM Board-Certified Acupuncturists. By working closely with PDA Providers, effective May 2020, the NCCAOM transitioned to an automatic CE reporting for PDA approved courses. That means that PDA points for NCCAOM approved courses taken from May of 2020 going forward are posted to the Diplomate’s Recertification Transcript and automatically approved. 

Every Diplomate Satisfaction Survey features a distinct question to help us better customize our services and products to further benefit the Diplomate population. This year, Question 5 focused on which continued services are most valuable to our Diplomates. Based on the quantitative data shown in Graph 3, the survey results revealed that the NCCAOM – ASA Townhall Meetings garnered the most interest amongst respondents: 

  • NCCAOM – ASA Townhall Meetings (60%) 
  • NCCAOM - ASA Federal Advocacy Efforts (54%) 
  • State Regulatory Resources (52%) 

Graph 3: Qualitative and Quantitative Data of Diplomate Services 

Based on the results the NCCAOM has created a collaborative partnership with the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) and continues investing in Advocacy and Government Relations experts to help us with this partnership and goals. Our primary goal is to advance the value of NCCAOM National Board-Certified Acupuncturists™ at the national level. This requires engagement with federal agencies and Congress on legislation impacting acupuncturists, grassroots efforts to build awareness of acupuncture and to raise the profile of acupuncture, our Diplomates, and the value of NCCAOM Board Certification. Visit the NCCAOM Federal Recognition Timeline on our website. 

Overview of Survey Results 

  • A 72% overall satisfaction with the NCCAOM in the top two categories (“very satisfied” and “satisfied”). 
  • There was a 10% increase in the number of Diplomates that were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” in 2021 as compared to 2019. 
  • A decrease of 4% in the “somewhat satisfied” and “not satisfied” categories as compared to the 2019 survey. 
  • 25% of the qualitative responses are in these four categories: 
    • Concerns regarding Advocacy at Federal Level 
    • Concerns regarding scope encroachment 
    • Concerns about the value of certification 
    • Need for more “membership services” for the “dues” 

Based on the Overview of Survey Results, the NCCAOM will continue to educate our Diplomates about the difference between a Membership organization and the services they provide in comparison to a Certification organization and our work to bring value to our Diplomates’ credential.  

The NCCAOM strives for excellence in customer satisfaction. To accomplish this, we will continue to guide our Diplomates through the recertification process by providing accurate information to and offering unique and meaningful services. 



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Advocacy Update


By Molly Giammarco, Senior Manager, Government Relations

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. 


Support for H.R. 4803 
The NCCAOM continues work with American Society for Acupuncturists (ASA) to engage acupuncturists on H.R. 4803, the Acupuncture for Our Seniors Act. H.R. 4803 would authorize Medicare to recognize qualified acupuncturists as Medicare providers.  

Since its introduction in late July, the NCCAOM has worked with the ASA to help increase awareness of, and support for, H.R. 4803: 

  • Released a Press Release about the bill, a Fact Sheet (English and Chinese), and created an Advocacy Toolkit for meetings with members of the U.S. House of Representatives.          
  • Published an article in Acupuncture Today that provides an overview of H.R. 4803.  
  • Hosted two town halls to provide an overview of H.R. 4803 and guidance on ways individuals can get involved as advocates: 
    • September 30: General Acupuncturist Profession 
    • October 14: AT CMA 
  • Launched a grassroots platform to help connect acupuncturists with Congressional Representatives.
  • Launched a free, weekly, small-group Grassroots Advocacy Training Series to provide education and guidance on effective advocacy and the individual acupuncturist’s role in advocating for H.R. 4803.  

The NCCAOM is working with the ASA to equip the profession with the resources to advance H.R. 4803. Look for more information on the many different ways you can get involved in the NCCAOM/ASA’s grassroots efforts.  

To read the full Advocacy Update please click here.


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NCCAOM Recertification: Benefits for PDA Providers and Diplomates


By Olga Cox, Chief Operations Officer and Jennifer Nemeth, M.Ed., Director of Education and Professional Development

Since the Autumn of 2018, when the NCCAOM introduced a new Association Management Systems (AMS) platform for NCCAOM Diplomates and PDA providers, our teams have been working hard to provide a full cycle automation for all protocols and simplify labor intensity of the recertification process.  

Almost three years later, we can say that the mission has been accomplished. The automated distribution of the NCCAOM® PDA Certificate of Completion, that went live in the Autumn of 2019, led to increased benefits for active Diplomates as well as PDA Providers. Results of the 2021 Diplomate satisfaction Survey show that:

  • 72% of survey respondents are “Very Satisfied” and “Satisfied” with the Online recertification process; and 
  • 59% of survey respondents found that “Automated CE reporting by PDA Providers” is the most important improvement of the recertification process. 

Recertification Process Overview 

Proof of 60 PDA/CEU credits is required for NCCAOM certification renewal along with the recertification application and fees. PDA/CEU credits earned within the 4-year recertification cycle must be reported to the Diplomate’s Recertification Transcript after course completion. PDA/CEU points for PDA approved courses are reported to the Diplomates’ Recertification Transcript by the PDA Providers during the Certificate of Completion distribution process. This certificate distribution process by Providers consists of three very distinct steps: 

  1. Certificate of completion is emailed to a course attendee. 
  2. If a matching attendee’s record is found in the NCCAOM database AND there is an open Recertification Cycle, PDA points are reported to the attendee’s Recertification Transcript. 
  3. If a matching attendee’s record is found in the NCCAOM database, the certificate of completion is uploaded to the attendee’s “My Learning” section for state purposes. The “My Learning” section is located in each NCCAOM certification account under “Diplomate Benefits” (orange button at the top of the profile window). 

PDA/CEU points for courses that are not directly approved by the NCCAOM,  still may be used for recertification. However, such courses must be reported by the Diplomate manually, by reporting course details and uploading the certificate of completion. Instructional materials on CE Reporting are available in the PDA/CEU Reporting section of the NCCAOM website. 

Critical Points to Consider 

The success of any recertification process depends on multiple factors. Below are friendly reminders for Diplomates and Providers to ensure the NCCAOM recertification and PDA initiatives are running smoothly and effectively. 

Critical Points for Diplomates 

Critical Points for PDA Providers 

At course registration, enter your legal name and NCCAOM ID# exactly as they appear in your online Certification account. No prefix (Dr.), no suffix (MSOM, L.AC.), no letters in the ID#. 

Attendee Registration Information: 

  • Required: first name, last name, email address 
  • Optional but desirable: NCCAOM ID#, Date of Birth  

Accurate information at registration equals less clean-up at PDA Certificate distribution.

The NCCAOM is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). NCCA standards require that certification is time-limited with a specific start and end date. NCCAOM recertification is a 4-year period and cannot be altered nor PDAs/CEUs carried over to the next cycle. 

The NCCAOM only accepts the branded NCCAOM® Certificate of Completion for PDA approved courses for recertification credit. Certificates created by Providers for PDA approved courses that are a non-branded certificate are not accepted for NCCAOM recertification. 

Selecting a course from the NCCAOM PDA Search Engine assures automatic reporting of PDA points to your NCCAOM® Recertification Transcript

Validity of course information and attendee completion are valued in the AHM profession due to a certificate distribution system from a secure, online portal.  

The Solution 

Our efforts have resulted in a new, more efficient system which offers Diplomates multiple options to recertify, from partial to a fully automated process. Today, the new recertification protocol has saved valuable time for Diplomates, Providers and PDA staff as well as being well received by our Diplomates! 

To find NCCAOM PDA approved courses that will automatically be reported to your NCCAOM®Recertification Transcript, visit the NCCAOM PDA Search Engine



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Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Day 2021


By Chris Minar, SMS, Coordinator, Digital Marketing and Communications


Sunday, October 24th, 2021 marked the 18th annual Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Day. During this Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Day, we collectively embraced safety, diversity, and the demand for equality and inclusion. This year we also recounted our profession’s strides towards breaking barriers and the treatment of underserved communities.  As a profession, we have much to be proud of and all acupuncture practitioners can have a strong voice, can be a catalyst for change and can be a bridge of healing in our complex world. 

To elevate public awareness that there are over 35,000 licensed acupuncturists treating various ailments throughout the U.S., the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) and NCCAOM® collaborated to promote nationwide observations of the 18th annual Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine (AHM) Day which took place on Oct. 24. In honor of AHM Day, both organizations joined forces to promote acupuncture services as a nonpharmaceutical, safe, effective, and economically feasible treatment for so many of the ailments that are plaguing Americans today such as stress, immune issues, PTSD, and depression in the face of this global pandemic. 

Over the course of this year, acupuncture and herbal medicine has gained prominence as an effective treatment of chronic pain, substance abuse, mental health disorders as well as for post COVID-19 symptoms. AHM Day is designed to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of acupuncture and herbal medicine to include the introduction of HR. 4803.” stated Mina Larson, Mina Larson, M.S., MBA, CEO of NCCAOM

In honor of Acupuncture Medicine Day, the ASA and NCCAOM came together to discuss culturally appropriate alternatives to naming the Acupuncture Profession. The inclusive and interactive Town Hall meeting was held on October 24th. Throughout the past few decades, the name of our profession has had many manifestations: Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, East Asian Medicine, Oriental Medicine, Asian Medicine, etc. In this webinar, we shared the history of our profession in the United States in order to frame the conversation about our naming. We explored the names of our field through the lens of history, cultural humility, and advocacy. We want to engage our whole profession (practitioners, students, teachers, administrators, institutions, vendors, etc.) in this renaming endeavor. We have begun the constructive dialogue in naming our profession, but the conversation is far from over!  Thank you to all who joined us for this informational day as we celebrate Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine’s diversity and community! Click here for webinar replay

To help demonstrate how the acupuncture profession is making strides towards breaking barriers and the treatment of underserved communities the ASA and NCCAOM co-hosted the AHM Day 2021 Instagram Photo Contest. Photo entries were encouraged to demonstrate the following four categories: Treating underserved communities, Education (Public Awareness or Mentoring), Breaking Barriers (establishing acupuncture in new venues or increasing access or promoting state legislation), and Research. The winning photos were selected by the public, based on how much engagement was generated by the photo’s post.  

  1. The photo with the most engagement in the Treating Underserved Communities category, with 110 likes and 46 comments, was submitted by Carlos Chapa, @ChapaOMD.

  2. Winning the Education category with 230 likes and 18 comments was Kimberley Peirano, @lionsheartwellness.

  3. In the Breaking Barriers category there was a tie between David Cheung, @Davidscheung50321, and Adriane Dourte, @Adrianedourte. The two photos generated the same amount of engagement.

Congratulations to the winners! Thank you to all our participants for your time and effort to make this celebration shine! All photo contest entries are available on NCCAOM's Instagram Account.

All participants with approved entries received 2 PDA points for submitting a photo and write up. PDA certificates are now easily accessible in the My Learning section of the Diplomate’s Certification Account

NCCAOM and the ASA also partnered with many state and local acupuncture organizations in an effort to have the Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Day holiday officially recognized. This year Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Day was officially proclaimed a holiday in 15 states. To see all proclamations please click here. Thank you to the ASA and our partnering state associations.

The festivities of AHM Day 2021 were a great success. Thank you to all who helped celebrate Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Day 2021!


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NCCAOM Diplomate Spotlight: featuring Sheridan Horning, Dipl. OM. (NCCAOM), LAc


Once a quarter the NCCAOM draws the name of a recently recertified Diplomate who has completed the NCCAOM® Diplomate Demographic Survey. This is a very important survey that provides NCCAOM and the profession with much needed demographic information for projects such as federal recognition.

The survey winner receives a voucher for a free recertification and an opportunity to be featured in a Spotlight Article on Facebook and on our website. We encourage all Diplomates to participate in this important survey to help advance the profession and have a chance to win a free recertification.

The recent winner of the Diplomate Demographic Survey drawing is NCCAOM Certified Diplomate of Oriental Medicine, Sheridan Horning.

Sheridan Horning, Dipl. OM. (NCCAOM)®, LAc moved to Portland in 1999 because of the thriving art and music scenes, and has enjoyed going to concerts, shows, theater, and art performances ever since. Sheridan took her first Qi Gong class as a teenager, and throughout the first decade, her practice waxed and waned; however, it was something to which she always returned. When Sheridan began at Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM) in 2004, she was very excited to have wonderful teachers and became consistent once again. Qi Gong is a significant component of her self-care routine, and she has enjoyed sharing it with family, friends, and patients since the pandemic. For the past ten years, Sheridan has lived at Portland's Kailash Ecovillage. It's an apartment complex turned into an urban experiment in sustainable agriculture and community living. Sheridan studied Equity Informed mediation and is interested in the potential of conflict resolution supported by acupuncture and Qi Gong. Working with patients, first with massage and then acupuncture over the past 20 years, has taught her how mindful communication, active listening, and understanding nonverbal cues can have just as much an impact on their well-being as other approaches. This quality of perception is something that can benefit both individuals and the interpersonal dynamics within relationships.  


NCCAOM: It is wonderful that you are an NCCAOM National Board-Certified Acupuncturist practicing at RiverWest Acupuncture Portland, OR. Tell us a little about RiverWest Acupuncture?  

Sheridan: Former board member and alumnus of the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, Lisa Francolini, took over RiverWest Acupuncture in 1998. I joined in 2016, because I respected all that she had done to grow the practice and appreciated the opportunity to devote my focus on providing patient care, since our support staff handles billing and scheduling. 


To read the full Diplomate Spotlight please click here


To visit the new Diplomate Spotlight web page please click here

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