NCCAOM News - Fall 2017 (Plain Text Version)

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Diplomate Spotlight: Arya Nielsen

The Diplomate Spotlight is an opportunity to highlight one of our distinguished NCCAOM Diplomates who is making a difference in the profession and in today’s healthcare landscape. Today we are pleased to introduce NCCAOM National Board Certified Diplomate, Arya Nielsen, Ph.D., Dipl. Ac. & C.H. (NCCAOM).

 NCCAOM Question 1: What attracted you to the field of acupuncture and Oriental Medicine?

Answer: I was involved in the anti-war movement in college and heading to med school. I read about the barefoot doctor’s initiative in China and was intrigued by East Asian medicine’s evaluation filter (tongue, pulse, signs and symptoms, waxing and waning), emphasis on prevention as well as tapping the bodies innate healing through hands-on techniques.

Q2:  What was your first impression of the NCCAOM® as a certified Diplomate?

A2: I graduated in the first class of the first acupuncture school in the US in the spring of 1977. There was no clear path to practice, no board exam. It was jump in, sink or swim. New York State did not allow anyone to practice who was not trained in Asia and practicing for at least 10 years. So, we had our work cut out for us. We needed a board process and exam developed using science-based psychometrics and with a company expert in exam development. A psychometrically sound exam protects against bias and unfairness, and hence, lawsuit (as was seen in a few states back in the day, who tried to use their own exams). But proper exam development is expensive and prohibitive for individual states even those who wanted to regulate acupuncture. Those who worked to develop the NCCAOM acupuncture board exam are responsible for the profession’s existence in the US because it allowed states to establish and meet their regulation requirements on par with other health professions. The NCCAOM exam and requirements provided consistency for boarding and licensure of entry level practice; as states engaged the NCCAOM, a track record of relatively safe practice was established, encouraging other states to join. We would not be here today without the NCCAOM.

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