Distance Education Policy revised to reflect recently received information 

In response to recently received clarifying information, the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine (ACAHM or Commission) has revised its Distance Education Policy. Specifically, the Policy’s previous definition of “Distance Education Courses and Programs” and its accompanying footnote and illustration were deleted to align the policy with the US Department of Education’s current definition of distance education. This change is effective immediately. Consequently, ACAHM-accredited programs and institutions must receive 1.15 substantive change accreditation for distance education from ACAHM by 7 October 2023 if they wish to continue offering courses or any portion of an ACAHM-accredited program via distance education beyond that date.

ACAHM-accredited institutions and programs who have not yet submitted a completed 1.15 substantive change application for distance education accreditation are encouraged to review ACAHM’s revised Distance Education Policy to determine how, if at all, these revisions may impact their respective operations and, if necessary, timely submit a 1.15 substantive change application to the Commission via EDvera.

Commission announces 7 October 2023 as end date for COVID-19 flexibilities

On 18 May 2023, the US Department of Education issued a “Dear Colleague letter” that established 7 October 2023 as the end date for waivers or flexibilities in Federal regulations, rules and policies relating to higher education. This includes flexibilities relating to distance education. This date is approximately one month earlier than was anticipated, based upon the White House’s long-stated intention to end the national public health emergency on 11 May 2023.

ACAHM reaffirms that it will adhere to its Distance Education Policy. Based on the Department of Education guidance referenced above, ACAHM-accredited programs and institutions must receive 1.15 initial substantive change accreditation no later than 7 October 2023 if they wish to continue offering courses or any portion of an ACAHM-accredited program via distance education beyond that date. It is imperative for programs and institutions to submit 1.15 applications as soon as possible.

ACAHM is committed to an accreditation process that adds value to institutions/programs while contributing to public accountability. We appreciate the continued cooperation and support of all the Commission’s constituents and stakeholders in this process.

Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine

8 September 2021: The Commission met in June 2021 and adopted a new name for the organization: effective 8 September 2021, the organization will be called the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine (ACAHM). A formal and final name change will take some time because it must be carried out in compliance with relevant laws and regulatory requirements. However, we are committed to implementing this change as soon as possible. Staff have begun the process of removing the term “oriental” from all Commission documents including standards, policies and procedures, and this website. For the time being, https://www.acahm.org forwards to the Commission’s longstanding domain address. It is likely that staff and Commission Email addresses will be among the last things to change.

This decision follows a five-year review process that considered and analyzed perceptions of the word “Oriental” within the acupuncture and herbal medicine community. As an organization that accredits educational programs rooted in the traditions and philosophies of several Asian cultures, we have a deep respect for the backgrounds that have enabled the successful treatment of a host of symptoms, diseases, and medical conditions. When the organization was founded nearly four decades ago, “Oriental” was widely accepted both in society and within our community of practitioners, professionals, and schools. But times have changed and so must we. 

We have conducted years of research into this matter, including a survey of 1,700 individuals that evaluated community perception of the incorporation of alternative terms for “Oriental medicine” within ACAOM-accreditable degree titles. While survey results yielded no consensus, ACAOM proactively issued a policy to rename degrees to eliminate use of the term “Oriental” from certain programs. The name for the Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine has not been changed, although this is still being considered and input from schools running DAOM programs will be solicited. In June 2021, a special meeting of the commission was called to discuss a change to the organizational name.

Prior to the meeting, eight potential names were presented to commissioners along with a list of considerations for each name. After careful deliberation, the commissioners ultimately reached unanimous agreement that the new name would be the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine – a decision that was reaffirmed during our August 2021 meeting.

ACAHM Statement Deploring Racism and Violence Against Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Individuals of Asian Descent

8 September 2021*: The Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine (ACAHM), founded in 1982 and re-named in 2021, accredits educational programs rooted in the traditions and philosophies of several Asian cultures.  We deplore the recent attacks and the rise in anti-Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) violence and harassment and join with our community of schools and colleges, faculty, students, and the professionals in our field in condemning these racist acts.

Words of support, healing, and prayer are helpful, but also are insufficient.  It is incumbent upon each of us individually and collectively to identify, understand and root out bias, discrimination, and oppression in all forms and ACAHM is committed to this outcome.   ACAHM is a member of and has actively participated in the Acupuncture Medicine Cultural Competency Task Force (AMCCTF) that was created in 2020, to provide tools to help educate students, practitioners, and members of our profession in cultural competency, and we are committed to continuing this work and engaging our communities of interest. 

For additional information please visit the links below:

American Society of Acupuncturists AAPI Statement

Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Statement of Community Support

National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Statement on Violence Against AAPI

Acupuncture Medicine Cultural Competency Resource Guide

* originally published 29 March 2021

COVID-19 related flexibilities via emergency waiver

During the period of COVID-19 interruption, ACAHM has extended its current flexibilities until further notice subject to any Federal, State and/or local limitations.

1 December 2020: The Commission met on 18 November 2020 to: (1) review its COVID-19-related actions to date, (2) evaluate data provided by the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine (CCAHM) regarding delivery of clinical training via distance education, and (3) consider the input from a focus group of subject matter experts convened in cooperation with CCAHM. As a result, the Commission has made revisions to its emergency waiver limitations and guidance.

12 November 2020: Because of the highly unusual circumstances and challenges presented to the postsecondary education community by COVID-19, the United States Department of Education (USDE or Department) has given accreditors certain regulatory flexibilities as a unique and temporary departure from the Department’s accrediting agency requirements.  

Flexibilities adopted by the Commission were published on 18 May 2020.  (Revisions to Emergency Waiver 18 May 2020

Previous Commission COVID-19 updates may be viewed here and here.

ACAHM staff are located in various parts of the United States. The Commission’s registered office is located in Minnesota, and business is conducted based upon the US Central Time Zone.