Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine [9 Aug 2021]

9 August 2021

The Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) is pleased to announce that in June 2021 the commission met and selected a new name for the organization. Moving forward, once all necessary notifications, filings and administrative requirements are complete, the organization will be called the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine (ACAHM).

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.

A formal and final name change will take some time because it must be undertaken in compliance with relevant laws and regulatory requirements. However, we are committed to implementing this change as soon as possible, and staff has already been directed to remove the term “oriental” from all commission documents including standards and policies and procedures.