A Brief History of AOM in NM

Guest Post by John Scott, DOM

The history of AOM in New Mexico is a long and multi-generation story. Nearly 40 years ago the Kototama Institute and a little later the Santa Fe College of Natural Medicine started as some of the very early educational institutes for AOM in the United States. New Mexico has always been a haven for natural and indigenous healers and healing practices.

A small and dedicated group of students and practitioners worked very diligently to draft and get our first practice act passed and signed by Governor Bruce King. This happened during the 1981 legislative session. New Mexico was a pioneer, being one of a handful of states at that time making it legal for non-MDs to practice acupuncture unsupervised. The community of acupuncturists worked to build relationships with legislators and other people in state government.

Since that time an active community through great personal effort and sacrifice built the best scope of practice and legal environment for the practice of AOM in North America and the western world. The work was not complete with merely the legal right to practice. A series of efforts contributed to building a strong profession.

In the 1989 legislative session our legal designation was changed from L.Ac to DOM. Our scope was changed to allow injection therapy and the right to order laboratory tests and there were other wonderful benefits. There was great resistance to our effort from the conventional medical community. Our profession was well organized, the public support was strong and the governor signed the bill as the will of the people of New Mexico.

In the 1990s the access to insurance reimbursement was strengthened through Worker’s Compensation and with automobile accident insurance.

In the 2001 legislative session the RX licensure designation was created.

In the 2007 legislative sessions the 4 modules of the Expanded Practice was created.

As you can see the first generation of DOMs worked and sacrificed to create the best scope of practice and a strong legal foundation for the practice of AOM. Many of the first 33 New Mexico license holders have retired. We owe all of this first generation of NM DOMs a great debt of gratitude for their work and sacrifice.

There is now a new generation of DOMs. How will you work to create a better future for the practice of AOM? How will you work to provide better health care to our fellow New Mexicans? What improvements do you see that are necessary for this future?

Work together with us in the NMSAAM to make your dreams come true!

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