ABMA Board Certification Exam
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The American Board
of Medical Acupuncture (ABMA) was formally established on
April 26, 2000. The ABMA has been created as an independent
entity within the corporate structure of the American Academy
of Medical Acupuncture. The ABMA has a separate, independent
Board of Trustees with full responsibility for the direction
and operation of the ABMA.
Mission of the American
Board of Medical Acupuncture
The mission of the
American Board of Medical Acupuncture is to promote safe,
ethical, efficacious medical acupuncture to the public by
maintaining high standards for the examination and certification
of physician acupuncturists as medical specialists.
Purposes of the
American Board of Medical Acupuncture
The essential purposes of the ABMA are:
- To establish requirements
for the qualifications of applicants who request a certificate
of their training and experience in the field of medical
acupuncture in its broadest sense.
- To conduct examinations
of approved candidates who seek certification by the Board.
- To issue certificates
to those physicians who meet the Board's requirements and
pass the Board's examination.
- To promote the advancement
and betterment of the specialty of medical acupuncture.
- To assist in improving
the quality of post-graduate and continuing education in
the specialized medical practice embraced by the field of
- To do and engage
in any and all lawful activities that may be incidental
or reasonably related to any of the forgoing purposes.
Purpose of Certification
The intent of the certification process is to provide assurance
to the public that a certified medical specialist has successfully
completed an approved educational program and an evaluation,
including an examination process, designed to assess the knowledge,
experience and skills requisite to the provision of high quality
patient care in that specialty. Diplomates of the American
Board of Medical Acupuncture possess particular qualifications
in this specialty.
Standards of certification
are distinct from those of State licensure. Possession of
a Board certificate does not indicate total qualification
for practice privileges, nor does it imply exclusion of other
physicians not so certified. The Board does not purport in
any way to interfere with or limit the professional activities
of any licensed physician or any of his/ her regular or legitimate
The Board considers
Certification to be based upon a process, which includes the
education phase, experience phase and examination phase. It
holds that the education and training phase are of the utmost
importance in preparing the physician in the theory and techniques
of medical acupuncture. The most appropriate training is an
organized course of study, based on a systematic curriculum
that emphasizes an integrated medical acupuncture curriculum
from multiple paradigms and acupuncture traditions.
Definition of Medical
Medical acupuncture is a medical discipline having a central
core of knowledge embracing the integration of acupuncture
from various traditions into contemporary biomedical practice.
A Physician Acupuncturist
is one who has acquired specialized knowledge and experience
related to the integration of acupuncture within a biomedicine
Education and Training
in Medical Acupuncture
World Health Organization and the World
Federation of Acupuncture and Moxibustion Societies (WFAS)
have promulgated acupuncture training and education standards
for Western trained physicians. Those standards were first
adopted in Beijing, China in 1987 and reaffirmed at the WFAS
conference in Milan, Italy in 1996. These are considered to
reflect the minimum level of training necessary for a Western
trained physician to enter the practice of medical acupuncture.
The WHO standards for physician acupuncture practitioners
are as follows:
"4.2.1 For licensed
graduates of modern Western medical colleges, who already
have had education and training in anatomy, physiology,
neurology, and all the other basic and clinical sciences
involved in medical diagnosis and treatment, training in
acupuncture can be accomplished following a different training
pathway for them to master acupuncture as a special medical
The theoretical part and objectives of this acupuncture
training are parallel to those described in the complete
training section, and the acupuncture core syllabus will
be the same. (The entire WHO/WFAS
document is available from the ABMA.) The whole course
should be devoted to acquiring the knowledge and skill in
acupuncture as well as the related basic theory for at least
200 hours of formal training. By the end of the course the
participants should be able to integrate acupuncture into
their medical practices. The proficiency of training and
practice should be evaluated through an official examination
by health authorities to ensure safety, competence, and
The American Board of Medical Acupuncture
has established standards of training and education that exceed
those established by WFAS as the entry-level standards. The
ABMA will not accept into the process of Certification anyone
who has not met the standards for training, education and
experience as set forth by the ABMA.
The purpose of postgraduate
education in medical acupuncture is to ensure safety, competence,
and efficacy in the practice of medical acupuncture, and to
understand its proper integration into a biomedical practice.
This education can best be achieved through an organized course
of study, with a systematic curriculum as described above.
Of that program, at least 100 hours are to be clinical in
nature, 100 hours didactic.
The educational requirements
set forth by the Board are to be considered the minimum requirements
of the Board and should not be interpreted to be restrictive
in nature. The Board encourages continuing education and training
in advanced level courses and in various microsystems. The
Board has adopted a policy requirement that all physicians
who have achieved certification from the Board must document
minimum levels of continuing education in acupuncture in order
to achieve re-certification.