Acupuncture Oriental Medicine and Political Action
by John Scott, DOM
You have probably heard a DOM say “I hate politics, it is a dirty business and I will have no part of it”! Perhaps not in those exact words but something to that effect. Are these DOMs aware that their license to practice, our wonderful scope of practice and insurance reimbursement privileges are all due to the successful political action of dedicated DOMs who cared enough about the future access of our fellow New Mexicans to our safe and effective medical system?
In our state and across our nation our profession is being presented with great challenges and opportunities. Our dreams of greater prosperity for practitioners and universal access for our fellow beings depends our willingness to be politically active.
We must educate our elected officials, candidates, state employees about what AOM has to offer. This transcends party affiliation political orientation or ethnicity. What we offer helps to relieve suffering in ways that conventional medicine quite often fails. Public education is part of this process.
2018 is an election year. It is a midterm election. It is still very important to DOMs in NM.
Do know who your state representative and your state senator are? It is easy to find out. Are they friendly to our profession? How have they voted in the past? Your next step is to go to one of their campaign events. Wear a badge or name tag that identifies you as a DOM. Introduce yourself and hand them information available from NMSAAM to educate them about how our profession can help them address real problems in our state. Currently, the issues with chronic pain and substance abuse are on the minds of elected officials and the general public.
Of course they are all seeking campaign contributions. Money is the essential aspect of qi in politics. For candidates and office seekers any modest contribution is greatly appreciated. Consider your contribution a small investment in your future as a health care provider. Just being present at the event makes a difference. You will be able to strike up conversations with interesting people who will ask you about what you do. You will give out business cards to prospective new patients.
The former US Speaker of the House of Representatives Thomas “Tip” O’Neill said that all politics are local. One never knows what office a local candidate may one day occupy. A DOM in Santa Fe became friendly with a local political character who became the US House of Representatives sponsor of DSHEA which gave the American public legal access to vitamins, minerals and herbal products. As a governor Bill Richardson was a friend to our profession, as was Gary Johnson. A little over ten years ago US Senator Martin Heinrich was an Albuquerque City Council Member. Today Senator Heinrich is the Democratic leader of the Dietary Supplements Caucus in the US Congress. He has been a real tried and true friend to herbal medicine.
Be aware and active!