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Frequently Asked Questions
  1. What happens if California adopts criteria above what NOMAA requires?
  2. Why is the organization of the cardiovascular system important?
  3. Is the pathology under Oriental medical sciences OM pathology or Western pathology?
  4. Is diagnosis under Oriental medical sciences OM diagnosis or Western diagnosis?
  5. There is a considerable amount of study under Oriental medical sciences, should we make this requirement higher than 800 hours?
  6. Why is the flavor of herbs and food listed under the herbal requirements?

1. Every school has to comply with the minimum standards established by each state where the school is located.

So, two possible situations can occur, one would be where schools are required to teach more hours than an accrediting agency's requirements if the state requirements are higher, or two where schools are required to teach more hours than the state requires, because the accrediting agency hour requirements are higher. Consequently, the higher hour standard prevails. In New Mexico the state requires 2400 hours training for OMD licensing although the schools there are already providing 2700-2800 hours of instruction. If these schools seek and obtain NOMAA approval they would have to increase their hours to 4000.
Presently, California is in the process of implementing a 3000 hour standard, which the majority of better schools already meet. The Task Force that has long toiled on this effort has put forth their recommendation on the 3,000 program. This recommendation consists of 2050 hours of didactic instruction and 950 hours of clinical clerkship. Ideally, the NOMAA standard for didactic hours should be consistent with the 2050 goal, but 450-550 additional hours would be added to the clinical clerkship. There are only slight differences between the Task Force and NOMAA on the 2050 hour didactic hours. The main difference is 100 hours on the biomedical studies. As I noted in Table 1, most schools I compared (and by the way to out-of-state school in Table 1 was not from New Mexico) are basically around 450 hours consistent with what NOMAA recommends. The Task Force recommendation is 350 hour which is 50 hours below the present California standard. I think the Task Force recommendation probably needs to be increased. If the Task Force increased their biomedical hours to 400 and shifted the practice management course as a non-credit elective status, they would have 2050 didactic and 950 clinical clerkship. If NOMAA biomedical science stay at 450 hours, that is okay, especially since this is an OMD program. It is okay for the accreditation standards to be higher than the State. In this case the difference is very slight, especially if the Task Force recommendation is 400 hours.

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2. Why is the organization of the cardiovascular system important?

The reason the Chinese view of the cardiovascular system organization is important is the idea of specific vessels supplying discrete superficial areas of the body as well and the internal organs and regions is a unique OM physiological discovery that provides an explanation on the importance of the formation of neurovascular nodes (acupoints) in the superficial regions and their somatovisceral relationships. To teach students acupoint locations and their therapeutic indications is very difficult if the students have no understanding of the underlying neurovascular relationships. These main distribution vessels (jingmai) also supply the longitudinally muscular distributions as well and are important to understanding the musculoskeletal system and treatment approaches.

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3. Is the pathology under Oriental medical sciences OM pathology or Western pathology?

Here the concept of pathology is the OM view except it is explained in modern terms that can be understood and appreciated by any medical professional. The OM model is much more integrated in that it considers the total human situation involving external and internal factors, including emotions and vitalities. Now medical doctors are making discoveries covered by the OM pathogenic model with respect to the neuroendocrine system and behavior involved in health and disease. Soon they will be making claims they discovered something new, just as they are in the process of reinventing acupuncture and now condemning acupuncture taught using energy-meridian concepts as being metaphysical or a religion. Western pathology is studied in biomedical sciences which can then be correlated with the OM perspective during the OM medical science studies.

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4. Is diagnosis under Oriental medical sciences OM diagnosis or Western diagnosis?

Here diagnosis refers to OM diagnosis with western diagnosis covered in western pathophysiology and the Clinical sciences part of the program.

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5. There is a considerable amount of study under Oriental medical sciences, should we make this requirement higher than 800 hours?

The main goal of NOMAA is to establish minimum educational standard for the OMD degree that will be applied to the entire United States. Hence, it is important to not push any category of study to what may be considered above a certain minimum. I appreciate that some schools may already be offering more than 800 hours for their OM sciences (not including the herbs). The Task Force is recommending 800 hours and NOMAA thinks this could be as low as 750 hours and still meet a minimum standard. If we now require 850-900 hours some schools may actually develop more efficient ways of teaching these topics in the future and could accomplish this with fewer hours, but be stuck with a minimum standard that is too high.

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6. Why is the flavor of herbs and food listed under the herbal requirements?

With regard to the comment on flavors, perhaps the word "food" could be deleted. However, since the principle pharmacological and physiological effects of OM herbs respectively depends on their temperament (e.g. hot, cold, warm, cool, etc.) and flavor, then these aspects must be included in the study of OM herbs.

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