Check Out the Latest CSOMA Newsletter!

Check Out the Latest CSOMA Newsletter!

09/28/2023 – TONIGHT! Bay Area Meetup

09/06/2023 – ASA Benefits, Bay Area Meetup & JAIM Online

05/11/2023 – NEWS: Reps. Chu and Fitzpatrick introduce Senior Act

04/26/2023 – Town Hall 5/2: Learn where your licensing fees go

Call for CSOMA Board Members

Call for CSOMA Board Members

Join the CSOMA board of directors for the 2022-24 term!


  • CSOMA board members are healthcare visionaries and fierce patient advocates who are advancing the practice of acupuncture and integrative medicine.
  • Most of us work at hospitals, with the VA, in integrative clinical settings or in other leadership positions.
  • Many of us are dual-licensed (LAc + MD, ND, PT, RN, CNT, etc).
  • All of us are dedicated to improving patient care through CSOMA’s legislative advocacy, education, communication, and support for acupuncture students and professionals.

Meet the CSOMA team at


This year, the CSOMA professional membership will elect: 

  • 2 new Professional Directors (LAc)
  • 1 new Associate Director (industry partner, vendor, etc.)
  • 1 new Student Director (full or part time student status)

* Any Professional, Associate or Student Member in good standing may apply.

**Elections will go out to the membership if we receive more applications than available seats.  


Your 1-2 hour per week volunteer commitment involves:

  • 1 weekly zoom call per week (30-60 mins) on a committee in your passion area.
  • 6 annual board meetings per year (currently being held via zoom, usually on a Sunday morning).  Travel expenses are covered when applicable for conferences or other events.
  • Clear, mindful communication skills and a generous spirit of teamwork.
  • A positive drive to unify and advance our profession.


Send your application (your resume + letter of interest) to ( before Friday, March 18 , 2022. You’ll be contacted by CSOMA by April 1, 2022.


Below are a few of our Board Committees; each Committee has an appointed Chair, who organizes monthly meetings to discuss plans on how each member can contribute to achieving specific topics as listed below. If you have an interest in the topics and or committees, please consider volunteering to help make positive changes for our profession.

  1. Futures Committee: Project for 2022-24 terms. Organize Lobby Day in Sacramento for CA Acupuncturists to meet our legislators and raise awareness re: Acupuncture.
  1. CEU and Events Committee: Work with local professionals to co-host Continuing Educational Events and mini regional conferences, Outreach to CSOMA members to inform them of discounted CEU and events. 
  1. Public Policy Advisory Committee: Have an interest in Politics? Research, review and weigh in on policy affecting acupuncturists in CA. Topics include: dry needling, education and training programs, scope of practice and safety. 
  1. Publications Advisory Committee: Have an interest in research, writing and development. Help organize the Journal of Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine (JAIM). A semiannual publication peer reviewed journal-containing articles, which emphasize research and clinical practice of the AOM profession.
  1. Governance Committee: This Committee consists of Professional members who help organize elections and select the initial slate of nominees who will best serve the interests of CSOMA and its members. 


If you aren’t able to contribute time, please consider becoming a member of CSOMA. Your support helps shape and support the numerous hours of volunteer work our Board contributes to shaping our profession.

Happy Holidays from CSOMA!

Happy Holidays from CSOMA!

Letter from the President, Dr. Nell Smircina, LAc

Happy Holiday Greetings from CSOMA!

We hope this finds you well in the last weeks of 2021.

I’m excited to share a few news items for you to look forward to in the new year:

  • The Journal of Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine (JAIM) is hitting mailboxes shortly! You should receive your copy soon. Our next issue will cover integrative oncology – stay tuned!
  • World Chinese Medicine Forum’s Top Infertility Experts from China series is offering a 50% discount to CSOMA members. Includes 5 sessions, 10 PDAs/CEUs. Sign up at and use your member discount code. First session is Jan. 12.
  • CSOMA is spearheading an aggressive legislative agenda that expands L.Ac. scope of practice (point injection & laser therapies), and improves access to care (Medicare, VA, insurance).

We look forward to your continued membership with CSOMA, and we wish you a very happy New Year!

Warm Regards,
Dr. Nell Smircina, LAc
CSOMA President

CSOMA Welcomes New Student Members from Southern California University of Health Sciences

CSOMA Welcomes New Student Members from Southern California University of Health Sciences

SAN FRANCISCO, April 28, 2021 – CSOMA is pleased to welcome over fifty new student members from Southern California University of Health Sciences (SCUHS).

The new partnership bolsters CSOMA’s student membership numbers, which comprises the association’s second largest membership group, after licensed professional members. The alliance also strengthens ties between CSOMA and TCM schools like SCUHS through a shared vision of expanding employment opportunities for newly licensed practitioners.

“Southern California University of Health Sciences is a shining example of student advocacy in action,” remarked Dr. Nell Smircina, DAOM, LAc., CSOMA president. “By collectively joining the association at this time, SCUHS students are showing their support of CSOMA’s advocacy work and their commitment to being involved in a larger vision for this growing profession.” 

Earlier this year, CSOMA introduced AB 918, the first bill in California to ensure a nationally recognized standard for the delivery of acupuncture medicine throughout the state. A major tenet of the bill included the option for a prospective acupuncturist to take the national examination to qualify for national certification and California state licensure. AB 918 aims to secure enhanced portability of acupuncture credentials across the nation for greater employment opportunities.

Jenny Yu, Dean of SCUHS Eastern Medicine Department commented, “We are delighted to provide this student membership opportunity with CSOMA for our Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM) program students.”

SCUHS offers a Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM) program in which students are awarded both the DACM and the Master of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (MACM) degree that is required to sit for State and National licensing and certification exams. DACM students learn from, with, and about other professions such as chiropractors and physician assistants to prepare for future careers in collaborative and team-based settings.

“Excellence in healthcare begins with excellence in education,” Yu continued. “The collaboration between SCUHS and CSOMA allows our DACM students an early glance into the professional field. Today’s student members will become tomorrow’s professional members, and we look forward to our continued collaboration to better prepare our students in serving their future profession and professional organization.”

About Southern California University of Health Sciences

Founded in 1911, Southern California University of Health Sciences (SCUHS) has been a leader in educating students to be competent, caring, and successful integrative healthcare practitioners and professionals in today’s healthcare delivery system. For more information about SCUHS, visit


CSOMA is a professional association of licensed acupuncturists and supporters of acupuncture, dedicated to the preservation, advancement and integration of the art, science, and practice of all branches of acupuncture medicine into the modern healthcare model, in a caring and ethical manner, thereby enhancing the health and well-being of the general public. 

For more information about CSOMA, please contact Ra Adcock, Executive Director, at


Making Your Acupuncture Website Accessible

Making Your Acupuncture Website Accessible

Most healthcare providers and other business owners know that they must make their physical environment accessible for all members of the public, including those with disabilities, as required under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, some may not be aware that accessibility also extends to the virtual environment; websites must also comply with accessibility requirements under the ADA.

Recently, MIEC has fielded a number of calls from concerned members regarding how they can comply with accessibility requirements for their websites. Many of these calls have come from the acupuncture community, although this issue exists for all types of healthcare providers who maintain a public website.

Furthermore, MIEC has seen a recent trend in claims against acupuncturists involving “surf-by” lawsuits, in which an individual who is not a patient files a lawsuit alleging that the provider’s website failed to meet accessibility requirements under Title III of the ADA.

“Surf-by” claims often start with a single individual who visits a large number of websites specifically for the purpose of evaluating compliance with accessibility requirements for those with disabilities- like having text-based alternatives to content like photographs or graphics, allowing full functionality using just a keyboard, etc.  Businesses whose websites lack these features are named in lawsuits which, in California, can also permit the recovery of statutory damages under state law under the Unruh Civil Rights Act.  Additionally, these claims can be very difficult to defend, and they often involve limitations in or a complete lack of coverage under malpractice insurance policies.

It is worth noting that a standalone website, if not associated with a physical place of business, may not be subject to ADA requirements. However, for physical businesses offering any website-based services (such as making an appointment online), courts have generally ruled that their websites must also meet public accommodation requirements under the ADA.

Unfortunately, there are few laws or specific regulatory standards that outline the requirements for website accessibility; the ADA was passed in 1990 and it did not address e-commerce, nor has it been updated to address website compliance.  Interpretation of the ADA has expanded gradually to address website accessibility, but there has been no official change in the law- a proposal by the U.S. Department of Justice to establish website compliance standards was withdrawn in 2017, and has not been reissued.

In the absence of government standards, healthcare providers and other business owners should follow the private guidelines established by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).  These standards have often been referenced by courts in determining ADA compliance and remediation, and they provide the best guidelines for those attempting to achieve compliance in website accessibility.

The current standard is WCAG 2.1, available here. There are 3 different levels of WCAG compliance; level AA has generally been the accepted standard for compliance.

In summary, the WCAG standards address the following areas:


  • Provide text alternatives for non-text content.
  • Provide captions and other alternatives for multimedia.
  • Create content that can be presented in different ways, including by assistive technologies, without losing meaning.
  • Make it easier for users to see and hear content.


  • Make all functionality available from a keyboard.
  • Give users enough time to read and use content.
  • Do not use content that causes seizures or physical reactions.
  • Help users navigate and find content.
  • Make it easier to use inputs other than keyboard.


  • Make text readable and understandable.
  • Make content appear and operate in predictable ways.
  • Help users avoid and correct mistakes.


  • Maximize compatibility with current and future user tools.

Some specific examples of WCAG compliance include:

Alternative Text for Images

  • Images should include equivalent alternative text (alt text) in the markup/code.
  • If alt text isn’t provided for images, the image information is inaccessible, for example, to people who cannot see and use a screen reader that reads aloud the information on a page, including the alt text for the visual image.
  • When equivalent alt text is provided, the information is available to people who are blind, as well as to people who turn off images (for example, in areas with expensive or low bandwidth). It’s also available to technologies that cannot see images, such as search engines.

Keyboard Input

  • Some people cannot use a mouse, including many older users with limited fine motor control. An accessible website does not rely on the mouse; it makes all functionality available from a keyboard. Then people with disabilities can use assistive technologies that mimic the keyboard, such as speech input.

Transcripts for Audio

  • Just as images aren’t available to people who can’t see, audio files aren’t available to people who can’t hear. Providing a text transcript makes the audio information accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as to search engines and other technologies that can’t hear.
  • It’s easy and relatively inexpensive for websites to provide transcripts. There are also transcription services that create text transcripts in HTML format.

Fortunately, healthcare providers have several options for determining whether their website meets the standards set by the WCAG. Auditing sites such as the one hosted by the Bureau of Internet Accessibility provide free compliance reports and links to resources.

Additionally, there are several options for achieving and maintaining compliance with current standards for website accessibility. Large practices with in-house IT support may choose to develop disability access features directly on their web platform; however, this would also necessitate constant monitoring, auditing and updating as standards change or new content is added.

For smaller practices and/or those with websites that are infrequently updated, there are several third-party vendors that offer software solutions. Please note that MIEC has not evaluated and cannot specifically recommend any vendor, but some of the available third-party solutions include:





WordPress Plugin

For healthcare providers selecting a third-party vendor, it would be advisable to choose a vendor that offers a defense and indemnification provision that requires the vendor to defend any claims that arise from website accessibility issues, and to pay any damages that result. If a vendor does not offer any legal protection, ask them to add it to their contract.

It is worth noting that, for some practices, it might be more cost-effective to redesign a WCAG-compliant website than to address individual changes to move an existing website into compliance.

For more information, please contact MIEC’s Patient Safety & Risk Management team at or (800) 227-4527.

CSOMA and Vida+ announce benefactor-level partnership

CSOMA and Vida+ announce benefactor-level partnership

CSOMA and Vida+ announce benefactor-level partnership

SAN FRANCISCO, February 4, 2019 – CSOMA and Vida+ announce benefactor-level partnership

The California State Oriental Medical Association (CSOMA) and Vida+ are pleased to announce that they have formed a partnership whereby Vida+ offers educational resources regarding CBD products, their use, quality assurance and clinic management to all CSOMA members.

Additionally, Vida+ will offer for a limited time 20% below wholesale rate to CSOMA members until February 28, 2019 on all Vida+ products. Launching today, these benefits will be available to CSOMA members immediately.

The Vida+ offering within CSOMA’s member benefits will include:

  • Limited time offer of 20% below wholesale on all Vida+ products until February 28, 2019 (UPDATE: as of 4/26/19, this discount rate is ONGOING for CSOMA members!)
  • Increased practitioner understanding of clinical applications of CBD products
  • Reliable, up-to-date information directly to members

“Vida+ is proud to be partnering with CSOMA to bring clinical CBD wellness and education to the Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine community,” said Adam Borson, Clinical Specialist at Phivida. “We’re beyond excited to partner with CSOMA and provide something truly special for its members with clinical CBD wellness and education. Let’s improve lives together!”

“We are thrilled to partner with Vida+,” added Ra Adcock, CSOMA’s Executive Director. “The partnership with Vida+ is consistent with CSOMA’s mission to support the acupuncture profession and advance integrative medicine. We are excited to deliver product knowledge on CBD from this exceptional company that shares CSOMA’s dedication to education and practitioner support.”

Vida+ and CSOMA are currently developing educational resources on CBD to guide practitioners on integrating this safe and clinically effective plant-based medicine into their practices.

About the California State Oriental Medical Association:

The California State Oriental Medical Association (CSOMA) is a professional association of licensed acupuncturists and supporters of acupuncture, dedicated to the preservation, advancement and integration of the art, science, and practice of all branches of acupuncture medicine into the modern healthcare model, in a caring and ethical manner, thereby enhancing the health and well-being of the general public. For more information about CSOMA, please contact Ra Adcock, Executive Director, at

About Vida+:

VIDA+ is the next wave of cannabinoid extracts – a powerful alternative formulated with integrative practitioners and patients in mind. With their focus on our four pillars – potency, purity, safety and efficacy – Vida+ is setting the new standard in quality assurance for the integrative health community. The Vida+ vision is simple: to help as many people as possible while transforming the hemp industry, through their dedication to pure ingredients, best practices, and uncompromising quality controls. Learn more about Vida+ at or contact Clinical Specialist Adam Borson at


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