Published July 28, 2021

ASA 2021 Virtual Conference: We Are Stronger Together!

Registration is Now Closed!

If you didn’t receive an email with instructions to access this conference from ASA after registration, please double check your Promotion or Junk/Spam folder, if still not there, please email asap. Thank you!

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Schedule of Events:

Day 1: Friday, September 10, 2021

12 noon – 12:30 PM EDT Welcome & Intro to ASA’s work

12:30 PM – 1:15 PM EDT“Dry Needling/Trigger Point Acupuncture” An Overview
Stephen Cina, DAIH, MAOM, LAc., ATC, NASM CES, Dipl AC (NCCAOM), Bianca Beldini, DPT, MSOM, LAc, Dipl AC (NCCAOM)

“Dry Needling” is a divisive topic that has plagued our profession for far too long.  Acupuncturists need to understand how it originated, the technique/s for performing it, and how to best communicate our message to elicit change within healthcare.

In this introduction, we will explore the history of “Dry Needling,” its expansion in the US compared to other countries and describe how it’s applied today.  A review of both the biomedical and Chinese Medicine perspective of “Dry Needling” will be provided.  We will also introduce a variety of common referral patterns and identify the mechanisms leading to the development of trigger points.  Lastly, we will discuss advocacy and what “Dry Needling” means to Physical Therapists and Acupuncturists which will serve as a primer for the breakout session.

1:15 PM – 2:00 PM EDTLessons from the trenches 

Why does Medicaid matter? In the words of Jared West, “Medicaid coverage is integral to increasing access to acupuncture across the strata of American insurance, especially for patients in lower income groups.  Acupuncture is safe, effective and cost efficient and it reduces opiate use helping to combat the opiate epidemic… Thanks to increasing evidence driving new treatment paradigms, acupuncture is no longer “alternative” medicine.  We are becoming part of mainstream care.”  Hear this and other lessons from the trenches on Friday, September 10th.

2:00 PM – 2:30 PM EDT BREAK (in Remo) Meet new friends and connect with colleagues as we gather to chat at our discussion tables during our virtual coffee/tea breaks.

2:30 PM – 4:30 PM EDT: 2 Concurrent Breakout Sessions

Breakout Session 1:  Dry Needling/Trigger Point Acupuncture: “Time for a Paradigm Shift”
Stephen Cina, DAIH, MAOM, LAc., ATC, NASM CES, Dipl AC (NCCAOM), Amy Mager, DACM, LAc. (MA & NY), Dipl OM(NCCAOM), Mona Yuan, MS, LAc, PT, Dipl OM (NCCAOM), Bianca Beldini, DPT, MSOM, LAc, Dipl AC (NCCAOM)





Here we will delve deeper into the techniques utilized in the application of “Dry Needling” using video instruction and identify the areas where this technique is best applied.  Most importantly, we will openly discuss what “Dry Needling” means to you, the conflicts between professions and how best to position ourselves as experts in needle therapy.  Though information can empower advocacy, having the facts alone is not enough.  In this breakout session, we will laugh, we might cry, but hopefully you will gain a renewed perspective of how we can turn this difficult issue into an advantage.

Breakout Session 2: Equity, Access, and Medicaid
Christine Kaiser, DACM, LAc, LCH, FABORM, Dipl OM (NCCAOM), Afua Bromley, MSOM, LAc, Dipl Ac (NCCAOM), Beth Howlett, DAOM, LAc, Kelly Hora, MAc, DiplAc (NCCAOM)





Please join us for this live and dynamic panel with presenters:

Do you want to be paid to work in a hospital? Christine Kaiser will present on the acupuncture department at Connor Integrative Health and the creation of sustainable hospital-based jobs.

Afua Bromley will share how insurance coverage, especially Medicaid, leads to greater equity and access to acupuncture care.

We know that insurance coverage is the key to sustainability, but how do we get there?

Last, but not least, Beth Howlett will host a case study that demonstrates strategic planning and policy in the making.

4:30 PM – 5:30 PM EDT Conference Party

Join us for music, puzzles and prizes as we gather to chat with old friends and make new ones at our round table gatherings!

Day 2: Saturday, September 11, 2021

12 noon – 12:30 PM EDT – Reduction in Scope & Licensure Gained: Lessons from our states. 

12:30 PM – 1:15 PM EDTAdvocacy, Medicare and Insurance and the Role YOU play 

Mori West, Nell Smircina, DAOM, LAc, Dipl OM (NCCAOM)





Get the history behind how acupuncture has been included in Medicare and general insurance. Want to increase your scope of practice or have issues you’d like addressed?  We’ll explain what you can do at the grassroots level as well as what you can do through your state association.

1:15 PM – 2:00 PM EDTHow to Judge Herbal Medicine Studies as a Treatment for Symptoms of COVID?

Misha R. Cohen, OMD, LAc, Lisa Conboy, MA, MS, ScD, Linda Robinson-Hidas, DACM, LAc

Let’s look at some of the published information about how herbs have been used to treat symptoms of Covid 19. Together we will critique  a scientific article. We will look at the types of claims we can make and the consequences of overstepping this limit. This will give you the tools to evaluate what information comes across your desk.

2:00 PM – 2:30 PM EDT BREAK (in Remo) Meet new friends and connect with colleagues as we gather to chat at our discussion tables during our virtual coffee/tea breaks.

2:30 PM – 4:30 PM EDT:  2 Concurrent Breakout Sessions:

Breakout Session 1: Insurance, Medicare and Advocacy – How YOU fit in

Mori West and Nell Smircina, DAOM, LAc, Dipl OM (NCCAOM)

Learn how state associations are advocating for the profession, understand what YOU can do versus what a trade association can do when working with insurance carriers.  We’ll review Bill Track 50 and how you can stay on top of legislative efforts in your state and nationally.  We’ll review the current Medicare policy and look forward to what Medicare inclusion will look like. Finally we’ll discuss current trends in Insurance and how they affect YOU!

Breakout Session 2: Evaluating the evidence-Why didn’t effective treatments for COVID 19 make the national news?

Misha R. Cohen, OMD, LAc, Lisa Conboy, MA, MS, ScD, Linda Robinson-Hidas, DACM, LAc





We will review different types of study designs and the conclusions that can be made from them. Together we practice finding, interpreting, and critiquing scientific articles. We will recognize different types of articles and their type of evidence. We will ask, “Does the evidence support the question and was it even the right question?”. This will be a deeper dive into understanding how research can further the acceptance of Herbal Medicine.

Day 3: Sunday, September 12, 2021

12 noon – 12:30 PM EDT ASA State Legislative & COVID Highlights

12:30 PM – 12:45 PM EDT Student Activities

12:45 PM – 1:30 PM EDT Professional Organization Updates

Join us for an interactive presentation as ACAOM, CCAHM and NCCAOM will present updates on these organizations that guide our profession.

1:30 – 2:00 PM EDT BREAK (in Remo) Meet new friends and connect with colleagues as we gather to chat at our discussion tables during our virtual coffee/tea breaks.

2:00 – 3:00 PM EDT Cultural Competency

What’s in a Name? The Journey to Naming Our Profession
Afua Bromley, MSOM, LAc, Dipl Ac (NCCAOM), LiMing Tseng, MAcOM, LAc, Dipl OM (NCCAOM)





Throughout the past few decades, the name of our profession has had many manifestations: Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, East Asian Medicine, Oriental Medicine, Asian Medicine, Traditional Medicine, etc. In this course, we will learn about the history of “the naming” as we engage in the conversation to choose the terminology for our profession. We will explore the naming process through the lens of history, cultural humility and advocacy. Your participation in this course will help lead this process of constructive dialogue in naming our profession.

3:00 – 4:30 PM EDT Steps Forward for the Acupuncture Profession

Stephen Cina, DAIH, MAOM, LAc., ATC, NASM CES; Tuesday Wasserman, DACM, LAc; Lisa Conboy, MA, MS, ScD; Nell Smircina, DAOM, LAc, Dipl OM (NCCAOM)

We are stronger when we work together. As we wrap up our ASA 2021 Conference, we will recap the issues that affect our profession: insurance, equity & access, Medicaid, Medicare, insurances, dry needling, herbalism and research. We can learn the steps that we can all take to help build our profession. 

If you didn’t receive an email with instructions to access this conference from ASA after registration, please double check your Promotion or Junk/Spam folder, if still not there, please email asap. Thank you!


Afua Bromley, MSOM, LAc, Dipl.Ac (NCCAOM), is the current treasurer and former Chair (2017-2020) Her service as Commissioner on the NCCAOM Board of Commissioners began in 2014. Afua is also the co-Chair of the NCCAOM & ASA Acupuncture Medicine Cultural Competency Task Force.  She served on the Missouri Governor’s Acupuncture Advisory Committee (Missouri’s acupuncture regulatory committee) from 1999-2006, helping write the rules and regulations for the State of Missouri after its licensing law was passed. Afua is a past President of the Acupuncture Association of Missouri. In addition to her private practice in St Louis, she is also the founder and executive director of Universal Holistic Healthcare Services, a 501c3 nonprofit that works towards increasing access to integrative medicine for underserved populations domestically and globally.Stephen Cina MAOM, LAc., ATC, NASM CES is the Chair of the ASA Student Leadership Committee. He specializes in integrating Eastern and Western medical approaches for the treatment of orthopedic conditions and pain disorders. For the past 13 years he has treated numerous patients, from professional athletes to those with chronic and debilitating pain conditions.  He serves as Chair of the Orthopedic Acupuncture Department at the New England School of Acupuncture (NESA), where he instructs graduate students in Orthopedic Acupuncture, Orthopedic Assessment and an Orthopedic Specialty Clinic. He also conducts workshops in integrative anatomy via Cadaver Dissection for pre and postgraduate students.Stephen has served as the team acupuncturist for the Boston Bruins since 2001 and includes in his accomplishments team acupuncturist for the New England Patriots, acupuncture researcher at Massachusetts  General Hospital Martino’s Center for Biomedical Imaging, guest instructor at Tufts University School of Medicine and its Pain, Research Educational and Policy Program.Misha Ruth Cohen, OMD, LAc, Dipl CH, Dipl Ac (NCCAOM) is the Executive Director of the Misha Ruth Cohen Education Foundation, which runs the HIV Care Wellness Program of Quan Yin Healing Center. She is the director of Chicken Soup Chinese Medicine, and a former Research Specialist of Integrative Medicine at the University of California Institute for Health and Aging, all in San Francisco. She has been a member of the board of directors of the Society for Integrative Oncology and is active in SIO. Dr. Cohen has been practicing traditional Asian medicine for the past 45 years.Misha was trained in acupuncture at Lincoln Hospital’s Detox Program in the South Bronx under the auspices of the Quebec School of Acupuncture. She received her doctorate in gynecology from SFCAOM in 1987. For more than thirty-five years, she has developed treatment protocols for people with HIV/AIDS. She was a member of the Ad Hoc Subpanel on Alternative and Complementary Therapy Research of the NIH Office of AIDS Research and in 1996 was selected by POZ Magazine as one of 50 top AIDS researchers.Lisa Conboy, MA, MS, ScD, is the Chair of the ASA Research Committee and the Director of Research at the New England School of Acupuncture/MCPHS. She is an instructor of research methodologies at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School. Lisa has over 20 federally-funded grants awarded, addressing effectiveness of acupuncture, integrative medicine, and placebo response in medicine. As a social epidemiologist and a sociologist with an interest in the associations between social factors and health, she is published in the areas of Women’s Health, Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Integrative Medicine, and qualitative research methodology. Lisa is the primary or co-author on 50+ peer-reviewed publications, multiple book chapters, and editorials; and has been presenting at professional conferences since 1994.Olivia Hsu Friedman, DACM, LAc, Dipl OM (NCCAOM) is the Chair of the American Society of Acupuncturists. Before serving on the ASA Board of Directors she was one of two ASA Illinois delegates and served on the Illinois Society of Acupuncturists as Vice President. Olivia serves on the Advisory Board of LearnSkin and the NUHS Presidential Alumni Advisory Board. She earned a DACM from PCOM, a diploma in Traditional Chinese Medicine Dermatology from Avicenna UK, and an MSOM from National University of Health Sciences.Prior to becoming an acupuncturist, Olivia worked in corporate America with Fortune 500 marketing executives for 25 + years to identify, create and implement new business opportunities.  This experience afforded the knowledge to guide and implement business plans, maximize group performance, develop organizational structure, increase profitability, and direct short- and long-term organizational strategy. Olivia practices TCM Dermatology 100% online utilizing only herbal medicine in her Chicago based private practice.Beth Howlett, DAOM, LAc, is the Vice President of Academics of the AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine. Before transitioning to AOMA, she was the vice president of communications and academic services where she managed the student services department, including academic advising, admissions, registrar, disability access services, counseling and alumni relations at OCOM. In prior roles at OCOM, Dr. Howlett was also director of communications, and admissions and community education coordinator. She is an adjunct faculty member in areas of research, ethics and jurisprudence, study abroad in China, community outreach and comparative health professions and practices. She served as a faculty member on numerous committees, including the College Research Committee. In addition to teaching, Dr. Howlett brings over a decade of experience in non-profit governance and professional leadership through her service on the Oregon Association of Acupuncturists and Oregon Collaborative for Integrative Medicine’s Board of Directors.Christine Kaiser, DACM, LAc, LCH, FABORM, Dipl OM (NCCAOM) serves as the Clinical Manager of Acupuncture and Quality at University Hospitals Connor Integrative Health Network. She is a Licensed Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist and integrates Chinese medicine into the UH Fertility Center and the UH Ahuja Total Joint Replacement program. As a Fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine (FABORM), she is board certified in treating fertility issues with Chinese Medicine.For the past 15 years, Christine has been a heartfelt and compassionate practitioner of Chinese medicine. Christine has completed advanced herbal studies at the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and a two-year teaching residency at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health in Seattle, providing thoughtful care while supervising and training students. Christine served as adjunct faculty at Bastyr University teaching students both in the classroom and clinic. She is the President of the Ohio Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and past Treasurer and Co-founding Board Member of the Maternity Acupuncture Association.Amy Mager, DACM, LAc. (MA & NY), Dipl OM (NCCAOM) is the ASA Vice Chair of Public Policy and has been serving on the Board since 2016. She has been working in complementary medicine since she began acupuncture school in 1986 at the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Amy also had the privilege of apprenticing with Raven Lang, OMD for a year and a half who had been a midwife for 20 years before becoming an acupuncturist. Amy got to study with Raven’s teacher, the world-renowned Dr. Miriam Lee. Amy graduated from ACTCM in 1989 and passed the CA Acupuncture boards which licensed her as a primary care provider in that state.Since then, Amy received advanced training at the Post-Graduate Institute of Oriental Medicine in Hong Kong, went through a Certification program in Women’s Health with Sharon Weizenbaum, LicAc, became a trained birth educator, birth assistant and certified lactation counselor.Amy served as Secretary of the Acupuncture Society of MA from 2013-2018 as well as its dry needling chair. Amy completed her first professional doctorate 12/17 and became a Fellow of the ABORM, American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine May 2018.Linda Robinson-Hidas DACM, LAc, Dipl OM (NCCAOM) is the Chair of the ASA Herbal Committee. She earned her Masters in Traditional Chinese Medicine from the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in 1989 and her DACM from the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine.  She is Board Certified in Oriental Medicine by the National Commission for the Certification in Oriental Medicine, a joint certification in Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs and Oriental Massage. Linda studied massage at the Scherer Institute, graduating from the 1000 hour program in 1983. She is a past president of the Acupuncture Society of Massachusetts. Nell Smircina, DAOM, LAc, Dipl. OM (NCCAOM)

is an advocate, educator and practitioner with a focus on the integration of acupuncture into America’s standard of care. Nell is the President of CSOMA, California’s oldest state acupuncture association and serves on the Advocacy Committee for the American Society of Acupuncturists. As the Director of Development for the American Acupuncture Council, she actively works to support the profession through many strategic initiatives, including work with WHO to further develop ICD11 codes which include Traditional Medicine diagnostics.

As the Founder of PIQUE Health, an integrative concierge medical practice in Beverly Hills and Scottsdale, Nell provides an elevated healthcare experience for patients and opportunities for practitioners looking to work clinically without worrying about running a business. Nell values mentorship, and has taught in many AOM schools on the topics of practice management, professional development, and messaging. She believes being able to effectively communicate our medicine’s value to the public is critical to the growth of the profession. 

LiMing Tseng, LAc, MAcOM, Dipl OM (NCCAOM) is a Chair of the ASA Conference and co-chair of the NCCAOM ASA Acupuncture Medicine Cultural Competency Task. She is a former Board member and secretary of the American Society of Acupuncturists (ASA) (2015-2021), and a former ASA Rep for the Vermont Acupuncture Association. Li has recently completed a Diversity & Inclusion certificate program from Cornell University. Aside from her acupuncture volunteerism, she maintains a private acupuncture practice in Stowe, VT.

Tuesday Wasserman, DACM, LAc, is the Chair of the ASA Medicaid Committee. Since graduating from the Seattle Institute of East Asian Medicine in 2010, she has been working with patients in an outpatient setting, as well as in private practice, currently in Boulder, CO. Tuesday worked with the Acupuncture Team at NYU Langone Hospital (formerly Lutheran Medical Center) treating patients in the Neurology and Orthopedic Rehabilitation and Labor and Delivery wards from 2015-2017.

She serves as Program Director of the Pacific College doctoral completion program. Before joining PCHS, she served as a faculty member at the Southwest Acupuncture College, where she supervised clinical treatment and taught Internal Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynecology from a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective.

Mori West is the Chair of the ASA Insurance Committee. She is the president of AcuClaims/ChiroClaims, a company she started that provides insurance billing services to acupuncturists and chiropractors since 2007. Today, her company handles billing for over 175 offices nationwide. Mori is an Advisory Board Member and Founding President of the Southern California Chapter of the American Medical Billing Association. She was a former board member of the California Acupuncture Association, California State Oriental Medicine Association and the American Assoc of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine. Mori is a popular guest lecturer at Acupuncture Colleges and various Acupuncture State Associations where she lectures on medical billing and insurance issues.  

Thank you to our Conference Sponsors:

Gold Sponsors


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Acupuncture School and College Sponsors:

ASA thanks the following schools for sponsoring their students to participate in our Conference!


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