Assistant Dean, Yo San University, Los Angeles, CA
Title: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of Traditional Chinese Medicine in California: SWOT Analysis using Qualitative Research
Dr. Farshid Towfighi Namin, MD, MPH, DAOM, LAc enjoys the high profile in fields of Health, Safety and Management. He is leading expert in international disaster response. He has participated in numerous international training and certification programs for senior-level emergency responders, Environmental Health and Safety. His area of interest is Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and biostatistics, and practicing as licensed acupuncturist in California. He joined Expert Committee of Chinese Medicine in UCLA, Public Health School on June 13, 2018. Now Dr Farshid is assistant dean of doctoral program in Yo San University, Los Angeles, California.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a growing profession in California, with huge capacity, diversity and some challenges. The purpose of this study was to identify the significant factors of strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats, explore new strategic directions, solutions and priorities to develop TCM practice in California. Method: A questionnaire was designed for online survey and its content validity and reliability reviewed with test-retest. Standardized questionnaire (p=0.05) was posted in surveymonkey and eighty-six responses’ data was analyzed. Twelve in-depth interviews with experts were conducted and related literature was reviewed, too. Results: The main strengths is well-educated TCM practitioners (76%), main weakness is insurance compensations not enough (74%), main opportunity is growing public awareness about TCM (85%) and main challenge is lack of public education about the benefit of TCM for patients (73%). Adding different acupuncture style to TCM has a significant effect on the belief that TCM is a fragmentation practice. (P=0.05) There is significant difference between self-pay and not self-pay practitioners about the belief on TCM as low cost/affordable treatment, (p value=0.03) and also there is significant difference on belief on TCM business saturation among pioneer and non-pioneer practitioners. (P value=0.04) Conclusion: TCM can be fit widely in public health system and provides patients freedom to choose their medical provider. However, the link between TCM and western medicine is poorly defined, insurance reimbursement remains not enough and educational shortages should be addressed. Public awareness and media exposure are considered as priorities, acupuncture associations should be strengthened and more active members and lobbyists are needed to promote the profession. TCM profession should develop a joint strategic plan by all stakeholders, and improves its leadership and communication and creating stronger TCM practitioner network.