American Public Health Association
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Alternative and Complementary Health Practices
Section Newsletter
Fall 2009

Letter from the Co-Chairs


Letter from the Co-Chairs


Dear Members and Friends of ACHP,

    Preparations for APHA’s Annual Meeting are in full swing, and we look forward to seeing you in Philadelphia in November. In addition to a wide variety of presentations that will occur on the three days of the meeting, we have the pleasure this year of having Dr. Josephine Briggs of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine as a speaker on Monday afternoon at 2:30 (location to be announced). Because her talk is expected to attract a large number of delegates, we’ve arranged for a large conference hall to be reserved for the event. Please share this information with your colleagues; all are welcome to Dr. Briggs’ talk!


    On Monday evening of the meeting, we’ll be having our annual Business Meeting at 6:30 (location will be announced in the program). We hope you can attend to discuss issues such as our SPIG’s process of applying to become a Section within APHA, as well as increasing our profile within APHA. We’ll also have the election of SPIG officers for the upcoming year, and start collecting names of members who’d like to be involved in next year’s abstract review process.


    Despite challenging economic times, we’re fortunate to have numerous oral and poster presentations from many of our colleagues. The schedule of presentations should be available on the APHA Web site sometime in October.


    Our information booth in the Exhibition Hall will offer a wide variety of materials from members and their organizations. This will include brochures, newspapers, fliers, etc. We don’t have the capacity to actually sell items at the booth, so please refrain from sending books or other items unless you’re offering them at no cost. If you’d like to send materials for the Booth, you can either send them to yourself at your own hotel, or to Beth Rosenthal; she has kindly offered to receive them, but it is up to the senders to bring the materials to our SPIG’s booth.

Beth’s hotel information is as follows:

Materials can be sent to the Hampton Inn Philadelphia Center City-Convention Center, with Beth’s name (Beth Rosenthal) and arrival date (11/8/09) on the package.

Here’s te address:
Hampton Inn Philadelphia Center City-Convention Center
1301 Race Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA 19107

Phone: (215) 665-9100, FAX: (215) 665-9200


If anyone has questions about this, please contact Beth Sommers at


We also have a Web-based sign-up sheet for staffing the Information Booth. It is available at: 


    Volunteers can sign up for shifts throughout the time of the meeting, except for during the Monday afternoon talk given by Josephine Briggs.


    Thanks to Anne Doherty for her coordination efforts for the reviewing of all abstract submissions. Our appreciation also goes to all the reviewers who contributed their time and expertise in reading abstracts and offering comments.


    In this season of autumn, as the cycle of the year moves into the phase of shorter days and longer nights, we wish you good health and success in all your work.

Beth Sommers

Rick Harvey

ACHP Co-Chairs

Preparation for Annual Meeting in Philadelphia


Preparation for Annual Meeting in Philadelphia

Beth Rosenthal has offered to receive mailed materials that members want to have distributed at our ACHP booth in the Exhibition Hall. Materials can be sent to her at her hotel, addressed to her name and arrival date (11/8/09) on the package. Please list your own name somewhere on the package for identification when you pick it up.

If you or your organization want to distribute fliers, brochures, or other materials, without the hassle of traveling with an additional heavy load, please send them to Beth at this address.


Hampton Inn Philadelphia Center City-Convention Center
1301 Race Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA 19107
Tel: (215) 665-9100  Fax: (215) 665-9200

You also have the option of sending materials to yourself at your hotel if you plan to attend the Annual Meeting.

News from APHA


News from APHA

    1. APHA Annual Meeting & Exposition - Register for the meeting and make your hotel reservation soon (housing closes Oct. 9). Note: Presenters must be individual members of APHA to present their paper(s) and must register in advance for the meeting. Session organizers and moderators are also required to be members and pay the appropriate registration fee. Hope to see you in Philadelphia!

    2.  Don't miss this opportunity! Sign up now for a one-on-one or a group session with a professional career coach at the APHA Annual Meeting & Exposition. These coaches can guide you in strategizing the next phase of your career and help you define your goals. Select a 45-minute individual session or a 90-minute group session. The group sessions are designed according to your career needs. To see which session best fits for you, please read about each coach's experience and education before setting an appointment. If you have never experienced coaching before, this is a wonderful introduction to what may become a useful service for your career!

This is the link to the the Career Guidance Center:

    3. APHA Press has three books in production of interest to epidemiologists and other health professionals that will be available at the annual meeting: Chronic Disease Epidemiology and Control, 3rd edition, by Patrick Remington, Ross Brownson and Mark Wegner, and two books by Steven S. Coughlin, Ethics in Epidemiology and Public Health Practice, 2nd edition, and Case Studies in Public Health Ethics, 2nd edition.


Find out how you can be a part of the Healthiest Nation in One Generation.

A Pilot Study of an Innovative Acupuncture Treatment for Primary Dysmenorrhea


A Pilot Study of an Innovative Acupuncture Treatment for Primary Dysmenorrhea

Maria Chao, DrPH, MPA

Research Fellow

Osher Center for Integrative Medicine

University of California, San Francisco

1701 Divisadero Street, Suite 150

San Francisco, CA 94115

(415) 353.7749

Primary dysmenorrhea, the occurrence of painful menstrual cramping of the uterus, is highly prevalent, particularly among adolescent women, and a major cause of activity restriction and school absence. Dysmenorrhea is most commonly treated in the West with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and oral contraceptives, both of which have side effects that may limit their use in a population of young women. No alternative treatments for dysmenorrhea have been studied rigorously enough to establish efficacy.

Acupoint injection of vitamin K has been used as a treatment for dysmenorrhea at the Menstrual Disorder Center at the Obstetrics & Gynecology Hospital in Shanghai, People’s Republic of China, since at least 1985. Previous pilot studies indicate injection of vitamin K3 into the acupuncture point Spleen-6 leads to a significant reduction of menstrual pain intensity and duration. Further research is needed on other forms of vitamin K for treatment of dysmenorrhea and on the transferability of this treatment to different populations of women.

Researchers at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco will examine the feasibility of acupoint injection of vitamin K1 for the treatment of severe primary dysmenorrhea in the United States. The study will provide preliminary evidence of treatment effects and feasibility assessment for a larger scale study. The study employs a single-blind, randomized, crossover design. Women diagnosed with severe primary dysmenorrhea will be randomized to receive either 1) vitamin K1 injection into the acupuncture point Spleen-6 at the start of their menstrual cycle followed by a saline injection in a non-acupuncture point two months later or 2) saline injection in a non-acupuncture point followed by vitamin K1 injection into acupuncture point Spleen 6/San Yin Jiao two months later. Primary outcome measure will be pain intensity measured by a visual analogue scale. Secondary outcomes include presence and intensity of menstrual symptoms, activity restriction, and pain medication used.


1. Dawood MY. Dysmenorrhea. Clin Obstet Gynecol. Mar 1990;33(1):168-178.

2. Davis AR, Westhoff CL. Primary dysmenorrhea in adolescent girls and treatment with oral contraceptives. J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. Feb 2001;14(1):3-8.

3. Milsom I, Minic M, Dawood MY, et al. Comparison of the efficacy and safety of nonprescription doses of naproxen and naproxen sodium with ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and placebo in the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea: a pooled analysis of five studies. Clin Ther. Sep 2002;24(9):1384-1400.

4. Davis AR, Westhoff C, O'Connell K, et al. Oral contraceptives for dysmenorrhea in adolescent girls: a randomized trial. Obstet Gynecol. Jul 2005;106(1):97-104.

5. Kellstein DE, Waksman JA, Furey SA, et al. The safety profile of nonprescription ibuprofen in multiple-dose use: a meta-analysis. J Clin Pharmacol. May 1999;39(5):520-532.

6. DeArmond B, Francisco CA, Lin JS, et al. Safety profile of over-the-counter naproxen sodium. Clin Ther. Jul-Aug 1995;17(4):587-601; discussion 586.

7. Proctor ML, Hing W, Johnson TC, et al. Spinal manipulation for primary and secondary dysmenorrhoea. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006;3:CD002119.

8. Proctor ML, Smith CA, Farquhar CM, et al. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and acupuncture for primary dysmenorrhoea. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2002(1):CD002123.

9. Proctor ML, Murphy PA. Herbal and dietary therapies for primary and secondary dysmenorrhoea. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2001(3):CD002124.

10. Yu J. Efficacy of vitamin K3 in the treatment of functional dysmenorrhoea: Clinical and laboratory observations. New Medicine and Clinical Trial. 1985:4.

11. Wang L, Cardini F, Zhao W, et al. Vitamin K acupuncture point injection for severe primary dysmenorrhea: an international pilot study. MedGenMed. 2004;6(4):45.

Traditional Asian Medicine Conference in Bhutan

Traditional Asian Medicine Conference in Bhutan

by Paul Kadetz

The International Association for the Study of Traditional Asian Medicine (IASTAM) held their 7th Conference on Asian Medicine: Cultivating Traditions and the Challenges of Globalisation in Thimphu, Bhutan, Sept. 7-11 2009. Repeatedly told that I did not realize how very lucky I was to go to Bhutan, I was expecting something very special.  I was not disappointed. Surrounded by the Himalayas, Bhutan is quite magical indeed, and the conference was magical as well.

IASTAM is an association of historians, medical anthropologists, and other scholars of Traditional Asian Medicines, as well as Asian Medicine practitioners. A virtual Who's Who of Asian Medicine was present at the conference including such notable scholars as Vivienne Lo (UCL), Judith Farquhar (Chicago), and Dominik Wujastyk (Vienna) among many, many others. More than 200 delegates attended and 150+ presented papers. Panels ranged from Medical Pluralism, Integrated Care and Public Health to Women and Gender in Medicine and Healing Across Asia. There was a special focus on Traditional Medicine in Bhutan and Tibetan Medicine presented by many local delegates. Papers on integration of Traditional Asian Medicines into state health care systems and scientific proof of safety and efficacy kept debates lively throughout the week.

IASTAM's next conference will be in 2013 in Korea.  For more information on IASTAM or to become a member and receive IASTAM's Journal, Asian Medicine - Tradition and Modernity, visit their Web site at:


Congratulations to Dr. Komeh-Nkrumah


Congratulations to Dr. Komeh-Nkrumah!

Steva Komeh-Nkrumah DrPH, RD, CNS, was one of seven outstanding Post Doctoral Research Fellows to be invited by Dr. Josephine Briggs to present a poster on NIH-NCCAM funded research at the Inaugural Stephen E. Straus Distinguished Lecture in the Science of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

This lecture series was established in honor of Stephen E. Straus, MD, founding director of NCCAM and an internationally recognized clinician-scientist, who died in 2007. National Book Award-winning author and surgeon Sherwin B. Nuland, MD, discussed his experiences in China observing major surgery conducted without anesthesia, aided by acupuncture — and whether its effectiveness can be explained by current biomedical science. Dr. Nuland, author of The Uncertain Art: Thoughts on a Life in Medicine, and clinical professor of surgery at Yale University, was the first lecturer of the series.

Dr. Komeh’s poster entitled “Effect of black tea on blood lipids and fecal fat” resulted from pre-doctoral research that was conducted at Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, one of USDA's Research Center. Dr. Komeh-Nkrumah is now a post-doctoral NIH-NCCAM research fellow funded through an NIH-NCCAM T-32 grant that was awarded to her alma mater, Morgan State University, School of Community Health and Policy. Her current research is being conducted at University of Maryland, School of Medicine in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. She is investigating the effectiveness of topical application of anti-inflammatory and analgesic essential oils to treat adjuvant arthritis in the Lewis rat model.


We Look Forward to Seeing YOU in Philadelphia in November!!!