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The Official Publication of the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of British Columbia
Nominations and Election Announcement

Nominations and Election Announcement

Hello Registrants! Fall is upon us and we’re once again approaching Board Nominations and Election time, always an important part of the College’s annual calendar. Board elections for the 2020-2022 term will commence in November and will run through to December. There are three positions available and perhaps this is the year for you to get involved!
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The three positions are open to Registrants in District 1 (Lower Mainland) or District 2 (the province of British Columbia outside the Lower Mainland) and we want to be sure we have a full roster of qualified candidates. As you know, we are privileged to be self-regulated and that is due entirely to the contribution of those who have made a commitment and volunteered to stand for election as well as those public members who have been appointed.

Perhaps you’ve wondered what goes on at Board meetings. What issues are topical and discussed around the table. How decisions are made. And what it takes to be a CTCMA Board member. Perhaps you’ve asked yourself if you’d be good at it.

You’re already knowledgeable in the sector—TCM—so that part is covered. Your skills, knowledge and experience are needed, and your College would value your participation.

Here are some of the qualities the CTCMA Board is looking for.

  1. Ability to think, plan and contribute strategically. The Board is responsible for setting strategic direction for the College and your viewpoints and experience as a Registrant would be valuable.

  2. Highly principled and ethical. You do what you say you will do. You understand that some things are confidential. And you can laugh at times, too.

  3. Welcome the viewpoints of others. You understand that collaboration is the way the best work gets done.

  4. Good listener and communicator. You know when to take a harder line and when to accept majority opinion. And you speak in a collegial manner (in English which is the language of our Board) that those around the table respond to.

  5. Thrive on problem solving and getting to a decision. You look at an issue and understand that its root cause and symptoms are not one and the same. You keep the best interests of the College, and public, top of mind.

  6. Dedicated to serving the public. You serve your patients on a daily basis. This could be an opportunity to make a wider and terrifically satisfying contribution to healthcare in BC.

Board members from all areas of our profession bring diverse points of view to the table and work as a team to make sound policy and governance decisions in the public interest. If you have the commitment to the profession, like to work hard and enjoy peer-to-peer discussion, you could be an effective CTCMA Board member.

Each new Board member receives an orientation to Board governance and takes and signs an Oath of Office confirming their understanding and commitment to their role. The mandate of the Board is to uphold the College’s objective as set out in the Health Professions Act: to serve and protect the public.

This could be an opportunity to make a personally satisfying contribution. And you’ll feel good, for doing something valuable for your chosen profession. When you think about it, where else can you achieve both personal and professional benefits like these?

We asked board members who were elected last year to share their thoughts and experience, here is what they said:

“I enjoy that the board members celebrate and respect differences in opinion. We share, value, and use our diverse expertise and resources collaboratively in all levels of our decision making in order to achieve the best result.  I look forward to having more TCM professionals from our college with passion and talents. Together, we are capable to direct our collective energy and time effectively to make meaningful and positive long-term goals for the benefit of the public.” – Rachel Ling (Registrant Board Member, District 1, 2019-2022)

“Being on the board is a rich experience. You get to see your industry from a variety of perspectives. You meet interesting people. You have a chance to use your voice, air your ideas and grow in many ways. You meet a LOT of your peers, examine the horizon, set goals, work in a dynamic team, and share your experiences and expertise. I’m grateful to be a part of this, and encourage you to participate, too! “– Beverly Osachoff (Registrant Board Member, District 2, 2019-2022)

Nominations are now open. The College uses an online system for Board elections. Here’s a handy link to the Nomination Form.

The deadline for submitting nominations is Thursday, October 17, 2019 at 5:00 PM (PDT)Nomination forms must be submitted electronically to the College by emailing the form to [email protected].

Read the College Board Information and, as always, we are available to answer any questions prospective candidates may have. For further information about nominations feel free to email us at [email protected].

Details concerning the election itself, including the candidates, will follow.

Editor’s note: The quote from Ms. Beverly Osachoff was missed in the first version of this article.  2nd version was published on 2019-12-31.  Sorry for the error.

CTCMA New Office

CTCMA New Office

Well, we’ve been happily installed in our new office location now for almost two months and we just wanted to give you all an update.
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As you know, we moved from our long time 8th Avenue location to ‘the HUB’ in Downtown Vancouver.

We’re now on the waterfront, right in the heart of the city. Our tireless staff members very much enjoy the easy access to transit and the Waterfront Skytrain station. And we’re all enjoying the collaboration we can now have with other regulatory colleges, including the BC College of Nursing Professionals who was instrumental in securing the space.

The new offices are bright, modern and cheerful, and we have access to several shared meeting rooms. We have better equipment and computer systems including teleconferencing and videoconferencing facilities now, again shared with other regulatory colleges. These features alone have already saved us time and money, as it allows us to host committee and board meetings more readily online and/or at the College’s premises.

We have also improved our email and phone system by having departmental emails and voice-mail boxes, so that your inquiries can get to the right person faster and more systematically. Registrants and others do not need to travel to the office in order to get their inquiries and documents to us. We hope to serve everyone in BC equally no matter how close or how far you are from our office location. We hope to make it simple and accessible for everyone: from submitting complaints regarding registrants, seeking information regarding registration, examination, quality practice; mailing in any documents and applications, to dropping off documents and applications at reception at ‘the HUB’.

Probably the greatest benefit of having made this move is the opportunity to learn from—and share our learning with—the other regulatory colleges on the premises whose commitment to public protection mirrors our own.  Regulating safe and ethical practice of health care in BC is a joint effort.

If you haven’t already, make a note of our new address and phone number. Email addresses remain the same as always.

New Mailing address:

College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of British Columbia

900-200 Granville Street

Vancouver BC, V6C 1S4

New main office telephone number: 


Office email remains the same:

[email protected]

Recent News

Recent News

2019 AGM’s Educational Seminar
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Continuing Competence leads to Quality Practice – The College Supports You Through the Practice Support Program

By Brad Matthews, Dr.TCM

The Health Professions Act (HPA) requires health regulators to develop and implement Quality Assurance (QA) programs[1]. Specifically, the Act states that regulators are required to ensure the “continuing competence” of their registrants throughout their careers[2]. Continuing competence through a QA program will ensure “safe, ethical, quality” healthcare for the public.

On the surface, this sounds like a good idea: make sure registrants maintain a level of competence that will uphold the primary mandate of the regulator to provide safe, ethical, quality care. But it is somewhat simplistic; defining just what constitutes continuing competence is not easy in a profession as complex as TCM.

The notion underlying QA programs has been that undertaking a certain number of continuing education hours per reporting cycle means that registrants are maintaining continuing competence. However, learning derived from taking a course is only a small part of the total learning that leads to competence. Health professionals have many learning opportunities in their practices: they can learn from their experiences, from the peers, and from their clients or patients. Continuing competence becomes tricky to assess because it’s somewhat of a moving target: over the course of a health professional’s life, some competencies will naturally erode, and others will become very much more proficient.

For example, in my own practice I don’t treat children, and as a result, my entry to practice competencies related to pediatrics have eroded. However, I do treat a very large number of orthopedic cases so my competencies in these areas have been enhanced. The fact that my pediatrics skills have eroded in no way makes me less competent given my patient profile. Another example would be fertility. Some practitioners have a very singular practice focus on fertility and perhaps, as a result, their geriatric competencies have declined. However, they too are by no means less competent, given their professional focus.

One of the real problems with QA programs being rooted in accumulating continuing education hours is that it becomes nothing more than a regulatory hoop to jump through. Invariably there are registrants who, when renewal time approaches, scramble to ‘get hours’ without much thought as to what might actually help them in their practice setting. So, in addition to feeling like it’s just a hoop, there is no assurance that the courses are making them more competent practitioners.

There is another area of shortcoming when fulfilling a CE credit requirement alone is the marker of continuing competence. That is, what about the overall idea of professionalism? Does taking a few hours of courses improve professionalism to be a good doctor? Amazingly, surveys have shown that 70% of patients are more concerned with their relationship with their doctor than they are with treatment outcomes! Let’s think about that: as many as 70% of patients feel that the ability as practitioners to communicate, to empathize, to be relatable (in other words our bedside manner and personality) are more important than if the treatment ultimately works. Only 30% rate treatment efficacy as the most important trait of a doctor!

The above issues were among those practitioners and consultants contemplated in the early days of developing the PSP: How do one assess competence when career span is a moving target? Is there a set of very broadly stated competencies that could better describe what continuing competence really is?

Ultimately, 14 Career Span Competencies (CSCs) of the PSP were developed to describe continuing competence. It’s important to mention that the CSCs were not pulled out of the air. In fact, they flow directly from the Entry to Practice competency profiles of a number of health regulators, including CTCMA. 

Having a brand-new framework that better describes career span competence, what if a QA program, could be more than just another hoop to jump through, that is, a fixed quantity of CE hours to count? What if the program could serve as a means to support career span development and competence leading to high-quality professional practice? What if we could stimulate registrants’ professional development – give them a practice-building tool, much like a business plan, that could help guide them as professionals as they progress through their careers? After all, it’s in nobody’s best interest to remain the novice practitioner we all are on day one of our careers. That doesn’t serve the individual practitioner. It doesn’t serve the profession as a whole and it most certainly doesn’t serve the public interest.

The PSP is a program developed for YOU – the CTCMA registrants. The CTCMA wants to support your career development and to give registrants a valuable practice-building tool.  The PSP satisfies the requirements of the HPA to provide a quality assurance program to ensure the continuing competence of registrants. The PSP is about helping registrants be the best they can be.

[1] Health Professions Act: Part 3 s 26.1 

[2] College Bylaws: s 20(3)

TCM Community News

TCM Community News

News 1: ICBC Claims Process News 2: The History of TCM in BC
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What to Do When Registrants have questions about ICBC Claims 

Since April 1, 2019, CTCMA registrants have been able to submit claims to ICBC directly for Acupuncture services for eligible patients under updated ICBC’s accident benefits. The College sometimes receives inquiries from registrants about the process of submitting ICBC claims however such inquiries should be directed to ICBC. The College should only be contacted if the concern is regarding billing practices and treatment quality with one of our registrants.  Any inquiries about eligibility, coverage, claims submission, invoicing and reporting, and treatment plans that ICBC will cover for care and treatment following an automobile accident, should be made directly and appropriately to ICBC.  

ICBC and the BC Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Practitioners (ATCMA) were the parties involved with setting up the terms and coverage. The College asked Mr. Jason Tutt, President of ATCMA, to explain the ICBC claims process here for all registrants, describe some common mistakes seen so far in ICBC claims, and provide registrants with contact information for their ICBC inquiries.

The College trusts that this information will be helpful for registrants needing to submit claims to ICBC.

Article link: ICBC Claims Process (By Jason Tutt, R.Ac.)

The History of TCM in BC 

Inspired by the Burnaby Village Museum

By Kim Graham, Dr.TCM

This past summer I visited the Burnaby Village Museum for a tour of the Way Sang Yuen Wat Kee Chinese medicine store. Way Sang Yuen Wat Kee & Co (WSYWK) was an herbal shop operating in Victoria, BC from 1905 until 1967. From 1905 until 1926, the shop was located on Fisgard Street. In 1926 the shop relocated to 1710 Government Street and expanded in 1935 when the owner purchased “Wah Sun” in the Lee Block located at 1620 Government Street. The contents of the two shops were combined with the elaborate fixtures of WSYWK installed at the front. The rear of the shop also operated as an unofficial post office for recent Chinese immigrants.

In 1975 the store and its contents were moved to the Burnaby Village Museum where it is now on display exactly as it was in 1967, including all the original herbs. I personally loved naming and smelling all the various herbs on display.

The Museum has done an excellent job at translating and providing information about TCM for the public to understand. We were offered the opportunity to provide input on how they could improve the overall authenticity of the experience and we provided some minor translation suggestions. All of the artifacts from the store have been catalogued and can be viewed online here.

The visit reminded me of the weekends in school I spent touching, smelling and learning to recognize individual herbs and formulas, under the tutelage of one of our professors who practised in an herbal shop in Vancouver’s Chinatown.  It also reminded me of my time spent in the hospital dispensaries in China.  While taking it all in I realized, that I hadn’t been inside a traditional herbal shop in over 17 years! 

As a TCM practitioner this experience also reminded me that the foundations of this medicine are not in fancy technique names, nor in the latest treatment protocols. Its roots run deep in family lineage, in walls of drawers packed with fragrant herbs, and in consultation rooms with pulse pillows and acupuncture diagrams. TCM practices teach respect for the natural and spiritual worlds, and we are all so very fortunate to have learned its immense teachings. TCM is a complex and magnificent medicine that will continue to evolve in its modernization; having had the opportunity to step into the past to experience its first steps in Canada was inspiring!

I would highly recommend practitioners, students or anyone interested in the history of TCM in Canada to visit the museum, and also the adjacent exhibit, “Across the Pacific”, that features stories, photographs, and artifacts illustrating the history and legacy of Chinese migration to Burnaby from the 1880s to 1970s. The stories of Burnaby’s Chinese Canadian families are offered in English, Mandarin and Cantonese village dialect. Truly interesting!

Burnaby Village Museum’s webpage:

The museum is located at 6501 Deer Lake Ave, Burnaby BC V5G 3T6 (map).

Continuing Competency Program

Continuing Competency Program

The Board has updated the definition for the Continuing Competency Program’s Category A (Direct Participatory, Formal Programs) Modal Activity A2 as follows:
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A2 Electronically offered continuing education when two conditions are met

(i) attendance is taken and monitored, and
(ii) there is an assessment tool for the course. 

This means that more online continuing education courses, including both real-time or recorded courses, can be counted as Activity A2.  This can be counted retroactively to CE activities from October 1, 2019.  Updated Continuing Competency Program Requirements (October 2019) is now available at Continue Education.

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

Reminder for the Pan-Canadian Entry-Level Examination Schedule for Year 2019/2020
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Date of Written Examination: Saturday, October 19, 2019

Date of Clinical Case-Study Examination: Saturday, January 18, 2020

Please refer Pan-Canadian Entry-Level Examination for more information.