CAC Position Statement finalized July 2012
In November 2011, The Council for Ayurvedic Credentialing (CAC) formed with the goal of expediating the setup of clear standards for Ayurvedic education in the USA. To avoid conflict of interest, the council resolved to work as an independent body of motivated and experienced Ayurvedic education experts, ungoverned by regulations and obligations of any member-based organization of Ayurveda.
Our vision is to define objective, high-quality standards for Ayurvedic education, incorporating the best tools for teaching and for learning, with consideration of the needs of every group in the Ayurvedic community. These stakeholders include Ayurvedic students and practitioners trained in the USA, ayurvedic physicians, licensed professionals subsequently trained in Ayurveda, patients using Ayurveda, and CAM professionals who share our plight as non-conventional practitioners.
The CAC mission is to create and disseminate documents to assist Ayurvedic education. These documents include well-justified scopes of practice, competence, and means for evaluating the practice level of Ayurvedic practitioners, with the perspective of patient safety and client referral in mind. The materials will be available openly to every individual and institution interested in seeing a consensus of standards for education. These documents will be strong and flexible and may be used worldwide. CAC is dedicated to developing guidelines and standards that can be used in the future toward credentialing as the profession evolves. Our goal is to develop these documents until the community feels we can move forward with them in UNITY toward a common standard for Ayurvedic education, which is the first step to formal credentialing and legislation in the USA.
CAC is not a membership association that organizes professionals. It is a group of highly motivated, independent, collaborating educators who have come together to do the work that is desperately needed, that has not yet been done. It is composed of experts with extensive experience both as students in academia, as teachers in the USA, as clinicians in the USA, and as administrators of Ayurvedic education. Each council member has formal academic training in at least two disciplines of holistic arts or sciences, in addition to other pursuits.
CAC has a singular mission of creating and disseminating documents to assist Ayurvedic education. Since November, we have independently put together scopes of practice, lesson plans, and an outline for a national examination process. These documents will provide the community with guidelines it has been requesting for years, especially as more and more unregulated schools develop. The CAC will collaborate with any group doing quality work in Ayurvedic education. Often many sets of independent standards must be presented to the community before a merger of thoughts can evolve. The CAC has examined the standards and procedures of acupuncture, chiropractic, TCM, massage therapy, integrative & holistic physicians, nutritionists, yoga therapists, and US higher education policies.
For any professional group to evolve into a formal licensed profession, a majority of stakeholders must unite as a community: as the volume of people in the US interested in Ayurveda increases, leadership is needed for US-trained practitioners, teachers, schools, ayurvedic physicians, students, and ayurvedic herb manufacturers. The community needs quality guidelines for authentic Ayurvedic education with high standards for safe practice and clinical excellence, leadership in organizational development and group dynamics – forming, storming, norming, performing. They must also establish 1) use of common nomenclature, 2) a defined scope of practice, and 3) standardized education. They must have compassion and versatility to reflect teaching in Ayurveda.
Membership Organizations do not create credentials for a profession because they inherently create preferences for their members. Their work is to promote wellness for their members, to be supportive, sensitive, and strengthening to them. Therefore, any credentialing process requires a separate organization led by experts in education and practice devoted to the ability to move the community forward and to create standards that will match with legislative precedents in similar professions. The process must also include good communication practices and a strong presence in the community.