- Timezone: America/New_York
- Date: Mar 15 2020
- Time: 1:00 pm
Inaugural Meeting #1 March 16th, 2020 at 4pm EST, 7pm PST
90 minute meeting started at 4pm PST, 7pm EST – ended 8.30 pm EST/ 5.30 pm PST
Mark Halpern – Advisor
John Immel – President
Dr. Lina Thakar – Secretary and Treasurer
Schools and school directors in attendance
- Paul Duglis – New World Ayurveda
- Denise O’Dunn
- Dr. Anthony James – Somaveda
- Kim Valeri – Boston Ayurveda School
- Susan Gordon – Ayurveda Sadhana
- Lina Thakar – Ayurveda College USA
- Marc Halpern – California College of Ayurveda
- John Immel – Joyful Belly Ayurveda
- Ki-Atsu Institute
We also received note from
- Dr. Jayrajan, Kerala Ayurveda Academy and
- Ruth Simmons, BVI school of Ayurveda for they are interested to connect to NAASC and couldn’t attend meeting for other time commitments .
- Meeting Minutes – By Dr. Lina Thakar
- Marc: Welcomed all the members and expressed thanks to all attending for their time and interest with NAASC. He also introduced the background of the course of actions that took place from initial idea to now the official launch of the NAASC. Mark introduced John as the president of NAASC and Lina as secretary and treasurer explaining the work done so far. He asked John to address the schools to explain why NAASC is formed and its vision.
- John: Introduced himself. Welcomed everyone and explained the meeting agenda. Asked Lina to express her thoughts before he gets into discussion.
- Lina: Thanked everyone for their time and joining the meeting. Explained NAASC work for board is of support and contribution to grow schools, Ayurveda education and shape Ayurveda profession in the United States.
John presented mission and goals of the organization
- Members schools decide policy, not the board. Unlike other professional organizations where practitioners decide board. Practitioners aren’t always working full time in Ayurveda, but most schools are heavily invested. Schools decide NAASC policy including the board as they are full time in Ayurveda education.
- Board only administrative staff – cannot make policy decisions. Member schools choose the board.
- This is an organization for Ayurveda Schools exclusively – member schools make the decisions.
- Theme & heart of organization is Inclusivity.
- Not a threat to them no matter who they are. We understand the diversity in the schools and their programs and INCLUSIVITY is the theme for NAASC.
- NAASC is not a scope and standards organization.
- NAASC will NOT demand another list of requirements.
- NAAS is formed to defend you, you have to go to body to ask help for regulatory situations.
- Schools currently may be constantly reacting to changing standards.
- May feel like some of these standards may feel intrusive, even oppressive. As a group we can oppose unfair standards and requirements
- We can boost student confidence that your program is legally operating and that students have the same opportunities even if your school is not recognized by an association..Currently no checks and balances to question existing agencies and associations.
- NAASC will be VOICE for defending you before regulatory agencies, including state and national agencies. We will give schools a chance to have representation before legislative bodies. State legislative bodies will seek our counsel before establishing any new rules or guidelines, as part of their due diligence
- For your any kind of struggle in the industry, any difficulty with any Ayurvedic organizations or associations, please reach out to NAASC and let us know in these member meetings too because we are here to represent all schools.
- If the issue is a private one, but feel like you need representation, contact Lina privately, or any one of us.
- James from Somaveda School stated the situation with Colorado – Individuals who proposed legislation told they state that they represented the industry. And that gave them the responsibility to draft the standards. But there was no consensus. They were self-appointed. We’re the ones generating practitioners. No schools asked for input or could have input. James sent a letter to Colorado that they don’t represent the industry. They are a private, vested interest which has some agenda that does not represent a body politic of practitioners, clinics, or schools. From day 1 reason James has supported what everybody at NAASC has been trying to do. We are a diverse group. Opens the door to inclusivity.
- Who is representing the industry schools or practitioners? Strongest aspect is that as schools, we do represent the industry. If it’s just entry level practitioners, are they representative of the industry? Peripherally yes, but do they have an impact as an industry? Many still trying to work out how to have a practice in the first place. As schools, really do believe we authentically represent the industry. One of the most salient benefits.
- NAASC is not a threat to state association but it complements state associations such as California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine. Colorama, Florida Ayurveda Association, etc. Each organization plays a role in terms of parts of a greater whole.
- Why do we want another organization?
- We need an organization that speaks for schools. NAASC speak for schools.
- Current associations represent practitioners, not schools. These practitioners may not be even working in Ayurveda full time.
- Proper way to setup the industry is by having organizations in greatest contact with students and education issues. Practitioners are members of other associations.
- JOHN: Current status of NAASC. Briefly discuss the status of the work being done
- Filing of the articles and by-laws to happen in 2 weeks
- Website launch date – Updated and completed by Friday. Currently website in draft status.
- Marc: Mentioned all pictures and text still being updated… CCA image on home page, etc. are only used as place holders for the content box. NAASC is volunteer work.
OPEN FORUM – NAASC ask attendees to introduce themselves: name, name of school & why here?
- Paul – Director of New World Ayurveda School.
- Expressed great relief for the first organization dedicated for school’s support and growth. Introduced members to New World Ayurveda School work. His school is setting Innovative way that is not sitting well with other organizations. Expressed he felt the need for schools to come together. Very pleased with NAASC formation.
- Dr. Anthony James – Medical doctor, SomaVeda Ayurveda School He feels it is a necessity and need to distribute the science of life to as many as people as possible in proportion to the current health crisis. Having strong schools more important than ever. Pleased to be a part of the community NAASC is forming together.
- Denise O’Dunn – Director FL academy of Ayurveda in Tampa, FL. Identifies and agrees with everything presented here this evening. Need a platform to come together. She will be an inaugural member.
- Kim Valeri – Owner and founder of Yoga Spirit Studios. Boston Ayurveda School Considers herself Ayurveda practitioner and yoga therapist and strong background in psychological aspects. Former CEO of Kerala Academy. Implemented current staff which is there today. Also did her education as a practitioner. Brand new dean of Boston Ayurveda School. Currently launching counselor program there. Only been there a month. New school she is representing. Very interested – feels strongly that the online option for schools is necessary. She is also very active in legislative – she is a lobbyist.
- #1 – Boston Ayurveda School – professional licensing board. Would love to see the students have a career path that is not available to them currently unless they have another medical license they can use. Colorado opened a whole new way of thinking / how they perceive the industry – that it might not be regulated. Representatives could have had a letter, etc. from NAASC flown to appear there at the public hearing to advocate for the industry and for the licensing. Those things could have happened.
- #2 – Schools have a greater position in how they can provide a career path.
- #3 – How schools can get financial aid for their students.
- #4 – Personal level – Enjoy legislative process, interested in how to use that to move profession forward. Met with all the senators and reps in MA. Also, on Lesley U climate justice unit – active in Environment sustainability issues.
- Susan Gordon – Administrative for Ayurveda Sadhana. Dr Barat Vaidya and Anupama Vaidya. Here on behalf of the school listening. All about keeping their school up and running and safe.
- JOHN: Invited everyone and presented the opportunity to become an inaugural member – $100.
- MARC: Inaugural members will set tuition.Will forever be known as an inaugural school of the association. It is a temporary membership fee. Schools will vote on membership fee on an annual basis. School will be remembered as inaugural schools for NAASC.
JOHN: What are 3 struggles you are having with operating as a school? What are some barriers and obstacles to operating?
- Inclusivity and diversity
- AyurSadhana School Expressed: Online education and keeping my school safe regarding ever shifting compliance. Worried being an admin – listening to the heartbeat. Doesn’t want to get burned by syllabus or standards changing. Constantly worried about staying compliant with national standards.
- Licensing and legislative regulation
- Competency vs methodology – sums up many of the issues
- Marc: Next meeting one of the focal points would be to discuss competency vs methodology. Consider drafting a position to vote on. Interest is competency not methodology to achieve competency. Oppose guidelines for # hours, etc. Schools feel pressure when methodology is imposed on them without reference to competency. Some do an apprenticeship style. Formal brick and mortar. Other schools online.
- James explained few key points: DOE standard – federal dept of competency assurance – membership organization. James tries to follow it. Doesn’t want to disenfranchise a productive educational program. If productive in generating practitioners who can do the work – valid no matter how you get there. Causing no harm and danger to the public.
- Are there associations NAASC could be a member of?
- The next meeting date: 4/20/2020 at 4pm EST / 1 pm PST
Benefits joining NAASC
- Collective Advertising
- Importance of having an organization that can make an opinion that is different.
- Puts out the illusion that all school must do a certain thing.
- What is real in terms of regulation? How is this profession really regulated?
What do you wish that NAASC can do to support you and your school?
- To respect and publish minority positions.
- To promote Ayurvedic education in the United States
For questions via chat or text contact Dr. Lina at 412-901-1090, support@DrLinaThakar.com
Inaugrual members send check for $100 made payable to NAASC. Mail checks to:
Ayurveda Wellness Institute USA
1831 N Belcher Rd, E1 clearwater Florida 33765