AOMA Blog

Alumni Success: Gail Daugherty, Class of 2009

Posted by Sarah Bentley on Wed, Nov 27, 2013 @ 08:57 AM

gail daugherty acupunctureGail Daugherty never expected a chronic shoulder issue to land her in acupuncture school, studying Chinese medicine. As a competitive swimmer and triathlete, she had been experiencing severe shoulder pain and limited range of motion that began affecting her sleep, mood, and ability to perform certain tasks. The doctors wanted to inject steroids and were even thinking of surgery.

Gail, with her PhD in holistic nutrition and abundance of body awareness, wasn’t interested in either. A fellow triathlete recommended acupuncture and she thought, “No way! That sounds like it hurts and it probably doesn’t even work.”

A year later with worse pain and greater limited range of motion, another triathlete gave her the number of her acupuncturist. Gail begrudgingly committed to 10 sessions with major reservations. Although it took three months to notice a difference in her shoulder, she eventually ended up pain free with complete range of motion returned. Gail was hooked. Not only was she an avid believer in the effectiveness of Chinese medicine, she began cultivating a strong interest in learning how to do it herself. 

After her personal experiences with the medicine, acupuncture school was always in the back of her mind, and she would check out schools every time she looked for a new place to live. Her opportunity to study acupuncture serendipitously presented itself at last while she was working in Mexico. She received a call from Santa Barbara College of Oriental Medicine asking if she would be interested in teaching Biochemical Nutrition at their school. It was an irresistible opportunity to live in a beautiful community by the ocean and learn more about acupuncture. After her first trimester of teaching, she began taking classes. Though she began her studies in California, Gail eventually decided to transfer to AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine where she completed the Master of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine program.acupuncture cruise ship

Three days after her 2009 graduation she went to work on cruise ships as an acupuncturist. She traveled the world and saw places she never thought she would get to see (like the Great Sphinx of Giza), all the while learning how to talk to people about acupuncture and encourage them to try it.

“I was very fortunate to work on the largest cruise ship in the world, Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas. I saw between 80-100 patients per week, which really allowed me to hone my skills and find my specialties,” Gail said.

pain free dallasNow Gail is a licensed practitioner and the Clinic Director of Pain Free Acupuncture Clinic in Dallas, Texas. Her clinic has two locations, one in Plano at the Willow Bend Wellness Center and one in Craig Ranch inside The Cooper Clinic. She will be opening a third site at The Cooper Clinic’s Dallas location next year and is in the process of interviewing and hiring several acupuncturists. She specializes in pain management, injury recovery, allergies, and stress reduction using traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Dr. Tan Balance method, and NAET (Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Techniques).

When reminiscing about her time spent at AOMA, what sticks out most to Gail is working at White Crane (now AOMA Herbal Medicine) and smelling and touching the herbs, seeing how people were using them, and being immersed in the learning environment there. “The people I met at AOMA were incredibly diverse, but we continue to be uniquely bound. It’s wonderful to share an intense experience with so many wonderful people,” she said

One of Gail’s current business ventures involves acupuncture business coaching services and a related workbook.

“I've written a workbook and have a coaching practice to help acupuncturists be successful and inspire them to get over their fears and obstacles,” Gail said. “I've been working with therapists, acupuncturists, and massage therapists to help them want to get out of their comfort zone, because that's where the magic happens.”

According to Gail, it’s all a matter of perspective. “Once practitioners can get to the point where they see no other option but to be successful, they are,” she said. “The trick is for them to know where they are right now, where they're heading, and finally -- how to get there.”

Growing her practice, all the while helping other practitioners be successful, has really brought Gail’s love of helping and healing people to a whole new level.

With a blossoming career to show for all of the hard work she has put in, she clearly has an abundance of excellent advice for other acupuncturists entering the field.

“Find which acupuncture styles and conditions you are the best at using and treating; it’s important to choose 1-3 things that you are really, really good at treating,” Gail said. “I think it’s a mistake to want to treat everything. Would you go to a doctor that treats asthma, delivers babies, and does heart surgery? I wouldn’t. I want to go to the best doctor for each issue that comes up.”

Gail’s secret formula to success in the field?

1. Get out of your office and talk to people

“If you want to work for yourself you have to wear many hats,” Gail says. “Most of those hats are things you don’t like doing. Make a commitment to get out of your office four hours a week and go talk to people. Since my practice focuses on pain and injury, I set up a table with my liquid herbs, brochures and some needles and let every single person that walks by me know that I’m an acupuncturist and I’m here to answer any of their questions. Some people breeze by and try to ignore you, but most people are very interested in TCM. It’s uncomfortable, but so is sitting in an empty office waiting for the phone to ring.”

2. Know your craft and be the best you can at what you do

“Don’t be afraid to refer. I specialize in pain, stress, injury, and allergies. I have gotten to know several acupuncturists in the area and I refer to them when it’s an issue that doesn’t fit my style. The growth of my practice has not suffered. There are plenty of people to support your practice.”

3. Have passion for what you do

“Ask for help,” Gail says. “Most people want to help, especially if you ask for something specific. For example, I’ve asked patients to mention me to three people they talk to that day and give them my card. Your patients love you and love the work you’re doing. They want to help you be successful, but they may not know how.

Collect testimonials while you are in school and with every patient once you’re out. Ask your patient to take a moment before or after their treatment to write a few words about you, your clinic, and their experience working with you. I also keep a flip camera on hand and a waiver to record them and post it all over the internet. You can check them out at www.PainFreeDallas.com.”

She also highly recommends not being afraid of competition. “The more people there are talking about acupuncture, the more people will know about it,” Gail said. No matter where you live (even Austin or California), there are plenty of people to support your practice.”

But Gail’s most important recommendation is this: Enjoy every minute of it. “Most people don’t have the ability to transform lives. We get to do it every day. You have an amazing gift.”

Download Guide to Career in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Topics: job opportunities, career services, alumni, alumni spotlight

How to Hang a Shingle: Tips for Success after Graduation

Posted by Sarah Bentley on Fri, Nov 15, 2013 @ 02:39 PM

You’ve done it!  4 or so hard years, bushels of tests, late night studying, endless intern clinics, harrowing Board exams; your diploma is clutched in your rosy hand, and the future waits just outside the door of the auditorium.  Then it hits you – you have no idea what to do next.

For the last four years, your life has been more or less ordered for you – class times, clinic times, study times, work times – and now it’s totally up to you.  How do you take all your training and make it work for you, to build a future?  There’s no sure pattern for success, and your mentors and teachers are no longer watching over you every day to give guidance. The world can look very scary out of the school setting, but before you pull your lab coat over your head and hide, take heart.  You can survive, and thrive, as an acupuncturist.

Hopefully, you started working on what you were going to do and where long before you graduated.  Finding a good location that’s not in a saturated area is important, and establishing a name for yourself in that area is vital, even before you graduate.  If you joined your local Chamber of Commerce, some local networking groups and service groups, you have a head start, because all your fellow members are prospective patients.  If you haven’t joined those organizations yet, now is the time to do it. You’ll probably have a few months before your license is granted, so use the time wisely. Network, meet people, shake a lot of hands – your enthusiasm will be contagious, and people will be curious.  Make sure you’re armed with business cards, brochures, and a website before you go into battle.  Get a name registered as a DBA in your county, and get yourself a shirt with the name and logo on it.  Then wear it.  Everywhere.  You’d be surprised how many people will ask about it.

Find someone who is established to start with so you can learn the ropes.  Most established acupuncturists are more than willing to take on an intern to work the front desk and learn the business; you can also find a lot of chiropractors who are happy to take an acupuncturist on.  Even though some of them advertise they can do acupuncture, most of them don’t have the time to do it, and welcome new graduates.  When your license comes in the mail, you’ll be ready to jump into the pool, so get your feet planted somewhere while you’re waiting.

Once licensed, use all those contacts you made.  Hand out gift certificates – one free treatment isn’t going to break you, and those people will come back for more.  Use them for door prizes at local events, especially women’s events. Use them in Chamber Auctions, for Chamber Lunches, or to support an auction at your local High School.  Give them as gifts for birthdays.  Soon, those patients will tell others, and you’re on your way.  Participate in events and go to some health fairs – let people see and get to know you. Utilize social networking as well, you can learn a lot from other acupuncturists, both established and just beginning.  Use free time wisely to learn more about running your practice. Before you know it, you’re treating 20 patients a week, then thirty, then forty, and your first year will be coming to a close.

As long as you realize that learning doesn’t stop when school ends, you’ll do just fine.  Reach out, and your practice will grow.  Above all, trust in yourself, and your hard-won skills.

 

Kathy Kerr acupunctureKathy Kerr, LAc, MAcOM, AOBTA, is an Acupuncturist practicing in Georgetown, TX.  She graduated from AOMA in 2008 and has taught several brown bags and business development classes.  Her undergrad is in marketing and management, and foreign language. Kathy lives in Round Rock with her husband, two dogs and a bird named Qing Long. Visit her website here: www.orientalmedicineassociates.com.

 

 

 

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Topics: career services, acupuncture school, student services, mentor

Transforming Lives through Student Services

Posted by Sarah Bentley on Tue, Aug 27, 2013 @ 01:43 PM

acupuncture school studentsStudents are the heart of any academic institution and AOMA’s students in particular are passionate, motivated, intelligent, and caring individuals.  AOMA offers a wide and diverse range of student services, including brown bag seminars, a China study trip, individualized career counseling, and more. All of our services are designed with the intention of supporting students on the personal and professional healing journeys they experience in acupuncture school.

 

Brown Bag Seminars

Studying Traditional Chinese Medicine is a deep, lifelong learning experience with a myriad of topics to be explored. Brown Bag seminars give students the opportunity to enrich their practices with free one-hour lunchtime lectures and demonstrations. Topics range from practice management tips to Five Element acupuncture to herbal quality discernment, and more.

Brown bag seminars are hosted by alumni, outside experts, current students, and staff. All brown bags are free and open to the public. They are held throughout each term on campus from 12:45-1:45 pm. View the summer schedule and see examples of past brown bags here.

 

Student Organizations

acupuncture studentsJoining an extracurricular student organization is a great way to learn new skills, share your knowledge, practice leadership, and meet other students while in acupuncture school. AOMA is home to a number of student-run organizations, including the AOMA Student Association, Ju Jutsu Club, Qigong Group, AOMA Herbs Club, Research Club, and the Chinese Culture Club.  

Students are welcome and encouraged to start new clubs at any time. To learn more about AOMA’s student clubs and their events visit the Student Organizations site.

 

China Study Tour

AOMA offers a biennial China Study Tour in collaboration with Chengdu University of Traditional Oriental Medicine in Chengdu, China. The China Study Tour combines cultural, educational, clinical, and recreational activities to provide students an enriching, once-in-a-lifetime experience.

study in chinaSpecific details of the China Study Tour change year to year. In the past, students who participated began their trip with a sightseeing trip to Beijing before flying to Chengdu, the capital and cultural center of Sichuan Province. At Chengdu University, students had the opportunity to study herbs and gained valuable hands-on clinical experience at the university, working in treatment centers under supervising professors.

The 2013 trip concluded with study at Emei Mountain, the highest of the four sacred Buddhist mountains. There, students practiced tai chi, qigong, and meditation. Students also had the option of extending their tour an extra week to visit Tibet.

Studying medicine in China is an unforgettable, life-changing experience for those who are able to participate in the trip, and one that AOMA is proud to offer. The next AOMA China Study Tour will take place in the spring of 2015.

 

Career Services

Starting an acupuncture practice or securing a job after graduation is a top priority for students and for the Student and Career Services Department here at AOMA. In order to assist students and alumni in their work after school, AOMA provides a number of career resources.acupuncture career support

Each week AOMA receives job opportunities from practitioners across the country hoping to grow their practices. Student Services also searches the web for relevant employment postings and shares these opportunities on the website and on the LinkedIn group for students and alumni. Last year, AOMA shared more than 600 job opportunities on LinkedIn!

Having trouble building a resume? AOMA offers a Resume Builder—a free online tool to assist students in creating a professional resume. The Resume Builder provides tips, templates, and helpful suggestions to make the resume writing process as smooth as possible. AOMA also offers free individual career counseling to help students and alumni apply for jobs, receive feedback on their resumes, and clarify their personal and professional goals.

More Career Resources.

 

Housing Support

Austin is consistently ranked in the list of top cities to live in the US so it’s no wonder that more and more students are moving here to attend AOMA. Student Services is able to help students with their search for housing. We maintain a housing opportunities website as well as a Student Housing Forum on LinkedIn. Long-term housing, short-term opportunities, and roommate requests are posted regularly. Students in need of housing support should visit our LinkedIn group and join the Student Housing Forum.

 

Individualized Support

student services

AOMA is happy to offer additional support to students when life presents challenges that interfere with student success. Julie Aziz, LCSW, Director of Student and Career Services, meets with students individu

ally to help them develop the support system they need, and to create a clear, intentional plan for personal and professional growth. To set up a meeting with Julie, email her at jaziz@aoma.edu

For students in need of counseling, AOMA is partnered with Sol Community Counseling in Austin. Students are able to take advantage of reduced-rate counseling services, including individual and couples sessions. Rates are currently $20 per session for individuals and $30 per session for couples. To learn more about Sol’s offerings, call Sol Community Counseling at (512) 366-0954.

We’re lucky to work with such a great student body here at AOMA and we’re always happy to hear from prospective students, students, and alumni. If you have any questions, comments, or would like to host a brown bag seminar contact Student and Career Services Director Julie Aziz.

Learn More: Download an Overview of the Master's Program

Topics: career services, acupuncture school, study in China, student organizations

Meet AOMA's faculty and staff: Julia Aziz

Posted by Sarah Bentley on Fri, Dec 07, 2012 @ 01:12 PM

Each month we will be featuring fun information about a faculty and/or staff member to introduce the wonderful community of people behind AOMA’s graduate program!Julia Aziz Director of Student & Career Services

This month, we’re happy to introduce Julie Aziz, Director of Student & Career Services, who works with current students and alumni.


Where are you from?

“I was born in NYC, but grew up mostly in upstate New York outside of Albany.”

 List 3 hobbies/ activities you enjoy:

“Dancing, hiking and reading.”

 What’s the best thing about working at AOMA?

“The great people, and contributing to such a fascinating and important field.”

 What’s your favorite/most memorable ‘AOMA moment’?

“One of my favorite moments was listening to a presentation about integrative medicine in cancer treatment—it was very inspiring!"

 What’s your favorite thing about Austin?

“The easy-going nature of the people.”

Favorite Website?

“I’m not a big web surfer- I spend enough time on facebook as is!”

To learn more about the AOMA's career resources, log on to https://aoma.edu/students-alumni/alumni/career-resources?/alumni/career-resources.

 

Remember to check back next month to meet someone new!

Introduction to Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine


Topics: career services, staff spotlight

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