Please introduce yourself! Where are you from? Where did you go to undergraduate? What did you study?
My name is Reagan Taylor, and I am from Austin, TX. I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up until I had to decide, but once I discovered how intriguing acupuncture and Chinese medicine I never turned back. In my research to find a good school, I didn’t need to look any farther than my hometown…I heard that AOMA had a great program with higher educational standards than other schools throughout the country. I familiarized myself with the requirements for admission and studied AOMA’s curriculum. From there, I focused my studies at Austin Community College in biology, health sciences, sociology, and psychology to prepare me for patient care.
What were you doing before you came to AOMA?
I lived in Oregon for several years learning how to blow soft glass; making vases, sculptures, paper weights. While I was having fun, I didn’t feel like I was really serving a purpose. I moved back to Austin and began work at a wonderful organization, The Marbridge Foundation, which is a residential care facility for adults with intellectual disabilities. I worked there full-time before starting AOMA master’s program. I stayed on as a part-time employee all throughout my time at AOMA, and left Marbridge all together about a year ago. It was a wonderful place to work and my experiences there instilled in me patience, communication skills, and stress management skills for myself as well as for patients.
What are some of your favorite classes and/or teachers at AOMA?
What kind of trick question is this?!? There is no way I can really choose a favorite instructor from AOMA because they are all wonderful in their own way. As a current doctoral student, I recently took the Neurology class with Dr. Amy Moll because I have a special interest in neurological systems and disorders. Dr. Moll is an exceptional educator with incredible knowledge of functional neurology and ways to treat disorders with acupuncture and Chinese herbs.
How would you describe the Student Culture at AOMA?
Personally, I have found the student culture at AOMA to be very welcoming and warm. During my time as a master’s student, and now as a doctoral candidate, I have found a lot of support amongst my cohorts. Friends I made as a master’s student are still some of my closest friends and biggest supporters. Students always seem to be finding ways to lift each other up, whether it’s forming a study group or carving out much needed time for fun or relaxation. The students here all have very diverse backgrounds, and everyone is here for their own reason so we learn from each other.
What is your favorite thing about AOMA and why? Describe your experiences at AOMA.
I have really appreciated the high standard of education I’ve received at AOMA. I’ve also always felt very supported and heard by the faculty and staff here. After graduation, I maintained a relationship with AOMA and worked as a part-time clinical teaching assistant, which then blossomed into my current position as the full-time clinical resident. It’s been interesting to go from being a student, to faculty member, and now a hybrid of doctoral student and faculty member. I get to see and experience all sides of AOMA, which has only added to my appreciation for this institution.
What benefits do you feel earning your Doctorate will afford you, and how did you decide which one was the best choice for your career?
Earning my doctorate will not only open up a lot of doors for me as far as my career, but it’s also providing me with a deeper clinical understanding and exposing me to some amazing, more advanced techniques. I started out in the DAcOM program (first professional doctorate) and made the decision to switch to the DAOM, which will challenge me in ways I never knew I wanted to be challenged. Earning my DAOM, will open up doors for me to work in academia and research and provide me with vast clinical insights. I decided to switch programs because, as AOMA’s clinical resident, I have found I really enjoy working with students in the clinical setting, helping them learn, while also working with patients. The DAOM arms with the knowledge I need as well as the credentials necessary for a career in education.
What, if any perceptions of Chinese medicine have changed from when you started the program to now? What vision would you like to see for the future of healthcare?
Before starting the program, I viewed Chinese medicine and its founding philosophy as mystical and magical. After learning so much more, I no longer see it quite like that. Now, I understand it as an extremely logical and scientifically sound medical practice…ancient physicians just had a different language and ways to describe how our bodies function and the cause of disease.
What are you plans after completing your Doctorate?
I have developed a real passion for clinical education. Once I receive my DAOM, I hope to serve in that capacity. I always want to be a clinician, working with and treating patients, but I would also like to be deeply involved with teaching other people how to be great practitioners. Developing clinical curriculum, treating patients, and helping students become confident in their abilities are all things I believe are well suited to my personality, strengths, and talents and I hope to be doing exactly that in my future.