AOMA Blog

Alumni Spotlight: Sadie Minkoff, 2003 AOMA Graduate

Posted by Mary Faria, PhD, FACHE on Thu, May 02, 2019 @ 11:47 AM

Please provide a little information on your education and experience prior to AOMA.
Before I ever dreamed that I would receive acupuncture (I had a serious needle phobia), let alone become an acupuncturist, I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in modern dance and education. A little-known fact is that I danced professionally in NYC for seven years before moving to Austin to attend AOMA graduate school of Integrative Medicine.

Tell us about your journey to AOMA—what led you to Acupuncture and Traditional
Chinese Medicine?
While in New York I worked as a certified Alexander Technique teacher (an ergonomic physiology method often used by artists and athletes). At this time, some concern arose that teachers of this postural alignment method would have to obtain a massage license to continue practicing. So I proactively enrolled at the Swedish Institute, a renowned massage school. As it Picture1turned out, half of the program was devoted to learning Shiatsu (acupressure) which uses the same meridian system as acupuncture. I had already been studying Eastern philosophy and fell completely in love with this profound approach to health. It was also at this time that I injured my back during a performance and on the advice of a friend, found myself in Chinatown getting acupuncture. Needless to say, my back pain resolved, and I had discovered what would become a lifelong passion.

Your work in women’s health and fertility is outstanding. What led you to specializing in this area of medicine?
When I graduated from AOMA, I worked as a generalist in an HIV clinic, and several integrative medical practices, before focusing on Women’s health and fertility exclusively. My mother, who was an OB/GYN NP, had a big influence on my interest in specializing, as did my desire to be a parent. I’m the oldest of six children in my family and always knew that I wanted to be a mother. I learned everything there was to know about Eastern reproductive medicine and Western fertility treatments (which have changed dramatically over the past 15+ years). After going through our own struggles, my spouse and I did end up having our son and I was inspired to create a space where people could find information, care, and support during their fertility journey. It gives me immense joy to celebrate the innumerable successes with our patients, as well as solace knowing that at Sage we provide a haven for those going through this unique challenge.

What would you like everyone to know about you—your interests, passions, hobbies, etc.?
My passions are simply my family, my work, and my community. I am incredibly appreciative of the support I’ve received in my life, and it is my hope that I can pay it forward by planting the seeds of health and happiness in others as they build their families.

Topics: women's health, alumni, alumni spotlight, reproductive medicine, fertility, professional acupuncturist, licensed acupuncture, tcm school, tcm health, acupunture

Catching Up With Ashley Oved, Acupuncturist, Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Posted by Rob Davidson on Wed, Nov 04, 2015 @ 11:57 AM

On Thursday, October 15, AOMA Alumni Ashley Oved presented “Acupuncture in the Integrative Hospital”, a Brown Bag Lecture about her experience in the increasingly common practice of acupuncture in an integrative hospital.

We caught up with Ashley to ask her a few questions about her life at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America and how she felt her education at AOMA helped prepare her for the challenges she faces each day. 

What does a typical work day look like for you at the hospital?

There are two acupuncturists at this location and we each treat between 9-14 patients a day. It’s a fast paced environment but quite manageable. We treat most of our patients in the Outpatient Clinic but we also treat patients in the Intensive Care Unit or will visit them when they are receiving chemotherapy in the Infusion Center. Just recently, we’ve started Group Acupuncture twice a week which has been a huge success. Our patients really love acupuncture, so there is rarely a dull moment around here.

Do you feel like your training at AOMA adequately prepared you for work in an integrated environment? 

I really do! Working at Seton Topfer and Austin Recovery gave me a ton of experience. Austin Recovery intimidated me so much the first couple of weeks (shout out to Claudia Voyles for being my pillar of strength) but it was probably the best clinic I ever had at AOMA. It exposed me to a different patient population and prepared me for leading Group Acupuncture here at CTCA.  The information I learned in the Physical Assessment classes has also come in handy.  The first time I saw “No Babinski, Negative Romberg” on a patient’s chart I thought, “I know what that means! 

Any advice for current students or alum who are interested in working in an environment like CTCA?

It’s a good idea to focus in on a specialty.  Whether it’s pediatrics, oncology, or fertility it really is up to you. Get some books on what interests you, or take some online CEU’s. Having that leg up gives you an advantage when applying to jobs.  But truly my best advice is to just go out and apply. The clinical experience you gain in the student clinic has prepared you more than you know. You don’t have to be the greatest acupuncturist that has ever lived. You just have to be confident in yourself and your abilities. If you continue to learn new techniques and keep up to date on the latest studies, you will be well on your way.  There are many hospitals that already incorporate acupuncture into their model of care, and many more on the verge of it. So don’t get discouraged! There are definitely jobs out there.

To learn more about the Student & Career Services’ Brown Bag Lecture Series check out our website.

Download Guide to Career in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Topics: alumni, efficacy of acupuncture, acupuncture, licensed acupuncture, cancer treatment

The Path to Licensure: Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine

Posted by Justine Meccio on Wed, Jul 22, 2015 @ 02:00 PM

For students considering a career in acupuncture and Chinese medicine, it can often be confusing to interpret the landscape of professional licensure for practitioners in the U.S. Though it might seem daunting, developing a clear understanding of the licensure process for acupuncturists before you even begin your studies is an important part of preparing yourself to be successful after graduation.

  1. State Licensure

Just like other medical professions, licensure for acupuncturists is governed on state-by-state basis. Currently, forty-four U.S. states have laws regulating the practice of acupuncture. In most of these states, the laws governing licensure –such as eligibility, and scope of practice - are overseen by the state’s medical boards. Here in Texas, for example, the Texas State Board of Acupuncture Examiners is responsible for granting licenses to acupuncturists. As a new practitioner, you’ll apply directly to the board in your state for your professional license.

For students entering the field, where they choose to practice can impact their eventual scope of practice. Likewise, the requirements for eligibility and process of applying for licensure may vary from state to state.

If you’re thinking about practicing in a particular state, it’s a good idea to research the scope of practice defined by that state’s regulatory board. You can find a full list of state licensing agencies online.

  1. National Board Exams

Though licensure itself may be regulated at the state level, there are national standards for the practice of acupuncture & Chinese medicine.

In the U.S., an organization named the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM), evaluates competency for practitioners seeking to enter the field. The NCCAOM measures competency by administering a set of board exams that, when passed successfully, lead to nationally recognized certification in the following areas: acupuncture, Oriental medicine, Chinese herbs, and Asian bodywork therapy. Of the forty-four states that regulate the practice of acupuncture, all but California require the NCCAOM board certification as a prerequisite for licensure.

As a graduate student in the Master of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine program, planning for the board exams is important. Students can choose to wait until after completing their degrees to take all of their board exams, or, choose to take each exam upon completion of the corresponding curriculum area. Preparing for the board exams does require extra study-hours, and students within AOMA’s graduate program prepare for the board exams through free board-prep, or “competencies” classes.

Currently, the pass-rate for AOMA students taking the NCCAOM board exams is 91%. 

  1. Professional Title

Just as the scope of practice may vary somewhat from state-to-state, so does the nomenclature used in professional titles. The most commonly used title is “Licensed Acupuncturist” and you might see this listed as L.Ac. or Lic.Ac. Other states, like New Mexico and Nevada, grant the title of “Doctor of Oriental Medicine” (D.O.M.) to practitioners who have completed a master’s degree. Currently the entry-level degree required for obtaining licensure in each state is currently a master’s degree.

In Texas, completing a doctoral degree program in acupuncture in Oriental Medicine, allows practitioners to add the title “Doctor of Oriental Medicine” to their professional names but does not alter their scope of practice.

If this sounds overwhelming, rest assured. The Registrar’s Office and academic advisors at AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine are adept and guiding and assisting graduating students through the process of applying for licensure!

For quick reference, here’s a short overview of the process:

https://magic.piktochart.com/output/6945338-licensure-infographic

Licensure_Infographic

Topics: acupuncture school, licensure, licensed acupuncture

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