Rachelle Lambert, LAc is the owner and founder of RA Harmony Asian Medicine. She is also the Unit Coordinator and Research Team Lead for the Colorado Acupuncture Medical Reserve Corps.
What was your education and experience prior to AOMA?
I joined the 4 year MAOM program at AOMA in 2005. Pursuing acupuncture and Chinese herbs is the first career path in my life. I completed my graduation requirements for high school on the memorable date of September 11th, 2001. After high school I attended Austin Community College to receive the perquisites needed to join AOMA.
Tell us about your journey to AOMA, what led you to Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine?
I was born and raised in Austin, TX. My entire life I wanted to be an archaeologist, but one day I had some friends talk about acupuncture treatments at a local acupuncture college (AOMA) and it dawned on me that was the career path I was meant to pursue. Of course, once I started internship during the program it was super rewarding to use ancient medicine to help people feel better. Even though I never became an archaeologist, becoming an acupuncturist allowed me plenty of opportunities to enjoy archaeology!
What did you learn at AOMA that you use everyday in The Real World?
The training I received at AOMA is invaluable. Patients in Colorado tell me all the time how unique and comprehensive my training is. Working in the field I find it valuable to have skills in various styles of acupuncture, pulse diagnosis, and having knowledge of scalp and auricular acupuncture.
In everyday life, I forget to practice my qi gong and tai chi on a regular basis, but when I am in the field of emergency management I use it everyday. It helps me stay my best for the people I am supporting. When I am at FEMA training at the Emergency Management Institute in Maryland, often times the class has had me guide the class in tai chi warm-ups and qi gong meditation exercises. Everyone wants to learn it when they see me doing it, and I find it hysterical that I am teaching mind-body techniques to groups of emergency managers at FEMA. It helps to remind them to take time for self-care. And during my deployment to Puerto Rico this was a great tool to teach the community to support their resilience.
Your work in emergency response is outstanding, how did you get involved in this work?
I have always dreamed of offering acupuncture to global communities did not have the opportunity to experience acupuncture. I feel my love of emergency management started during my time working on cruise ships as an acupuncturist where I learned extensively about the US Coast Guard laws and regulations. They are thorough and very strict the procedures intended to save lives. No matter your position, as a ship crew member you are required to train and drill weekly so all hands-on deck would be available during an emergency. As an acupuncturist, I learned how to fight fires with a fire hose, close water tight doors, stabilize frantic passengers, lower life boats and jump down a chute into a life boat, and help pull others from the sea into a lifeboat, to ensure survival. It was incredible to me that regardless of your background anyone can be trained to make a difference and save lives. In addition, I learned the valuable skill of speaking/communicating in a way that even non-English speakers can understand.
What would you like everyone to know about you, your interests, passions, hobbies, etc?
Since I was 3 years old, I have practiced origami and it became a valuable skill during deployment to support both Hurricane Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico in 2017. Knowing qi gong and tai chi also became valuable. These tools have saved my body and mind during all of my emergency deployments both domestic and international. They stabilize me as an emergency responder and allow me the chance to re-boot and remain 100% so I can be my best for the communities I support. They also are skills easily taught to others, providing them the ability to cope with extremely stressful situations.
Please share anything else you would like about yourself and your work.
I moved to Colorado in 2014 during the first year of creation of the Colorado Acupuncture Medical Reserve Corps. Today if you want to be integrated into a disaster response in a professional way, a responder must be trained in Incident Command System (ICS) and National Incident Management System(NIMS) to speak a common language and offer a structure for response that is evidence based.
Captain Rob Tossato created the Medical Response Corps (MRC) program to vet and train volunteers before a disaster occurs. This includes; verifying credentials, background checks, and ensuring a smooth system to organize volunteers and ensure safety for everyone involved. This reduces the chaos that comes with disaster situations. With the Medical Reserve Corps, program volunteers have the opportunity to train and drill with a team, are included in networking opportunities and exercises with many agencies involved in emergency response, practice skills ahead of time, establish critical relationships, allow for official request for deployment, and participate in healthcare coalitions.
I became the volunteer leader of the Colorado Acupuncture MRC in 2016 and have worked hard with my team to create buy-in from the leaders of all national MRC teams. We have led by example, and our work recognized and published. We authored the Acupuncture Mission Ready Package, and created the first pilot research study exploring the feasibility and acceptability of acupuncture in emergency management (funded by a grant I authored with the National Association of City and County Health Officials).
For the last three years, the work we have done has created buy-in with many leaders throughout the nation and allowed acupuncturists to join these teams on a nation-wide scale for the first time. My goal is to make our profession a paid deployable position with FEMA. I plan to infiltrate the system and continue extensive training to continue in my second career as an emergency manager with FEMA.
What agencies do you work with? Is it typically a paid contractor gig or volunteer work?
The first thing I want to express with the acupuncture profession as a whole is that this is volunteer work. We need to spearhead the movement of volunteer culture in the acupuncture profession, as I see it flowing in other healthcare professions. It is hard work, but so rewarding, and someone has to do it. As far as I know there are no paid acupuncture positions in the world of emergency management... yet! We have to start somewhere and volunteering to get the resource out there in the world is the best way to educate the global population in this valuable resource.
Remember, the acupuncture profession just got an occupational code, we have just started our work in national and global recognition. So far the VA is the only organization I know of that pays acupuncturists as part of government.
In my personal opinion, we can make a huge influence by joining federal and state approved teams. Remember: infiltrate the system! These teams are the most influential during an emergency response, they are the ones who are officially requested, and they follow guidelines of preventing self-deployment (meaning you don't show up to a disaster unless you are called upon by an authority).
Which organizations do you recommend students look into if they are thinking of doing this kind of work?
If considering this line of work in your future, please stay professional and understand the world of emergency management - never show up to an incident unless you have been officially requested (this is known as self-deploying and can be damaging to trust in the acupuncture profession). There are so many things happening in an emergency, it is not the time to start your education and networking as an acupuncturist. People coordinating the disaster have lives to save, and are going through a lot of stress themselves.
The best time to do your networking and education on the resource is when a disaster is not happening. Make your connections and build your teams ahead of time. You can make a lot of influence if you can participate in drills, have networking events such as provide treatments to fire departments, public health departments, offices of emergency management, and participate in local healthcare coalitions. If you know a person ahead of time, you trust them, and you know what they are capable of doing, you will be called into the field during a disaster and make the most influence.
Teams I have found as a good place to start would be the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), Team Rubicon, and the American Red Cross. I am currently a registered volunteer with the Colorado Acupuncture MRC, Colorado STAR MRC, MRC of Puerto Rico, Team Rubicon, and the American Red Cross.
When were you last called to serve as an acupuncturist? How long did you stay for?
First of all, I volunteer throughout the year. My work is either in deployment or non-deployment times. For example, once a month I lead a team to offer treatments at the Nederland Fire Station, and once a month I lead a team to offer treatments at the Four Mile Canyon Fire Station. I made these relationships during deployments when I was called to respond, as well as making relationships during FEMA training. I have been supporting these teams for three years now. In April I lead a team to participate during a functional exercise and drill with the Boulder County Emergency Operations Center, and that was a half-day exercise.
My last deployment was a half-day deployment during the Sunshine Canyon Fire response in 2017, but they were able to manage the disaster fairly quickly so it was a short deployment. The most memorable experience and longest time I was deployed as an acupuncturist was during the Cold Springs Fire in 2016. The response phase was 10 days long, then we transitioned into the recovery phase which lasted for several months. During the response phase I sent teams to the firefighters basecamp, the emergency operations center coordinating the boots on the ground, and the incident command post with the incident command staff.
What is your most memorable experience as an EMR Acupuncturist?
In 2017 hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria rocked our nation. The Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) requested a disaster behavioral health team to deploy to Puerto Rico. To our knowledge, this was the first time a behavioral health team was requested through this system (and does not mean this is the last).
The State of Colorado won the bid to provide this team and the request came through for volunteers with our state volunteer registry for people who spoke some level of Spanish and were trained/certified in Psychological First Aid. Due to the fact I trained ahead of time, was a registered volunteer with Colorado, and was trained in disaster response, I made the team. My travel, meals, and accommodations were all paid for, and I was paid acupuncturist wages for every hour I worked. This is the first time I have ever been paid to be part of a deployment.
The deployment was for three weeks and we supported local behavioral health teams in Puerto Rico. Our mission was psychological first aid, and we traveled to about 30 refugios (shelters) to provide assistance in healing and emotional recovery. Even though our mission was not to provide acupuncture, I was able to share my skills as an acupuncturist and provide the local community group Qi Gong exercises, Tai Ji stretching, and share different acupressure points and lifestyle choices that can support resilience and recovery. At the end of the day I provided acupuncture treatments to my team keeping them at their best, as well as several branches of the military, FEMA, and other supporting agencies we housed with.
This deployment helped me create new partnerships, and I have since worked on a year-long project partnering with the Medical Reserve Corps of Puerto Rico to train their unit in ways they can use the acupuncture resource. I joined the unit as a volunteer, so next time a disaster occurs, the team not only has ways to use immediately use acupuncture through the Acupuncture Mission Ready Package Training, but now I have a chance to support the team and offer acupuncture to Puerto Ricans.
Do you qualify for any loan forgiveness benefits as a corps member (asking for a friend)?
Since this is only volunteer work, and not a salary based position, there are no loan forgiveness benefits with the Medical Reserve Corps. In order to qualify for loan forgiveness you must have 50% or more of your salary coming from a government organization or 501c3 for 10 years. That is why we need to create a movement in the acupuncture profession to volunteer, you have to start the work somewhere.
My hopes are that we can create paid positions in emergency response. It is all about the experience you have and not your educational training. Those with real-life experience in deployments will be considered higher up for the interview process and will be the first considered for those paid positions. My biggest suggestion is to get your experience now so when paid opportunities do come around then you can have a better chance on nabbing one of those positions.
For those interested in loan forgiveness I would suggest becoming employed with a 501c3 or with the VA as an acupuncturist.
Do you have your own practice or work for another clinic? If so, how do you balance emergency response work with your regular clinic patients?
It all depends on how busy your practice is and how many hours you can volunteer. When I first moved to Colorado and was growing my practice I had the time to donate 10-25 hours a week to be in a leadership position. Now that my practice has grown and I am seeking employment as an emergency manager, I have stepped down from a leadership role and volunteer about 4 hours twice a month.
My patients know my passion to volunteer and participate in deployments so when an emergency does occur they are understanding when I call to reschedule them so I can close my practice for a day or more and help out the local community. My patients love the fact I do this work, and volunteering has even helped my practice grow. They know that supporting me financially allows me the chance to volunteer and indirectly supports the community.
What opportunities does your upcoming training at AOMA open up for participants?
This training will provide the basics you need to join many federally and state approved teams, such as the Medical Reserve Corps and Team Rubicon. Every team is different and training requirements may differ, but with my work in creating and growing the Acupuncture Mission Ready Package every class participant will have skills on how to modify the acupuncture resource in your specific community and your unit needs.
We will also train everyone with basic FEMA required training, such as ICS 100 and 700. We will also have an introduction to psychological first aid so people can have an understanding on how to use this in the field and in their practice, and I will guide everyone on how to get their certification.
We will talk about local volunteer opportunities, such as joining the University of Texas at Austin Medical Reserve Corps and the Williamson County Medical Reserve Corps. In addition, I will be talking in detail about the pilot study in which I was the principal investigator, partnered with the University of Colorado at Boulder Psychology department, and funded by a grant with the National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO). Information provided about this pilot study can be used to help you with education and networking with the the acupuncture resource as a volunteer.
Any advice to students in school right now and students about to graduate?
Start training now! Start volunteering now! The more experience you have in the world of disasters and emergency management the more it will benefit you personally, benefit your practice, and benefit your local and global community. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities available right now, and so many rewarding ways in which you can volunteer even if you don't use needles. Remember, acupuncture is just one tool in the fast world of Traditional Chinese Medicine. We have to start somewhere, help me grow the movement on volunteering in the acupuncture profession!
Thank you so much for your time and all the work you do, Rachelle! Here are some links for those interested in learning more about Medical Response Teams:
Don't forget to check out our upcoming CEU and training opportunity with Rachelle:
In my time as an Admissions officer I have encountered a lot of commonly held misconceptions about various degrees, perhaps even more so when it comes to the field of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). So here are some basic facts about Acupuncture school that some individuals, such as perspective students, patients, other healthcare providers, as well as the public in general, may not be aware of.
1) It is a Rigorous Master’s Degree
One of the chief misconceptions about Acupuncture is the amount of schooling required. People are often shocked to learn that a Master Degree is required before they may sit for the National Boards exams. What’s more, this is not your standard two year Master’s. AOMA’s program is 203.5 quarter credits (equal to 135.6 semester credits), typically takes four and a half years, and involves a total of 2970 instructional hours. Of those, 161.5 of the credits, or 1962 hours are Didactic and 42 credits, 1008 hours, are clinical.
Many of those obtain their Master’s go on to take bridge programs such as our DAcOM, becoming Doctors of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Indeed there is a push within the profession as a whole to require doctorates for licensure in the United States.
2) Amount of Biomedicine
More and more TCM is being taught as an integrative medicine, working alongside other healthcare providers with the best interest of the patient in mind. To this end AOMA’s program covers a wide range of biomedical topics including Medical Biochemistry, Pathophysiology, and Biomedical Pharmacology among others.
3) Hands On
Like the training for any other healthcare profession, acupuncture programs require a lot of clinical and hands on laboratory hours. As mentioned earlier, 1008 of AOMA’s 2970 instructional hours are clinical, this translates to 34%, one third of the program. This process begins with Clinic Theater I in which students are exposed to the diagnostic methods of TCM including the techniques and application of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine by observing professional treatments performed by a member of the AOMA faculty. This culminates in a full clinical internship, in which the student, as a supervised intern, performs the intake, diagnosis, and treatment of patients.
4) Strength of Faculty
Our faculty is well versed in a wide range of clinical specializations, academic backgrounds, and published research. At AOMA there are 37 faculty members, including 29 Licensed Acupuncturists, 7 Medical Doctors, 2 Ph.D.’s and 6 faculty members who hold both an MD and a Ph.D. AOMA Graduate School is also the home of the only Chinese herbal pharmacologist Ph.D. in the United States. About two thirds of our faculty bring to the table at least a decade of tenure and many years of training and practicing TCM in China.
Throughout its history, AOMA has been committed to providing the best quality education at the most reasonable cost to students. These values must be balanced with quality and care for AOMA's community. In the coming 2015 year, AOMA will increase tuition in order to continue to invest in the quality of its academic offerings, faculty, and campus community.
About the Increase:
AOMA’s graduate program tuition has consistently fallen well below the national average for the top-ranked schools of acupuncture & Oriental medicine. The decision to increase tuition and fees was reached after careful consideration of the institution's values and to ensure the continued well-being of AOMA's community. AOMA has worked with the Tuition Task Force to hear the concerns and needs of students, as well as with senior administrative leaders, and the board of governors to ensure AOMA is able to meet needs of future students.
In a comparison of tuition at the best acupuncture & Oriental medicine colleges, the cost of AOMA’s program is commensurate with the national average.
What This Means for Students:
The majority of the increase will take effect for students starting the program in the summer 2015 term or later. By beginning their studies in either the winter 2015 term, new students can ensure a lower program cost.
New Students - Winter 2015 & Spring 2015: For new students beginning the graduate program in the Winter 2015 and Spring 2015 terms, tuition will increase by 3% from its current rate. This increase represents an anticipated total program cost of $55,158.
New Students – Enrolling in Summer 2015 and after: For new students beginning the graduate program in Summer 2015 or later, the anticipated cost of tuition & fees for the entire program will increase to approximately $72,500 from its current rate.Students interested in beginning their studies in Winter 2015, should apply by December 1st. Contact the Admissions Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 824-9987, ext 213 for additional information about the application process and requirements.
Some say that when you move to Austin you will inevitably get a tattoo, eat too many tacos, and feel completely overwhelmed by how bad the traffic is. This may be true, but when I started my first term at AOMA, I underwent a complete inner transformation instead. A lot can happen in just one term, trust me. And now that I am a second-term student, I am going to share with you five things that I experienced during my first term in acupuncture school so you might know what to expect.
During your first term at AOMA graduate school you are likely to:
Try to practice your newly learned acupuncture techniques on everyone you know
My family, roommates, significant other, and whoever happened to be within needles’ length developed a love-hate relationship with my incessant practicing. Eventually, I learned that I wanted to practice needling techniques on people more often than they wanted to let me do it. I wanted to see everyone’s tongue and feel everyone’s pulse. It is important to practice constantly even if you know very little about acupuncture points or pulse and tongue diagnosis. Once you have your first acupuncture techniques class, you might go a little crazy and buy all the moxa and needles you can afford in the AOMA Herbal Medicine store. You may start carrying needles with you everywhere you go. You will become an acupuncturist-in-the-making very quickly. Just don’t get too carried away!
Attempt to diagnose every aspect of your health under the terms of Chinese medicine
Yes, you could have spleen Qi deficiency. But chances are you don’t have every disease you learn about from Dr. Qianzhi Wu in Foundations of Chinese Medicine. You will, however, become very conscious of every aspect of your health, which I would say is a good thing. And while there are probably some of you out there who have your health completely together, I sadly did not. I stopped eating both gluten and dairy in my second month of acupuncture school. And while that has made enjoying pizza almost completely impossible, I am so happy to have done it because I feel so much better! Through several acupuncture appointments, listening to my teachers’ advice, taking plenty of herbs, and using my willpower I was able to wean myself off of all of my medications. You will learn many ways to take your health into your own hands, and you will find a community at AOMA that is very supportive of self-care.
Think your brain has reached maximum occupancy
I remember studying for a particularly difficult Point Location test, and no matter how hard I tried I just could not retain all of that information at once. I thought that my career as an acupuncturist would be over in my first term. And although I did not make an A on that test, I did just fine, anyway. When preparing for an exam I have a tendency to blow things out of proportion and think my world is going to end if I don’t earn an A. Do not be like me! Those who remain calm during test time always seem to make the best grades. There will be times that you just cannot possibly remember everything, especially during exam time. Just always do your best, and don’t stress too much about it. And as one of my favorite teachers taught me — write your questions down! I would like to add that you should also write down everything you would like to remember in general. When it is crunch time, you will want some good notes to work with. Just remember, no matter how intense it gets, it is totally worth it!
Start believing that acupuncture must be magic and that it heals all ailments
At first I was pretty skeptical. I wondered just how exactly a needle in your finger could help the cough you’ve had for a week. But I kept an open mind. You will learn, as I did, that acupuncture can help almost any ailment. If you need some convincing, get a treatment at the clinic. My treatments at the student clinic completely resolved my health problems that I thought I would be stuck with for life. On top of that, it feels like every class includes an introduction to a really cool acupuncture-style party trick. For instance, if you or someone you know is having a nosebleed, you can rub a spot on their foot to make it stop. No, I am not kidding; it really works. And this is just one example. So many things you learn when studying Chinese medicine will change your life. By the time I finished my first term I felt like a completely different and healthier person.
Want to know everything all at once, because being patient is hard (for me)
Patience is not my strong suit. I want to know everything so well that studying becomes trivial and I make A’s on all my tests effortlessly. But it does not work that way. Most of the content you will learn in your courses is so foreign that at first you won’t understand what exactly it is that you are memorizing. While you will have to remember that LU6 is the “Xi-Cleft” point of that channel, it might take you a whole other term to find out what it is exactly that Xi-Cleft points do. But that is okay because patience is a virtue. Just keep swimming!
One of the biggest hurdles of becoming an acupuncturist is having the patience to learn everything and learn it right. It will happen all in due time. Do not be in a huge hurry. I have to remind myself to take it one day at a time and that soon enough I will master the fundamentals of acupuncture and Chinese medicine.
Jessica Johnson is a full-time student within the Master of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine program at AOMA. Prior to beginning her studies in Chinese medicine, she completed a bachelor’s degree in Spanish at Austin College. Originally from Sherman, Texas, Jessica moved to Austin to begin her studies during the Winter 2014 term.
AOMA has a rich student body with diverse backgrounds and interests. We wanted to find out why our learners chose AOMA's Master of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (MAcOM) program and more importantly what drew them to become an acupuncturist. Here are their stories in their own words!
Christina Korpik, Class of 2015
Why do you want to be an acupuncturist?
I want to be an acupuncturist because I am a firm believer in the magic and supremacy of natural medicine’s capacities to treat health imbalances and disease, as well as provide preventive care. Acupuncture helped to transform my own life and health when I was suffering, whereas Western medicine only worsened my conditions. I am fascinated specifically by acupuncture’s ability to trigger homeostasis and instill positive physical change in the body and one’s state of mind, as well as instantly boost an individual’s level of peacefulness with minimal to no side effects. I wanted to become a part of this magical treatment modality and art form that effortlessly taps into the body’s energetic and physical makeup in such a profound way, all the while using the elements of nature systematically as a guide in ways which reinforce the inherent connectedness of all things.
I deeply resonate with the belief that our emotional and spiritual makeup always directly impacts our current state of health and wellbeing, or lack thereof, at any given moment. One of the powers of Chinese medicine as a healthcare modality is its synergy – its ability to combine and use a great variety of diagnostic and treatment tools and modalities in order to treat the totality of a patient’s physical, emotional, spiritual, environmental, societal, and mental health. Western medicine does not have this ability or power. I believe there is a need for “TRUE” multi-faceted healthcare providers in this country who are capable of offering patients care on these levels, all the while treating them as PEOPLE with diverse needs and circumstances, as opposed to simply another case of (fill in the blank) to toss pharmaceutical drugs or invasive procedures at.
Why did you choose AOMA?
For years leading up to my decision to become a practitioner of Chinese medicine, I had been hearing stories from trusted friends and colleagues of AOMA’s overall prestige and excellence. I had heard countless beautiful accounts of the experienced, talented, and professional staff, practitioners, and professors at AOMA, as well as the incredible and unique student body. One thing that stuck out was constantly hearing of how dedicated EVERYONE – staff and students alike – in the AOMA community was to truly being a reliable and high-quality source of compassion and healing for the greater community.
If I hadn’t already been sold by the reputation of the school and the knowledge of its premier and famous herbal program, I was quickly convinced of the necessity of my attending the graduate program when I realized that the Chinese medicine practitioners who had personally salvaged my own health after many years of unsuccessful treatment from Western medicine had both graduated from AOMA.
Diana Slivinski, Class of 2014
Why do you want to be an acupuncturist?
A year in Taiwan studying Mandarin Chinese began my path of Asian studies. My first visit to an acupuncturist, a Buddhist monk, left me feeling wonderful…..in body, mind, and spirit. I loved the well-rounded approach to maintaining health and well-being. The study of acupuncture and oriental medicine is proving to me that I have chosen the right path.
I chose AOMA after looking into several schools because their class schedule and offerings seemed well thought out and organized. The teaching staff at AOMA is a talented group of scholars from China and abroad. AOMA offered me what I needed to pursue a new career.
Jessica Johnson, Class of 2017
Why do you want to be an acupuncturist?
I am fully committed to what looks like will be three years of intense study, and already I can see that sometimes it is more difficult than it is fun to be a student of acupuncture. Anyone who enters the program knows that it is not always easy. But I will never stop trying to become an acupuncturist because I have seen how rewarding it is to help those who thought there was no help for them. I have been the person who thought I would always be sick, no matter how many medications I was on. Becoming an acupuncturist is not just a livelihood; it is a commitment to care, to love. Those of us who aspire to be acupuncturists realize that we can transform the lives of our patients, and we know that to be valued by those in your care is a true blessing.
Why did you choose AOMA?
Originally, I chose to enroll at AOMA because I knew they had one of the best programs to become an acupuncturist. I knew that they were committed to ensuring a quality education for their students. However, I came to find that AOMA is not just a school. The people you come to know – students, faculty, and teachers – they become your family. They encourage you to ask questions. They support you. They take care of you to the best of their ability. I have found that within AOMA there are students and faculty alike who would help you with anything if you asked. I have only been at the school for a short time but I can already name so many people who I can honestly say have changed my life. Yes, I enrolled because I believe the school and program are the best in the State of Texas, but I stayed because of the people I have come to know here.
Loubriel Sosa, Class of 2014
Why do you want to be an acupuncturist?
We walk through life exploring ourselves; each and every situation reveals a unique expression. As we grow, we assume responsibility over our destiny. Some search and search, and never find their calling. Being an acupuncturist fulfills me and nourishes my being. I want to be an acupuncturist because it calls to me. To experience the joys of healing and to perpetuate the art of love is my destiny.
Why did you choose AOMA?
At first I chose AOMA because of its reputation, but now that I've been a student of this wonderful institution for some time, I recognize that AOMA was the only road for me. It provided me with purpose and direction.
Abigail Karp, Class of 2013
Why do you want to be an acupuncturist?
I want to become an acupuncturist because I was inspired by the amazing acupuncturists and herbalists in my life who helped me regain my own wellness after dealing with complications from Celiac disease. After volunteering at a local community acupuncture clinic, I saw how this gentle and peaceful way of healing was making such a huge improvement in the quality of life for many different kinds of people.
Why did you choose AOMA?
I chose AOMA because I was so impressed by the enthusiasm and the sense of community the school fosters among students and faculty. Austin is such a vibrant city, and I feel that AOMA is a vibrant acupuncture school! I appreciate the ways that it is changing and evolving to meet the needs of the students and patients it serves.
Michael Callaghan, Class of 2017
Why do you want to be an acupuncturist?
I really don’t want to be an acupuncturist – I want to be a practitioner of Oriental medicine, which includes acupuncture. My goal of becoming a practitioner of TCM is to give back to a community of people, the Armed Forces, who need an alternative to traditional Western medicine. As a veteran, I experienced military medicine, which is normally focused at putting the soldier, sailor, airman, or marine back to work and not effectively treating the causes of the illness or injury. I believe that TCM offers an alternative to taking medications which cover the overall symptoms; instead, TCM treats the symptoms for long-term beneficial health gains. If I can help just a small percentage of the active, reserve, or formerly active-duty community by providing comprehensive care through the principles of TCM, I will have accomplished my goal.
Why did I choose AOMA?
While there are many choices, AOMA offers an integrative approach, which I believe is key to future success. AOMA has a great success rate academically, which it is reflected in the high percentage of its graduates who find employment immediately after completion of the program. Lastly, the staff and faculty of the school treat everyone as individuals and are supportive in assisting you to obtain your goals.
Elizabeth Arris, Class of 2015
Why do you want to be an acupunct
For so many reasons! Being an acupuncturist is a career that offers many opportunities every day to support another person in feeling well. I enjoy holding space for patients to be mindful of their physical sensations and emotional experiences, which are so often ignored during busy lives. When patients share their pains, discomforts, and vulnerabilities with me, I feel honored to be a guardian of that information and am grateful for the chance to practice using the power of my position and education in a way that is appropriate, heart-centered, and helpful. Perhaps most of all, I love being part of a health-conscious community of healers where my personal wellbeing is valued as much as my productivity.
Why did you choose AOMA?
I think a degree from AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine (AOMA) keeps many doors open: AOMA is regionally accredited, meaning their credits may transfer to other non-TCM schools (which is uncommon); and
AOMA grads have the option to apply for a California license (which is also uncommon for acupuncture schools outside of California). Additionally, AOMA is committed to continued development of the clinical training and biomedical components of its curriculum, providing students the tools necessary to feel comfortable in both integrative medicine environments and TCM environments.
Over the past three years at AOMA, I have also grown to appreciate other aspects of the school, particularly the strength of the herbal program and the warmth of the Qigong community. As a lifelong dancer, my passion for movement evolved naturally into a love for the graceful, purposeful Sheng Zhen Qigong form featured at AOMA. Although Sheng Zhen’s Master Li was not a primary factor in my choosing AOMA, I’ve come to view him as one of AOMA’s treasures and one of my anchors within the AOMA community.
AOMA’s Master of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine program is a transformative educational experience that prepares students to begin careers as professional acupuncturists and herbalists. The program combines extensive clinical education with rigorous & comprehensive coursework in acupuncture theory & techniques, Chinese herbal medicine, biomedicine, mind-bodywork, and Asian body-work therapy.
Here are 3 reasons to begin your studies this summer at AOMA:
1. Small Class-size Supports Learning & Connection
New students can apply to begin the program at three points per year: the summer, the fall, or the winter quarters. However, the summer term often sees the smallest incoming cohort with typically about 15 students starting the master’s program each July. For new students, a small class size fosters a tight-knit sense of community, allowing you to get to know your peers very well.
The summer quarter is only 8 weeks long. As a result, students’ academic load is often is lighter in the summer – meaning students frequently take fewer total credit hours than during other terms. Starting as a new student in the summer term with a lighter load is a great way to soften the transition to graduate school – especially if several years have passed since you were last in a classroom. You’ll become acclimated to the classroom environment, learn to incorporate school into your personal life, and “get into the groove” academically with fewer courses to balance.
3. Make the Most of Your Summer
Summer in central Texas is often the season when many locals take it easy or even take vacations. Why not spend your summer in Austin,TX getting to know the city and enjoying the laid-back lifestyle? You can dodge the summer heat by spending your days inside air conditioned classrooms pursuing your passion and taking study breaks at beautiful Barton Springs!