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What kind of training and education is required?

My Masters of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine (MSTOM) was earned from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) in San Diego. This is a 4 year post-graduate degree. I am licensed by the State of California after passing the state licensing board exam and am licensed to practice nationally by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) after completing 4 months of separate licensing exams.

In addition I studied in Chengdu, China at the Chengdu University and Hospital for Traditional Chinese Medicine. My education in China consisted of regular class lectures and extensive hands-on training and shadowing doctors in the hospital. I completed rounds in nephrology, oncology, gynecology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, rheumatology, pulmonology and pediatrics.

The education I received at PCOM focused on both Western allopathic care and Eastern modalities. This list is by no means conclusive but provides a general idea of how the program is structured and how some of the various classes and curriculum follow suit:

  • Western courses included, but were not limited to, system and musculoskeletal anatomy, neuroscience, physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, kinesiology, biology, cellular biology, biochemisty, Western nutrition, physical exam, ortho-neuro examination/testing and diagnosis, biophysics and western medical differential diagnosis. Bridging the gap between Western and Eastern diagnosis and treatment was a 3 year-long Diagnosis and Treatment of Disease series focusing on gynecology, mental health and psychiatry/psychology, neurological disorders, autoimmune diseases, pediatrics, cancer, respiratory disorders, gastro-intestinal disorders, cardiovascular disorders, gerontology, endocrinology, rheumatology and more.
  • Eastern-oriented curriculum included 1 year studying the foundations of Chinese Medicine, 1.5 years of individual acupuncture point study, treatment and needle technique, 2 years of herbal medicine, and body-mind classes including tui na, tai chi and qi gong in addition to western nutrition, auricular acupuncture, orthopedic acupuncture and treatment of orthopedic disorders, pain management, Japanese acupuncture and acupuncture law/safety training.

Pacific College of Oriental Medicine has is one of the largest treatment centers as well as one of the most extensive herbal pharmacies. Throughout my tenure I logged nearly 1000 hours of patient visits seeing hundreds of different cases. Carrying my own patient load also involved off-site externships at San Diego Senior Citizen’s Free Clinic, Owen’s HIV/AIDS Clinic located within Scripps Mercy Hospital, San Diego Hospice and the UCSD Sports Medicine Clinic at the RIMAC Athletic Training Center. A year-long internship was completed at Acu-Sport Sports Medicine Center in Ocean Beach, CA.

In addition I am required to complete 80 hours of Continuing Education annually and have received additional training and certification in the following areas:


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