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Five Branches AOM School in Acu Program for MDs PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

 

Brave New World: AOM Institute Offers 100 Hour Training for MD Acupuncturists

In a sign of the changing landscape of the integration movement, a California acupuncture school, Five Branches Institute, is teaming with medical doctors from two conventional academic health centers for a 100 hour course which will teach MDs how to use acupuncture in their practices.

The “Integrative Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Program”, will be offered in five 20 hour weekend segments at the Institute’s San Jose campus. Ron Zaidman, MBA, MTCM, president and CEO of the Five Branches, says the program is “disease oriented to common conditions and safe acupuncture points.” The faculty, he notes, are urged to not only teach application of needles to safe, simple points. The members are also charged to describe how an AOM practitioner might approach the conditions, using the range of AOM modalities and skills. He adds: “We ask them to highlight how integrative acupuncture (involving both types of practitioners) can be effective.” Image

Zaidman accepts the increasing use of acupuncture by a sub-set of MDs as a fact.  He also notes that many MDs who take courses, like the seminal course founded by Joseph Helms, MD, and offered through UCLA Extension, often learn greater respect for the discipline. At the same time, they find it hard to integrate the training into their practices. Neither scheduling nor physical layout are conducive to providing acupuncture treatment. Adds Zaidman: “These medical doctors are often very good at referring. They also frequently end up as directors of hospital programs in acupuncture where they then know how to hire licensed acupuncturists.”

Five Branches has a special interest in gaining access to hospitals because of its new clinical doctorate in acupuncture. All graduates of this program must have significantly more clinical experience than do Masters graduates. Hospitals are sought as clinical training sites. The lead conventional faculty are Sylver Quevedo, MD, MPH, at the UCSF-Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, and Sam LeBaron, MD, PhD, director of the Center for Education and Community Medicine at the Stanford University Medical School. The modules are $475 each, or $2100 for the whole program. 831-476-9424.

Contact: www.fivebranches.edu

Comment:  The move is a gutsy one for Zaidman and Five Branches. It challenges the historic antagonism a strong subset of licensed acupuncturists have had to medical doctors using needles after short 100-200 hour training courses. The experience that those MDs who complete short course become rare users and frequent referers is intriguing. This kind of program may be a brilliant step toward advancing collaboration and referral. Imagine a future in which chiropractic educators, learning this lesson, begin teaching medical doctors how to do a few manipulations ...


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