Up to 25% of your clinical training hours may be completed through an externship. The diverse externships we offer allow you to become exposed to different patient populations, treat a wide variety of conditions, and explore new fields of specialization.
Offered in a broad range of settings, our community externships provide you with valuable hands-on clinical experience in a private practice, community clinic, or integrative medical environment. Community externship opportunities include working with senior citizens, veterans of war, mental health patients, those struggling with substance abuse, and treating individuals in a community clinic setting. The following community externships are currently available:
A leading community hospital in Oakland, the Highland Hospital (www.highlandahs.org) offers students, together with Western medical students, an opportunity to follow medical doctors and licensed acupuncturists in an outpatient and inpatient environment. Five Branches students learn the protocols of a modern community hospital, an invaluable experience after graduation. Students may enroll in one trimester or up to a year of hospital residency.
Since its founding in 1976, Janus has successfully assisted thousands of individuals in their efforts against chemical dependency. In this clinical setting, you will have the opportunity to become proficient using the National Acupuncture Detoxification (NADA) protocol as an integral part of chemical dependency treatment and recovery. For more information about NADA go to www.acudetox.com.
Mental Health Client Action Network
The Mental Health Client Action Network (MHCAN) is a valuable community service, helping adults with mental illness to live without crisis. The MHCAN drop-in center receives 12,000 visits annually from approximately 600 mental health clients. They lobby for improved health care, and affordable independent housing. MHCAN clients demonstrate that people with serious mental illness can work, go to school, maintain stable housing, and help their peers do the same.
You will be treating veterans of all ages with a host of complaints, primarily chronic and long-term health issues. While primary care is often provided by the Veterans’ Administration, you may also be treating homeless and drug addicted veterans. In this clinical setting you will have the opportunity to use acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat a variety of conditions, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Although this externship does not have the capacity to make herbal formulas on site, you will be expected to recommend formulas to your patients when appropriate. This externship is offered at both the Santa Cruz and San Jose campuses.
In a community clinic group setting, you will have the opportunity to provide donation-based Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments to low-income patients. You will experience how acupuncture is commonly practiced in China, providing acupuncture, Tuina massage, or herbal medicine treatments in a group setting, in short 15-30 minute intervals. By offering this affordable service, clients can receive acupuncture treatments more frequently to improve their health and well-being.
Akiyama Wellness Center
Akiyama Wellness Center is part of Yu-Ai Kai Japanese American Community Senior Service center. Akiyama provides wellness programs to their senior members, including acupuncture, yoga, and Taiji classes. The treatment setting at Akiyama is community room style. Interns are required to see patients on a pre-scheduled basis. Although this externship does not have the capacity to make herbal formulas on site, you will be expected to recommend formulas to your patients when appropriate.
Clinical Private Externships
Multiple off-campus externships are offered by TCM practitioners located throughout California. In a clinical private externship you will work alongside the practitioner through a normal day’s activities as well as assist with client treatments. You will have the opportunity to learn about the specializations they offer and to gain hands-on experience working in a private-practice environment.
Five Branches University students participate in a Career Development Fair prior to the completion of their Masters degree. This requirement is fulfilled through a community health fair or a classroom outreach event where students demonstrate their knowledge and mastery of TCM to inform and recruit new patients. Often, these events address the needs of low income or otherwise disenfranchised groups in communities throughout the Bay area. These events are always free to the public, and are just a small representation of the philanthropic efforts that Five Branches engages in throughout each academic year.
You may choose to study in Asia to experience the authentic practice of TCM integrated with modern Western medicine. Our relationship with five universities in China, Korea and Taiwan provide you with the opportunity to learn TCM from highly knowledgeable doctors and clinical experts, to receive training in a hospital setting, and to explore the beauty and diversity of Asia. For further details, please refer to Study in Asia.