California Graduate School of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Acupuncture - Herbal Medicine - Massage - Dietetics - Energetics

News Announcements

  Five Branches University Celebrates 30 Years!

Thirty years ago, we embarked on an ambitious venture. We founded Five Branches University with a mission to set the standards for Traditional Chinese Medicine education and healthcare in the West. 1984 marked the beginning of an auspicious 60 year cycle on the Chinese calendar, and halfway through that cycle we could not be more proud of what we’ve accomplished so far.

During the weekend of February 21 and 22, 2015, Five Branches University celebrated our 30th Anniversary with a series of events on both campuses and a banquet dinner and award ceremony at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Foster City, California. Over 250 people were in attendance.

For more information about this celebration read the article:



Share Your Story

The story of Five Branches University would be incomplete without your chapter. Please share the impact Five Branches has had on your life, family, and career. We also welcome classic or funny Five Branches photos from the past 30 years! Please email stories and digital images to or contact (831) 476-9424 or (408) 260-0208.

  Faculty Spotlight: Po-Lin Shyu On TCM Origins and Treating Fertility

The seed was planted early in his family’s herb shop in Taiwan.  Young Po-Lin Shyu spent many weekends working there, observing the treatment of patients and the preparation of herbal formulas.

When he was 13, Po-Lin’s family moved to the United States.  “It was not easy,” he recalls.  After high school, following his parents’ advice, he enrolled at San Francisco State University where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy in the late 1980’s.  While attending the SFSU, he had the opportunity to take an elective course called Introduction to Chinese Medicine taught by Angela Wu.  This was the beginning of a long term relationship with Angela who became his mentor. 

Po-Lin asked for permission to apprentice with Angela, and quickly realized that with acupuncture and Chinese medicine he could treat many more musculoskeletal conditions and pain management cases than he could as a physical therapist.  “I was also attracted to the fact that as an acupuncturist and herbalist you have more freedom, and you are not dependent on MD referrals for treating patients.” In 1993, Po-Lin made the decision to enroll at the Academy of Chinese Culture and Health Sciences to earn his graduate degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine. 

Upon graduation and earning his license to practice acupuncture, he resumed working with Angela at her private clinic and also opened a clinic of his own in San Francisco.  Because of his physical therapy background, at the onset of his opening his clinic, he primarily worked with pain management and traumatology cases.  Later, in 2002, while he was working on his Ph.D. dissertation, he chose to focus in women’s health and in particular in fertility.  This was also influenced by his mentor, who treated numerous fertility cases. “The topic of my dissertation was to find out how Chinese medicine can help increase the fertility of women undergoing procedures such as IUI (Intro Uterus Insemination) and IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization).  My research results showed that the treatments can double the chances of a successful IUI or IVF procedure if the couple arrived for treatments 2-3 months beforehand.”

The treatments Po-Lin uses not only include acupuncture, but also herbal medicine, as well as abdominal organ massage to increase the blood flow to the uterus and ovaries.  Patients must receive treatments once or twice per week, depending on the severity of their condition.

“One of the most extraordinary conditions that I treated was 30 year old female who suffered from amenorrhea (absence of menstrual period),” Po-Lin recalls.  “All of her medical exams were normal. After she did not respond to any conventional treatment, it was her OBGYN who ended up referring her to me. After four months of intensive treatments, she finally got her first period.  A post treatment ultrasound showed that her ovaries looked much healthier.  After three additional months of treatment, she conceived naturally, and delivered a healthy baby boy who is now three years old.  In fact, this patient is now pregnant again and about to deliver her second child in a couple of weeks!” 

Presently, most of Po-Lin’s patient base originates from word-of-mouth and MD referrals.  His clinics are part of a select few that OBGYN’s feel confident in referring their patients to for acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine treatments, in conjunction with their Western medical treatments.  Po-Lin believes this is due to his proven success rate.

Po-lin operates three clinics in the Bay Area; San Francisco, San Ramon and San Jose, together with his partners Angela Wu, Judy Tognetti, George Lu and Kathryn Cadwgan and others. 

“Helping couples have a child is extremely rewarding.  I think I made the right choice leaving the ‘traditional path’ and going into Chinese medicine. Simply said, I love what I do. What more can a person ask for?”

Po-lin Shyu has been a faculty member at Five Branches University since 2004. He teaches in both the Acupuncture and TCM Clinical Medicine and TCM Clinical Training departments.

  Job Forecast: Healthcare Jobs On The Rise

According to Forbes1, jobs in healthcare will comprise "28% of the new jobs in the U.S. over the next decade." These employment prospects, combined with the Affordable Care Art, mean forecasts are looking great for Licensed Acupuncturists.

The article notes that "extended longevity and an aging population, combined with expanding insurance coverage under Obamacare, are increasing the demand for all kinds of health professionals. That means at least 5.7 million new jobs by 2020 as measured by the BLS. Another compelling statistic for those considering a health care career: The BLS projects that health care wages and salaries will rise 27% through 2014."

In addition to the growing number of healthcare professionals that are needed, hospital networks such as Kaiser have paved the way for acupuncturists to work in hospital settings in their Chronic Pain Clinic. Kaiser's acupuncture department is just one of many in the United States today offering acupuncture services for a wide array of conditions.

Five Branches University is thrilled to graduate successful Licensed Acupuncturists in such an amazing time for the profession.


  FBU Treats 100 At Another Successfull Community Wellness Fair

Five Branches University was one of more than 25 organizations offering complimentary services  and samples at the 9th annual College of Botanical Healing Arts (COBHA) Wellness Fair in Downtown Santa Cruz, CA. More than 1,000 attendees flocked to the event to experience the health and wellness business offerings in the area.


Five Branches University joined leading community wellness specialists at the event, providing complimentary Acupuncture and Massage Therapy services for over 100 clients. The University was proud to be joining a few of its alumni, who were also tabling at the event to promite their newly established clinics.


"Five Branches was thrilled to sponosor the COBHA Wellness Fair again this year. We love the concept of supporting health by showcasing the wide variety of services our community has to offer. Santa Cruz is special place for wellness," said Alexandra Polk, Five Branches University’s Director of Marketing. "It’s spectacular to see people who have never had acupuncture be willing to give it a try.”


The University looks forward to participating in the COBHA Wellness Fair again next year.

  "How I Found TCM" with Mary Lyell, L.Ac.

Mary is a faculty member at the Santa Cruz Campus since 2007, practicing Five Element Acupuncture along with TCM. During her time here, Mary also founded the Veterans’ Clinical Externship, which provides complementary treatments to veterans.

“I got my law degree and was practicing law for several years.  It seemed that I went straight from undergrad to Law school and then right into litigation….  In my first job, I was not even working for a month when I tried my first case… Two months later,  the judge made a decision on my  first case, but by that time, I had  been in court so many times that I forgot what my first case was about”... She recalls.  

“I loved what I was doing but I could see myself aging very quickly if I continued with this work.  I was 30 years old, and I was ready for a change; career change and geographic change… I wanted a big change!”  She explains.

“I was thinking about what I wanted to do with my life, and what skills I had acquired….  At first, I was contemplating  getting my master’s degree in education, because when I first moved to CA, I began working as a substitute teacher….  However the universe probably had other plans for me,” she guesses.  “During my first rainy winter in Santa Cruz, I developed a series of sinus infections which did not respond at all  to conventional treatment with antibiotics.  Somebody suggested that I try acupuncture, and I came to the Five Branches clinic and got a treatment and a bag of herbs from Joanna Zhao.  When I came for my follow up treatment, I began talking with Joanna about Chinese medicine.  Joanna told me: you can do what I doand I said, no way I cannot do what you do.  I remember this conversation as if it was yesterday.” She said.  “I went home and thought about it; about my interests and skill sets  and I realized that Chinese medicine was very appealing to me on many levels ranging from the philosophical and cultural aspects to the fact that you need to have good analytical capabilities to discern patterns, diagnosis and treatments”.   

“The rest  is history… While I was attending  Five Branches there was a relatively  new elective offering called Five Element Acupuncture.  The Five Element theory really appealed to me from an archetypal perspective as well as the philosophical  perspective.  Both TCM and Five Element Acupuncture have their roots in the Classical Chinese texts.  I think they complement each other really well.”  She explains.  “I believe that having the knowledge of both  helped me become a better practitioner just walking out the door.  Five Element Acupuncture taught me to have the “long view” on patterns and to watch for subtle changes in patterns.     I think it also afforded me an opportunity to sit in the unknown and to have that be ok.  What I mean is that”… she explains… “sometimes, we are too quick to make decisions or diagnose without really having the patience to take the time and watch how things unfold, and learn  to adapt to the unfolding process.”

After passing her California Acupuncture Board licensing exam, Mary moved back the East Coast, to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania where she worked in an Integrative Medical practice.  “Never in a million years,  did I think I would work in an integrative practice… because I was never a big fan of  corporate healthcare type of practices… and to my surprise,I could not have met a more open minded group of people”.  

“There are a lot of very competent practitioners in Santa Cruz, which makes it really hard for a beginner to have a thriving practice.  However, here in Santa Cruz, people at least know what acupuncture is.  In a small community in Pennsylvania, in order to build my practice I had to work hard to market my vocation and myself by giving educational lectures at health fairs, woman conferences and give lectures at the YMCA.  I once was even invited by the head of a  local book club to give a talk about Chinese medicine.  I got a nice round of applause,  but I did not get any patients”.  She laughs.  

“When I interviewed with the Integrative Health Center, I needed to distinguish myself from other applicants for this position.  I used my background as a graduate from a CA based acupuncture school. CA has higher requirements for practice which include not only acupuncture, but also an extensive herbal medicine education as well as being very well versed in Western medicine.  The MD on the review committee was aware of the differences in the level of education between the CA and other states TCM education, and I believe this worked on my favor”.

After several years of work with the Integrative Health Center, Mary became homesick for the west coast, and came back to her beloved Santa Cruz.  Here she was accepted into the Resident Program at the Five Branches Clinic, and a couple years later  became a clinic supervisor for students in the Master’s degree.  

“After my return I became very passionate about community outreach to veterans.  Together with the help of Joanna Zhao, Five Branches began offering services to veterans in 2008”. She recalls.

From its inception, the clinic setting has offered vets full treatment in a community style setting free of charge. Clients are offered acupuncture, cupping, gua sha, tui na (massage) and moxa therapy. Herbal prescriptions are available at cost. In one three hour clinic setting, interns will treat between 12 and 15 clients. Five Branches interns are proudly treating veterans from World War II who are in their 80s and 90s to those combat veterans of the most recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Each semester, the class is usually always full with the maximum of four students. This clinical option is primarily for senior  level students as they have to have ability to treat 2-3 patients per hour while engaging in various modalities of treatments such as Five Element, “Keiko style acupuncture” pain management treatments, and so on. Several students have enrolled in the internship more than once and most state it is among their favorite clinics. The veterans seem to benefit from their treatments and are always most appreciative of the students and the level of care shown to them. This clinic is open to senior interns who want to demonstrate a commitment to community style treatments, a faster pace of treatment and who are capable of working with some independence.

“Sometime when I look at the mirror, I cannot believe my luck….  I am doing what I love, in a place that I love, surrounded by people who are amazing… that’s what good life is all about!” She summarized.

  Five Branches meets with the Consul General of Korea


On March 11, 2014, Ron Zaidman, President of Five Branches University, Heerei Park, Director of the Korean Program, and the Korean Student Council President Saul Tak met with Dongman Han, the Consul General of Korea, in San Francisco, California to discuss the Korean Traditional Medicine program and the Five Branches graduates currently serving the Korean community in the Bay Area.

The Consul General confirmed that there are a large number of Koreans now studying abroad.  New scholarship opportunities for existing and potential students were discussed.

The same day, Five Branches University contributed to the Korean War Memorial Fund, purchasing a brick to be placed in the new memorial being built in the Presidio in San Francisco, California.

The Korean War Memorial will stand as a testament to the memory of the nearly two million United Nations service men and women from twenty-one countries who fought to protect South Korea’s freedom during the Korean War. In addition, it will serve to strengthen the close political and commercial ties that connect the United States and the Republic of Korea. The Memorial site looks westward across the Pacific Ocean, the waters that connect our two nations.

Five Branches University looks forward to working with the Korean Consul General Dongman Han to advance Oriental Medicine education and healthcare in the U.S.

  Visit to Consul General of China in San Francisco

Visit to China Consul in San Fancisco Aug 13, 2013

In August, Ron Zaidman, President of Five Branches University (photo: middle row, furthest to the left) joined leaders of the Traditional Chinese Medicine profession for a private meeting with the Consul General of China, Yuan Nansheng (photo: middle row, center), in San Francisco, California.

The Consul studied Chinese herbal medicine for many years, and is very interested in supporting the continued development of Traditional Chinese Medicine in the US with rigorous education and high standards for licensure. The Consul was both pleased and surprised to learn of the Doctoral programs in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine being offered in the United States now by colleges such as Five Branches University, and of the high level of faculty being invited to teach from China.

The Consul committed to supporting the continued growth and development of Traditional Chinese Medicine in the United States. Ron Zaidman, and the leaders of our profession thanked the Consul for his time and the opportunity to meet.


  Faculty Spotlight: Kevin Zhu's New Book

Dr. Kevin Chu“I’ve always known that I wanted to be a doctor when I grew up, but I was afraid of blood.”  This is what brought young Kevin Zhu to the University of Beijing to study Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).   “Chinese medicine and acupuncture are gentle, yet powerful forms of medicine that suit my character better.  Unlike other TCM programs in China, the University of Beijing offered a six year program which included many elective courses and options to graduate with a medical specialization.” he added.   

Kevin Zhu graduated in 1988 with a BA in TCM and a specialization in urology and men’s health.  He worked as the Physician-in-Charge and as a Lecturer for nine years at the Beijing First Teaching Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine before moving to the United States in 1997.  

In 2001 he began teaching at Five Branches University.  At this time, Five Branches approved a curriculum amendment which included the teaching of classical Chinese medicine texts, and Professor Zhu was asked to teach these texts.  "I did not want to do it," he recalled. "It is hard to teach the classics in the Chinese language, let alone in the English language. In China, there are separate university departments for each of the classical schools of thought.  On the one hand, this is good because it allows in-depth research and understanding of the classics.  On the other hand, it compartmentalizes the medicine and causes, in my opinion, a disconnect between the classics and the other modalities of Chinese medicine.  It reminds me of the Indian folk tale of the ten blind [men] who encountered an elephant. Each one of them could palpate a different part of the elephant and based on it, each of them created a [different] vision of what an elephant is.  The same goes when studying each classic on its own, you don’t get the full picture."

Teaching the classics in English, despite my original resistance, turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Professor Zhu.  Through his teachings, he was able to delve more deeply into the philosophy of Chinese medicine and found it intriguing.  "It is a constant workout for your brain.” Kevin said.

Professor Zhu recently published a book where he assembled his thoughts on the Yellow Emperor's Internal Medicine Classics (Huang Di Nei Jing).  “In the past, I participated in the compilation of eight professional books, but this is the first time I published something that is entirely my own." As a foundational book in TCM theory, the Nei Jing is the topic of numerous research projects, and many commentaries were written about it.  In his book, Chuang Guan Ji Wo De Huang Do Nei Jing Jue Wu Zhi Lu (My Understanding of the Nei Jing), he brings together the classics, acupuncture, and berbal medicine.   "From the Nei Jing you can extrapolate not only theoretical principles, but also understand how they apply to acupuncture point combinations and herbal medicine.  For example, Ma Huang (Herbal Ephedrae), is the first herb you study in Chinese medicine's Materia Medica.  It enters the lung meridian, has a bitter and spicy flavor, and a warm effect on body temperature.  In the clinic, we use it in cases of cold and flu's, especially if they are accompanied with a constriction of the bronchi and asthmatic breathing.   If you look at the properties of the Lung 10 and Large Intestine 4 acupuncture points, you can see that together they have similar effects to Ma Huang.  In my clinical practice, I use mainly the points below the elbows and knees which correspond to the Five Shu-Transporting points and the Five Elements, alongside the principles of the Nei Jing.  I can finally see the whole elephant,”  he adds with laughter.

Professor Zhu's book, Chuang Guan Ji Wo De Huang Do Nei Jing Jue Wu Zhi Lu, is currently available in Chinese through Dang Dang and Jing Dong Publication companies.

  Santa Cruz Ranked 6th in Nation for Job Growth by

Future students, current students, and graduates: just ranked Santa Cruz, CA 6th in the Nation for job growth! For more on this, read the full article here:

  Faculty Spotlight: Senior Professor Jeffrey Pang

Last year Five Branches University’s Senior Professor Dr. Jeffrey Pang, L.Ac., MD (China), collaborated with one of the University’s oldest alums, Adam White, L.Ac, to write and publish a textbook on nutrition from a Chinese medical perspective titled Chinese Medicine Dietetics (Volume I).  The text explores Chinese medical dietetics, food preparation techniques, theory and detailed information on many types of individual foods including a wide variety of grains, tubers, oils, condiments, liquor, beans, tea, mushrooms, fruits, vegetables and herbs.  Chinese Medicine Dietetics (Volume I) presents both a Chinese and a Western medical perspective on nutrition, and offers integrative approaches to healthy eating and food remedies.  

Dr. Pang has been with Five Branches since its inception in 1984.  As a third generation herbalist from Guanzhong, China, Dr. Pang received his education in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) by apprenticing with his grandfather as a complement to his formal training in Western Medicine. Like many other physicians in China, Dr. Pang was sent to the countryside to work at a rural community hospital during the Cultural Revolution. It was in these challenging times that Dr. Pang’s knowledge of TCM became further developed and useful, as Western medical supplies were scarce and traditional methods for treating patients were needed.

When the political situation in China intensified, and Dr. Pang’s father was put in house arrest, the young Jeffrey and his older brother decided to flee the country.  They built a raft and hoped it would keep them afloat until they reached safety on the shores of Hong Kong where they had relatives waiting.  "We floated part of the way, and swam part of the way... the ocean water was very cold," Dr. Pang recalled. “I was young, and these were different times…. I was lucky, two months after our arrival to Hong Kong, the British authorities would capture refugees, and send them back to mainland China".  

For a couple of years, while waiting for his request for asylum in the United States to be approved, Dr. Pang practiced as a TCM doctor in Hong Kong. Following the approval of his request for asylum and his arrival in the United States, Dr. Pang was invited to join the newly established Five Branches University, and went on to become one of its preeminent faculty members. 

"For years I was teaching TCM nutrition and dietetics along with [Chinese] herbal medicine and TCM theory....  Chinese Medicine is primarily about prevention and nutrition is one of the best way to maintain good health," says Dr. Pang. "Chinese medicinal herbs are great for health maintenance as well, but especially in the US, it is difficult for people to be consistent with brewing and drinking their herbal teas....  Keeping a proper diet is much easier to follow, and can be used for both prevention and treatment of diseases.... In ancient times, doctors who specialized in nutrition had the same importance as did acupuncturists or herbalists,” he added.  "What prompted me to write the book is that today most of the chronic diseases and epidemics that we see in the clinic are lifestyle related.  Proper nutrition can make a real difference in these conditions.”   

Volume I is an introduction to the Chinese medical perspective on nutrition.  Volume II, whose expected date of completion is within the year, will focus on addressing specific clinical conditions including  as high blood pressure, diabetes, acid reflux, migraine headaches, and more.

We look forward to Volume II of Chinese Medicine Dietetics, and we congratulate Dr. Pang and Adam White on their collaborate efforts to create Volume I.

  Community Outreach: Five Branches University Participates in Project Homeless Connect

Five Branches University was one of more than 40 groups offering services at the fourth annual Project Homeless Connect event in Santa Cruz, CA. More than 700 low income and homeless individuals attended the event seeking free services including medical care, legal help, food and haircuts.


Five Branches University joined leading community and national organizations at the event, providing complimentary Acupuncture and Massage Therapy services for over 100 clients. The University worked alongside the Mental Health Client Action Network and Janus of Santa Cruz, both health facilities where the University also regularly provides free clinical resources.


"This is the second year Five Branches has participated in Project Homeless Connect. We love the concept of bringing the services all together under one roof," said Alexandra Polk, Five Branches University’s Director of Marketing. "It’s spectacular to see hundreds of people able to utilize services that normally a lack of transportation would preclude them from.”


The University looks forward to participating in Project Homeless Connect again next year.


  Five Branches Establishes New Hospital Externships in Vietnam and China

Our President & Academic Dean, Ron Zaidman and Joanna Zhao, traveled to Vietnam in March to establish two new Hospital Externships in Saigon and Hanoi, VietnamVietnam has a rich history of Traditional Medicine and we hear it is a beautiful country. Our graduate and faculty member, Phu Tran, DC., L.Ac., and graduate Diem Nguyen traveled to Vietnam with our President and Academic Dean after helping to facilitiate relationships with these hospitals.

Our Academic Dean, Joanna Zhao, was impressed with the strong integration of Western and Eastern medical modalities. In Vietnam, our team witnessed large numbers of computerized simulation equipment used by students for the study and practice of both acupuncture and herbal medicine.  Our team also was informed of advanced research being performed regarding the effects of acupuncture on DNA.

Students will be able to join this new study abroad opportunity in Vietnam during the Winter Break of 2013-14.

During this trip abroad, our President and Academic Dean also made a visit to our new sister college, Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Fujian, China, with whom we recently established an agreement for externships and a joint DAOM/PhD. Fujian University generously donated access to the most important TCM databases of China for use by Five Branches students and faculty. Carol Wang, DAOM Academic Advisor and Director of Research, facilitated this relationship and is presently there. While in China, Ron and Joanna were also able to visit Five Branches' oldest sister college, Zhejiang Chinese Medical University in Hangzhou, China.

We would like to thank Ron, Joanna, Phu, Diem, and Carol for all of their hard work in establishing these new relationships.

  Leaders of the Northern California Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine Profession Attend a Press Conference


On February 21, 2013, leaders of the Northern California Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine profession, including  Ron Zaidman,  President and CEO of Five Branches University, held a press conference in San Francisco, California to announce the benefits California residents will receive with the inclusion of Acupuncture in Obamacare (effective January, 2014). This is an important and significant development, as Acupuncture joins Western Medicine as an essential healthcare benefit to be included in private insurance plans.

This development started in California in 1975 when Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the profession of Acupuncture as primary healthcare. The growth of the profession was made possible through high and rigorous standards of education and training, and state and national licensing and certification exams.

The leaders of the Acupuncture profession also announced the United States will be hosting the 10th World Conference on Chinese Medicine, for the first time, in Silicon Valley, in September, 2013.  Every year The World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies (WFCMS) organizes a worldwide Chinese Medicine Congress to provide a platform for Chinese Medicine specialists from all over the world to publish their clinical findings and to present the latest development of Chinese medicine to the world. The 9th World Congress of Chinese Medicine was held in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia , with prior conferences held in The Hague, and London.

  Second Student Externship to Korea a Success!

For the second year in a row Heerei Park, our Director of the Korean Language Master's program, led a group of Five Branches students on a Study Abroad externship at Dae Jeon University and Dun San Oriental Medicine Hospital. This time around, students from the English program and the Chinese language program joined the Korean MTCM students. Students had two very packed weeks with activities scheduled from 9am-6pm including visiting each hospital's various clinical departments.

In Korea, Traditional Korean Medicine, who's origins can be found in Traditional Chinese Medicine, is very popular and highly esteemed. In fact, the competitive entrance requirements are equivalent to those of Western medical schools in the United States. The length of study for Traditional Korean Medical programs are six years. In Korea, the social medical system covers acupuncture treatments, but not medicinal herb prescriptions.

Dae Jeon University has four affiliated hospital facilities located in various provinces throughout South Korea. Dun San Hospital is most famous for its Oncology department, but it also has other notable clinical departments.
The hospital has over 300 out patients a day who are treated with a combination of Eastern and Western medicine.

Students also went to field trip to KIOM (Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine). This Nationally funded institute is doing many interesting research which can be approved scientifically for the Oriental Medicine. This Institute developed a machine to scan a patient's body constitution in 4 different types: Tai Yang, Shao Yang, Tai Yin, Shao Yin, according to the SaSang Chejil, and has also to accurately located acupuncture points.

During the first half of the externship, students primarily focused on departments where herbs, western medicine, and moxibustion were combined in the form of injectable sterilized herbal formulations. During the latter half, students rotated among the various departments of the hospital including Oncology, Pediatrics, Gynecology and of course Neurology and Pain Management. Students also had the opportunity to observe non-surgical techniques for face lifting.

The relationship between the Five Branches University and Dae Jeon University were facilitated by a Five Branches University Korean MTCM Program student, Kang Seung Ku, who is also the president of the of the East Bay Chamber
of the Korean Commercial Association. Ron Zaidman, Five Branches President and CEO signed a mutual agreement with Dr. Yoo, Dong Yel , the president of the hospital . Since then, one of the Oncology doctors, Dr. Yoo, Hwa Seung, also a visiting scholar and MD Anderson, Texas, also, a very famous KTM doctor at Dun San Hospital, has visited Five Branches University's San Jose campus and has taught various workshops to the Korean students.

  Five Branches University Graduates 60 from its Master of Traditional Chinese Medicine Program

On December 16th, 2012 Five Branches University graduated 60 students from its Master of Traditional Chinese Medicine program, its largest graduating class to date. Accompanied by the lovely piano melodies by Joanna Zhao, Five Branches Academic Dean and accomplished concert pianist, the faculty and graduates from both campuses, English, Chinese and Korean programs entered the hall to take their seats.  The graduation ceremony took place at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk's magnificent Coconut Grove Ballroom.  With Lion Dancing and heartfelt speeches by Ron Zaidman, Five Branches President & CEO, Dr. Angela Tu, Chair of FBU's Board of Directors, and student elected class speakers; the graduates moved on to celebrate with their proud families and friends.

Please enjoy the video link of our celebration: Five Branches University's Fall 2012 Graduation

As soon as the celebration bells silenced, graduates went back to hitting the books and continuing to study for the upcoming California Acupuncture Licensing Exam (CALE) on February 21st, 2013.


Join us in wishing our Fall 2012 graduates and our test-takers the best of luck on the upcoming February CALE. Despite high tension from the pending lawsuit against the CAB, following the very low passing rate that many schools encountered, Five Branches continued to maintain a high passing rate of 78% on the August 2012 exam. Yesterday, Natasha Worrell-Merritt, L.Ac., Five Branches Director of Review and Assessment, told graduates to "remember, you've studied so hard.  Be confident in yourself and the knowledge you have. You will pass this exam!" Best wishes to all of you!

  Dr. Shi Xuemin Inaugurates New Stroke Research Centers


On Saturday, November 10, 2012, Dr. Shi Xuemin and Five Branches University celebrated the cooperation between Five Branches and the Tianjin University of TCM with an inauguration of the new Five Branches University Stroke Research Centers in San Jose and Santa Cruz, California.

For detailed information on Dr. Shi Xuemin, the Tianjin University of TCM, the famous Stroke Hospitals of the Tianjin University, and the Awaken Brain and Open Orifices acupuncture technique used with 200 patients a day, read the Acupuncture Today article quoted below or watch the videos on the site of Acupuncture Today at:, or on You Tube at:

  Five Branches signs Cooperation Agreement with the Fujan University of Traditional Chinese Medicine

On September 15th, 2012, President Ron Zaidman exchanges a gift of gratitude with Dr Li Candong, Vice-President of the Fuijan University of Traditional Chinese Medicine at the signing of our Cooperation Agreement.

Master's and Doctoral students of Five Branches are invited to study with leading TCM practitioners in the hospitals of the Fujian University; and Five Branches will continue to invite their leading faculty to teach at the University. Dr Li complemented Five Branches University for our diverse and unequaled quality of Doctoral faculty.

Thank you to Five Branches faculty, Carol Wang and Susanna Shen, graduates of the Fujian University of TCM, for arranging this cooperation.

  Five Branches University's Master of Traditional Chinese Medicine Program Receives Seven-Year Re-Accreditation by ACAOM

Five Branches University is proud to have earned the highest level of institutional and programmatic re-accreditation, 7-years, for its Master of Traditional Chinese Medicine degree program in Santa Cruz. In parallel, the Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine program in San Jose is now fully accredited by ACAOM, the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. We congratulate the Board, administration, faculty and students of Five Branches for this double accomplishment and recognition, and thank you for your contributions to the continued growth and development of the University.

  DAOM Program Fully Accredited by ACAOM

Five Branches University is proud to have earned full accreditation for its Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM) degree program in San Jose, CA by ACAOM, the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. We are also pleased to annouce that our Master of Traditional Chinese Medicine degree program in Santa Cruz, CA earned the highest level of institutional and programmatic re-accreditation, 7-years. We congratulate the Board, administration, faculty and students of Five Branches for this double accomplishment and recognition, and thank you for your contributions to the continued growth and development of the University.

  Five Branches Students Visit Korean Oriental Medicine Hospital

Eleven students of the Five Branches University Korean Master's Degree program traveled to Korea in December 2011 to train at the hospital of Dae Jen Oriental Medicine University as part of a new Clinical Externship offered by Five Branches. Students gained advanced knowledge in a busy hospital with leading Korean acupuncturists and herbalists in the internal medicine and gynecology departments, and learned first-hand of how Oriental medicine is applied in an integrative setting. One student remarked, "This has opened my understanding of what's possible in Oriental medicine". Korean Program Director Heerei Park, R.N., L.Ac., is planning the next hospital visit for Summer 2012.

  Five Branches Students are #1 on the CA Licensing Exam!

Five Branches University students received the highest passing rate on the California licensing exam, in Northern California in 2009! Thank you to the Five Branches faculty and students who worked hard to achieve this highest standing!

  Congratulations to the First Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Graduating Class!

On March 1st 2009, 36 doctoral fellows graduated from the Five Branches University Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM) Program. This is the first graduating class from the DAOM program, which began in 2006.

Five Branches University began the DAOM program with a vision of creating a TCM community of experts in the U.S. The long list of renowned TCM and Western medicine experts participating in the program include prestigious faculty, renowned clinicians, and researchers from the Tianjin University of TCM, Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, and Beijing University of Chinese Medicine.

Chinese experts such as Academician Xuemin Shi (石学敏院士), Dr. Juyi Wang (王居易教授), Dr. Wenzheng Huang (黄文政教授), Dr. Gang Ma (马纲教授), and Dr. Rui Li(李瑞教授), as well as local faculty, including Stanford University medical doctors; Dr. Samuel LeBaron, Dr. Archana Dubey, Dr. Belinda Jump, Dr. Jay Jernick, and Dr. Gordon Wong share their expertise on the subjects of neurology and stroke rehabilitation, channel medicine, nephrology and diabetes, among other forms of TCM and Western medicine.

Other famous TCM faculty that have been part of the DAOM program include: John Chen, LAc, PhD, PharmD; Sharon Feng, LAc; Bob Flaws, LAc; John Naiqiang Gu, LAc; Holly Guzman, LAc; Frank He, LAc; Lucy Hu, LAc; Raven Lang, LAc; Daofang Li, PhD, LAc; Peng Li, LAc; Shaohua Li, LAc; Jeffrey Pang, LAc; Zhuoyi Qiu, LAc; Richard Tan, LAc, and Wei-Chieh Young, PhD, LAc.

Currently the entry level to the profession is a master’s level degree, but for LAc’s who want to further their education, become a teacher for the next generation of TCM students, participate in TCM research or focus on a TCM specialty - the doctorate degree is the next step. Graduates of the DAOM program can use the title “Dr”– a well-deserved title and honor for our profession.

Many DAOM fellows state that the exposure to research has opened doors for them and introduced them to TCM, as evidence-based medicine. The Doctorate program is demanding as most students plunge into the academic course load, participate in clinical training, and write their doctoral thesis, all while maintaining a practice and taking care of family. This is a great accomplishment for the 36 graduates of the DAOM program.

Five Branches University is one of the few universities in the field of TCM offering a Doctoral program to LAc’s. Several doctoral students have chosen to continue their studies beyond the Doctorate, earning a Ph.D. in Chinese Medicine from sister colleges in China – the Zhejiang Chinese Medical University and Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Currently the doctorate program is being offered in both English and Chinese.