Past and Present

Five Branches University was founded on an auspicious day – Feb. 4, 1984, on Chinese New Year in the Year of the Mouse, at the beginning of a 60-year cycle. We had one classroom, a clinic with three treatment rooms, five teachers, 18 dedicated students, one patient a day, and one typewriter. Today we have two campuses, nine programs, 14 classrooms, 38 treatment rooms, 200 teachers, 450 dedicated students, 1500 alumni, and we see 160 patients a day. We have grown.

From the beginning, it was our intention to invite Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners to the West, to teach and transmit their precious knowledge of Chinese medicine and to share their subtle yet powerful ways of practicing medicine. The history of Five Branches began when several of these extraordinary yet humble practitioners of Traditional Chinese medicine accepted our invitation.

The essence of our success has been the quality and dedication of our faculty/practitioners. Jeffrey Pang, LAc., Joanna Zhao, LAc., and Lucy Hu, LAc., have been with us for over 30 years. Today, our faculty number over 200 distinguished members.

The most meaningful events of our history, however, are the memories of the hug and warm smile a patient gives one of our faculty members when they meet outside the clinic, the practitioner who shares how Chinese medicine saved their patient’s life, and the heartfelt gratitude expressed by a graduate at graduation for the gifts received from faculty during their time of study and training at Five Branches.

It is our comprehensive academic programs, the quality of teaching in both the classroom and clinic and the deep and sincere dedication of faculty, staff and students that have contributed significantly to the transmission of this incredible medicine into our communities and throughout the West.

The first graduating class of Five Branches Institute. Ron Zaidman and Naida Zhang.
Academic Dean Joanna Zhao, LAc, Senior Faculty Jeffrey Pang, LAc, and Sharon Feng, LAc with the first graduating class of Five Branches University. Several of the students pictured have become professors at the University. Presidents Ron Zaidman of Five Branches and Naida Zhang of the Zhejiang Chinese Medical University exchange gifts to honor the signing of an agreement to develop joint U.S. doctoral and Chinese PhD programs.

Five Branches University Timeline

(1984 – 1988)

  • Five Branches Institute is founded on February 4, 1984
  • Five Branches enrolls its first class of 18 dedicated students
  • Approved as degree granting school by California Council of Education
  • Five Branches builds a modern seven-room clinic
(1989 – 1993)

  • The Five Element Acupuncture program is established
  • Five Branches students travel to China for the annual Study in China program
  • The Medical Qigong program is established
(1994 – 1998)

  • Five Branches Institute receives national accreditation
  • The NADA program is established
  • Five Branches expands the library, clinic and classrooms
  • Externship clinic program with community clinics is established
(1999 – 2003)

  • The Sports Medicine program is established
  • Five Branches expands modern clinic to 22 treatment rooms
  • Five Branches signs cooperation agreement with Zhejiang Chinese Medical University to develop the Postgraduate DAOM/PhD program
(2004 -2008)

  • Five Branches co-hosts the first International Conference on Integrated Medicine with Zhejiang Chinese Medical University in China
  • Five Branches establishes the San Jose campus, offering the Master of Traditional Chinese Medicine Degree
  • Stanford doctors and staff explore cooperative education with Five Branches
  • The Postgraduate Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine program is established
  • The Chinese Master’s Degree program is established at the San Jose campus
(2009 -2014)

  • Five Branches University celebrates its 25 year anniversary
  • The Korean Master’s in Oriental Medicine program is established at the San Jose campus
  • Five Branches students travel to Taiwan for the annual Study Abroad program
  • Five Branches receives the maximum 7 years institutional and Master’s degree programmatic re-accreditation
  • Five Branches Postgraduate DAOM program receives full accreditation
  • The Stroke and Rehabilitation Center is established
  • The Mind-Body Medicine Department is established at the San Jose campus

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