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.