Congratulations to incoming Fall 2015 doctoral student Dixie Leigh Young Small, LAc, a 2008 MAcOM graduate of OCOM, and winner of the 2015 Standard Process Scholarship! She will join the program with two additional scholarship awards, the 2015 Practice Development Scholarship, and the Board of Trustees scholarship.

About her most recent award, she says “the process of writing this essay allowed me to take a deeper look at Standard Process' long history of dietary therapy with the use of supplements, as well as the way in which I communicate the options available to my patients for improving the basic building blocks of their body.

"It reminded me that we must try and then try again to expose our patients to ideas that may be unfamiliar, making those ideas eventually understood and then more easily incorporated into their lifestyles. Actually being granted the scholarship reinforced to me that I can meet this challenge and should move forward with starting the DAOM program this Fall. I am very grateful!”

To view more information on OCOM scholarships, visit ocom.edu/scholarships. You can read Dixie’s winning submission below.

The earliest concept of yin-yang is approximately 700 B.C. The concept describes how seemingly opposite forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world. Eighty-five years ago, Standard Process founder, Dr. Royal Lee, began talking about how nutrition plays a significant role in a person’s health. Describe how you will couple these philosophies and explain them to your patients.

In this essay I am going to explain how the concept of Yin and Yang are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and can be coupled to the philosophy that nutrition plays a significant role in a person’s health, as set forth by Dr. Royal Lee, founder of Standard Process. I will go into detail about these philosophies and how they can be effectively communicated to my patients with different communication tactics. The first tactic of communication discussed is based on the teaching methodology wherein the giver of information should: “Say what you are going to say, then say it, then ask the pupil to tell you what was said.” [1]The last aspect of having the listener, or patient in our case, say or write back to the provider what they have been told, is vital. A few minutes of the provider questioning the patient and having them make a few notes that they will keep, can help solidify this information in the patient’s mind.

We will also refer to modern studies that show how populations are more able to integrate health information into their lives when such information is seen as familiar and as coming from their own community. [2]This shows that using a tactic of information sharing on a personal rather than doctor to patient level may be more empowering to the patient to make more positive health choices themselves. This subtle difference relies heavily on a provider’s interpersonal communication skills or the (long held as vital in a health care provider) good-old bedside manner.

In addition to traditional didactic methods of information sharing, and the way of presenting what is perceived as accessible healthy options and allowing a patient to choose them, communication tactics such as anecdote, allegory and metaphor must be used to convey such complex ideas to patients. The patients do not have to understand Yin, Yang and Qi as the TCM practitioner does. What will help them however is to understand their bodies as an interconnected whole ecosystem, with all parts connected and affecting one another. This information can be understood by gardener, administrator, mechanic and chef, by us all, really.

Combining these last two methods of communication with the first one is vital. Even in the world of design, best practice is to avoid jargon, and “Always keep in consideration your client’s level of interpretation towards our work and make it a habit to communicate as simply as possible.” This is referred to as ‘aesthetic communication‘ and is carried out in a very subtle, indirect and artistic manner.[3]

To illuminate what we are about to discuss, a few key concepts will be explained.  First we must look at the different Forms of Qi, which are Vital Substances in TCM and the foundations of all the Yin and Yang energies in the body. All of the functions of the body rely on access to the proper building blocks to function.

There is the Original Qi or Ancestral Qi (Yuan Qi), which is created by the interaction of the body's Yuan yang (original yang) and Yuan yin (original yin). The Zhen Qi is the combination of prenatal original Qi (Yuan Qi) and postnatal Qi derived form air and food or Zong Qi / Gu Qi. Central Qi (Zhong Qi) is the Spleen and Stomach Qi, it processes Gu Qi and lifts Qi to keep it from sinking and the associated illnesses, such as diarrhea and prolapse, that come with sinking Qi. Food Qi (Gu Qi) is derived from Food as the name suggests and is the basis for Ying Qi and Zhong Qi. Ying Qi is derived from food essence, circulates with the blood, combines with fluids to create blood.Gathering Qi or Qi of the Chest (Zong Qi) is formed from combining fresh air with Qi derived from Spleen and Stomach. Protective Qi (Wei Qi) circulates outside of the vessels, opens and closes the pores and because of this active function has yang properties. Upright Qi (Zheng Qi) is the combination of Ying Qi and Wei Qi; it effects the body’s response to disease and can boost all of the body’s functions. Upright Qi’s strength is linked to the strength of the Original Qi or Yuan Qi. Zangfu and Jingluo Zhi Qi is organ and channel network Qi. Zangfu Qi is organ Qi and refers to the respective functions of different organ networks. Jingluo Qi is Channel network Qi refers to the Qi flowing through the meridians.

One can grasp the role that food plays in the formation of all Qi in the human body when considering the way Qi is formed. The Qi that is derived from food is refined to become, at least a portion of, the basis for all of the other forms of Qi present and necessary in the body aside from Yuan Qi or our Original Qi inherited from our ancestors. In light of this, it should be clear that the quality of nutrients in the food we eat will dictate the quality of our Qi and therefore of all our bodily functions and overall health.

Then we turn to the concept of Yin and Yang, which may always only be considered together and as in relationship to one another. Think of the popularized Tai Ji symbol that illustrates the relationship of Yin and Yang. Yin and Yang only work in concept as they relate to each other. As one is growing, the other is waning. If one is up, the other is down- but only so far as it can be considered as up again. In a book the cover is yang, the pages yin... but when you open the book, this changes. They must always both be present together and nothing is ever 100% Yin or 100% Yang; everywhere in the universe, in every thing they will always contain just the smallest aspect of each other. If one is absent, then they both have ceased and there is only a great void... until the void is noticed or in some way defined at least, and then there are, once more, yin and yang, in perfect relation and opposition.

An easy way to think of them is that Yin is the shady side of the mountain and Yang is the sunny side, and derive similarities from there: Yin is up Yang is down, Yin is moist and cool, Yang is dry and warm, Yin is still, Yang is active, Yin is substance, Yang is energy. A common mistake is to classify things as Yin and Yang being an intrinsic characteristic of themselves as opposed to when compared to another thing. Women are not intrinsically Yin, but when compared to men, they are more Yin than men.

Dr. Royal Lee, founder of Standard Process, held the theory that the best sources of vitamins and minerals are found in whole foods. This idea was an original one to his time. He was also familiar with Yin-Yang theory and holism, applying these principles to his knowledge of the human body and in particular the endocrine system.  He recognized that chemical constituents in whole foods are synergistic and in presence of each other can be properly absorbed and utilized to provide the body with proper Qi and nutrition, yang and yin, respectively. With this philosophy as his basis, he began developing supplements to fill the gaps in the modern American’s diet. 5. By 1929 Dr. lee was producing the world’s first raw food supplement. [4]

Dr. Lee placed a huge weight on the endocrine system of the body in maintaining vital functions throughout the whole. He saw that with the necessary components of nutrition, the endocrine system could properly direct the body and prevent illness from occurring. These components were not to be single chemical constituents derived from plants. Dr. Lee saw that isolated parts of whole foods, or what many thought of as the contemporary vitamins, were the not compatible with the holistic principle of biology. He likened this to the components of a watch, they can work perfectly when balanced and together, but not worth a nickel to tell time on their own. This is a concept rooted in Yin-Yang theory and holism alike – extraction of one element from food leaves an incomplete nutrient. His work has been expounded upon for almost a century and continues to find validation in modern nutrition theory.

We must be able to make this kind of thought as readily accessible to our patients mental process as is the idea that has permeated modern American culture of when we are sick we reach for an antibiotic. This type of mental accessibility to complex ideas and unfamiliar terms comes through frequent exposure and familiarity. If we are going to use terms such as Qi, or Yin and Yang, we must make then familiar and understood by exposure... or just use more familiar words that can be combined to have similar meanings. The next step is to make the understanding translate into change.  

Real change in how people address their own health concerns, or whether they do at all has been shown to be linked to feeling included in the community bringing this message and having a sense of choosing this path or action themselves, as opposed to being told to take it. Another element of effective health communication that has been shown to have a large impact is the perceived demographic similarities that exist between the educator and the target audience.

While demographics are not malleable and no provider should choose to treat only in their own demographic, the provider as health educator should try to be accessible to their patients, and make efforts to connect to the patient on multiple levels with the aim of having the health information more readily accepted. The lesson learned form modern studies on health communication is that understanding a health issue alone does not lead to a change in behavior, “awareness alone does not hold people responsible for their own health” and that “inclusion, participation and self-determination” help “defeat the major problems seen with solely increasing comprehension of why a certain health behavior is wrong”. [2]

With appropriate application of communication and the solid basis of TCM founded in Yin Yang theory we can affect positive health outcomes and our patients can make lasting lifestyle changes.  Our own awareness of how we are perceived and the best way to relay information to those in our communities will allow quality health care practices to ripple outward into increased awareness around us as well.

References:

[1] Dr. Brian Small, BFA, EdD, taken from direct in - person interview questions and answers 03/23/2015.

[2] A Brief Look At Effective Health Communication Strategies in Ghana:http://www.elon.edu/docs/eweb/academics/communications/research/vol1no2/04PrilutskiEJFall10.pdf

[3] 5 Effective Communication Tactics for Designers:http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/effective-communication-tactics-for-designers/

[4] Bio or Dr. Royal Lee: http://www.drroyallee.com/dr_royal_lee_bio.html





The OCOM Alumni Association is proud to announce the winner of this year’s $1,500 annual Alumni Association ScholarshipLenore Cangeloso, MAcOM candidate for 2016. Below is her winning submission, answering the question, “As a future Chinese medicine practitioner, what role do you envision your practice playing in the broader integrative health care movement?”

 

The future of medicine lies within the hands of its current students. This is a huge responsibility that I am willing to take on and am proud to sit in classrooms with others dedicated to the cause. The medical paradigm is shifting to become more inclusive as conventional medicine is beginning to take into account modalities from around the world. Chinese medicine is making its way into mainstream medical centers and I wish to dedicate my efforts to bring TCM [traditional Chinese medicine] to cancer patients. Treating them in my clinic or hopefully working hand-in-hand with hospital oncology units.

This shift is already happening, Portland’s very own Providence Hospital employs an integrative approach within their Oncology unit.¹ But it is sadly not fully utilized. My close friend is currently undergoing palliative care for Stage 4 stomach cancer, and did not hear of these services available to her; such as Chinese medicine, Naturopathy, and therapy until weeks into her treatment. She actually was unaware of these services until I brought them to her and her nurses' attention.

I hope to become not only a practitioner, but a liaison and advocate for cancer patients to receive care that not only addresses their disease but their body and spirit. The collaborative relationship that needs to be established between the TCM practitioner and oncologist will only help increase patient care and improve outcomes of treatment. I dream of the day that any cancer patient can have access to health centers where doctors and TCM practitioners join forces so the patient can make an informed choice between herbal remedies or pharmaceuticals or even receive a combined treatment of acupuncture and herbs to help counteract adverse effects of modern cancer therapies, such as nausea and depression.

I want to dedicate my practice to helping people find strength, peace and healing when receiving treatments as harsh as radiation and chemotherapy. As Chinese medicine continues to carve out its place within the American Medical system, more patients will be open to trying various remedies, more clinical studies will be funded, and more patients will find relief and effective treatments for disease.

  1. http://oregon.providence.org/our-services/p/providence-integrative-medicine-program/

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Sara Haag joined the OCOM Community as a transfer student in 2014. Haag has quickly become a leader in the OCOM Student Association, works in the OCOM Herbal Medicinary, and also handcrafts items such as Chinese herb-infused eye pillows that are sold in the college's bookstore. We asked Haag a few questions on her experience as a transfer student. 

What did it mean to choose OCOM?

When I began looking at transferring schools, I wanted to be in an environment that I felt was conducive to my learning style, had a respectable reputation, and fostered a compassionate attitude for everyone. There’s a saying that it’s “in the details,” and I found with OCOM this statement was very true. From the first point of contact to the moment I walked into OCOM for the first time, I knew this was where I wanted to complete my acupuncture education. Even the aesthetic and feng shui components of the campus meant a lot. Having consideration and thoughtfulness to ensuring the “juju” is positive was incredibly important.

How was the process of changing schools for you?

Changing schools for me was made pretty easy  in terms of the process. I had clear instructions on what OCOM needed from me and what I needed to wrap up from my old school. The Admissions team at OCOM was great and very attentive in helping with the process. I didn’t have any surprises or unforeseen hidden costs, etc, and everything was laid out clearly.

Do you have any recommendations for those wanting to learn more?

Definitely talk with the Office of Admissions, make of list of questions, concerns, ask about housing, location, what’s it like living in Portland, and also request to talk with a current student. I think that that is important from a firsthand perspective to know what you’re getting into, i.e. the time commitment, and also keeping balance between personal life and school. Also, have acupuncture, and visit the school in person.

What are some exciting aspects of your education here?

I love being on the OCOM Student Association (OSA) and being a part of making the program and school better. I love the opportunities that I am presented with to participate in community service, such as volunteering at the Cherry Blossom Gala, speaking with prospective students, and participating in the MS Bike event. These are great opportunities to network and make connections with the community and alumni. I am also very proud to help facilitate awareness  for Animal Asia — particularly the Moon Bear Project, to which we donated the proceeds from the school’s annual No Talent Show and to which I hope to form a volunteer chapter in Portland, since we don’t have one here. I am also very proud of having the opportunity to make a product based on my education thus far using Chinese medicinal herbs for therapeutic rice pillows. Last but not least, I love working in the medicinary, I love being around the herbs and interacting with patients.

How will OCOM's education empower you to be the practitioner you want to be?

OCOM is very special for me because it has allowed me to be open to all possibilities. As an adult learning student, some of us are coming into this as a second career and we have already experienced a lot of life and worn many hats, and had previous careers. I think that this is an advantage to youth. OCOM has held space for me to explore and develop who I want to be as a practitioner, and changed me in very positive ways. The education I am receiving here will give me the technical skills along with some life skills that need some fine tuning. I have no doubt that I will be successful due in part to my education here.

What is it about your OCOM education that you gained by transferring?

I gained confidence to be fearless, to be courageous, even to the extent of singing bad karaoke. OCOM is a safe place to explore my humanity and what makes me a unique individual, without judgment. The instructors at OCOM want their students to succeed and their willingness to share their knowledge is genuine. That’s not to say that they are marshmallows; they can be stern — not in a way that breaks their students down — but it comes from a place of true integrity, a love for the medicine, and really wanting the students to become the best they can be as professionals.

On May 14 and 15, Ben Marx, MAcOM, LAc, Research Associate, represented OCOM at the inaugural conference for the PROMIS Health Organization in Philadelphia. This ​multi-day ​interdisciplinary ​forum examined aspects of assessing and using patient-reported outcomes (PROs) in research and clinical settings. Among Chinese medicine schools, OCOM has been a front-runner in integrating the collection of patient-reported outcomes into its intern clinics. In 2009, OCOM added three PROMIS questionnaires to assess the effects of acupuncture and Chinese medicine on our patient’s health.

PROMIS, which stands for Patient Reported Outcome Measurement Information System, is a bank of questionnaires developed over a 10-year period and funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH). The questionnaires are highly reliable, precise measures of patient–reported health status. In contrast to more traditional biomedical measurements, such as blood pressure, PROs allow patients to directly report on their own feelings and experiences. Data from these questionnaires allow clinicians and researchers to better understand how treatment affects what patients are able to do, and the symptoms they actually experience. The findings generated by PROs can be used to demonstrate effectiveness of treatment over time, and be used by to improve patient-provider communication.

The conference, “From Basics to Applications in Clinical Research, Practice, and Population Health,” brought together researchers, government scientists, clinicians, industry representatives, and experts in outcomes measurement from around the country to discuss applications of PROMIS in health care, and the current state of the science in this emerging field.

Marx presented a research poster at the conference entitled “Effectiveness of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in the Management of Pain – A Prospective Cohort Study.” In brief, the study assessed four years of data collected with PROMIS questionnaires on patients treated for pain conditions in the OCOM clinic. The study concludes that “statistically significant improvements in Global Physical Health, Physical Functioning and Pain Interference from Visit 1 to Visit 5 suggest that intern-delivered AOM is an effective intervention for the management of pain.”

The presentation of this study at a mainstream medical conference is an important step in expanding the presence of acupuncture and Chinese medicine within the scientific community. At its best, research in these settings acts as a translational tool, facilitating an understanding of the clinical effectiveness of the medicine for those who may be unaware of the possibilities of traditional Chinese medicine.

— Ben Marx

OCOM's June 27 Cherry Blossom Gala was a resounding success, bringing together 180 alumni, students, staff, faculty and community partners to the college’s campus for a unique “night market” experience. Contributions from our Lotus sponsors -- NW Natural, The CHP Group, The Oregonian/OregonLive.com, Elizabeth Wakeman Hendersen Charitable Foundation -- helped fill three floors with magic, music, a photobooth and spa treatments. Featuring tributes from trustees, family and academic leadership, this festive gathering was also a warm and joyful send-off for OCOM’s President, Dr. Michael Gaeta, who is retiring this month.

In addition to enjoying a great party, attendees helped the college raise $39,535 for OCOM and those it serves. Their support means more scholarship dollars for students on their way to becoming the nation’s most skilled practitioners; more low-cost treatments for people who couldn’t otherwise access OCOM’s clinics; and perhaps most importantly, these generous donations primed the college to move confidently into the future.

Presentations throughout the event highlighted the signature accomplishments of Dr. Gaeta’s 10 years as college president. Under Dr. Gaeta’s leadership, OCOM has enhanced students’ educational experiences, increased the number of patients served, and expanded its role in the Old Town Chinatown community:

  • More than $15 million was secured for the college’s LEED Gold certified Old Town Chinatown campus.
    • OCOM was twice ranked the best acupuncture school in the United States, in 2012 and again in 2015.
    • More than 100 doctoral and 1,300 master’s students are now graduates of OCOM and are practicing acupuncture and Chinese medicine in 42 states and five countries.
    • The college nearly doubled its full-time faculty.
    • OCOM’s clinics have expanded to provide 20,000-24,000 patient visits per year, many to low-income patients.

Thank you to all who were able to join us for this third annual fundraising event. Photos can be viewed on OCOM’s Facebook page or by following these links to the Panda-monium photobooth and event photo albums:  http://tinyurl.com/ougodxm and http://tinyurl.com/qehhye8. If you missed the fun this year, please save the date for next year’s event, to be held on April 16, 2016.

Explore the night market! On June 27, 2015, the OCOM campus will be transformed into a light-filled celebration of food, music, healing and culture in the Chinese tradition. Various experiences on four floors will showcase the signature accomplishment of OCOM’s retiring President, Michael J. Gaeta, EdD: our LEED Gold certified downtown location in Old Town Chinatown.

All proceeds from the event go to OCOM’s annual fund — supporting our mission to transform health care by providing exemplary education and affordable care to the Portland community.

5:00-6:00 PM "President's Reception" – 5th Floor Rooftop

Limited to 60 guests with special food and entertainment in honor of President Gaeta. Reception tickets include general admission to the night market gala event from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM. $100 tickets; advance online purchase only.

6:00-9:00 PM Cherry Blossom Gala: Night Market Theme

6:00-7:30 PM — Food street, culture street, relaxation spa and lucky lounge open for entertainment!
7:30-8:15 PM — Magic Show and Live Auction, Community Room
8:15-9:00 PM — Entertainment, food, and drinks continue!

The "Gala" portion of the evening will include:

  • "Lucky Wheel Draw" — Guests get one spin of the wheel for free treatments, Old Town Chinatown community gift certificates, self-care kits, feng shui crystals and other prizes.
  • Roving magician/mentalist, Hart Keene
  • Photo screen/booth — green screen, stand up, props and a chance to have your photo taken with MOCO!
  • Reflexology treatments and foot soaks in our water spa
  • Swarovski ear seeds for self-care with style
  • "Wine Pull Wall" — Buy a ticket for a chance to pull a bottle of wine of $20 or greater value
  • Live auction – including vacation packages for two to Costa Rica and Banff (airfare included)
  • Dim Sum by Boke Bowl
  • Craft Beer Wine and specialty cocktails – featuring Pale Kung Pao a collaborative microbrew crafted by Rock Bottom Brewery and formulated by the OCOM medicinary
  • Calligraphy by Dr. Jiyu Yang of the Wisdom Arts Academy
  • Zen games
  • Hand made ice cream by Scoop
  • Live music — provided by the Noah Bernstein Trio (jazz) and the Wisdom Arts Academy (classical Chinese music)
  • Multimedia presentations showing the progress of building construction and highlights from the past decade of OCOM

Introducing Greg Livingston, PhD (China), LAc – Master’s Faculty

When his father died young, at age 53, Greg Livingston began to contemplate how to avoid a similarly premature death. This first step towards a path in medicine and health care was the question, “How do you take care of yourself?”   Upon finishing his biology degree, Livingston decided he needed a career.  He looked at all kinds of medical traditions, but after growing up in San Francisco’s Chinatown, with herb shops around every corner and the strange but familiar smells of decoctions from friends’ homes, he felt drawn to Chinese medicine. 

While licensing and a well developed educational structure supported a profession and career in the U.S., he didn’t foresee what a journey he was undertaking when he started at Five Branches University — at the time, he hadn’t even had an acupuncture treatment! 

Quickly realizing that a master’s degree wasn’t enough, he felt he needed to study in China. Shortly after graduating in 1997, he lived in China for two years, following senior practitioners in Hangzhou outpatient clinics and Beijing’s Academy of Chinese Medicine. He then moved to Suzhou, where his specialty as a classical jong fang style herbalist coalesced during a year-long mentorship. 

After five years of practice in San Francisco, he returned to Hangzhou to pursue his PhD and received a license to practice in China. He completed his PhD degree in 2009 and published three articles on Shang Han Lun related topics, particularly on the treatment of cold pathogens in Westerners with classical formulas. 

In 2012, the question of “how to live well” drew Dr. Livingston away from China. The constant effects of urban pollution — bronchitis, fevers, fatigue — led him to seek an open faculty position at OCOM. Based upon its reputation in the professional community and the calibre of the graduates he had met, he relocated his family before even visiting the college. As a full-time faculty member for the last two years, Dr. Livingston notes, “OCOM is obviously not like institutions in China, but it’s also clearly not run by your average Westerner. OCOM people are progressive, alternative and fair-minded. They really care — about the school, the students, the employees, the patients. The faculty cooperates, even honoring varying strengths and weaknesses. In some corporate cultures, you might be afraid of showing weakness, because people will take advantage. At OCOM, they help you improve.”

As someone who has spent twenty years bridging East and West, Dr. Livingston observes, “If you study the China model of health care, there is much you have to change when you move the medicine here. The fundamentals don’t change — the herbs, the acupuncture — it’s all the same. But Western patients differ significantly from Chinese patients when it comes to the clinical encounter. China is so crowded, and largely poor, so health care has to be delivered without a lot of time or privacy. In America, Chinese medicine practitioners don’t need to see as many patients per day and we’re required to give them privacy. It’s a different way of practicing the medicine.” 

In October 2014, Dr. Livingston served as faculty for OCOM’s clinical studies program in Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine (NJUCM). “With students that study in the West versus those studying in China, one of the shortcomings is the amount of clinical herbal experience they receive. In the United States, we have limited resources and patient access to herbal internal medicine. This is why going to Nanjing is so valuable, even though it is only a five-week externship, those students saw more patients in those weeks than they saw the whole time they were interns at OCOM. You can see between 40-60 patients a day in clinical settings in China, and you get to watch really experienced doctors treat them. One of the big things is that beyond sitting in class or doing rounds, you need to chao fang, where you follow doctors and write their prescriptions down.” 

Although Dr. Livingston began his clinical career in 1997, he didn’t start teaching until 2005, when he was living in China. At the Long Island University program on Zhejiang University campus, he taught introductory Chinese medicine and health cultivation classes to visiting foreign students and, ultimately, to Chinese graduate students studying family medicine. 

Chinese students, he found, tended to have more rigid thinking. “However, when you find someone who can think outside the box and they get clinical herbal training in China, they will be unstoppable.” He believes OCOM strikes the right balance. “We have a wide range of faculty with different backgrounds and experience. If students here use all the resources available to them and have a natural ability for medicine, they can go far and get a lot out of the program. In medicine, you have to have some natural ability, a certain strength with logic and memory. If you possess those and you take advantage of everything, you can graduate from here and go right to seeing patients.”