Asked why he makes research a priority in his career, LTC (Ret) Fujio McPherson, DAOM 2010, MSN, ARNP, LAc, responds that he wants “to show that Chinese medicine, as a system of care, is not only effective at improving clinical outcomes, but also in changing behavior, which is a critical component of health promotion.” Now on the leading edge of the U.S. military’s new wave of alternative medicine studies, Fujio credits OCOM’s doctoral program and its emphasis on research as having a great influence on his current research efforts.
Although he started his professional career as a combat medic and nurse practitioner, there were several early signs that he should pursue Chinese medicine. Thirty years ago, Fujio’s wife discovered a book by OCOM Research Department founder Dr. Richard Hammerschlag and suggested that Chinese medicine might be Fujio’s calling. While stationed in Korea years later, an effective series of acupuncture to treat his hypertension piqued Fujio’s interest in the medicine. Finally, when Fujio—then an Army nurse practitioner stationed in Japan—found his colleague burning moxa in his clinic, he decided to heed the signs and follow his passion, eventually graduating from Bastyr University’s acupuncture program.
Fujio’s first study as an acupuncturist, a survey of the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) by active duty soldiers, was published in the Military Medicine Journal in 2001. A grant-funded study followed which evaluated the effectiveness of CAM for patients with chronic pain. The results of the study were significant, reducing pain scores and hospital utilization rates by 60%. Along with his research work, Fujio treats patients at Madigan Army Medical Center using a holistic system of care he continues to develop, often including behavioral therapy, nutrition, massage, and acupuncture in his patients’ treatment plans.
During his doctoral program at OCOM, Fujio received the military’s approval for another research project—this time as a civilian—in which he further demonstrated the effectiveness of Chinese medicine to treat anxiety. Fujio used this study as his capstone project for OCOM, and his research is currently under review for publication in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine magazine.
Fujio maintains a close connection with the OCOM Research Department as he awaits approval of his latest grant application and plots his next project, a study that will test a holistic approach to Chinese medicine for the treatment of narcotic-dependent pain patients. A passionate believer that the healing power of Chinese medicine extends beyond acupuncture to change behavior and promote self-healing, Fujio says OCOM’s doctoral program gives voice to the profession while serving to make students and future research leaders “better prepared to understand and defend Chinese medicine as a whole medicine as opposed to just a procedure.”