First Professional and Acupuncture Programs

Doctor of Chinese Medicine/Master of Chinese Medicine (DACM/MACM)
Master of Acupuncture (MAc)

The foundation for a career integrating traditional medicine into the modern world.

 

OCOM's dual degree Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine/Master of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM/MACM) program provides comprehensive training for practitioners and a foundation for ongoing study and development in the field. The Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM) is a four-year, full-time, graduate professional degree program consisting of 3,668 hours (242.49 quarter credits), with 1,224 hours of clinical training and 2,444 hours of didactic training. The Master of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (MACM) is a four-year, full-time graduate professional degree program consisting of 3,227 hours (212.61 quarter credits), of which 1,131 hours are devoted to clinical training and 2,096 hours are devoted to didactic training.

OCOM's Master of Acupuncture (MAc) degree program provides intensive training in acupuncture for individuals new to this field of medicine. It is also well suited for current licensed health practitioners who want to add acupuncture into their practice. The MAc degree program is a graduate professional degree program consisting of 2,203.5 hours (147.58 quarter credits) and is designed to be completed in two years and 10 months. It includes 692.5 hours of clinical training and 1,511 hours of didactic training.

Goals and Competencies

First Professional Degree - Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM)
The DACM program is designed to train highly skilled practitioners who are capable of working successfully in the contemporary health care system — either as independent health care providers or as part of a collaborative health care team — and to provide in-depth coursework for lifelong learning and professional development. Students awarded the MACM degree will receive comprehensive training in acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. They also learn how to apply biomedical information and skills to the practice of Chinese medicine to better evaluate and manage their patients’ conditions. MACM students receive training in practice management skills that prepare them to work successfully as independent health care providers. Graduates are eligible to sit for the NCCAOM and California licensing exams.

Master of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (MACM)
Students awarded the MACM degree will receive comprehensive training in acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. They also learn how to apply biomedical information and skills into the practice of Chinese medicine to better evaluate and manage their patients’ conditions. MACM students receive training in practice management skills that prepare them to work successfully as independent health care providers. Graduates are qualified to practice in states that do not recognize doctoral training in acupuncture and Chinese medicine and to sit for the licensing exam in California. 

Master of Acupuncture (MAc)
The MAc program is designed to train highly skilled acupuncture practitioners who are capable of working successfully in the contemporary health care system — either as independent health care providers or as part of a collaborative health care team — and to provide in-depth coursework for lifelong learning and professional development.

DACM, MACM and MAc Program Goals:

  • Provide students with a thorough understanding of the theories and systems of Chinese medicine including their historical roots and modern applications;
  • Provide students with a foundation in basic biosciences and a fundamental understanding of clinical biomedicine in patient care;
  • Train students in the clinical skills required to safely and effectively apply this knowledge to the treatment of illness and the maintenance of health of their patients;
  • Provide students with an understanding of their roles and responsibilities in the contemporary health care system.

Program Format

The college’s DACM, MACM, and MAc are all full-time programs. The academic year is organized according to the quarter system, with three 12-week quarters in Fall, Winter, and Spring and a six-week Summer session (*eight weeks in the final year due to clinic). Full-time MAc students may complete the program in 33 consecutive months. Full-time DACM/MACM students may complete the program within 48 months.

Once enrolled, students who want part-time enrollment options may elect to go through the program at a slower pace (5-8 years) and carry a smaller credit load per quarter. Enrollment advising is done in consultation with the Director of Student and Alumni Affairs and with the approval of the academic dean.

To help accommodate student study preferences, classes are offered in sections with options in the morning or early afternoon as well as in the later afternoon and some evenings, DACM/MACM students should anticipate a schedule that runs five days each week. While students have the opportunity to request a particular track of classes, they should be aware that their preferred schedule cannot be guaranteed, as class sizes must be balanced for educational effectiveness. In the internship year, students take classes and participate in clinical internship during both daytime and evening hours, and must make appropriate arrangements to accommodate that schedule. In addition to these times, all students should anticipate scheduling an occasional weekend for special workshops, electives and certain required classes.

 Course credit for didactic classes, practicum-based classes and clinical courses are calculated differently:

  • Didactic courses: 12 classroom hours + 24 hours of outside study = 1 credit
  • Labs/practicums: 24 contact hours + 12 hours of outside study = 1 credit
  • Clinical hours: 24 clinic hours + 12 hours of outside study = 1 credit
  • Externship hours: 36 clinic hours = 1 credit
  • Independent/guided study: 36 hours independent/guided work = 1 credit

Curriculum Overview

Curriculum development at OCOM is a dynamic and ongoing process. Development of our new DACM/MACM and MAc programs parallels the rapid evolution within the acupuncture profession itself and the changing environments of private and public health. Our program is subject to change based on these influences and new perspectives. However, students may be assured that, except in rare circumstances, required classes will not be added retroactively.

Progression through the DACM/MACM programs:

Level I
Didactic courses cover the main theories of Chinese medicine, diagnostic methods, the medicinal uses of Chinese herbs, acupuncture theory and acupuncture point location, and needling techniques. They also introduce  the practices of qigong and taiji quan, Asian bodywork (shiatsu and tuina), and cover training in basic research literacy and research methodology. By the end of Level I, students will have completed basic science requirements in Integrative Medicine.

Clinical courses introduce the fundamental skills necessary to practice safely, professionally, and effectively in a clinical medicine setting and observe the treatment of patients by experienced integrative medicine practitioners in clinical theater settings and in clinical rounds in the OCOM clinics.

Level II
Didactic courses deepen knowledge of acupuncture techniques, and introduce the simultaneous study of Western and Chinese clinical medicine. For DACM students, topics include analysis of case studies in greater depth and how to perform common physical exams and integrate diagnostic studies and reports into patient care. All students are exposed to more advanced concepts in herbal medicine and Chinese medical theory and develop their skills in diagnosis and treatment through exposure to the classical texts of the tradition. They also explore the vital role that diet and nutrition play in patient care and the cultural and environmental forces that contribute to health and illness in society. During Level II, DACM students also  learn the practices of effective professional communication collaborative care and are introduced to the principles of systems-based medicine. Practice management skills with immediate clinical application are introduced.

Clinical courses in Level II are where students prepare herbal formulas in the college medicinary and continue to observe in the clinic, with opportunities at this stage to observe in Herbal Internship and Integrative Clinical Theater as well as the OCOM Clinic. Student observers in clinic begin to assume a more active role in the patient’s treatment by conducting patient interviews, practicing Chinese and Western medical examination and diagnostic procedures, participating in patient diagnosis and development of treatment plans, and assisting the clinical supervisor with treatments by administering cupping, gua sha, tuina/shiatsu, and moxibustion as necessary. Midway through Level II, students transition from observation rounds to intern rounds, where they participate in all facets of patient care, including needling — under the direct supervision of a clinical supervisor who is physically present to observe all patient interactions. Intern Rounds I-III serves as a bridge between clinical observation and clinical internship. In clinical courses, students begin to put the practice management and collaborative care skills they are learning into practice. 

Level III
Didactic courses for DACM/MACM students continue their study of Western and Chinese clinical medicine with a focus on specialized topics in obstetrics and gynecology, behavioral health, pediatrics, and geriatrics. DACM students learn common physical exams and as well as how to integrate diagnostic studies and reports into care for various patient populations. DACM students also study advanced principles and techniques of orthopedic acupuncture, and select a required elective in an area of their interest. Students complete their study of practice management and apply the research skills they have learned to the completion of a student research project.

Clinical coursework for DACM/MACM students is to help them develop greater clinical autonomy in creating treatment plans and treating patients, engage in case studies with their faculty and peers, and apply advanced case analysis and research skills to effectively manage their patients’ cases. DACM students further develop interprofessional communication, integrative medicine, and collaborative care skills on clinical rotations at OCOM’s clinics and at partner internship and externship sites — including hospitals and community health clinics — and employ the practice management skills that will support their practice success upon graduation.


Progression through the MAc degree program:

Level I
Didactic courses cover the main theories of Chinese medicine, diagnostic methods, acupuncture theory and acupuncture point location, and needling techniques. They are also introduced to the practices of qigong and taiji quan, Asian bodywork (shiatsu and tuina), and receive training in basic research literacy and research methodology. By the end of Level I, students will have completed basic science requirements in Integrative Medicine.

Clinical courses introduce the fundamental skills necessary to practice safely, professionally, and effectively in a clinical medicine setting. Students observe the treatment of patients by experienced practitioners in clinical theater settings and in clinical rounds in OCOM’s clinics.

Level II
Didactic courses deepen the student’s knowledge of acupuncture techniques, and begin the simultaneous study of Western and Chinese clinical medicine, where they learn to analyze case studies in greater depth. They also explore the vital role that diet and nutrition play in patient care and the cultural and environmental forces that contribute to health and illness in society. These courses enhance their skills as independent practitioners and develop their ability to communicate effectively with their patients and other practitioners. Practice management skills with immediate clinical application are introduced.

Clinical courses allow student observers to begin to assume a more active role in the patient’s treatment by conducting patient interviews, practicing Chinese medical examination and diagnostic procedures, Western orthopedic exams, participating, and assisting the clinical supervisor with treatments by administering cupping, gua sha, tuina/shiatsu, and moxibustion as necessary. Midway through Level II, students transition from observation rounds to intern rounds, where they participate in all facets of patient care, including needling, under the direct supervision of a clinical supervisor, who is physically present to observe all patient interactions. MAc Intern Rounds I-II serves as a bridge between clinical observation and clinical internship. In clinical courses, students begin to put the practice management skills they are learning into practice.

Level III
Didactic courses include study of Western and Chinese clinical medicine with a focus on specialized topics in obstetrics and gynecology, behavioral health, pediatrics, and geriatrics. Students also study advanced principles and techniques of orthopedic acupuncture and complete their study of practice management.

Clinical courses support students as they develop greater clinical autonomy in creating treatment plans and treating patients, and engage in case studies with their faculty and peers to better manage their patients’ cases. Students develop interprofessional communication skills at partner internship and externship sites and employ the practice management skills that will support their practice success upon graduation.

Professional Development

OCOM defines much of its success as an institution by the successes of our graduates as they each pursue their chosen career path. Our commitment to our student’s professional development is deeply embedded into the college’s curriculum and the ongoing engagement with our alumni. Our programs’ comprehensive training in the healing arts is enhanced by curriculum, online and on-campus services which provide educational support, resources for practice management, opportunities for continuing professional development, and self care to support lifetime success in the field. The college’s online Professional Development Center (PDC) empowers students, and graduate connections by highlighting practice opportunities, graduate experiences and mentorship, tools financial health and continuing education. The Counseling Center  provides individual counseling, workshops, and speaker presentations for current students on topics related to self-esteem, time management, learning styles, cultural competence  and goal-setting.

Oregon has an active complementary and alternative medicine community, allowing our students to engage with professional organizations as they explore their own options for practice. Integrative groups such as Student Alliance for Integrative Medicine (SAIM) and Oregon Collaborative for Integrative Medicine (OCIM) offer volunteer and professional development opportunities for students on campus and through association events in Portland.

Clinical Education

The clinical studies program begins at the end of the first year with Clinical Observation in the OCOM Clinic, continuing to the beginning of Year Three when Clinical Internship begins. During Clinical Observation, students observe treatments by clinical faculty and interns in the OCOM Clinic and in clinical theater settings in the classroom. Observers will have opportunities to practice interviewing patients and to treat them with non-acupuncture modalities such as moxibustion, cupping, and massage under the guidance of the faculty member or clinical intern.

Pre-internship Clinical Studies

  • Introduction to Clinic: This course exposes students to the fundamental skills necessary to practice safely, professionally, and effectively in a clinical medicine setting. (One quarter)
  • Clinical Observation: Clinical Observation, which begins in the first year, offers students opportunities to observe the treatment of patients by experienced practitioners in clinical theater settings and in OCOM’s clinics (clinical rounds). (Four quarters)
  • Clinic Trainee: In Clinic Trainee, students begin the transition from primarily observing to assisting in all facets of patient care under the direct supervision of a clinical supervisor, who is physically present to observe all patient interactions. This final phase of pre-internship prepares students for the intern phase of their clinical education where they will function with greater autonomy in caring for patients. (Three quarters)

Herbal Practicum
During Herbal Practicum, students will spend one academic quarter in the OCOM Herbal Medicinary assembling granule and bulk herb formulas, dispensing patent medicine, liniments and topical applications, and assisting in the overall operations of the medicinary. Herbal Practicum gives students hands-on experience with Chinese herbs and an opportunity to learn dimensions of the clinical and business-related practice of herbal medicine that do not get covered in the classroom.

Asian Bodywork
During their first year of study, students take one of two Asian Bodywork courses: tuina (a Chinese form of massage) or shiatsu (a modern Japanese form of massage). During their second year, students apply these skills in a clinical setting under the supervision of a clinical faculty member. This important clinical experience helps prepare students for clinical internship by building confidence and competence in treating patients through the clinical application of massage therapy.

Clinical Internship
In their third year, along with a lighter academic load, students begin Clinical Internship. Interns treat patients using Oriental medical therapies including acupuncture and non-needling techniques, Chinese herbal medicine and Oriental therapeutic massage. All interns are trained and supervised by an expert group of clinical faculty, with a variety of styles, strengths, cultural backgrounds and specialties.

On Campus
The majority of students’ clinical training is guided by the clinic faculty on campus in the OCOM Clinic. Throughout the course of Clinical Internship, students treat a wide range of conditions including musculoskeletal problems and sports injuries; an assortment of internal conditions such as symptoms related to cancer treatment, gynecological complaints, digestive, respiratory, and urinary tract disorders; and ongoing conditions such as migraine headaches, chronic fatigue, and mood disorders (mild depression and anxiety). Patients are treated in one-on-one as well as group treatment settings.

Off Campus
Students also have clinical rotations off-campus at Outside In and Mercy and Wisdom Healing Center. At these treatment sites, students are exposed to a wide patient population and a variety of medical conditions. Another off-campus treatment opportunity is offered at Hollywood Senior Center, where care is focused on the geriatric population.

Herbal Internship
During their internship year, students spend at least one quarter in Herbal Internship, where a small group of interns work closely with a clinical faculty member to diagnose and treat patients using Chinese herbs exclusively. This unique clinical experience, with its focus on herbal therapy, greatly enhances student learning of and clinical experience with herbal medicine. 

Community Health Externship
The Community Health Externship (CHE) is an additional, minimum 32 hours, specialized clinical rotation, providing an opportunity for students to gain practical clinical experience in an established community health setting by working with a population often underserved by complementary medical approaches and Western medicine alike. CHE takes place at Hooper Center, Project Quest, and Old Town Clinic, where addictions, HIV/AIDS and mental health issues are primary focuses for treatment. Treatments at these sites are primarily performed in a group setting. 

Faculty

Learn more about the OCOM faculty members.

Research

The master’s curriculum includes a sequence of three required research courses. In their final year, master’s students design their own independent research study or participate in a faculty-mentored group research project. Examples of such mentored research projects include: retrospective chart reviews of data collected by Acupuncturists Without Borders and affiliated acupuncture clinics in Mexico and Nepal; analyses of patient outcomes data that are routinely collected in OCOM’s intern clinic; and preparation of literature reviews for the Oregon Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (OAAOM) and other advocates and policymakers that summarize the evidence of the efficacy of acupuncture to treat a variety of medical conditions. In addition, the Student Research Club sponsors monthly informal presentations culminating in an annual Student Research Conference where graduating students present their final research projects.

Learn more about the OCOM Research Department.

Resources

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