Thanks to the generosity of two of our community’s most philanthropic organizations, individuals struggling with both a lack of financial resources and serious physical challenges now have access to critical treatment that often leads to significant improvements in health and quality of life. Major grant commitments by the Kaiser Permanente Foundation and the Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund have cleared the path to accessing acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments for dozens of low-income patients at Oregon College of Oriental Medicine’s teaching clinics in the Portland area.
The grants allow those who qualify to receive care at a fraction of the cost for conditions such as addiction, anxiety, arthritis, cancer, chronic pain, heart disease, migraines, and others. For many, their health challenges have been unresolved or only partially resolved by Western medicine, with access to care often blocked or limited by lack of insurance or financial means.
The treatments are provided at OCOM’s two teaching clinics, located on our campus in Old Town and in Northeast Portland’s Hollywood district, which offer effective, low-cost and compassionate care delivered by student interns overseen by fully trained, highly qualified licensed practitioners who are also instructors.
Providing access to care for our community’s most vulnerable citizens is a priority for OCOM, and we are grateful for the commitment of like-minded philanthropic partners in this important work.
One OCOM patient who benefited from this support is Kevin. At 26, Kevin’s active lifestyle was halted by a broken leg that eventually led to chronic pain, addiction, and houselessness.
“I started going to OCOM where I could get discounted rates for acupuncture. It was a way for me as a person without any income to get medical help, and so I started going to OCOM when I first got sober.“
With continued care and support from OCOM, and the support of the Kaiser Permanente Foundation and Maybelle Clark McDonald Fund grants, Kevin continues to thrive.
“I am so grateful to OCOM for leading me to a healthier and more fulfilling life - and continue to support me on my journey."
To see more of Kevin’s inspiring story: https://vimeo.com/451709729
OCOM Library is delighted to announce the launch of the Kam Wah Chung Medical Archive. This historical digital archive is the result of the 2019-2020 project, Kam Wah Chung: A Historical Archive of Chinese Medicine in Rural Oregon, which is a collaboration between OCOM and the Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site in John Day, Oregon. The project was supported in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA Grant), administered by the State Library of Oregon.
The Kam Wah Chung Medical Archive captures a unique snapshot of Chinese medicine’s earliest practice in rural Oregon. In the late 1800s, two Chinese immigrants, Ing “Doc” Hay and Lung On, purchased the Kam Wah Chung building in the mining community of John Day, Oregon, where the two operated a Chinese apothecary and a general store until Hay’s death in 1952. The museum is well known for its treasure trove of artifacts detailing the Chinese immigrant experience in the American West. The Kam Wah Chung Medical Archive focuses on medical objects that are found in the museum collection. The digital archive provides digitized images and descriptions of Chinese medical herbs, Doc Hay's handwritten formula prescriptions, Chinese patent medicine products, and books and pharmacy catalogs from the late 19th to the early 20th century. Translation has been done over the years by OCOM students and faculty, and is ongoing.
The Kam Wah Chung Medical Archive, now available to the public, is an excellent resource to those concerned with Oregon history, the Chinese immigrant experience in the American West, or traditional Chinese medicine and herbal practice. The Archive can be accessed at: kwc.ocom.edu
For a live presentation on the collection featuring Eric Brand, PhD, LAc and Beth Howlett, DAOM, LAc, please join the OAA-sponsored webinar on February 4, 2021. To learn more click here.
For any questions about the Kam Wah Chung Medical Archive, contact the OCOM Library / Oregon College of Oriental Medicine at: library.ocom.edu/contact-us/
In this new world of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential that as medical professionals and as students working to become medical professionals, we re-enter our school and workplace under a social contract to protect the health of our community. Our priority is to keep people safe. We will rely on the information provided to us from the OHA, CDC, and other reputable sources for guidance in this changing world.
To keep our community safe, OCOM will have important social and professional expectations of its faculty, staff, and students — on and off campus. This is essentially the social contract that all are expected to follow to provide the best care for our patients, education for our students, and a safe environment for us all.
We ask that students, faculty, staff, and visitors follow these guidelines:
As one of the oldest colleges in America teaching the healing arts of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, tuina, shiatsu, cupping, gua sha, hara diagnosis, and other techniques, our college was also founded in an era when the term “Oriental medicine” was commonly used to describe what many now call East Asian Medicine. For OCOM, the medicine we teach is based on the Chinese classics and also informed by years of development in other Asian countries and influenced by other Asian cultures including but not limited to Korean, Japanese, Tibetan and Vietnamese.
In recent years, our profession in America has struggled with naming conventions for some of our older accredited colleges and programs, and for our professional organizations that also have the term “Oriental” in their names. On the OCOM campus, there was a workgroup convened in 2013 to look at the use of such terminology. While outcomes from that group recommended that our print, publications, web presence, and communications style guide encourage the phrase “Chinese medicine” for describing what we teach, there was no agreement on the use of the term overall and the name of the college was not changed.
In 2015, the OCOM Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved a survey of students and professionals on the attitudes toward the term “Oriental” as a descriptor of the profession and the medicine. In 2016, the results were presented at a student research conference.
Also in 2016, a bill was passed and signed into law by President Obama that removed the term “Oriental” from all federal use. This bill stimulated further national debate in our professional organizations and colleges and, over time, several accredited schools have made significant changes to their names to remove the term.
In 2018, a presentation of the 2016 campus survey results was given to the President’s direct reports. In part because of the historical lack of consensus on campus and that attitudes toward the term continued to evolve, another campus survey was ordered.
The 2018 administration-driven OCOM survey on the use of “Oriental” in the OCOM name was conducted; and the results were presented later that year to the Program Committee of the college’s Board of Trustees. During that meeting, summaries of results from both the 2016 and the 2018 surveys were discussed with board members.
Opinions on a college name change and on maintaining the term “Oriental” continued to vary greatly. The committee discussed gathering additional input, and began to assess the cost and possible paths to implementing a change to the name. No clear options emerged and no recommendation was made to the full board. The issue of changing the institution’s name was put on hold pending further input, with a recommended pivot to use limited resources for new program development and implementation.
However, out of the work in 2018, a decision for another incremental step was made: to update the titles for the college’s new programs, eliminating the term “Oriental” from degree titles except for the DAOM. The new degree titles for first professional degrees, as approved by the Board of Trustees and presented to our accreditor for approval in 2018, are DACM, MACM, and MAc.
Further, the term “Chinese medicine” is still preferred in OCOM official communications and publications. College administrators, staff, and some students have continued to raise the issue of and concern over the use and public perception of the term “Oriental” in the college name. These concerns were discussed with student leaders in a June 15, 2020 meeting and by the President with the full Board of Trustees on June 25, 2020.
Throughout these many conversations, no consensus over what should replace the name has emerged, but unease with the term “Oriental” among the OCOM community has been persistent. With support from the Board of Trustees, our current President is revisiting the college naming convention. As part of that effort, we are asking our internal audiences (students, faculty, staff, alumni) to weigh in. Information gleaned will be presented to the trustees for further consideration.
In response to student concerns as well as current events, President Sherri Green met with student leaders on June 18, 2020 to discuss a range of issues related to inclusion, bias, racial literacy, our curricula offerings on public health, and other critical issues that address health disparities.
OCOM as an institution serves BIPOC and gender and culturally diverse students, staff, faculty, and patients. The OCOM Community is committed to health, healing and social justice. Yet, not all our community members experience the safety and inclusion we aspire to as a college. While OCOM faculty, staff, students and alumni have continually served and done important work with vulnerable and marginalized communities in our clinics and across the country, we are listening closely as an institution to how we have come up short for BIPOC students. No matter the intent, we must look at impact. OCOM is responding to the call for action as a whole community.
Any path toward equity and justice requires that we see fully the roots of racism in America that go back to the very founding of our nation. We also must look clear-eyed at our own institutional shortcomings.
In particular, the recent conversation with students highlighted the importance of:
Through meetings with staff, faculty, and students over these past weeks, OCOM has recommitted to dialogue that is informed by these root concerns. Working together we can courageously improve as an institution of higher learning and lean-in together for the important work to assure a healing environment for our students, staff, faculty, and patients.
This announcement has taken some time, as we decided to slow down and listen to those most affected before planning. We can do better as an institution, and our reaction to this moment should not be superficial or fleeting. Below is a framework to guide our efforts. We will collaborate as a community and with our Board of Trustees to refine and firm up a strategic plan to move this work forward.
Institutional Change Will Involve Everyone
Our goals for this next phase of growth for our learning community are still forming, but at the core we are looking for transformation. Classes alone do not get us there, but rather full engagement of our community over time will be required.
The OCOM Library has gathered a resource page for students, faculty, staff, and alumni to use in considering ways to inform themselves on issues of bias in health care, anti-racism, and BIPOC experiences. Find the full reading and media list here.
OCOM is a member of the Coalition of Community Health Clinics, whose mission is to support a safety net of health and preventive services for low-income, uninsured, and under-served community members. They recently published resources addressing systemic racism as a public health crisis. Click here for the full list of health resources.
None of these resource lists are exhaustive, but a starting point. We will continue to update them and offer online updates.
Oregon College of Oriental Medicine has signed and returned the certification and agreement form, and intends to use the funds to provide at least 50% of the emergency financial aid grants to students.
Funds Available to Students:
The total amount of HEERF funds available to students = $50,048
Funds Disbursed/Approved to Students:
Amount distributed to students as of date of report, 5-28-2020 = $50,048
Total Number of Students Eligible for Title IV Federal Aid, and Therefore Eligible for HEERF Emergency Funds
Total students eligible to apply for funds = 210
Total Number of Students Who have Received/Were Approved an Emergency Financial Aid Grant (as of 5-11-2020)
Total number received grant = 40
Policy for Determining Which Students Did, or Will Receive Emergency Financial Aid Grant and How Much Funding They Did or Will Receive
Instructions/Announcements for Students:
The college posted two general announcements to all students informing them of the funds being available and how to apply for the funds.
First Announcement to students:
Second Announcement to students:
IRS Instructions for CARES Act funds for tax purposes:
Updated October 7, 2020
Updated June 26, 2020
Updated June 22, 2020 – Multnomah County entered Phase 1 on June 19 and a new mask requirement will stand for all indoor public spaces. In addition Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties, are now considered the Tri-county Area, as one single unit when it comes to reopening decisions. As a result of these decisions, the entire tri-county region will remain in Phase 1 for at least 21 days after June 19 before the three counties together will become eligible for Phase 2.
Multnomah County says their plan to continue to limit the spread of COVID-19 will include more testing, especially for Black, Indigenous, and people of color, as well as contact tracing.
Oregon health officials continue to stress the importance of:
• Limiting close contact with people outside your household
• Keeping six feet of distance from others when you are out in public
• Wearing a face covering
• Minimizing non-essential travel whenever possible
• Practicing basic prevention — Wash hands often, use hand sanitizer, don’t touch your face, stay home when you are sic
In addition, OCOM has received guidelines from the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) to move forward on our reopening of clinics and campus July 6. Governor Brown announced, effective June 14, 2020, that in-person instruction and clinical education at Oregon colleges and universities can resume, but only if institutions meet minimum COVID-19 public health standards adopted by the Oregon Health Authority as outlined in recently released Public Health Guidelines for the Conduct of In-person Instructional, Residential, and Research Activities at Oregon Colleges and Universities. Each college and university has the flexibility to determine how and when students return to campus, and the institution determined that the campus reopening plan developed by the OSHA pandemic task force aligns with the public health requirements contained in the guidance.
The college is beginning with a soft opening with a few additional essential staff starting this week. This includes the return of some of the Patient Services Team and the addition of new campus screeners, all of whom are doing training and onboarding. A few students will be taking the Clinic Entrance Exams on campus June 24-26; otherwise, the campus remains on restricted access this week. While we are still working on implementation details, some patients may be seen in both the OCOM Clinic and the OCOM Hollywood Clinic during the week of July 3. Normal clinic operations will resume July 6, 2020 with associated safety measures.
Updated June 2, 2020 – All Spring quarter didactic classes and clinical experiences, will remain online for the duration of Spring term through June 26. OCOM has collaborated with other colleges on a phased clinical training programs reopening plan. We await a response from the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC), the Oregon Health Authority, and the governor’s staff on approval to move forward. We will have at least one month's supply of PPE, is needed to re-open clinics and practical skills classes, with two week's worth already on hand, donated by Multnomah County and SERV-OR.
Updated April 9, 2020 – On Wednesday, April 8, Governor Kate Brown has issued an extension of Executive Order 20-09, governing COVID-19 related school closures through "the end of the school year." We understand that this means a hardship for students and working parents with children now studying at home. As an institution of graduate medical education on our own academic calendar, we have some flexibility around delivering telehealth and medical services in the interim.
We have recently been approved for extensions through June 1 for our didactic distance education, as well as our clinical distance education by our accreditor, ACAOM. ACAOM does its approval time periods in coordination with the US Department of Education — and those are continuing to evolve. It is our intention to deliver a quality academic product online for as long as it's allowable according to our accreditor and state guidelines and we are planning now for make-up shifts and practical hands-on lab hours once campus re-opens.
Updated March 19, 2020 – On Wednesday, Governor Kate Brown announced an executive order directing Oregon's higher education institutions to move their curriculums to online learning, prohibiting in-person classroom interactions through April 28 as a way to prevent transmission of COVID-19.
Thank you to all who have so quickly moved into the Zoom space for your final week of classes. We will be finishing the Winter quarter as scheduled, including your finals next week. We would also like you to know that floor-by-floor deep cleaning and sanitizing is taking place throughout the building over the break, including each individual workstation.
We are planning to start Spring quarter April 6 online. We are actively seeking opportunities to offer clinical education in an adapted format.
We know this is a hard time for everyone, and we are gathering supportive community resources for rent, food, and utilities. Please click here to link to our resources page.
Updated March 17, 2020 – Zoom is up and running, and the virtual campus will support students, faculty and staff through the end of the term. For those impacted by the COVID-19 closures, please visit our community resource page for special programs and other community assistance resources. Click here for the resource page.
Updated March 13, 2020 – OCOM Clinic and OCOM Hollywood Clinic will be closed beginning tomorrow, Saturday, March 14, 2020, until the start of Spring quarter on April 6, 2020. All remaining instruction and exams for the term will take place using Zoom, Populi, Moodle or by materials emailed to students. Updates will be sent to students over the coming week, depending upon the circumstances of the class and their stage in the program. Please be understanding and patient with your faculty as they work diligently to make this transition.
Campus will remain open this weekend for students to access lockers or other resources. You are encouraged to pick up any relevant mental health and personal support resources located outside the counseling office. Remote access to student advising and counseling are part of our planning and more to come on that as well.
While we will maintain a very small team of essential staff intermittently on campus, most work will be done remotely during this time. The campus will be closed to students and patients effective Monday, March 16, 2020 through April 5, 2020. At this time, we plan to re-open the clinic at the start of Spring quarter on April 6, 2020.
Updated March 11, 2020 – New cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Oregon and OCOM is tracking the developments closely, leadership is meeting regularly and developing action plans for all possible scenarios.
For now, the best advice is to remain calm and practice good hygiene including the following:
• Frequent and thorough hand washing
• Covering your cough
• Clean frequently used surfaces and devices
• Individuals should not come to campus or clinic if you have:
− Fever (100.4° F [38° C] or greater using an oral thermometer).
− Other symptoms like cough, vomiting, or diarrhea
If this is the case, we recommend that you call your primary health care provider, urgent care, or an emergency room before going in for an assessment.
• It is best not to return to campus your fever has been gone for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever reducing medications
• Good self care to boost immunity through proper nutrition, exercise, sleep and stress management
To receive the best personal guidance on being prepared during this evolving outbreak, we encourage you to the Oregon Health Authority website or to follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) updates.
How is OCOM Reducing the Risk of Spread of the Virus?
The college is implementing campus-wide communication campaigns and building maintenance guidelines. If you are interested in viewing those procedures, please click the links below.
What about Travel?
At this point we are not recommending a specific action other than anyone who has recently traveled to traveled to level two or three zones: South Korea, China, Italy, or Iran should:
• Consult their county health department for guidance
• Consider staying home from campus and making work arrangements
If you are interested in more information about COVID-19 risk assessment by country, click here.
Anyone planning travel, especially for spring break, should contact their airlines now to ask about cancellation and change policies. The continued spread of the COVID-19 virus to countries around the world may present challenges to travelers. It is important to consider not only the potential exposure to the virus from traveling abroad but also the possibility of being stranded abroad due to travel restrictions being put in place while traveling. Depending on developments with the disease, travelers may find themselves unable to return to the U.S. after travel to high-risk countries. To track updates on travel advisories, please click here.
While we do not relish having to refer to the campus emergency communication policy for anything other than the occasional snow day, please know that we have a process for addressing a situation of this nature. As testing for the virus increases, more cases are likely to be identified, and we will update you on any direct impact this may have on campus operations.