A $130,000 capacity building grant awarded to Oregon College of Oriental Medicine by Meyer Memorial Trust on March 1 will fund a new Director of Annual Giving position over the next three years. This new full-time staff position and expansion of OCOM's annual fund will increase the ability to build long-term, sustainable funding for the college.
Since relocating our campus to Portland’s Old Town Chinatown neighborhood in 2012, we have initiated a successful annual fundraising event and built a more visible community presence in the new neighborhood. While these successes mark important milestones for the college, an increased need to expand development efforts became clear after OCOM's February 2014 six-year strategic planning session.
The planning group identified the need to create a more diverse funding base to support our mission by expanding efforts to move away from tuition dependence. Like many universities and colleges across the U.S., a downturn in enrollment in 2012 and 2013 which, coupled with campus relocation operational costs, led OCOM to prioritize an expansion of our Institutional Advancement department in 2015. The new director position will support growth of OCOM's annual fund, deepened collaborative partnerships, and expanded capacity for community giving.
The greatest beneficiary of enhanced fundraising capacity will be OCOM’s clinics. Our teaching clinics intentionally provide low-cost health care options for the Portland metro region to ensure broad access to affordable integrative health care. While the college charges $25 per treatment, the full cost of each visit is $40. Foundation grants, individual donations, and revenues from student tuition cover the difference between the actual cost of delivering the care and the patient fee.
In 2013, the college's two master's program teaching clinics provided 22,000 patient visits; 85 percent of those visits were for individuals who self-identified as low-income. In addition, OCOM's community partnership projects and externship opportunities are focused on expanding access to low-cost or free acupuncture health care in the region to underserved community members and chronically ill patients at other health care institutions. Those include organizations such as Outside In, Central City Concern, Hooper Detox, and other Coalition of Community Health Clinics’ locations.
Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM) has received a $15,000 grant award from the Kaiser Permanente supporting access to acupuncture care for low-income patients in the Portland metro area.
Thanks to Kaiser Permanente’s support, OCOM will provide qualifying low-income community members $15 acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments. Enrollment in the program, "Expanding Health Care Access to Low-Income Patients," begins January 20, 2015. Qualifying individuals will be eligible to enroll for five $15 visits between January and October 2015.
OCOM’s Chinese medicine teaching clinics see more than 20,000 patient visits each year. Analysis of patient survey data from 2013 grantees shows that those who receive at least five treatments at our clinics get better. Among low income patients who received a course of five treatments, 92 percent reported having a chronic conditions and 100 percent reported that their conditions improved. Fifty-four percent indicated they rely on safety-net clinics even though 58 percent of them have some health insurance. Ninety-six percent of patients reported they were "extremely" or "very" satisfied with their treatments, and 22 percent reported they did not use the emergency room due to access to health care at OCOM.
"Many of our patients are dealing with serious, chronic conditions, including long-term pain. The acupuncture treatments made available through this grant support our patients to stay engaged with the people and activities that make life worth living," says Miles Sledd, LAc, OCOM Director of Clinic Operations.
Download an application or call OCOM’s Patient Services Team: OCOM Clinic, 503-445-0951; or OCOM Hollywood Clinic at 503-281-1917.
Beth Burch, ND, Dean of Doctoral Studies, is the first member of OCOM's staff and faculty to complete the Human Investigations Program (HIP) at Oregon Health and Sciences University. She graduated in 2012, earning a Certificate of Human Investigations. The HIP certificate track consists of 24 credits and offers advanced training in clinical and/or translational research. Subject matter taught in the program includes research study design, statistics, protection of human subjects, and evidence-based medicine theory, among other topics.
The HIP culminates with a capstone project of either a student-designed and executed research study or an NIH-compatible grant application. Dr. Burch chose to use OCOM's clinic data for an investigation into the treatment of musculoskeletal complaints with acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Her study, "Results of Four Acupuncture Treatments for Muscle and Joint Pain: An Analysis of Patient-Reported Outcomes Data from an Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Teaching Clinic," demonstrated significant improvement in pain and function amongst OCOM patients returning for a fifth visit over an 18-month period. The study is an excellent example of the utilization of data from OCOM's patient-centered outcomes research program, and its potential to provide valuable insight into the effect of acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatment on a variety of health conditions.
Dr. Burch presented her work at the 2013 Symposium for Portland Area Research on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (SPARC) and plans to submit the paper to a peer-reviewed journal for publication.
In addition to her role as Dean of Doctoral Studies, she teaches Oriental Medicine Research II in the master's program and oversees the doctoral capstone research projects, personally mentoring several of these projects each year.
Two papers by members of the OCOM Research Department were recently published in peer-reviewed journals. One highlights the OCOM-developed AcuTrial® database, while the other offers a case study of treatment for recurrent pregnancy loss.
The first article, written by Ben Marx, Ryan Milley, Dara Cantor, Deborah Ackerman and Richard Hammerschlag, is entitled "AcuTrials®: An Online Database of Randomized Controlled Trials and Systematic Reviews of Acupuncture." Published in the July 2013 issue of BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine, it details the development of AcuTrials®, a unique bibliographic database of randomized clinical trials and systematic reviews. It was created and is maintained by members of the OCOM Research Department to streamline literature searches in the field of acupuncture and Oriental medicine (AOM).
AcuTrials® went live in January 2010 and currently contains nearly 1,400 abstracts from over 300 medical journals. The department is continually working to source and add new articles to the database to keep it current. AcuTrials® provides multiple acupuncture-specific search options which are currently unavailable in PubMed or any other database of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) research. Included among these is an innovative keyword catalogue which allows users to search by such categories as treatment protocol, control type, and style of acupuncture.
Prior to the release of AcuTrials®, literature searches for acupuncture studies could only be conducted across multiple databases, none of which were cataloged with acupuncture-specific language. The authors hope that AcuTrials® will continue to grow and realize its potential to improve the accessibility and quality of acupuncture research.
The second article — "Recurrent Pregnancy Loss and Traditional Chinese Medicine" — was authored by Lee Hullender Rubin, Dara Cantor and Ben Marx. It was published in the June 2013 issue of Medical Acupuncture. This paper presents a case report of a 42-year-old woman with the diagnoses of recurrent pregnancy loss and diminished ovarian reserve. The patient was tracked from six months prior to conception through the delivery of a healthy baby boy while receiving acupuncture treatments and Chinese herbal therapy from Dr. Hullender Rubin.
Case studies are an important component of the AOM evidence base, as they allow clinicians to share a richness of clinical detail that isn't possible in other types of evidence. Often, slight modifications to the acupuncture protocol or an herbal formula, are the keys to clinical success. Case studies permit a more detailed description of these modifications, and allow practitioners to share their work with colleagues without having to adhere to a restrictive study design.
Congratulations to these authors for their fine work!
A collaborative effort between the OCOM Research Department and the Oregon Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (OAAOM) is resulting in a steady expansion of coverage for acupuncture under the Oregon Health Plan (OHP), which provides health care coverage to low-income Oregonians. Each month, more than 600,000 people receive health care coverage through the OHP.
Under the OHP, individual condition/treatment pairs are rank-ordered and assigned a place on an official prioritized list according to their impact on health, the clinical effectiveness of available treatments, and cost-effectiveness. Beginning in 2009, the OCOM Research Department and the OAAOM began locating, assessing and submitting high-quality research demonstrating acupuncture's effectiveness for a variety of conditions to the Oregon Health Evidence Review Commission (HERC). Shelley Stump (OCOM's Planning, Operations, and Assessment Officer), Laura Ocker (President Emeritus of the OAAOM), Ryan Milley (OCOM Adjunct Research Faculty) and Ben Marx (OCOM Research Associate) worked closely with successive groups of OCOM master's students to identify research evidence for submission. Ocker, Milley and Marx also appeared before the HERC to provide expert testimony regarding the research, and answer the commission's questions as they arise during debate.
Since the start of this collaborative effort in 2009, acupuncture has been paired with eight conditions on the OHP prioritized list: pregnancy-related hyperemesis gravidarum (extreme, persistent nausea and vomiting) , breech presentation, back and pelvic pain of pregnancy, post-stroke depression, disorders of the spine with neurologic impairment, chronic low back pain, migraine headaches, and tension-type headaches. Two additional conditions, chronic neck pain and osteoarthritis of the knee — both for up to 12 acupuncture sessions — have been approved by the HERC in 2013.
Seven of these conditions currently reside above the funding line on the prioritized list, while three conditions — chronic neck pain, chronic low back pain, and tension headaches — are all "below the line" conditions, meaning they are not currently reimbursed. Though not reimbursed, having such recognition of the evidence for acupuncture to address these conditions serves as a model for other state plans, and is a formal acknowledgement by the Oregon Health Authority of acupuncture's effectiveness.
This ongoing work shows the valuable role research can play at the public policy level in validating acupuncture's clinical effectiveness, expanding access to low-income citizens, and supporting the expansion of the acupuncture profession.
— Ben Marx, OCOM Research Associate
Kaiser Permanente Hospitals Foundation’s Community Gives program recently awarded Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM) $20,000 to provide discounted treatments to low-income community members seeking health care at the college’s downtown clinic, OCOM Clinic.
The program, Expanding Health Care Access to Low-Income Community Members, will provide 160 community members who fall at or below the federal poverty line access to $15 acupuncture treatments. Current OCOM patients will be eligible to participate as well as interested community members. The college will also partner with Central City Concern’s Old Town Clinic to refer new patients directly to the Health Care Access program.
OCOM clinics have seen a continuous growth in patients seeking Chinese medicine health care options, in part thanks a growing base of research that demonstrates the effectiveness and preventative nature of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. Over the last 30 years, OCOM clinics have provided more than 10 million patient visits to the Oregon community. In 2012, OCOM's clinics provided 24,000 patient visits — more than 80 percent of those patients identified as living at or above the poverty line.
“Even though our teaching clinics provide low-cost acupuncture options to patients,” says OCOM’s Director of Clinic Operations, Miles Sledd, “we still have a large number of patients who can’t afford health care services.”
“Most don’t have health insurance to begin with, and many can’t afford consistent out-of-pocket care. Funding from Kaiser Permanente’s Hospital Foundations allows us to support our community members who need access to health care the most.”
Founded in 1983, Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM) is a nonprofit single-purpose professional graduate school offering master’s and doctoral degrees in acupuncture and Oriental medicine. Named the number one acupuncture college in 2012, OCOM’s mission is to transform health care by educating highly skilled and compassionate practitioners, providing exemplary patient care, and engaging in innovative research within a community of service and healing.
In 2011, OCOM Chair of Biomedicine Dr. Joe Coletto and Director of Student Affairs Nancy Grotton traveled to Baltimore, Maryland to participate in a Mind-Body Medicine training offered by Georgetown University Medical Center’s Dr. Aviad Haramati. The objective was to train facilitators from medical schools around the world in a program designed to support students in reducing stress levels and increasing self-awareness, so as to become more compassionate people and practitioners.
While Haramati developed the Mind-Body Medicine program to help medical school students, the program also realized additional benefits with the inclusion of faculty and staff in the process. Ultimately, Georgetown’s program proved so successful in reducing stress and increasing compassion that Haramati expanded its reach by offering the training to other medical school faculty and administrators across the US and around the world.
Coletto and Grotton attended Haramati’s training with the intention of introducing the Mind-Body Medicine curriculum to OCOM students, as well as interested faculty and staff, who would then lead Mind-body groups for students. Intention became reality in the winter of 2012, when they introduced the course. To date, OCOM’s Mind-Body Medicine program has engaged more than 70 students, faculty and staff.
An experiential meditation course, the 11-week Mind-Body Medicine program introduces a variety of mind-body approaches — including meditation, guided imagery, biofeedback, breathing techniques, art, music and movement — that can alleviate stress and foster self-awareness and self-care. Groups of 10 participants and two facilitators meet for two hours each week. Participants are asked to assess their levels of stress in the first class and again in the final class — this information is tracked via surveys and provides valuable feedback about the impact of the program on participants’ stress levels. At the end of the course, participants are encouraged to continue to engage in one or more of the meditation techniques they learned through the program, to help them maintain healthy levels of stress and continue to connect to their compassionate natures.
OCOM participant survey results have been extremely positive in demonstrating decreased stress levels. Given the great source of data the pre and post surveys provide, Coletto and Grotton have now developed a research project that tracks the course’s survey results to document quantitative and qualitative results. Their goal is to share those results with other medical schools to help inspire other schools to adopt the Mind-Body Medicine program. Coletto has successfully done so in Scotland and most recently for Georgetown’s Integrative Physiology master’s students.
Given the program’s success at OCOM over such a short period of time, Coletto believes the number of participants will not only continue to grow each year, but will help the entire college engage in a more positive way. “This program really represents cultural change,” says Coletto, “If enough people — students, staff, faculty — are more self-aware, it will make OCOM’s overall community a better educational institution and workplace, and help us provide better patient care.”
OCOM’s Mind-Body Medicine program is now a noncredit elective for master’s students, and has a growing waitlist. Students and facilitators who have completed the course continue to engage in the techniques they found most useful. “The meditation techniques I learned in the Mind-Body program are still as relevant to me now as when we were all going through the class it together,” said one participant. “It really helped me prioritize taking care of me so I could be more effective in other areas of my life, including work — and helped me build stronger ties to the OCOM community, too.”