On April 8, more than 160 supporters filled Oregon College of Oriental Medicine’s KPC Community Room for the college’s annual Cherry Blossom Gala. The event raised an all-time high of $112,280 to promote OCOM’s top-ranked academic programs and to expand access to integrative health care.

As the evening began, President and Chief Executive Officer, Deborah Howe, PhD, FAICP, expressed her admiration for OCOM’s students, noting they “come to OCOM because they know that Chinese medicine is effective and they want to become healers… they are willing to work extraordinarily hard for their education and — more importantly — their future patients and the medicine.”

Master’s program student and clinic intern, Travis Kern, shared an inspiring story about his life-changing work with a patient who receives regular acupuncture treatments to help overcome the physical and emotional impact of limited mobility after suffering from a severe stroke. “She relies on our clinics, our knowledgeable interns, and our accessible services to stay in control and to remain connected to her health and healing journey. Chinese medicine is an essential component in helping people live more satisfying lives, an essential component to adding good health into all of our mantras.”

Attendees included OCOM co-founder, Eric Stevens, DAOM, LAc, and three of the 34-year-old college’s first supervisors: Robert Kaneko, DAOM, LAc; Joseph Colleto, ND, LAc; and Janet LaRosa, DOM, LAc. Metro Councilor Carlotta Collette was also an honored guest.

Also attending were several of OCOM’s renowned faculty leaders, staff, alumni, students, and community supporters. The evening’s program was led by emcee and Chief Development Officer, Dave Eshbaugh, and auctioneer, Heidi Hill, who encouraged donors to give at personally significant levels.

OCOM’s trustees, Dea-Anne D’Amico, MA; Lea Anne Doolittle, MBA; Charles R. Elder, MD, MPH, FACP; Michell M. Hay; Gene G. Hong, MD; Dustin R. Klinger, JD; Brad J. Malsin, MD; Juliet T. Moran; Karen M. Williams, JD; and Leah R. Yamaguchi, LAc celebrate the success of the gala and thank all who contributed.
Photos from the event are available for viewing on OCOM’s official Facebook page: /OCOMPDX.

For more information, contact: Vice President of Communications, Beth Howlett, MAcOM, LAc, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 503-253-3443 x196

Download the press release (PDF)


 Michell Hay, Board Treasurer; Steve Sebers; and Dawn-Starr Crowther

Sarah Hammer; Leah Yamaguchi, Board Member and Gala Chair; and Courtney Prince

Karen Williams, Board Chair; Audrey DeMott

Kathy Calgano; Kenny Roders; Penny Stephenson; and Liz Malsin

On January 28, 2017, Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods Integrative Medicine Scholarship finalist and Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM) student, Diego Garcia, took home the top prize among all the student representatives. The panel, composed of other finalists from OHSU, University of Western States, National University of Natural Medicine, and Pacific University, engaged in a discussion of topics in holistic nutrition, themed “Food as Medicine.” The panel and scholarship contest are part of the annual Student Alliance for Integrative Medicine (SAIM) event celebrating Integrative Medicine Day. The conference at the OHSU Collaborative Life Sciences building also featured expert panel discussions on integrative approaches to physical performance and managing chronic illness in pediatric patients.

In reflecting on the process of selecting a finalist, OCOM’s SAIM representative Mallory Harman remembers: “We were so impressed with Diego’s story, his passion for the medicine, his ability to articulate his ideas, and his firm and confident ability to speak on the spot.” Garcia said of his winning video and panel performance, “I’m really excited to represent OCOM and to do my best to keep our school at the forefront of natural medicine.” Congratulations to Diego and all the contest finalists!

Diego Garcia - Oregon College of Oriental Medicine
Derich Hartfeil - National University of Natural Medicine
Arthur Knepper - Oregon Health and Science University
Natasha Smith - University of Western States
Jeff Szabo - Pacific University

Watch OCOM’s contest entries streaming online:

2017 winner Diego Garcia’s video on whole grain pancake and waffle mix:

All the OCOM 2017 contest submissions:
https://youtu.be/cXajeiPeXTI by Leah Friend

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLit0umjzfI&edit=vd by Beth Randles

https://youtu.be/EesNaOKKkAs by Elizabeth Marr

https://youtu.be/bJ-bhguVJHg by Dixie Small

2015 and 2016 winner Travis Kern’s videos on kamut and teff:

2012 winner Eliot Sitt’s video on spelt:

Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM) received a $5,000 grant award from the Juan Young Trust supporting access to acupuncture and Chinese medicine for children and young adults.

Thanks to the Trust's support, OCOM is able to provide qualifying community members aged 21 years and younger with up to 10 free treatments. Enrollment in this special youth-focused program begins January 3, 2017 and is designed to reduce barriers to receiving an optimal course of treatment. OCOM’s affordable sliding scale fees of $25-$35 continue to apply for all patients of any age in need of access to care.

“This generous grant provides OCOM with an excellent opportunity to provide care for children and young adults and gives our students exposure and experience with pediatric care and young adult care,” says Brooke Alsaker, OCOM Director of Clinical Operations. Analysis of OCOM clinic data revealed that only two percent of current intern patients are under 21, while our alumni report serving 5-20 percent in their professional practices. This award from Juan Young Trust will provide youth with access to care while also increasing meaningful clinical training opportunities for OCOM students.

OCOM is a 33-year-old nonprofit graduate institution that operates two Portland-area teaching clinics: one in the Old Town Chinatown neighborhood and another in the Hollywood neighborhood of northeast Portland. OCOM’s Chinese medicine teaching clinics serve approximately 3,000 patients each year. As a member of the Coalition of Community Health Clinics, the college is committed to supplying a safety net of health care access for the underserved.

To enroll in the program, call OCOM’s Patient Services Team at 503-445-0950.


For more information regarding OCOM partnership and sponsorship opportunities, contact 503-253-3443 x107.

Stay tuned for OCOM's 10th Annual Cherry Blossom Gala in Spring 2022

Together we can transform health care!

Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM) received a $15,000 grant award from Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit Program supporting access to acupuncture care for low-income patients in the Portland metro area.

Thanks to Kaiser’s support, OCOM will provide low-income community members $15 acupuncture and Oriental medicine treatments for qualifying individuals. Enrollment in the program, Expanding Health Care Access to Low-Income Patients, begins now, with appointments starting January 3, 2017. Qualifying individuals will be eligible to enroll for five $15 visits between January and October 2017. OCOM’s affordable sliding scale fees of $25-$35 continue to apply for all patients in need of access to care.

OCOM is a 33-year-old nonprofit graduate institution that operates two Portland-area teaching clinics: one in the Old Town Chinatown neighborhood and another in the Hollywood neighborhood of northeast Portland. OCOM’s Chinese medicine teaching clinics serve approximately 3,000 patients each year. As a member of the Coalition of Community Health Clinics, the college is committed to supplying a safety net of health care access for the underserved.

Analysis of patient survey data from 2015 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, 84 percent reported having chronic conditions, with 98 percent then reporting that their conditions improved. Seventy-eight percent of grant recipients have some health insurance; among those, 84 percent are on OHP or Medicaid/Medicare. One hundred percent of patients reported they were “extremely” or “very” satisfied with their treatments. Thirty-two percent reported they did not use the emergency room due to access to health care at OCOM funded by this grant.

“The grant provides a great opportunity for Kaiser Permanente and OCOM to partner together,” says OCOM Trustee Charles Elder, MD, “The grant allows us to expand health care access to low-income members of our community by funding and providing high quality, evidence based integrative care.”

For additional information about the program is available by calling OCOM’s Patient Services Team: OCOM Clinic at 503-445-0950, or OCOM Hollywood Clinic at 503-281-1917. To apply for this program, download and complete the program's enrollment form.

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. Over 1,400 graduates practice, teach, and research Chinese medicine in 50 states and across the globe, and have provided an estimated 10 million treatments over the past 33 years. Additional information about our programs is available on our website: ocom.edu

About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and nonprofit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 10 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia, including more than 540,000 medical and 250,000 dental members in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, dentists, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical and dental teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: kp.org/share.

About Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit
Community Benefit connects Kaiser Permanente with the communities we serve, expanding our influence beyond our clinics and hospitals to create new and equal opportunities for everyone to live a long, healthy life. In 2015, we contributed more than $141 million toward healthier communities in the Northwest.

About Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM)
Founded in 1983, OCOM is a single-purpose nonprofit graduate school that offers two specialized degree programs: Master of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (MAcOM) and Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM). 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. Our 1,402 graduates practice, teach and research Chinese medicine in 50 states and across the globe, and have provided an estimated 10 million treatments during the past 33 years. In 2012, OCOM relocated its campus and clinic to a LEED Gold certified academic, clinic and research facility in Old Town Chinatown.

As the #1 school of acupuncture in the country, OCOM offers not just a master’s program, but also a highly regarded Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine degree (DAOM). The program is delivered in a modular format, during which students meet over a long weekend each month, allowing students to practice while simultaneously completing their doctorate. Some students attend the doctoral program after years of clinical work, while some come straight through from their master’s studies. Those who choose OCOM's accelerated three-year track and go straight through can complete both degrees in five years. It’s a challenging path, and not for everyone, so we asked three OCOM grads who have taken the five-year path to their doctoral degree — Andrew Vu (AV), Colin Gold (CG), and Cissey Ye (CY) —  to talk about their experiences. 

Did you plan from the beginning to go straight through OCOM's master's program to the DAOM program?

CY - I did not originally plan to go straight through both programs, but by the time I finished my first year I knew that I would want the terminal degree in the field of acupuncture and Chinese medicine and to learn as much as I could within an academic setting, especially to learn more about research.

CG - Yes, I did plan from the very beginning to go directly into the doctoral program from the master’s program. In some ways I considered the two together to be one full five-year program. Of course I still had to make sure that I was accepted into the doctoral program. I made it a point to talk about my interest in the doctoral program with the admissions department and the dean of the doctoral program. One of the reasons I chose to come to OCOM for my master’s degree was that they had a strong doctoral program as well. I knew that if I was going to devote myself to this profession, then I wanted to get as much training and education as I could.

AV - No, I did not. I actually don't think I knew there was a doctoral program when I first started school at OCOM.

Why did you decide to go directly through both programs and what was the advantage of doing so?

CY - I was already in student mode, and I knew that for me it would be hard to go back to school once I was out of that academic mode. I had also gone into the master’s program straight from undergrad, so I did not have a break. So, yes, I did kindergarten through doctoral — 22 years of school in one go! — and that is not the path that many people take. However, the biggest influence for my decision was speaking to current students and those who have gone through the DAOM program to make sure it was right for me.

CG - Well, like I mentioned, I tried to think of both programs together as one five-year training rather than two separate and unrelated degrees. I think there are benefits and drawbacks to either entering the doctoral program directly or waiting until one has more professional experience.

I’m interested in working in hospitals and academic medical centers, and these types of positions often look for applicants with doctoral degrees. One of the advantages of going straight through both programs is that when you finally finish you are in a better position when applying for jobs, or if starting your own private practice, in marketing yourself as one of the few doctors of acupuncture and Chinese medicine in the country.

AV - One of my teachers told me I should apply for the doctoral program during my intern year. My parents also urged me to apply. I preferred going through the DAOM right after the master's program because a lot of information was still fresh in my mind.

Why did you choose OCOM?

CY - I chose OCOM due to its reputation as the preeminent institution within the U.S. to pursue a degree in acupuncture and Chinese medicine. OCOM’s recognized research department was a huge draw for me since research is one of the key languages used in communicating about Chinese medicine’s role in integrative medicine. I also grew up in Portland, and it is the perfect environment to learn and cultivate this medicine due to the natural beauty and scenery of the region.

CG - I chose OCOM for a variety of reasons. I knew that it was one of the most highly regarded Chinese medical schools in the country. I also liked that they had a strong herbal, biomedicine, and research emphasis. As I mentioned before, I knew I wanted to go right into the doctoral program and the fact that OCOM has a great program also influenced my decision.

AV - My cousin is an OCOM graduate. He told me it would change the way I thought about things, and he was correct.

What are the key differences in the two programs (master's and doctoral)?

CY - The doctoral program is much more self-paced and directed compared to the rigorously structured master’s program. Since you are not in class everyday with a set schedule, it is important to have self discipline and time allotted for schoolwork.The master’s program is more homogenized, with everyone in a class learning new concepts at the same time. In contrast, the doctoral program is a mix of practitioners with different levels of experience with contrasting ideas and styles of practice. You also maintain an active practice while being in school for the doctoral program. For me, balancing the doctoral assignments while navigating the complexities of owning your own practice, building a clientele, and managing the business side of things was the hardest challenge.

CG - The master’s program is all about learning a new profession, and really a new way to look at the world, the body, and health. It’s very much like learning a new language, sometimes literally! It’s a very intense program and it needs to be. Graduates of the master’s program become medical professionals responsible for caring for others’ health and well-being. As a master’s student, most things you are learning are totally new and there are a lot of tests and exams to make sure you are competent and prepared to become a practitioner.

In the doctoral program, you and your classmates are already licensed professionals. The focus shifts from teaching you the medicine to deepening your knowledge and developing new skills. There are no more tests and quizzes in the way you are used to in the master’s program. The bulk of the work you do in the doctoral program comes as various writing assignments and presentations. There is much more emphasis on academic writing through case studies, case analysis, peer-presentations, research literature reviews, etc. The program prepares you to follow several possible career tracks from advanced clinician to researcher to teacher/faculty member or any combination of these.

AV – The master's program lays out the foundation of acupuncture and herbs. The doctoral program builds on it as well as give you a feel of the profession as a whole. There is a greater emphasis in writing case studies and research in the doctoral program.

How do you feel that both programs have prepared you to be the best practitioner you can be?

CY – OCOM’s master’s program definitely provides a solid foundation for anyone that wants to seek a career path in acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Even though the DAOM program goes over more advanced topics, I felt that the master’s program had exposed us to such a broad spectrum of ideas and topics that I did not feel like I was starting from scratch.

The doctoral program helped me learn to deeply access information to help me in practice regardless if it's for clinical practice or research. I also feel like I have a broader network of colleagues that have exposed me to new ways of thinking and styles of treatment and makes me a more well rounded and open minded practitioner. It can also help you narrow down what you gravitate toward and focus on a specialization.

CG – I learned so much during my time in the doctoral program, both from my teachers and from my classmates. I feel like not only my clinical skills improved but my abilities as a writer, public speaker, and academic developed greatly as well. The advanced training we received in modern biomedical approaches helped me to develop my interest in integrative medicine. Since I also hope to eventually work in an academic medical center, all of the coursework on research, writing, professional development, Chinese and Western medicine have helped me greatly advance along that path.

AV – The master's program prepared me to be a practitioner. The doctoral program motivated me to strive to be a better and more efficient practitioner as well as becoming more involved with the profession.

Is there any advice you'd offer to someone thinking of taking this path?

CY – Time management skills and being able to juggle class, assignments, building and running a practice and fitting in personal time are essential. It is not easy to do all in one go, but if you have the support system to do so and you want to go into research and get published, then this is a great way to get that accomplished within five years.

CG – I think choosing to pursue a doctoral degree is highly personal. There are many reasons why one might want to take this path. A lot will be determined by your career goals. The doctoral degree is not required to enter the profession and have a successful career. If you want to work in a hospital, as part of a team with other doctors, or in an academic institution, I believe the DAOM will definitely help. Even if you simply want to learn all you can about this medicine and receive the most education and training you can get, it is worth it! What also makes it worthwhile are the relationships you develop with your classmates. These people are your colleagues, peers, friends, and teachers. I learned so much from my classmates and developed lifelong friendships. In the end, you will get out of the program as much as you put into it.

AV – I think it is best to go straight through both programs. In the future, a doctorate in acupuncture will likely be the standard. The best way to get through the doctoral program is to socialize with your classmates after class. You are in class from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM each day. I would not have made it through the DAOM without socializing with people after class. You will have people from all over the country flying in for DAOM and it is an opportune time to learn more about them.

Is there anything you'd like to add?

CY – The people you meet along your journey and the bonds you make with your classmates in becoming a Chinese medicine practitioner will be everlasting and you can learn a lot from your peers.

CG – Since the doctoral degree is purely optional and it comes with additional costs and years of schooling, you should have a very clear idea of why you want to pursue it. Having a clear and strong motivation will help you meet any challenges and get the most out of the program. If you can do that then all the years of training, all the classes, all the work, is totally worth it.

OCOM’s Director of Admissions, Anna Grace, recently spoke with incoming master’s student, Tameka Lim-Velasco, about her experiences navigating the Federal Financial Aid process.

OCOM: When did you apply for Federal Financial Aid (FFA) in 2016?
Tameka Lim-Velasco: April or May, as I was waiting for my husband’s green card.

If you could have applied a year earlier, would you have?
Yes, why not?

What benefits do you see this year for students being able to apply October 1?
FFA would be done and out of the way. One would have extra time to figure out other forms of financial support such as scholarships.

Did you use our website as a resource?
Yes, ocom.edu was very user-friendly. There are clear links and information that explain all available options. In fact, I found a link that took me right to the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)[link to https://fafsa.ed.gov/] website. Very helpful!

How helpful was the Admissions Seminar you attended?
Hearing the information in-person at the Admissions Seminar was most helpful! Judy (Gjesdal, Director of Financial Aid) talked about FAFSA and pretty much gave me all the information I needed.

Was the FAFSA difficult to complete?
FAFSA is very easy to do. The requirements are simple, not complicated!

Did you know you could be accepted to the college before doing the FAFSA?
Yes. You don’t have to wait to begin your application for admission.

How quickly did you receive responses when asking questions to the Financial Aid or Admissions departments?
Very fast! Judy always e-mailed me within a day.

Tell me about your overall experience with OCOM’s Financial Aid department?
Really flexible! They did a great job in letting us know we have options. Judy is excellent at making the process less scary.

Learn more about starting your OCOM education by contacting our Admissions team