I am studying for my DAOM at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine at their Chicago location. What that really means is that I am studying what we like to call integrated medicine. While our focus is on Oriental treatment methods we also learn how we can fit into an integrated plan with a Western trained physician. The bottom line is that this is about the patient’s health and not about what kind of treatment is being used so we learn when we can be functional stand-alone doctors and when our treatments would work best in conjunction with another method such as helping a patient recover from chemotherapy more quickly than they might do with more conventional Western methods.
Here I am with a couple friends I met in my first term. We started a study group early on since we all understood that learning something as complicated as medicine, say nothing about an integrated medicine program can be tough so studying as a group as well as on your own has already shown to be a real help since we can quiz each other.
Studying any medical program is challenging but our teaching is not just in Chinese/Oriental medicine. It also includes the basics of Western style medicine like anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, biochem etc. Another important class we take on the “Western” side of the subject is medical terminology so that we can communicate within the Western medical community as well as our own patients in a language they are used to rather than always be talking in esoteric oriental speech patterns. In these classes we use the same texts as America’s top medical schools. This is why PCOM can now offer the DAOM (doctor of acupuncture and oriental medicine) that is gaining recognition in the Western community as being a real doctor rather than just someone who might make you feel better but not ever heal you.
I really can’t say enough good things about the teachers at PCOM. This is Elaine Vozar who teaches herbology and has shifts where she runs the clinic floor. The PCOM clinic is a great place to go for acupuncture, herbology and massage treatments. The prices are cheaper than a regular practitioner as you are often treated by a student clinician but all clinicians are overseen by people like Elaine who are licensed and practicing and have a standing reputation as being a successful healer so they can offer great health care at a lower cost than what you might expect.
I haven’t even had one of Elaine’s classes yet but I’ve been sitting outside in our study group listening to her lectures more than once. My wife and I have also had treatments at the clinic under her care and we will both happily attest to the fact that sheis a compassionate healer who really cares about her patients. From being briefly under her care and listening outside her class it is easy to see that she is passionate and talented at what she does and what she teaches. Her lectures are lively and engaging and I can’t wait to officially sign up for my first class with her.
As I come into the last half of my 2nd term at school I can tell that I’m setting in and getting used to the challenge. I’ll keep posting as I go but I can already say that this is an exciting journey and I’m truly blessed to be able to learn from such great healers and educators.