In the last issue of the Luo Down I used this column to express some personal reflections about the effects in the few months after the September 11 attacks. It comes to my mind now, as spring is about to burst with renewal, that personal reflection through life experience is part of what draws all of us to alternative health. We were to some degree attracted to the process of lineage, wisdom, investigation, application, and reevaluation before we chose this methodology for our vocation. So I am tempted to once again share with you some thoughts that have been engaging me for some time.
In relationships with our peers, in relationships with faculty and administrators, and especially in our relationships with clinic patients, it seems vital to me to create and maintain a conscious and safe communication.
Communication was a word that I chose very deliberately, and after considering you who are reading this article. I chose the word for its connotations within our medicine, for its relevance in the emotional, spiritual, and physical organ we call the heart, as communication is our interface within our "Supreme Controller" and the outer environment. The joy that can be associated with connection is the natural extension of our spirit, be that connection to the person who waits on you at the grocery store, a classmate, a teacher, a patient. We still carry our innate humanity into every situation we face, and we have the opportunity to be deliberate in creating the communication that allows a deep connection to be expressed, or to close ourselves from others in fear or judgement.
Words and how we use them have power in our lives, because of how they intentionally and unintentionally promote our expression of spirit, and how we will receive others. A look, a shrug, passing on a rumor, using sarcasm, assuming, objectifying, are ways we have learned to treat others daily that will create an unsafe environment and disable our ability to communicate truth and place ourselves with others in common humanity.
Lofty words, I know, but spend a day as any one of our clinic patients that we might label as "difficult," imagine the commitment it takes for each one of your faculty to address a room full of students sometimes equally eager to judge as to learn and you might see that we can choose to create a safe place for each other, or we can reaffirm negative stereotyping on a daily basis.
Close to the six-month anniversary of September 11, our local weekly paper ran an interview with a modern philosopher named don Miguel Ruiz, and an excerpt of his book, The Four Agreements. I invite you to sit with these a bit, as they offer sound and heartful (again, a word chosen deliberately) way to create an atmosphere of safety:
The Four Agreements
» Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using words to speak against yourself or to gossip about others.
» Don't take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality.
» Don't make assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama.
» Always do your best. Your best will change from moment to moment. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse and regret.
This is good advice for anyone at any time. It is especially relevant in our clinic, and in our relationships while undergoing the crucible of a Master's level program. I have noticed that whenever I want to judge a patient, or any person really, as having some behavior that I want to term difficult, there is always a reason and a history that put them in the position of reacting to the world the way they do. When I suspend my assumptions and allow the room for me to just be with them, usually that's when they feel safe enough to tell me the entire context of any incident. This enables me to take a more holistic view, and to allow others to be the humans that they are. In turn, I open within myself the ability to be genuinely present.
Our anticipated move to our new clinic facility was delayed from fall, but the wait will be worth it. We'll be moving into our new clinic facilities in Boulder over the May break. The new space has thirteen treatment rooms all with their own sink, exhaust fan, and outside windows, four large conference rooms and four (count 'em - four!) coat closets. We will have the space to expand our pharmacy, have a separate reception office, and a comfortable and spacious waiting room for our patients.
Our new clinic takes up the entire first floor of the building directly across the parking lot from our current administrative and classroom building, so our campus will be professional, functional and consolidated at last. We've been working on expanding and consolidating our facilities since Fall of 2000; so we are delighted to feel that we have space that will meet our needs for some time to come.
We graduated a class of 16 in December 2001, bringing the total of Boulder campus alumni to 54. We hear interesting rumors about them. Becky Hawkins ('00) had such a booming practice that she needed new office space almost from the day she started. Kevin Doherty found a practice in upstate New York where he was treating 60 patients a week from day one. Charlotte Rafter('01), Paul Smiddy ('01) and Jeanette Rogge ('01) opened an office in Longmont, Colorado that wins the "best feng shui" award of 2002. James Heinritz ('00) has been to China three times since he went with our school last summer. Martin Eisele ('01) is still in China, and has very interesting and hilarious stories to tell about non-stop fireworks for weeks on either side of the Chinese New Year. Tammy Ellison ('00) is open for business in Montana, Brendan Chuapoco ('00) and Katie Whitmore ('00) are busy and established in Iowa, Toni Idiaquez ('01) is breaking into the newly-legalized state of Georgia. We see Sylvia Pelcz-Larsen ('00), Kim Norquist ('00), and Carol Conigliaro ('00) as assistants in classes, and Elizabeth Moses ('01), Marie Fossaceca ('01), and Charlotte Rafter ('01) are finishing our Chemistry course as post-graduates on their way to sitting for the California Boards.
The new parents on our block are Dean Keller and Carl del Tufo, both having welcomed their babies in during the Fall 2001 semester. As hard as it may be to believe, this ends the baby boom of 00-02 at the Boulder campus. We went from having 10% of our students actively procreating to none that are revealing their expectations. All parents and babies are doing well.
Christine Harrison, Dipl. Ac., Dipl. C. H., L. Ac., graduated from the Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine in 1993. Christine worked at the school from 1991 through 1996 in administration and as an instructor. From 1996-98, she managed the Colorado School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She currently serves as an Alternative Medicine Preceptor for Internal Medicine Residents attending the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. She has maintained a private practice in Denver since 1993. Christine is a clinical supervisor.
Laurel Lewis, Dipl. Ac., L. Ac., graduated with her Associate Degree in Nursing from Cabrillo College in 1985. She worked as an R.N. in various western medical settings including as a charge nurse on a med-surg unit, in home health, a critical care nurse, and as a nurse case manager. She completed her TCM education at Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine in 1999. She worked at Southwest Acupuncture College as clinic director from August 2000 until June 2001, and as assistant instructor since January 2000. Laurel teaches Biomedical Pharmacology.
Hui Zhang, Dipl. Ac., Dipl. C.H., received his Bachelor of Science in Medicine from Beijing College of Acupuncture-Moxibustion and Orthopedics-Traumatology in 1992. After graduation, he worked at the Institute of Orthopedics & Traumatology at the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine for six years, spending his first year in the orthopedics ward, and subsequent years in the orthopedic emergency room. He has participated in research studies including osteoporosis, prolapsed lumbar intervertebral disc disease, radius fractures, cervical spondylosis, and fractures of the anklebones. Hui earned his Diplomate in Acupuncture and Diplomate in Chinese Herbology in 1999. He has been in private practice in boulder since 1999. Hui is the Clinic Director at the Boulder campus.
The 2ND Annual Vendor Fair for Santa Fe and Albuquerque and the 3rd Annual in Boulder is happening again this summer. This is a wonderful event for students, especially graduating seniors. Vendors send samples, product catalogs, information and more for students. Graduating seniors are often honored with free merchandise. Some vendors are able to come and provide personal explanations and demonstrations of the wide variety of herbs, supplies and equipment that you will use as future acupuncturists. Last year's participating vendors include Blue Light Inc., Blue Poppy, Golden Flower/Spring Wind, Kan Herb Company, Lotus Herbs, Mayway, Metagenics, OMS, and Stronglife. We hope to see you there!
The acupuncture sunset bill has been passed in Colorado. Colorado is a Republican-controlled, medically conservative state. The philosophy of the legislature has been and will continue to be one of seeking to limit the role of government in regulating health professions. Because of this philosophy, for instance, a State Department of Regulatory Agencies rather than a medical board regulates us. This has worked to the advantage of the acupuncturists, however, as the Department of Regulatory Agencies takes a least amount of paperwork, broadest interpretation of scope approach.
Colorado HB 1117, the Acupuncturist's Sunset Legislation, was proposed by our Department of Regulatory Agencies to accomplish three things:
The way our law is written, applicants can meet the certification routes through either the California or NCCAOM certification exams, both of which require educational programs to be approved or accredited. Boulder Campus students must take the NCCAOM acupuncture certification exam.
On March 13, Governor Bill Owens agreed with the Colorado House and Senate and signed the bill into law. The change in title takes effect immediately.
Licensure by endorsement is a rather cutting-edge proposal among state regulatory agencies. The proposal allows the Office of Acupuncturist Registration to streamline its registration procedures for acupuncturists already licensed in other states. An applicant who is currently licensed, in practice, and in good standing in another jurisdiction that posses credentials and qualifications substantially equivalent to the requirements in Colorado, would be granted a license on the basis of the current license in their jurisdiction. Licensure by endorsement is already allowed for other health care professionals in Colorado including podiatrists, optometrists, physical therapists, and mental health professionals.
Many of our students helped quite a bit during the legislative process. They organized and made countless phone calls on the eve of both the house and senate votes to members of the acupuncture profession to request calls to legislators. Lisa Lowe contributed agonizing hours trying to assign house and senate districts. Ann-Marie Yeager, Heather Bullock, Donna Sigmond, Erin Pass, Susan Gallagher, Craig Houchen, Robby Tozzi, Jahsun Handy, Marcie Lamoreaux, Jan Livergood, Jenny Collins, Mimi Lam and Robert Fueston have our gratitude for their help.
I really do not recall Lonny Jarrett discussing esoteric hand washing.
Yes, I do realize that the CNT manual does not specify how high off the floor your clean field must be, however, placed on the floor next to your treatment table is probably not acceptable. So
An intern clinic is a place of wonder, where all who enter have a part to play. A student gaining valuable knowledge and experience or perhaps a teacher mastering the art of communication or a patient experiencing the process of healing. It is a place where a soul can find its destiny or simply a sense of accomplishment. A place where theory is challenged and the memorization of point location justified. A place where compassion, sensitivity and professionalism is mandatory. This place must not be taken for granted, nor taken lightly. It is to be experienced completely and with respect, for its is a place of wonder.
When asked to write about any new happenings at our campus, I finally decided to selfishly write about myself as the new Santa Fe Campus Director and as a SWAC Alumni. In July 2001, Anthony and Skya hired me to fill the newly created position of Santa Fe Campus Director. I left my private practice of approximately 6 years in Charleston, SC and started my new position in Santa Fe as of late October 2001. The challenges I have encountered thus far not only stem from the enormous change of leaving a practice and taking on an administrative job, but mostly from the complexity and intensity of my new position. My intention of mentioning this to Alumni and prospective students alike is to show that the complexity of my job only reflects the dedication, the hard work, the vision and the promise of Anthony and Skya to keep the reputation of SWAC as being an IVY LEAGUE school alive.
Having been in private practice for awhile, I have been thankful to SWAC on many occasions for my excellent education and confidence as a practitioner that I had received upon my graduation. Now coming back to the college as a Campus Director and being involved in providing nothing less than the Best training to the current students, I have realized what an amazing job both our President and Executive Director are accomplishing all the time. Also, as an Alumni I feel somewhat ashamed and guilty of not having been in contact with SWAC during my 6 years of private practice, not having taken any of their first-class workshops or having supported the school by as little as a library donation. To all Alumni, I assure you the excellence that you had encountered at SWAC as a student has not only been maintained but promoted and I urge you to show your appreciation by doing as little as keeping the Alumni list updated by sending your recent address, by attending the school's workshops or by doing as much as financially supporting the library or sponsoring a small scholarship.
It shouldn't take you to have to become Campus Director to pledge your support to Southwest Acupuncture College and don't forget to spread the word of this wonderful college that never ceases to strive for excellence.
We at the Boulder Campus are delighted that the China group leader for this year was chosen from our faculty, and want all the China-bound students to know how lucky they are to have Dr. Jing Wang as their group leader. Along with Whit Reaves, Kristie Steinbock, and Michael Young, Jing has been one of our faculty members since our branch opened in the Fall of 1997 with our first class of 26 students. She is brilliant, inspiring, funny and receives consistent comments from our students that she really inspires them to learn. We are sending at least ten students (twenty-seven students altogehter) from Boulder with her. We wish everyone a safe and fulfilling visit.
We are also very excited that Dr. Natasha Lane, our own "tour de force" who was the group leader last year, will be assisting Dr. Jing Wang this year. It is to the benefit to this year's group that Dr. Lane's in-depth experience with China will further contribute to the continuity of the rich experience of this program. The number of students going to China this year is high, and so we needed to bring on an additional Tour Leader, compliments of the College.
At this time the college wishes to acknowledge the faithful service of Dr. Behty Harrison, who has served in Santa Fe as a core teacher and Clinic Director for over 8 years. Behty will be moving to the East Coast to engage in new endeavors. We have all appreciated her dedication to the college and have become a more special place because of her. Best of luck, peace, prosperity and health, Behty. Thank you!
After the Albuquerque campus experienced several years of low enrollment, our new administrative team has improved the quality of education, administrative and student services. In the last two years, more students have transferred from other TCM schools. We continue to do our best to help our students with their study needs and to deal with academic issues promptly. We also focus on how to keep prospective students by answering their questions accurately and effectively, in order to help them understand our school program as well as introduce them to the future of Oriental Medicine. The comments about the Albuquerque campus from students, prospective students and faculty are very positive.
The Albuquerque campus is excited about the new externship clinic at HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital that has 60 beds. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to gain experience working with a population that is in need of physical rehabilitation and complicated medical situations that they never see in a regular clinic, such as patients with post-surgical, post-stroke, head injury and motor vehicle accidents. Patients are treated in their rooms. This clinic provides the students with an opportunity to work with medical doctors, nurses and other medical professionals. This externship builds students' confidence to handle sophisticated cases and to cooperate with other medical professionals.
Dr. Jim Ventresca, DOM, is the Integrative Medicine Services Program Medical Director at HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital, and oversees the Oriental medical students internship program there. HealthSouth is glad to have SWAC students at their facility because it affords its patients an opportunity to receive Oriental medicine services at no cost to the patients. Dr. Ventresca does all he can to make sure that the students' clinical internship is a rich and rewarding educational experience and it is.
Albuquerque Making News
The Albuquerque campus has been featured in the local newspaper, "The Alibi" in March 2002. A full page annual report was run titled "Educating Today's Students in Tomorrow's Medicine."The article focused on educating the public about our program and what we do for our community.
The Albuquerque campus also attended KOB Channel News 4 Health Fair on January 25-27, 2002. During this fair, the Albuquerque campus utilized this opportunity to draw attention to the public, answered hundreds of questions about our school and clinic and gave 72-free acupuncture demo treatments to the public. This activity definitely gives the public the chance to learn about acupuncture and to introduce our college to the people who are interested in entering. A special THANKS to Dr. Denise LaRosa, Dr. Bingzeng Zou, Dr. Jeffery Meyer and Dr. Qijian Ye for giving their time to work at the health fair. A THANKS also, to Administrative Director Pam Weber for setting up the fair booth and making it happen.
LIFE JUST GOT EASIER! You now have the option of fulfilling the mandatory Stafford Exit Loan counseling Session online. The deadline is July 1st. Just follow the simple steps outlined below. Please contact the financial aid office should computer access be a problem.
OnLine Student Loan Counseling
7 Easy Steps
MANY THANKS to all China bound students for submitting your loan applications quickly. Happy and safe travel to you!
Thanks to all students for your efforts in making more timely payments on balances due on student bills. If you have any question regarding your bills, do not hesitate to contact your bookkeeping administrator (Carolyn, Pam and Nannette).
Dear College Community Member:
As in all newsletters, we like to acknowledge those people contributing to the library growth project. The following people have made donations to the libraries since our last newsletter in February.
There are three categories of library support one can adopt:
$10.00 - $99.00 You are acknowledged as a Friend of Southwest Acupuncture College Libraries. Your name is published in the college newsletter.
$100.00 - $499.00 You are acknowledged as a Supporter of the library goals of Southwest Acupuncture College Libraries. Your name is published in the college catalog when it is redone every three years and annually in the newsletter.
$500.00 - $1,000.00 You are acknowledged as a Life Supporter of the Southwest Acupuncture College Libraries. Your name is engraved on the beautiful group plaque we have established at each campus' library.
Donations of books or cash may be sent to the Santa Fe campus for redistribution or dropped off at the campus of your choice. Your thoughtfulness in assisting the college with it's vision and the students with their educational outcomes is most appreciated.
Thank you in advance for thinking of Southwest Acupuncture College!
Library Contributors: March - May 2002
Since the new campaign was launched in 1998, we have received $33,900.00 in donations, both with books and money.
Thank you for your generous contributions!
Before you were graduates, you were students. Like precious seeds latent with life, the school strove to create the best education and corresponding environment it could provide to help you blossom. As you have grown and matured we hope that you find your practice both developing and fulfilling.
As we have tried to contribute to your professional cultivation, we are busy with a new 3000 hour program, three thriving campuses and an ensemble of excellent and committed American and Oriental faculty. Looking to our next stage of growth, we see you, our alumni, as a strong repository of our traditions and future. As a result of our connection, in tribute to you, and in trust of our current and prospective students, the Board of Directors of Southwest Acupuncture College has decided to reach out formally to you in the name of our first alumni funded project, the Graduate Herb Garden.
The Graduate Herb Garden is a project we hope you will join us in supporting. While it is still in its developmental stages, our dream is to create a live outdoor Chinese botanical garden. The purpose of the garden is as educational and functional as it is aesthetic. We plan to integrate it into the school environment to educate students and patients in the care and appreciation of medicinal plant life. Classes in Botany, Advanced Prescriptions and Pharmacology will teach students plant physiology, preparation, and chemistry.
Just as you are the seeds of Oriental medicine in the United States, we ask for your patronage in helping us bring this seed of an idea to birth. Your support will enable future graduates to receive a more comprehensive education in plant pharmacognasy and we hope, better patient care as a result.
Donations will be used to purchase correct strains of seeds from China, books and tools for harvesting and preparation of plant care, statuary, benches, trees, fountains and other physical needs and the establishment of the soil and gardens for cultivation. All money donated for this purpose will be put into a special fund only for the realization of this project. The first herb garden will be put into our new campus in Boulder, Colorado. One of our teachers has designed a beautiful Five Element Garden. Its blueprint and membership form is enclosed herein.
"China's Own Lord of the Rings"
While researching J.R.R. Tolkien's sources and inspiration for his fantasy trilogy "The Lord of the Rings," I came across a Chinese tale about a sacred sky ring of blue jade that was worn by the Shang dynasty emperors. It is an interesting tale that gives insight into the ancient Chinese concept of leadership and explains why jade was so valued. And so, because Chinese medicine was beginning to emerge out of this time and culture, I would love to share this story with you .
The Shang Dynasty dates from approximately the 16th to the 11th century B.C. This was during the Bronze Age, and archeologists have discovered bronze acupuncture needles and divination bones inscribed with discussions of medical problems. On these bones were the first examples of Chinese pictographic writing. This was a time before Lao-Tzu and Confucius (approx. 5th & 6th centuries B.C.) but after the legendary Huang Ti, to whom the Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine is attributed. (This classic may have been handed down orally during this time).
The Shu Ching (Book of History) tells how the Shang emperors created a time of unparalleled prosperity for their people. These emperors were jade-smiths who fashioned such exquisite creations from this incredibly hard stone that they were praised and honored by their people. Unlike the monarchs of the West who wore elaborate rings of gold and gems, these Chinese emperors wore a simple stone ring of jade, for the alchemists of China believed that jade was the purest, most sacred substance of the world. They believed that the "sons of heaven" fed upon jade and that heaven itself had five jade mountains and four jade seas. Jade was seen as a bridge between heaven and earth, giving the emperor the authority to rule in much the same way that coronation and anointing confirmed authority on the Western kings.
Of the nine colors of jade, blue was the most rare, for it was believed to come from heaven itself. This precious blue stone was in the hands of the Shang smiths who, as it was told, also owned a magic knife that could cut through jade like wax. In addition to owning the sacred blue ring, the Shang emperors also honored their covenant with heaven by performing Sky Ring ceremonies yearly to maintain harmony between Heaven and Earth.
The thirtieth and last of the Shang emperors was named Zhou (Chou)Hsin. Unlike the emperors before him who respected their mandate from heaven, Zhou was greedy, corrupt and foolish. He alienated his own nobles and cared only for his own pleasures, always desiring more concubines, more power. He also did not possess the one true blue jade sky ring, for his father Emperor Ti-yi had secretly given it to his pious and learned elder brother Khi before he died. Zhou, however, usurped the throne from this brother, claiming that Khi had been born out of wedlock when the empress was still only his father's favorite concubine.
During Zhou Hsin's rule, a great imbalance came to the empire. The sacred ceremonies were abolished and the war broke out over a beautiful princess named Ta Chi that Zhou desired. After killing the princess' entire family to possess her, Zhou exhausted the entire wealth of the realm on building Ta Chi an extravagant Deer tower which was adorned with precious gems, ivory and gold. The empire thus fell into ruin. Famine and disease overcame the people, and Zhou failed to maintain the armies that protected the empire.
Meanwhile, a warlord, named Wen Wang, was watching the Shang empire fall to ruin. He consulted his bone oracles and was given a favorable sign to proceed. Emperor Zhou, knowing by this time that he was beaten, betrayed his people for the last time. He collected all of the wealth of the empire and set fire to the Deer tower, to himself, and to all the Imperial Jades of the Shangs. All the long labors of the people were thus in vain.
Khi, Zhou's elder brother, came to Wen Wang and his son Wu Wang's camp
in a gesture of self-sacrifice and surrender with the sacred Sky Ring
of Shang in his mouth. Wang, instead of killing Khi, accepted the sacred
ring as sign of his authority and reinstituted the sacred ring ceremonies.
With the victory of the Wangs, thus began the Zhou Dynasty, which would
last for nine centuries. Peace and prosperity returned to the land, and
the n restored.