Question 1: What attracted you to the field of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine?
Answer 1: When I was 12, I saw Bill Moyer’s PBS special “Healing & The Mind” and was awestruck by some of the China footage of qigong and acupuncture being administered. I remember seeing Bill talking with an awake patient undergoing brain surgery where the sole anesthetic was electroacupuncture. I was drawn to Asian culture from an early age, but that left such an impression on me that it I talked about being a practitioner of Chinese medicine thereafter.
Q2: What is your first impression of the NCCAOM® as a certified Diplomate?
A2: I have always been supportive of the role of the NCCAOM® as a certifying body for our profession and that we should have standards in place that quantify competency across states and academic programs. With this perspective, I pursued a Diplomate of Oriental medicine to reflect the breadth of my education at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine when I graduated in 2005.
Q3: What would you tell someone who is thinking about applying for certification with the NCCAOM®?
A3: To a new graduate, I would assure them that certification extends beyond competency for licensure and reflects your commitment to the profession as well as one level of confidence to the public. Whenever a patient asks me about finding a practitioner in an area where I don’t know anyone within the community, I point them to the NCCAOM® Diplomate search to access a list of practitioners to interview.
Q4: Why did you think that it was important to complete Diplomate Demographic survey?
A4: As a proponent of the quantified self-movement and evidence-base medicine, it is a natural extension to recognize the importunate for our profession to regularly collect economic and demographic data to see where we are strong as a profession and where we need to improve. For future policy to be most efficacious, it needs to be based upon meticulously collected data.
Q5: What do you think are the most beneficial aspects and challenging aspects of your field?
A5: I relish in the simplicity and complexity of our field. I am continually amazed at how a few acupuncture points or the right words said to an open heart can catalyze massive shifts within the shen of the patient. I am also humbled by how much there is to know and the fun of being a lifelong student. The challenge most occupying my mind these days is giving just enough information and articulating it in the best possible way to empower change within a patient.
Q6: What do you wish other people knew about the field of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine?
A6: In step with the answer of a challenge from the last question, I wish our profession settles into the subtly of our medicine, realizing that most any skilled practitioner will have any number of treatment ideas come to mind when interviewing a new patient. The art of our medicine lies in refining our decision process of the appropriateness and timing of those interventions. We have an amazing depth of wisdom to draw upon, but practitioner and patient alike can become overwhelmed by the complexity of modern disease presentations. Keep it simple, play the long game, and treat each patient like a masterpiece unfolding before you.
Q7: Where do you practice?
A7: East Troy, a small town in southeast Wisconsin where I direct an integrative clinic of practitioners of several modalities.
Q8: Is there a particular specialty or interest as part of your practice (OBGYN, Orthopedics)?
A8: Being the sole practitioner in a small town, it has not been advantageous to specialize. I have been heavily influenced by distal and meridian-based styles of acupuncture and think a lot about the appropriateness of local and distal forms of treatment for various presentation and even personality types. Acupuncture Today published an article I wrote in August of 2016 that delves into this topic.
Q9: As an acupuncturist, what trends do you see in your profession?
A9: I’ve been following the integration of technology into the clinic and trends such as digital charting and apps like AcuCharting that allow practitioners to go paperless and communicate effectively with the conventional medical world. Chinese herbal medicine used alongside conventional oncology treatment is an area of research that has been long overdue. Expect to hear a lot more about it in the years ahead.
Q10: What might someone be surprised to know about you?
A10: I never experienced acupuncture prior to enrolling and being accepted to Chinese medicine school! I was so drawn to the profession as a calling that it didn’t matter to me at the time, though I do now benefit from semi-regular treatment from colleagues.
Q11: What do you do when you aren’t working?
A11: Most important to me is spending time with my family. I read a lot, but made a change a few years ago to read only fiction in the evenings. I also enjoy cooking, fermenting, and do parkour for exercise.