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Acupuncture Today – June, 2007, Vol. 08, Issue 06

Northwestern Launches Fellowship Program

By Kathryn Feather, Senior Associate Editor

The Minnesota College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (MCAOM) at Northwestern Health Sciences University, in collaboration with the Woodwinds Health Campus, is offering a one-year postgraduate, paid fellowship opportunity.

Launched in November 2006, the fellowship provides a licensed acupuncturist with postgraduate experience in a hospital setting.

Ian Johnson, LAc, MOm, a 2006 graduate of MCAOM, was the first postgraduate student selected for the fellowship. He will be working under the guidance of Northwestern professor Wei Liu, BMed, LAc, who also has been supervising clinical rotations at the hospital since early 2006. "I am happy to have this opportunity to demonstrate the diverse applications of acupuncture in a hospital setting," said Liu. "The practice of acupuncture in China often includes hospital rotations and this is an important step in training future practitioners."

"Our hope is that this program will be the first of many offered by acupuncture and Oriental medicine programs around the country," said MCAOM Dean Mark McKenzie, LAc, MOm. "For us, it's actually part of a strategic plan to provide more opportunities to our graduates and to diversify where they can practice. In the past, the vast majority of practitioners have either opened their own practices or joined a group practice. This fellowship program is important to the acupuncture profession because it can provide positive experiences in existing allopathic settings that will help patients with pain and the side effects of medication." McKenzie believes there are no other acupuncture and Oriental medicine schools in the U.S. currently partnering with hospitals to offer postgraduate students the opportunity for a paid acupuncture fellowship.

Many at NHSU believe this type of fellowship would not have happened even 10 years ago. "With the recent publicity of integrative care, there's an openness that Western providers have now," McKenzie said. "We need to continue to educate other practitioners of the benefits and the legitimacy of this practice."

"I'm very pleased to be able to offer our patients this type of care," said Woodwinds Health Campus Medical Director Craig Svendsen, MD.

McKenzie believes the research exists to help educate providers about the benefits and the legitimacy of this practice. "The benefits far outweigh the risks. It's been proven to be a very safe form of health care," McKenzie said.


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