University description (as per official university website)
Academy Of Oriental Medicine
The Academy of Oriental Medicine is located in Austin, Texas. Founded in August of 1993 by Stuart Watts, the institute was originally known as the Texas Acupuncture Institute. The academy offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in programs like acupuncture, integral studies, herbal studies and biomedical sciences. The academy also offers continuing education programs in acupuncture and massage therapy. The college also organizes and hosts an annual continuing education conference, the Southwest Symposium, on the shores of the Lady Bird Lake. The college also offers study abroad opportunities.
Originally named the “Texas Acupuncture Institute”, AOMA enrolled its first class of sixteen students in August of 1993. Classes were initially held at offices near the corner of Guadalupe and Highway 290 in Austin, Texas. In the fall of 1994, AOMA moved to 5555 North Lamar. It graduated its first class of students in September 1996. AOMA has more licensed graduates than any other acupuncture school in Texas.
In January 1995, AOMA leased approximately 6000 square feet of space and moved to its current location in the Village Center. The quiet, one-story commercial complex with a distinctly Asian feel has ample parking and convenient bus line and highway access for commuters. The center is webbed with brick walkways, a koi pond and a meandering creek. This north Austin location has proven to be an ideal environment for AOMA.
The total student body grew by more than 150% percent during the three year period from August 2002 to August 2005. In order to stay ahead of classroom demands, as well as clinic space for expanded patient load, the school increased its leased space. It now occupies more than 19000 square feet of classroom, administrative, academic support, and clinic space in four buildings of the Village Center.
AOMA recognition and authority
AOMA gained candidacy status in May of 1995 and accreditation in November of 1996 with the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM). ACAOM is the national accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit master’s level programs in the acupuncture and Oriental medicine profession. The school was approved by the Texas State Board of Acupuncture Examiners (TSBAE) in December 1996. In 1997, the program was recognized by the Texas Rehabilitation Commission, the Immigration and Naturalization Service for foreign student training, and the California Acupuncture Board. The program was also approved for veteran’s training. Ability to participate in Title IV federal student financial aid programs came early in 1998. AOMA was re-accredited by ACAOM in November of 2000.
In February 2004, degree-granting authority transferred in Texas from the TSBAE to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). AOMA received its certificate of authority to offer the Master of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine degree, with a major in acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from the THECB in January 2005. In May 2005, AOMA received the maximum five year reaccredidation from ACAOM through the summer of 2010. In June 2008 AOMA was granted candidacy for regional accreditation by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
Transforming lives and communities through graduate education
The master of acupuncture and Oriental medicine program engages learners in their own process of transformation from student to professional. The program begins with foundational courses in Oriental medical theory, acupuncture point location, meridian theory, acupuncture techniques, biomedical sciences, and Chinese herbal medicine. By the end of the first year, a student has achieved the foundational knowledge necessary to begin his or her clinical internship. In the second year, learning progresses with advanced courses in acupuncture techniques and acupuncture treatment of disease, advanced biomedical assessment courses, and the continuation of the herbal medicine sequence. During the second year, the clinical internship emerges as a space for integration of classroom knowledge.As students begin their third year, they complete the acupuncture sequence and move into advanced courses in Chinese herbal medicine and biomedical treatment of disease.They are increasingly called upon in clinic to apply their knowledge in support of their patients’ health. By graduation, students have provided care for over 450 patients using the main modalities of Oriental medicine: acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, mind-body exercise,Asian bodywork, and nutrition.
This transformation is encouraged academically by courses that focus on a student’s professional development. For example, in the clinical communications sequence, students explore the boundaries of the patient-practitioner relationship and learn to improve their clinical outcomes through listening and educating. In the practice management sequence, advanced students develop the essential components of their business and marketing plans, explore accounting and insurance billing, and develop short and long term post graduation plans.
As Oriental medicine is a holistic medicine, this is also a holistic transformation.Throughout the program, students take courses in taichi and qigong and these courses provide quiet opportunities to reflect on health and healing. Students learn to recognize the connection between mind-body exercises and healthful living and are able to share that understanding with their patients in clinic. Students also choose from one of two sequences in Asian bodywork therapy, further expanding what they can offer their patients. Students may elect to take additional courses in Asian bodywork therapy. Although these elective courses are not eligible for financial aid, students completing the series may apply to the American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia (AOBTA¨) and to the NCCAOM for national certification as Asian bodywork therapy practitioners.