As mentioned in previous blogs, I graduate this trimester. I
have thoroughly enjoyed my experiences at NUHS. I have felt
privileged and thankful to have the opportunity to write this blog
every week. Next trimester, there will be a new AOM blogger. The
new blogger is Dia Pfleger. She is an amazing and inspiring
Dia Pfleger with President Winterstein at the White Coat
Ceremony for AOM students
Dia Pfleger is a married mom with five wonderful children. She
has also worked well pursuing her studies at NUHS. In Dia's words:
"I became interested in alternative medicine three years ago when
my son Mykael, now age six, was diagnosed with severe/ADHD autism.
My interest also led to my career change from a corporate human
resource manager for the past 10 years to pursing my master's
degree in AOM."
In addition to being a busy mom and career woman, Dia is
involved with many volunteer activities, and is also pursuing
additional degrees and certifications. I hope you find Dia and her
writing as motivating and insightful as I do! I have known Dia
since her first trimester at NUHS and have felt inspired by her
from the first day we met!
From Dia's perspective, "I have always believed that one person
can make a positive impact in another person's life, but we first
must begin with our 'self.' " I hope you take the time to read
Dia's weekly blogs starting in January. I believe Dia has a lot of
wisdom and awareness to share!
Petition for Change
Dia recently wrote a very interesting article regarding making
acupuncture an essential health benefit. Since this week is
election week, I thought it was very pertinent to share her
thoughts. Since she wrote it, some changes have occurred to the
change.org website. You may find additional information about
acupuncture as an essential health benefit at http://aaaom.rallycongress.com/5887/acupuncture-as-an-essential-health-benefit-public-input/.
You may also sign the petition to help make acupuncture an
essential health benefit via a link on this AAAOM website.
The Future of AOM May Be Threatened
It rings true that one person can make a difference and we can
make a difference here at NUHS. There are many issues active right
now that are dramatically threatening the future of acupuncture
practice in Illinois and nationally. The top topics that may have a
future impact on AOM students and current AOM practitioners in
Illinois are:restrictive dietician laws that could influence your
ability to practice herbal medicine and give nutritional advice
based on traditional Chinese medicine.The third topic in Illinois
is the process of determining which services will be included as
Essential Health Benefits under the state's insurance exchange.
Acupuncture and licensed acupuncturist services immediately fall
under the following 10 ten categories of ACA health benefits:
ambulatory patient services, maternity and newborn care, mental
health and substance use disorder services, rehabilitative and
habilitative services, preventive and wellness services and chronic
disease management, and pediatric services.I want to note
that this petition regarding the state's insurance exchange will be
presented to Governor Quinn and the Health Care Reform
Implementation Council if we areable to generate
Recently, organizations like the ILAOM are currently working to
oppose this bill and also include Acupuncture and Licensed
Acupuncturist services as EHB's in Illinois' Essential Health
Benefits (EHB) Benchmark plan. If you have not
already, please take a look at the petition below from our partner,
the National Health Freedom Coalition, and sign and share.
(Information provided below)
I want to encourage students and faculty to sign the online
petition and write to the National Freedom Coalition. It only takes
one person to make a difference and there is strength in numbers to
oppose this bill. Acupuncture as an Essential Health Benefit: The
petition has reached over 1,000 signatures and we need 3,800 more
PLEASE SHARE AND SIGN! We want to show the legislature how
Illinois citizens feel about this issue. See
(works best on Safari and Firefox).
Action Needed in Illinois
Oppose Senate Bill 2936 as written and
request health freedom exemption amendment!
OPPOSE and AMEND Illinois S.B. 2936, the Illinois Dietitian
Licensing bill! Illinois' current monopolistic dietitian law is
scheduled to be automatically repealed in 2013 and Senate Bill
2936, introduced in 2012, is attempting to extend the law until
2023. The Illinois Dietitian and Nutrition Services law is one of
the most restrictive monopolistic dietitian laws in the U.S. and
needs to be repealed.
National Health Freedom
2136 Ford Parkway
St. Paul, MN 55116-1863
Being an AOM student at NUHS offers many options of
participating in scholastic programs. This week I interviewed
Cynthia, the AOM student body president. Cynthia is in her second
year at NUHS. She has been dedicated to her studies as well as many
extracurricular activities since becoming a student at NUHS.
Cynthia has had previous educational and career experiences. She is
dedicated to continuously furthering her education and ability to
positively impact others. Her video explains her journey to NUHS.
It also highlights how she feels about being a student at NUHS and
what her involvement is on campus.
The NUHS campus is home to many beautiful plants and flowers.
The foliage appears infused with life and vibrancy. While looking
at them, I feel their energy spark extra joy inside me. I instantly
begin smiling when I see them.
These flowers caused me to think about the usage of a flower to
symbolize essence in AOM. Essence is core energy comparable to
one's genetics. The flowers caused me to think about how we to
sprout up from a seed. We have the ability to bloom into so many
directions. I then wondered what brought each student to NUHS. What
caused them to bloom in this direction?
In upcoming blogs I will have video interviews of current
students. Right now, I want to take a moment to write about what a
day in the life of an NUHS student feels like. Since I am
graduating this trimester, I have found myself reminiscing on my
journey thus far at NUHS.
I have spoken with several students regarding their experiences
at NUHS. From the feedback I have received, it seems the first time
a student begins to fully feel like an NUHS student is during the
Orientation Day prior to the first day of classes. Orientation Day
offers students an opportunity to meet fellow students and faculty
members. Initially, we are unaware of each student's enrolled
program. This offers an easy way to meet each other and ask
questions to learn more about one another. During my Orientation
Day, there was an exciting energy and optimism in the air.
Typically, the next time the new student is on campus is to
attend their first class. While this is often an intriguing time,
it can also be a little overwhelming. Fortunately, the new students
are able to connect with each other allowing everyone to feel at
ease. There are also many upper classmen and faculty members on
campus ready to help answer questions.
For many students, I think the first year can feel both
demanding and very rewarding. Some students attend NUHS directly
from their undergraduate program. For these students, the intensity
of NUHS curriculum can be challenging and motivating. Other
students attend NUHS for the purpose of a second career or
extension of their current career. Many times these students are
familiar with the fast pace and high demands, but may have become
unfamiliar with daily studying and homework expectations. I think
the first year of NUHS classes brings many transitions.
Fortunately, these shifts find a balance and yield a high level of
From what I have been told and experienced myself, the first
year of the NUHS scholastic lifestyle comes into place with a
healthy and comfortable ebb and flow. By the final year of classes
and clinic, most students are filled with anticipation of upcoming
career opportunities. Many students complete their licensing boards
during their final year. Studying for boards while enrolled in
clinic and classes can feel a bit intense at times, but it also
feels very satisfying. It feels very fulfilling to realize all the
hard work has brought the desired outcome of being a licensed
health care professional in the chosen field of study.
As I blogged about previously, a very unique aspect of being an
AOM student at NUHS is the ability to be a resident at Stroger's
Hospital. I'm a resident at Stroger's and am finding it to be a
priceless experience! Learning within a high paced hospital setting
is invaluable. I am discovering a variety of ways to offer patient
care that are not found in many textbooks.
Our clinician, Frank Yurasek, PhD, MSOM, LAc, shares many
treatment strategies with the residents that he learned first-hand
by ascended AOM and TCM masters from China.
Mary Thuermer is also a resident at Stroger's Hospital. This is
her second rotation at Stroger's. Additionally, she is graduating
this trimester. Since she is nearing graduation, she has been a
part of many educational experiences and resources offered by NUHS.
From what I gather, she feels her residency at Stroger's has been
monumental in her NUHS learning experience.
In addition to the information Dr. Yurasek shares with us, we
are learning a great deal of information and clinical skills
through our patients. Since this is a fairly new program at
Stroger's, we feel extremely fortunate to have new and recurring
patients trust us with their AOM care. This is a very new
experience for most of our patients, so it feels very rewarding to
be able to be a part of this journey into holistic medicine,
This is my final blog for this trimester. As a result, I decided
to write about new beginnings.
For some students, now is the time they are beginning their
journey into AOM. For other students, it's time for graduation and
the beginning of their journey as practitioners. I was fortunate to
receive feedback on how it feels to be in both places of this
process from two students: Kari Singh and Mia Davis. Kari is
finishing her second trimester at NUHS. Mia is graduating this
trimester. I was rather moved by what each student expressed when
asked how they feel about this phase of their journey.
Kari Singh's Journey into Oriental Medicine
When I was 16 years old, my mother's
best friend gave me a book on Reiki, Reflexology, and Acupuncture.
I remember staying up and finishing the book in one night. Those
words resonated with my soul. My spiritual being knew this is what
I was meant to do...it is part of the reason I was put on this
earth. At the age of 16, though, my rational mind took over and
asked who would pay for this, where will you go to school, how
would you make a living? I went to traditional four-year college
and got my degree in psychology.
Acupuncture student Kari Singh
At the age of 36, I was going
through a rough time in my life. I started receiving acupuncture
treatments. My life was at a crossroads. The first treatment was a
very moving experience for me. I felt Qi rushing through my body.
It was like parts of me that weren't communicating suddenly were.
My mind and my heart were one. I found myself and my calling all at
once. I wanted to do this. I wanted to heal. After two weeks of
treatments, I noticed major changes.
I found National University of
Health Sciences shortly after. I started coming to the clinic to be
treated by students. I asked a lot of questions about the program
and I felt at peace. I knew this was the place for me. I enrolled
and started at National in the fall of 2011. The day before
orientation I was cleaning out a box and found that book from when
I was 16. I had not seen that book in years. It made me smile
because it was destiny. I will finish my second trimester this
April 2012. I feel blessed every day to be part of this school.
Many of my professors inspire and amaze me, daily. My goal is to be
able to teach at this institution some day because I want to give
back to a student what I receive now.
There are so many things about being
a student at National that make this program unlike any other. The
professors are so passionate about this program. Many of them go
out of their way to ensure students succeed. The program is well
rounded and geared towards blending eastern with a solid western
foundation. The clinic treats patients from the public for $25. I
am currently observing other students treating patients. It is very
exciting to see patients with Parkinson's, Crohn's, anxiety, and a
host of other conditions report how beautiful and amazing
acupuncture and oriental medicine are to make them feel whole. I am
excited every day as my journey continues.
I have three treasures. Guard
and keep them:
The first is deep love,
The second is frugality,
And the third is not to dare to be ahead of the
Because of deep love, one is courageous.
Because of frugality, one is generous.
Because of not daring to be ahead of the world, one becomes
the leader of the world.
-- Lao-tzu, The Way of Lao-tzu, Chinese philosopher (604
BC - 531 BC)(1)
I feel very inspired by what Kari wrote. I can feel her
passion through her words. Simply reading her statement
caused me to feel excited for her!
Mia also wrote an insightful and motivating statement regarding
how it feels to be graduating.
Mia Davis' Journey into the Profession
WOW! Time sure does fly by! It seems
like just yesterday I was starting the Oriental Medicine program.
These past three years in the program have been so wonderful. It's
amazing the amount of knowledge and experience I have gained in
that time. Not only have I learned about oriental medicine, but
I've also learned about another culture, language, and perspective
on health and life.
Oriental Medicine student Mia Davis
My instructors have been supportive
and beyond amazing at what they do. The amount of wisdom and caring
they have imparted is truly unique and I will always be grateful
that I've had this opportunity to learn from them. It feels good to
know that I will be graduating with a feeling of true
accomplishment and know-how. The friendships I have made here are
golden. While my time at NUHS is coming to an end, the gift of
knowledge I've been given here will last me a lifetime!
While Kari is entering the interesting world of learning AOM,
Mia now has the knowledge and skill set available to soon treat
patients as a practitioner. What I find most intriguing is both Mia
and Kari seem equally passionate and excited at where they are in
their journey. Both students are at the doorway of a new beginning,
ready to begin with both feet in and arms wide open!
Congratulations to everyone graduating this trimester!
Also, congratulations to everyone starting this journey!
A fair amount of students in the AOM program have families. Some
students are married, some have children, and some are single
parents. Whatever the situation is, having a family while being a
student is usually viewed as extremely rewarding, but also a
juggling act at times. Being in school with the motivation of
family supporting you, or for single parents, to support your loved
one(s) is such a root source of motivation from my
This week I interviewed one of my best friends and fellow
students, Cynthia, who is a single mom in the program. I think she
is extremely inspiring and motivating. She is a nurse, RN, in
the AOM program. She is also pursuing her nurse practitioner degree
and working two part-time jobs while raising her son. Within just a
few minutes of meeting Cynthia, it was clear that her source
motivation for pushing herself so hard was to make the best life
possible for her son. She also has a heartfelt passion to help
others, which I think is rather clear from her career choices.
From Cynthia's Perspective:
"Being a mom and going to school requires a lot of multi
tasking. I am cooking while doing my homework as well as helping my
child while he does his homework. My work is never done. I feel
like I spend most of my time in my car with dropping and picking
him up from school, dropping and picking him up from whoever is the
sitter that day, and driving back and forth from school. It's
exhausting and I am always drained, but I never quit working
towards my goals even though sometimes I want to. I know it's
temporary and my reward in the end will be great. My child further
increases my drive to better myself because I know his life will be
better as well. By the time I'm done with school he will have been
to 3 or 4 of my college graduations!"
I think Cynthia summarizes how many parents in the program feel.
At times, being a parent, husband or wife and a full-time student
may feel overwhelming, but that overwhelming feeling is fleeting.
It cannot compete with the overall satisfaction that will come when
we have accomplished our goals and are out practicing the medicine.
We will be able to offer help to others to the best of our
abilities while having complete peace of mind that our families are
Just as we had our first snow fall of the season this week, NUHS
had its first week of the classes for the new trimester. The AOM
student body feels like it is growing in a positive way with every
new trimester. I had the pleasure of meeting the new clinic AOM
observers this week. I also have had the ability to meet additional
AOM students throughout the campus.
Every trimester I seem to notice the same thing about AOM
students--we love coming to our classes and clinic. Simply by being
around my current friends/students and the newer students I met, I
could feel the rooms being filled with enthusiasm. This positivity
creates such an invigorating energy throughout the AOM department.
I find a little extra boost in positivity is always pleasant to be
I think some of my favorite things about returning to classes
are reconnecting with all my friends, returning to clinic and
receiving the syllabi from my new classes. I always feel a sense of
excitement during the first classes of a trimester. I find myself
filled with a new sense of anticipation when reading each class's
syllabus, as I realize within a few months, I'll have a grasp on
all the knowledge outlined in it.
While it was wonderful to have returned to NUHS last week, I was
rather happy to have the extended holiday weekend the first week
back. It has helped with the transition of being on vacation
mind-set to returning to a studious train of thought. It has also
been very helpful with my schedule change in my home life. From my
experience and those shared of my fellow students, returning to
school after being on break can sometimes feel like a rather large
adjustment for those at home, especially children. Fortunately,
this extended holiday weekend allowed for extra time to
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• Hospital Residency
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