About Me

Maile _bio _picHi! I'm Maile and I'm a student at National University of Health Sciences in the Master of Science in Oriental Medicine (MSOM) program. I transferred to NUHS in January 2015 and am starting my third trimester.

Since 2008, I have had the privilege of studying oriental medicine at several other schools in Hawaii and Chicago. I say "privilege" because I feel that each school has a unique philosophy and approach to education and I feel fortunate to have seen some of these diverse perspectives. I transferred due to the closing of my former school in Hawaii, and while this was an unfortunate circumstance, it was also fortuitous. As acupuncture and oriental medicine continue to move into mainstream medicine and health systems become increasingly integrated, there is a need for educational institutions to reflect these changes. I believe that National addresses and embraces this better than most schools, something from which its students will benefit and why I feel that transferring here was advantageous for my future professional career.

I coincidentally learned about NUHS's Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AOM) programs via a web search that took me to former AOM blogger and recent graduate Juli Yelnick's blog posts on her volunteer trips to Nicaragua with the Illinois chapter of Natural Doctors International. After discovering National's other unique AOM program offerings -- namely, its strong biomedical curriculum, a state-of-the-art gross anatomy lab, internship opportunities with Cook County's Stroger Hospital, treatments focusing on PTSD, its integrative medicine clinic, a diverse AOM faculty, and its expansive campus, facilities and resources, I was sold on National.

I was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, and attended the University of New Mexico, where I studied Spanish and geography, with an emphasis on water resources management. My interest in water resources took me to California, where I was a grant writer as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer with a small community organization that was working on reestablishing their historical water rights. That experience sparked my interest in nonprofit work in the fields of community development and social services and led to employment opportunities with NGOs in San Diego, Honolulu and Chicago, as well as Mexico and Bolivia.

Like many students of oriental medicine, I'm pursuing it as a second career. As a longstanding patient and proponent of acupuncture (it was the only treatment modality that could resolve recurrent neck strain from competitive swimming in high school), I had aspirations to learn the medicine and use it to treat myself and family and friends. I initially didn't intend to practice it professionally, believing that it wasn't a very profitable field, but after speaking with licensed acupuncturists I learned that I could not only make a pretty good living as a practitioner, but also incorporate it into my other professional ambitions -- creating a community-based non-profit to provide health services for the underserved, offering health education workshops and classes on Qi Gong and dietary therapy (my favorite OM modalities, along with herbal medicine), working/volunteering abroad with global health programs, and starting a private practice serving primarily seniors.

I can't wait to write about all the fascinating aspects of oriental medicine, as related to National University's AOM program, as well as other interesting things going on at the university. I hope it can get you excited about National in the same way that reading Juli's blog captivated me. Please feel free to contact me -- I welcome your questions and comments!