Elizabeth Spicher worked in a bank several years ago at a time when banks were merging and careers in the industry were unstable. She decided to go back to school and finish her bachelor’s degree at National University.
“While I was completing my BS degree, National University was just starting its acupuncture and oriental medicine master’s degree programs,” she remembers. “I enjoyed getting acupuncture and chiropractic care as a teenager and thought acupuncture could be a possible career for me. I have always wanted to help people in some way, and also enjoyed learning about nutrition and other holistic therapies.”
Elizabeth sat down with Dr. Yihyun Kwon, the professor who helped launched the acupuncture and oriental medicine (AOM) program in 2006, and asked about his goals and the professors that would be teaching for him. “Even though I had looked at other AOM schools, I was confident in Dr. Kwon and impressed with the faculty in the program. I also enjoyed my teachers in the bachelors degree program, and liked National University as a whole.”
While completing her MSOM degree, Elizabeth credits the faculty and key classes for preparing her with the skills she uses today at Integrated Natural Medicine in Geneva, Illinois — a practice she shares with her husband, Eric Spicher (DC ’11) who is also a National University graduate.
“All the teachers gave real world and practical clinic and patient advice in our classes, which was a huge help. I loved working in the herb room with my professors on my days off, and appreciate the clinical and herbal instruction from Dr. Cai, Dr. Kim, Dr. Xie, Dr. Zhu and Dr. Jia.
Elizabeth also credits the program’s emphasis on western health sciences. “Both western and eastern nutrition classes and physiology with Dr. McRae and Dr. Kwon, helped me understand how the body’s organs work and what nutrition they need. This has allowed me to confidently recommend diet advice to my patients.”
“Anatomy in the cadaver lab gave me a fresh perspective on how muscles and nerves function. Knowing the insertion points and origination of muscles has helped me diagnose my pain patients,” says Elizabeth. “My coursework in radiology has also helped me confidently read imaging reports my patients bring to me.”
“I think the profession is making strides in mainstream healthcare, becoming more integrated in western medicine clinics and hospitals. I think the future of our medicine will be working with doctors and other professionals in hospitals similar to those in China.”
Advice for new AOM Practitioners
“Running your own business takes long hours, hard work and confidence. Get out in the community and be involved,” says Elizabeth, who has served as the president of the local Geneva Women in Business club. She’s also been featured recently in a local news article and a guest podcast on a wellness blog.
“At first all your money goes back into the business and you feel like a poor student again. But with the right attitude and persistence, you will make it. Find a good mentor or partner that can advise you on your business. My husband has strengths in SEO, web design, graphic design and is very detail oriented. I have a knack for creating personal relationships with people and clients through networking. We couldn’t have this great practice without each other.”