Wow! Big news in the acupuncture world. “Southern California University of Health Sciences received full approval from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges to launch a First Professional Doctorate in Oriental Medicine. This is the only Doctorate of its kind in the United States.” To read more about this development, click here. I’ve heard rumor that the school I will be attending is looking into a doctorate program, as well. All I know is that it’s going to be tough–so many didactic & clinical hours…whew! Well, I’m as ready as I can be. Two years working in a clinic setting really paved the way. I’m thankful that I had the guidance and tutelage from our practitioners Blake Faulkner & Tracey Crocker, both are L.Ac., Dipl.OM, and even the owners of Lotus Center, for teaching me the valuable lessons of what not to do. While I’m waiting for school to start, I will be looking for another job in a clinic setting, though. Just part time, too, until I settle into school and see how the course load is on top of work. Most of the folks I’ve met so far either only worked for a bit part time, or not at all–it can be that rigorous! I do have to be truthful and say that worry has crossed my mind from time to time about the four year program: Am I capable of the course load? Do I have the memory to possess all of this information not only once, but for some serious comprehensive exams during school, as well as for my license? Will I be able to uphold certain values and traditions of Chinese Medicine while being mindful of cultural re-appropriational aspects (i.e. being an adopted US citizen from Honduras practicing ancient Chinese techniques that,currently only a majority of white affluent people can afford ) ? How can I explore acupuncture, race, class, gender, and more while I’m in school and with my classmates? These are all questions swimming through my head and I haven’t even started school, yet. The last two questions are extremely important to me. Big questions like ” who gets to be treated, and who gets to give treatment” have such lengthy and historical answers, but if I am going to be a small part and parcel to “alternative primary healthcare,” they are essential and “answers” need to be worked and re-worked as time marches on. I’m quoting my thunder buddy Todd from the other day, because he’s just spot on with this:
I don’t subscribe to any particular political philosophy and for a long time have described myself as “working with who shows up.” I read a bit and know some stuff, but I don’t dedicate a lot of time to theoretical or academic discussion. I don’t begrudge folks who engage on that level, but it seems fairly clear that if there is any hope for everyday folks to live healthy lives on this planet with real democracy and access to resources, then the solutions will come through experimentation and be tailored to our current context. Simply put, we haven’t seen the answers we are looking for because they don’t exist. Yet. That being said, I think there are some simple understandings that progressive/radical folks can agree on: Healthcare, housing, food, education, safety (in all the ways we need, environmental included), and self determination are human rights. I think we can also agree that our ability to manifest these rights on any collective level is under severe attack. Not trying to get too preachy, but it strikes me that is every one of our individual and collective responsibilities to make sure we are engaged in problem solving and, just as importantly, reflection. If our vehicles for social justice aren’t building power for regular, everyday people then we must adjust and try again.