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February 9, 2021

What can you do with a Doctorate of Acupuncture?

It’s been three years since our first Doctoral Cohort began. We wondered, “what are our graduates doing with their Doctoral degrees?” It turns out, they’re pushing our field forward by teaching, publishing books, working alongside physicians in hospitals, physical therapy clinics, & integrative medicine clinics, founding their very own wellness centers, and even growing organic herbal medicine to make our field more sustainable.


Many of our doctoral graduates are teaching or supervising Clinic Interns right here at AIMC. The list includes Dr. Nishanga Bliss, DAIM, DSc., LAc.; Dr. Hideko Pelzer, DAIM, LAc.; Dr. Joyce Kwok, DAIM, PT, LAc.; Dr. Jody James, DAIM, LAc.; Dr. David Caruso-Radin, DAIM, LAc.; & Dr. Christine Tarradelles, DAIM, LAc.

Dr. Jody James is the most recent addition to the teaching crew: she uses the advanced Herbal Medicine knowledge she gained in our DAIM program & through years of practice to teach our Advanced Herbal Prescription: Formula Writing & Modifications course in addition to supervising Telehealth shifts. Dr. Erin Reilly, DAIM, LAc., developed a CEU course on Trauma-Aware Care for Acupuncturists as part of her thesis project. We hope to offer her course soon!

Work in Hospitals

Dr. Karen Villanueva, DAIM, LAc., has turned her Doctorate degree into an opportunity to work alongside physicians at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. She works as a Pediatric Acupuncturist in the outpatient Primary Care Clinic, a federally qualified health center, in addition to the Hematology/Oncology floor and Complex Care clinic. She is a co-investigator in a pilot feasibility study exploring best practices for establishing and expanding acutherapy and integrative medicine at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. In addition, Karen is the Project Manager here at AIMC working to bring more off-site internship opportunities to our Master’s and Doctoral students & she serves a Professional Director of CSOMA.

Publish Books

Dr. Kristen “tank” Conner, DAIM, LAc. wrote & published a book as part of their Doctoral journey. Their book, It’s Raining Zebras is a guide for Acupuncturists to better recognize and treat individuals with Hypermobile Type Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Tank maintains a private practice in Albany, CA.

Open Wellness Centers

Dr. Merrit Jones, DAIM, LAc., founded Natural Harmony Health focused on fertility & reproductive care. Several other acupuncturists work at her San Diego-based center. Dr. Heidi Nielsen, DAIM, LAc., founded Tongbu Wellness Center where she practices alongside Massage Therapists, a Psychologist, a Relationship Coach, and other wellness professionals.

Work with Physical Therapists

Graduates Dr. Jessica Kwong, DAIM, LAc. & Dr. James Constantine, DAIM, LAc. have joined thriving Physical Therapy practices to offer the best care possible for sports injuries, musculoskeletal pain, and trauma recovery.

Run Private Practices

Graduate Dr. Daniel Linder, DAIM, LAc. runs a private practice in the area & has dropped into some AIMC classes in the past to share case studies and wisdom. Dr. Mary Lynn Morales, DAIM, LAc., also runs a local private practice & teaches Tai Chi classes.

Treat in Community Clinics

Graduate Dr. Katie Keville, DAIM, LAc. works at the TCM Wellness Principle as an acupuncturist & the Herbal Pharmacy Director in addition to treating at the Cotati Community Acupuncture Clinic. Another alum, Dr. Lisa Swanson, DAIM, LAc., runs a private & community practice called Dharma Acupuncture in Grass Valley.

Off the Beaten Path

One of our alums, Lisa Gliedt, DAIM, LAc. even runs an Organic Chinese Medicinal Herb farm with her husband! Check out Zen Moon Organic Farm to learn more & follow Lisa’s private practice.

We enrolled a brand new cohort of Doctoral Students in January & we can’t wait to see what they will bring to the field!

Are you an AIMC Doctoral Alum not featured here? Reach out with your career updates to be included on the list.

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