History of ACTCM

The American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) is a private, independent graduate school founded in 1980 as a nonprofit benefit corporation. ACTCM is governed by a board of directors and is administered by officers appointed by the board.


The historical development of the College started in January 1981, when it enrolled its first class of students. In this same year, the College opened its Acupuncture and Herbal Clinic, which provides affordable care using Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to the people of San Francisco and the Bay Area. In our two award-winning community clinics, students, under the supervision of licensed acupuncturists, gain practical experience in the application of acupuncture, tuina and shiatsu, and Chinese herbs for the treatment of various conditions and the promotion of wellness and health. 


In 1986, ACTCM became the first college in the United States to award a Master of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine degree (MSTCM). In 1991, the College was granted accreditation by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM), and reapproved in 1996, 2001, 2006, and 2014.


In 1987, the College moved to our current campus at 455 Arkansas Street in the Potrero Hill District in San Francisco.


The ACTCM postgraduate doctoral program, Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (DAOM), launches the first cohort in 2006. The doctoral program provided advanced education in TCM with an emphasis on integrative medicine and provided specialty training in women’s health and pain management. The DAOM program achieved candidacy with ACAOM in 2010, and full accreditation in 2012 and 2018. The program closed in 2021.


The DAOM and a new Professional Doctorate program, the Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine were granted final approval by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).


ACTCM merges with CIIS, and starts the first cohort in the DACM program.


ACTCM begins a DACM Completion Program for licensed professionals to earn the advanced doctoral degree.


The DACM program achieves initial accreditation.


The DACM Completion Program is approved as an online program by WSCUC.


The merger of CIIS and ACTCM, official as of July 1, 2015, brought a host of opportunities for deepening our academic reach. In merging, ACTCM became the fourth school of CIIS, complementing the schools of Consciousness and Transformation, Professional Psychology and Health, and Undergraduate Studies. As both institutions are dedicated to mind-body-spirit education, the new union paved the way for greater research possibilities. And perhaps equally important, the joining of forces means that students are now a part of and have access to a diverse community of academics, healers, and clinicians in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond who are engaged in social action.