ACTCM Graduates Discuss Clinic Experience

The American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) in San Francisco trains students at its community acupuncture program (CAP) sites across the Bay Area to ensure they receive hands-on clinical experience. Two students with experience at each of the college’s clinical sites spoke about their training during a recent webinar.

“ACTCM is known for the thorough clinical training and vast experience it offers students,” said Lee Swain, Director of Student and Alumni Affairs for ACTCM. “Our community clinics serve as a diverse and demanding training ground for our students, while also providing affordable health care services to the community.”

Recent graduate Diane Hartenstein teamed up with Maggie Mejia, a December 2011 ACTCM graduate, for a webinar tour of the CAP sites, which include ACTCM’s Community Clinic, the Haight-Ashbury Free Medical Clinic, California Pacific Medical Center, the ACTCM Auricular Clinic, Berkeley Primary Care and the Jewish Home for the Aged.

The two combined have worked at each site and were able to speak fully on their experiences during the webinar. “As an intern, I developed a rapport with my patients, and many of them followed me for the duration of my clinical training,” said Mejia of her time spent at the ACTCM Community Clinic.

“This type of patient-practitioner relationship as a student is such a gift in terms of tracking the progress of your treatments, building confidence as a practitioner and honing your clinical skills,” she continued. “One of my favorite aspects of learning at ACTCM was the collaboration between students and their supervisors, and with other students on shift.”

Each ACTCM clinic offers unique elements that acupuncture and Chinese medicine students can benefit from and apply to their medical knowledge for the duration of their careers. Mejia notes that she learned invaluable skills like time management, treating challenging patients, providing private and community-style treatments and more that helped build her confidence as an acupuncture practitioner.

Hartenstein spent time at many clinics with varied areas of focus during her time as a student. Her work with these clinics helped her gain a comprehensive perspective on where her education and future career can take her.

“[With acupuncture] we are addressing a huge variety of conditions ranging from pain management and substance abuse to stress, high blood pressure and diabetes,” said Hartenstein. “Sometimes, patients are treated in a group, on a drop-in basis, so not only are you learning how to treat many different conditions and personality types, you are also learning key time management skills.”

During Hartenstein’s training at the Jewish Home for the Aged, she was able to help elderly patients relax and feel better both energetically and mentally without the close watch of a supervisor. “Most teachers are trusting of the interns, which speaks to how highly trained we actually are by the Third Level,” she commented.

These experiences account for only a fraction of the complete list of contributions these model students made throughout the Bay Area using the skills taught at ACTCM, which were then sharpened and perfected, making them fully prepared for their careers.

For further information about the ACTCM student experience, call the admissions office at 415-282-7600×14 or email admissions(at)actcm(dot)edu. ACTCM has monthly open houses for prospective students to attend. Details can be found at The next open house is Saturday, July 21, 2012 at 1 pm. You can also join ACTCM President Lixin Huang at a webinar on July 26th at 11 AM entitled “The Future of the Acupuncture Profession”. President Huang will discuss the future of the profession, how she and other ACTCM leaders are holding national positions to help guide this ever-growing field, our efforts in sustainability of the medicine, and current and future work towards more integration. You can register for the webinar at

For more information about the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine’s community clinics, call (415) 282-9603 or visit ACTCM’s clinic is located on the ACTCM campus at 450 Connecticut Street, San Francisco, California.

Click here to view upcoming ACTCM events.

About American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine
American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) has provided affordable, quality health care to the public and trained professionals in acupuncture, massage and Chinese medicine since 1980. In addition to its graduate curriculum, ACTCM offers continuing education, public education, community outreach and clinical services in acupuncture and herbal medicine. ACTCM has been the recipient of many awards for its curriculum, faculty and clinic, and has been voted “Best of the Bay” by both the San Francisco Weekly and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. ACTCM is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and is a private, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.