San Francisco Introduces a New Kind of Doctor

ACTCM Offers the Only Nationally Approved Doctorate of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine

By Michael Sano

San Francisco cares about holistic health. From the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at UCSF to the Institute for Holistic Health Studies at SFSU, the streets are peppered with wellness centers that offer acupuncture, massage, nutrition counseling, meditation and more. Renowned healers come from around the world to practice here and to explore new models of integrative care. In September, San Francisco will be the first city to offer a nationally approved Doctorate of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. This program will be offered at the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, one of the oldest and most respected Chinese medicine schools in the country.

ACTCM was the first college in the U.S. to offer a Master of Science degree in acupuncture and continues at the forefront of Chinese medicine education with its first professional doctorate, the Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM). The DACM is the first and only program of its kind approved by both the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) and the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

ACAOM and WSCUC accreditation is important so that students can sit for both the national certification exam in acupuncture and the acupuncture licensure exam in California. Currently, only ACTCM has approval from both commissions.

The new DACM program at ACTCM will be part of a rigorous program that prepares students for the acupuncture profession and licensure. ACTCM students already have some of the highest pass rates on the national and California licensure exams. Clinical training starts at the very beginning of the program, alongside the study of Chinese medicinal theory, acupuncture therapeutics, herbal medicine and integration with Western medicine. The new DACM program will build on the current Master’s program at ACTCM. Students will enhance their knowledge and skills at the doctoral level with additional clinical training and additional coursework in research literacy and evidence-informed practice, as well as integrative and systems-based medicine.

The DACM at ACTCM, and its status as the only ACAOM and WASC approved first professional doctorate, is the latest accomplishment for a college with a long history of academic excellence. ACTCM President Lixin Huang has been honored multiple times for her leadership, particularly for her work in international wildlife conservation and environmental sustainability within the medicine. This month foreign leaders will visit ACTCM through the U.S. Department of State International Visitor Leadership Program to learn about the institution’s wildlife preservation and conservation efforts.

ACTCM also continues to be at the forefront in exploring new models in acupuncture care. In the 1990s, the college received Ryan White national grant support to provide care to HIV/AIDS patients. This year the college began exploring the interface of Chinese medicine with mental health services through a partnership, and official merger, with the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS).

2015 marks the 35th year for ACTCM as San Francisco’s graduate school for acupuncturists and as the American leader in Chinese medicine education. The college celebrates not only its long history of accomplishments, but the future of its programs and community. ACTCM at CIIS will lead in the integration of Eastern and Western health perspectives and practices in the U.S. When today’s unique attributes of San Francisco health and wellness spread across the country, ACTCM at CIIS will continue to provide tomorrow’s ideas.


Founded in 1980, The American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) is one of the oldest acupuncture and Chinese medicine colleges in the country. Distinguished faculty and a rigorous curriculum have established ACTCM as a truly exceptional program that brings in students from all over the world. ACTCM offers a masters, first professional and post-graduate doctorate in acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, as well as a broad selection of certificate programs, public classes, and continuing education courses. In July 2015 ACTCM joins California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) as its fourth school and advances opportunities for the holistic care of mind, body and spirit.

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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