Q&A with DAOM Candidate: Kate Fleming

Unlike our MSTCM and DACM programs which focus on starting a new career, and the DACMCP which brings you additional knowledge of collaborative and integrative care, the DAOM is designed to truly advance the careers of current practitioners who wish to specialize in the areas of Gynecology or Pain Management. They gain access to world renowned leaders in TCM, the opportunity to collaborate closely with Western medicine practitioners and a chance to study at Zhejiang Chinese Medical University (ZCMU) in Hangzhou, China.

Each month we’ll speak to a student in the DAOM program to learn about their TCM journey, why they decided to take the next step in advancing their career and hear first hand about their educational experience. First up, we’re pleased to introduce Kate Fleming.

Name: Kate Fleming
Credential: EAMP, L.Ac., Dipl. OM, Certified Provider of Hospice and Palliative Care Acupuncture, DAOM Candidate
Education Background: Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Colorado, Master of Science in Oriental Medicine from Southwest Acupuncture College (Boulder campus)
Focus: Pediatrics
Practice Name/Workplace: Seattle Children’s Hospital
Hometown: Boulder, CO

How did your journey in Chinese Medicine begin?

Growing up in Boulder, I was exposed to “alternative” everything, so acupuncture was not a foreign concept to me. I was always drawn to the medical profession and knew I would someday work in healthcare. After some personal health struggles in which Western medicine was unable to help me, I decided to explore what a career in Naturopathic medicine could look like. While touring a school in Portland, I had a chance to look around the library and discovered the Chinese Medicine section. It was as if a light bulb went off. I withdrew my application for Naturopathic school and applied to acupuncture school the next week. I haven’t looked back since!

What has been your favorite module in the DAOM thus far and why?

So far my favorite module has been Gynecological Foundations with Hong Jin. I expected the course to be a basic 101 review of TCM gynecology but was delightfully surprised to gain so much new insight and pearls of wisdom. 

Working with women’s reproductive health in a clinical setting can get confusing, depending on where the woman is in her cycle, which points/herbs to use and when, etc. Hong Jin showed us a simple yet effective method of diagnosis and a new perspective of the menstrual cycle to formulate a solid treatment plan. After her course, I immediately adjusted my course of treatment with one of my existing patients and noticed immediate improvement in her symptoms. I wish I had taken Hong Jin’s course years ago!

How has the DAOM program shifted or affected your practice or thinking?

I decided to pursue the DAOM degree at ACTCM because of the strong emphasis on integrative medicine within the curriculum. I have enjoyed owning and operating a successful private practice over the last five years, but have always been drawn to providing acupuncture in a hospital after completing an externship at the Heilongjiang Hospital in Harbin, China during my master’s program. Since beginning the DAOM, I have learned the language of research and gained a stronger sense of confidence in my clinical ability. I assumed I would explore my dream of working in a hospital following graduation, but I am excited to report I have already been offered a position in the pain and anesthesiology department at Seattle Children’s Hospital, providing inpatient acupuncture to hospitalized children. Although many factors aligned to move into this new position, it would have never been possible without my DAOM candidacy… and I’m only halfway through the program!

Any further visions for the future you would like to share?

Upon graduation, I hope to have the opportunity engage in new and ongoing research at Seattle Children’s Hospital, helping to expand the benefits of acupuncture beyond just pain management. I would also love to teach a course on pediatric acupuncture as I feel this is an incredibly underserved population that responds extremely well to acupuncture and East Asian medicine.

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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