Quality Improvement Project

Quality Improvement is a Hallmark of Institutional Integrity at AOMA.

The Quality Improvement Project (QIP) provides an opportunity for students to develop an awareness of and responsiveness to the healthcare system within which they practice, conduct a self-analysis of practice to identify professional strengths and weaknesses, and develop a program of life-long self-directed learning to remediate weaknesses and further develop strengths.

In the professional doctoral course, RQ0145 DAcOM Portfolio and Practice-Based Learning, students working alone or on teams will run a need analysis and create a quality improvement project (QIP). Upon acceptance, students will implement their QIP and report on its outcomes.

Biomedical Physical Assessment Education and Integration for Acupuncturists (Lattimore, Summer 2017)


Biomedical education is a requirement for acupuncture licensure in many states. At AOMA, Master of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (MAcOM) students take two biomedical physical assessment (PA) classes before starting their clinical internship where they are expected to use it regularly during patient intake. However, in practice, acupuncture students are not using PA consistently and when they are asked to do so, have variability inconfidence and competence. This QIP is a needs analysis inquiry into why students are not consistently integrating PA into their clinical internship and what change in educational practices could facilitate optimal integration. Additional questions posed include: Why is PA used by acupuncturists? Why is PA important and will it change the course of acupuncture treatment chosen? How is the PA curriculum determined and are the tests required for licensure standardized from class to clinical internship?

Needs Analysis

Students are not using PA consistently in clinical internship and therefore are unlikely to use it in professional practice. 

Surveys and interviews are needed to find out why skills being learned in didactic courses are not being applied practically in clinical internship. Does it reflect a gap in MAcOM PA education and subsequent practical incompetence, a lack of confidence, a belief system that PA is not necessary for acupuncture practice, or some other phenomenon? A systematic inquiry into the current state of PA education in the MAcOM and the PA practices of Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.) faculty members and professional clinicians on the AOMA campus is executed in this QIP. The end goal is to determine whether or not PA education at AOMA should be reviewed and improved with adjustments to PA tests, educational video intervention and additional PA classes.

Target Audience/Group

  • AOMA Academic Departments and leadership who are responsible for curriculum review
  • AOMA students and alumni

Description of Intervention

  • Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) physical assessment instructional video
  • Survey of PA1 and PA2 students covering class content and educational study methods
  • IRB approved survey of AOMA faculty and professional clinic L. Ac.’s covering their belief concerning and use of PA in acupuncture practice

End Product to Fill Needs/Gaps

Intended end goals include:

  1. A PA educational video that is accessible to students and alumni.
  2. An Impact on PA curriculum changes at AOMA.

Method(s) of Sharing End Product

  1. Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxcwnUAogDg&t=118s
  2. Meeting with Biomed department heads, faculty, and director of MAcOM at AOMA.


PA is an important part of Acupuncture education and practice, however it is not being consistently integrated into clinical practice by AOMA students or faculty. Not all LAc's believe PA is necessary. Possible curriculum changes could include: i) a paired down list of PA tests in PA1 and PA2, ii) a standardization of content covered in these classes regardless of faculty to reduce confusion, iii) an additional class (PA3) that MAcOM students will take after starting clinical internship that repeats PA tests and integrates biomedical PA into acupuncture practice, and iv) an increase in exposure to PA at AOMA through videos and additional PA review sessions in Clinic Theater 2 and mandatory quarterly intern meetings.

Future endeavors could include a series of CEU classes teaching practical application of PA tests to Acupuncture treatment plans. Most importantly, this QIP concludes that PA is important in the practice of acupuncture and can inform acupuncture treatment plans.

Download the Full Plan [PDF]

AOMA at the VHA Austin Outpatient Clinic Documentation Quality Improvement Plan (Martin, Summer 2017)

Purpose, Intent of QIP 

The goal of this quality improvement plan (QIP) is to make the appointment and onboarding process for AOMA students working at the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) as efficient and as stress-free as possible by capturing the appointment process and daily operations in an easy to assimilate format. 

Needs Analysis, Gaps, Reason for QIP 

Before and when AOMA students started treating at the VHA Austin outpatient clinic, there were several unique challenges. Those problems included a tedious student and supervisor application process. It also included treating a unique patient population, working in a US government agency, using an electronic medical record system, and dealing with specific patient outcomes. In addition, students have been unable to come up to speed quickly due to a lack of written standard protocols. Thus, there was a need for a written clinical operations document. 

Target Audience/Group 

The target audience for this QIP are AOMA students, AOMA supervisors, AOMA administration, VHA supervisors, and VHA management. 

Description of Intervention, Solution, End Product to Fill Needs/Gaps 

The result of this QIP are two documents. The first document clearly and concisely outlines the VHA WOC appointment process. The second document describes the policies and procedures for daily operations at the VHA Austin outpatient clinic. These reports will be presented to the target audience. Based on the feedback from the target audience, the two papers will be amended. This process should continue until the documents are relatively stable and can be presented in an orientation. 

Method(s) of Sharing End Product with Targeted Audience 

The VHA application process document will be provided to the AOMA VHA point of contact for review. The VHA daily operations manual will be emailed to all stakeholders. The VHA daily operations manual will also be presented in a printed format at the Austin outpatient clinic for review and feedback. 

Summary, Conclusions 

After two revisions, the VHA application process document appears to be stable. After five revisions, the VHA daily operations manual is still undergoing major and minor changes. The hope is that the VHA daily operations manual will be stable in six months as policies and procedures are finalized between AOMA and the VHA.

Note: End Product Private

AOMA is unable to publicly share the process documents produced by this DAcOM graduate. However, if another ACAOM-accredited graduate school has an affiliation agreement with a VA in their area to provide clinical services, we will request permission to share these documents privately.

The Acupuncturist's Guide to Insurance Credentialing (Smith and Nimrod, Fall 2017)

Purpose, Intent of QIP

The purpose and intent for this quality improvement project is to better help new acupuncturist understand the interworking of the insurance credentialing process.  

Needs Analysis, Gaps, Reason for QIP

When new acupuncturists first enter the workforce obtaining new patients can be challenging. Accepting insurance can be an effective way of obtaining new patients. Many new acupuncturists shy away from accepting insurance because of the daunting process of getting in network and then the follow up work for payment. This quality improvement project has been set in place to bridge the gap between new acupuncturist and insurance companies.

Target Audience/Group

  • New Licensed acupuncturist

Description of Intervention, Solution, End Product to Fill Needs/Gaps

The intervention will be a lecture in powerpoint form, explaining the pros and cons of accepting insurance. There will also be a step by step process of what you need, and who you will need to contact. This end product will help new acupuncturists feel more comfortable with the credentialing process should they want to take insurance in the future.

Method(s) of Sharing End Product with Targeted Audience

New and/or prospective acupuncturist were given a survey prior to the powerpoint presentation. Participants were asked five questions regarding their interest, knowledge, and understanding of the credentialing process. The powerpoint presentation was given, learner were able to ask questions and make comments about the presentation. An Identical survey was given to analyze the effectiveness of the presentation.  

Summary and Conclusions

2 of the 12 respondents were interested in taking insurance prior to the lesson, 4 were interested after the lesson. 10 of the 12 respondents were not confident in the credentialing process prior to the lesson, after the lesson 8 out of the 12 respondents were more confident. Overall, this survey leads us to believe that our presentation is helpful for learners to feel more confident in the process, however it did not change the overall interest in accepting insurance dramatically.

Download the Full Plan [PDF]

AOM Business Best Practices (Dwyer and Teska, Fall 2017)

Purpose, Intent of QIP

The intent of the QIP is to develop a resource for recent graduates of Oriental medicine programs to improve their odds of being successful upon graduation. 

Needs Analysis, Gaps, Reason for QIP

The needs analysis includes the following: casual conversation with recent graduates, a formal survey through REDCAP, various articles and studies completed. One recent popularized study is the data presented in the US Department of Education report which indicates that the majority of the AOM schools in the US are failing due to the income to loan ratios during the first 3 years after graduation. 

Target Audience/Group

The target audience are students in their last year of AOM school or the first 2 years of practice.

Description of Intervention, Solution, End Product to Fill Needs/Gaps

This QIP is focused on creating best practice guidelines for new graduates of acupuncture and oriental medicine programs. These guidelines include, but are not limited to, steps to successfully start a business, strategies for establishing an effective marketing plan, and tools to aid in assessing progress of practice development. This will be a pdf or a similar format to encourage ease of distribution.

Method(s) of Sharing End Product with Targeted Audience

The end product will be in a pdf format or similar, which can be emailed, printed or posted on a website for download.

Summary, Conclusions

The AOM programs in the US provide a solid education focused on the actual practice of Chinese medicine and acupuncture. There is however, very little provided to students on how to be successful in the field once they graduate. There is much frustration surrounding this and unfortunately, many talented practitioners do not realize they are having problems until their businesses are struggling. There are minimal requirements regarding practice management for AOM schools and most students prefer not to pay for extracurricular classes, so this problem perpetuates. The goal is to provide a valuable resource which can help address this gap.

Disclosures if any

Both authors are currently DAcOM candidates at AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine.  There are no conflicts of interest presented.

Download the Full Plan [PDF]

Download the eBook

A Practical Approach to Using Food in the Creation of a Healthy Lifestyle and Prevention of Disease (Collins and Varon, Fall 2017)

Purpose, Intent of QIP

The purpose of this QIP is to educate specific groups of the general public about utilizing food as a component to overall health and wellness and additionally how dietary changes can affect specific illnesses or diseases. Information will include, but not be limited to: differing types of food groups, processed versus whole foods, how to grocery shop on a budget wherever you are and with the available resources, patterns and behaviors linked with eating, along with the ability to make educated decisions on food as a component to overall health and well-being.

Needs Analysis, Gaps, Reason for QIP

Specific areas and geographic locations will be targeted based on measurements such as: SES, income, accessibility of grocery stores and farmers markets and education levels. These areas and subgroups of individuals tend to lack the skills to integrate healthy diets and regimens into their habitual lifestyles. There are many resources on the internet that teach individuals what to eat and why, but not how to practically achieve these goals. The QIP is based on the awareness of internet education and resources as well as ample research showing the correlation of a healthy diet and the reduction of specific diseases and illnesses.                  

Target Audience/Group

The intended audience is specifically geared toward individuals classified in or relating to the lower economic status description: lower income, less education, along with less access and resources to options. There is no specificity toward gender, age, physical well-being, etc. This audience will mostly be comprised of the general public meaning non-medical individuals, but is open to any individual in the public who is interested in this topic or related topics. The template for the topic will be aimed at the aforementioned population but can be applied to a wide breadth of demographics. The information will remain basic and practical to the audience, and in this regard may be viewed as introductory level information to certain groups such as medical professionals, OM practitioners, ND’s, DC’s, nutritionists, therapists, chefs, etc.

Description of Intervention, Solution, End Product to Fill Needs/Gaps

The type of intervention and solution-based training will be surrounding training materials and educational tools including but not limited to: general interaction, question-asking to audience, icebreaker; physical training materials (brochure, MakeFoodFun document, Disease cheat sheet); humor and anecdotal experience sharing; Q&A small group exercises and live cooking demonstrations. The larger goal is to provide access to other practitioners to utilize the template and spread the concept globally.

Method(s) of Sharing End Product with Targeted Audience

The presenters will use a variety of techniques generated to capture the audience’s attention and interest in the education of food and surround topics. The end product will be a series of seminars/workshops generated from a template of training materials.  

Summary, Conclusions

Food is a topic often convoluted and misunderstood by many. It is also a format for change that can be easily reachable and affordable with the proper education and understanding. This QIP intends to create workshops/seminars based off a series of training procedures and templates focusing on the education and training of food as an important component to health and wellness and prevention of specific diseases to a general population and sub-population of low-income and/or low education in addition to lack of accessibility. The information can additionally be applied to any demographic of the public that is interested and not limited to the aforementioned demographic.

Download the Full Plan [PDF]

Download Presentation #1: 

Download Presentation #2:

Download "Whole Fresh Foods" Guide [PDF]

Download "Wallet Grocery Card" [PDF]

Download "Disease Cheat Sheet" [PDF]

A Response to the Opioid Epidemic: Integrating TCM Practitioners in American Medical Centers (DeShane and Madden, Fall 2017)

Purpose, Intent of QIP

The purpose of this QIP is to inspire Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners and students to work in an integrative model and to assist them with tools to make this a possibility. Our intent is to develop a resource for TCM practitioners that would better prepare them to pursue integrative jobs in American hospital systems and other large medical practices. This will include a PDF document with resources as well as a video walk-through of said document.

Needs Analysis, Gaps, Reason for QIP

This project was originated by a response to the opioid epidemic in North America. The Joint Opioid Task Force and the American Society of Acupuncture started this effort by asserting acupuncture as a nonpharmacologic intervention to treat chronic pain. It then evolved to address the gap between licensed practitioners desiring to work in integrative positions and the lack of such positions in American hospitals.

Target Audience/Group

The target audience for this QIP is licensed acupuncturists and TCM practitioners. This project also ideally targets recent graduates of acupuncture school who desire to work in hospital systems and other large integrative health facilities. Another group that could benefit from this project includes hospital administrative staff looking to comply with the Joint Commission's new and revised pain assessment and management standards, effective January 1, 2018, for its accredited hospitals.

Description of Intervention, Solution, End Product to Fill Needs/Gaps

The final project will consist of a video reviewing the steps and information needed to work at an integrative practice as well a document with each resource used. This QIP can be used by students and practitioners alike to coach them into new opportunities within established clinics.

Method of Sharing End Product with Targeted Audience

This project will be gifted to AOMA as well as NCCAOM for professional development of students and practitioners.

Summary, Conclusions

By providing the tools and information through a tutorial, it is expected that more acupuncturists seek out positions in integratives spaces treating chronic pain and eventually other conditions.


Both authors are currently DAcOM candidates at AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine. There are no conflicts of interest presented.

Watch the Presentation [Video]

Download the Appendix [PDF]

Mindfulness Meditation for Children: A How-To Guide for Teachers/Parents/Practitioners (Cass, Fall 2017)

Purpose, Intent of QIP

To create an example of a proven method of how-to teach children mindfulness meditation.

Needs Analysis                                 

Research continues to demonstrate the value of learning meditation for all people. A famous quote attributed to the Dalai Lama states “If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.” Although this was met with some controversy as naïve, it is a worthwhile aspiration for us all.

Target Audience/Group

The target audience for this QIP is teachers, parents, practitioners wanting to learn simple ways to teach children mindfulness meditation.

Description of Intervention/Solution/End Product to fill needs/gaps      

15 minutes once a week, meditation to a group of 2nd and 3rd graders, median age 8 was offered. The focus was on body awareness, the 5 senses, observing and witnessing the breath and thoughts. An option to choose one word of their choice as a mantra to repeat silently to themselves was offered  And a guided check in before and after each session was standard.

Method of sharing end product with targeted audience                                                              

A How-To worksheet with suggestions on how-to teach children mindfulness meditation.


The benefits of teaching children mindfulness, meditation, and self-love should not be underestimated. Studies continue to conclude that meditation has benefits such as: reduced stress, strengthens the immune system, increases concentration, helps one better deal with ADHD, depression and anxiety, improves sleep, improves tolerance to pain, lowers blood pressure, and increases happiness.

Download the Full Plan [PDF]

Download the Video Guide [MOV]

Improving Access to Acupuncture in Military Health Systems (Byerly, Summer 2018)

Purpose, Intent of Quality Improvement Project (QIP)

The purpose of this QIP is to streamline the delivery systems of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) acupuncture appointments in the Military Health System. The intent is to develop a methodology of clinical appointments as a resource for Military contracted and General Schedule (GS) employed TCM practitioners. This resource will provide the logical and moral reasoning behind a sufficient number of Military Treatment Facility acupuncture appointments. The ultimate goal of this project is to create a reliable, frequently available, alternative for Servicemembers, Dependents and Veterans to nonpharmacologic pain-relief. This project will include a PDF Appendix with resources as well as a powerpoint presentation to train other Military Treatment Facilities in this methodology and a logistical planning powerpoint outlining compassionate care resources for Military Health System acupuncturists.

Needs Analysis, Gaps, Reason for QIP

This project was originated by a response to the Opioid Crisis as it pertains to our U.S. Military population. The Army Pain Management Task Force Report of 2010 and the Comprehensive Pain Addiction Recovery Act of 2016 started this effort by asserting acupuncture as a nonpharmacologic intervention to treat chronic pain. It then evolved to address the gap in number of acupuncturist led appointments currently being performed at Military Treatment Facilities compared to other Physician led medical acupuncture appointments at those locations. This project has created a process of increasing acupuncturist appointments to a reasonable and compassionate number of treatments for a large military population.

Target Audience/Group

The target audience for this QIP is licensed acupuncturists and Military Health System Leaders. This project also ideally targets military hospital administrative staff, Chiefs of Regional Military Treatment Facilities (MTF), and other Military integrative health clinics. Another group that could benefit from this project includes civilian hospital administrative staff looking to comply with the Joint Commission's new and revised pain assessment and management standards, effective January 1, 2018, for its accredited hospitals.

Description of Intervention, Solution, End Product to Fill Needs/Gaps

The final project will consist of a powerpoint and Appendix reviewing the steps and information needed to create 19 acupuncturist led appointments per practitioner, per day at a MTF Interdisciplinary Pain Management Clinic (IPMC). This QIP can be used by administrators and acupuncture practitioners alike to coach facilities into maximizing existing space and acupuncture personnel in order to adequately address the nonpharmacologic pain management needs of a large military population.

Method of Sharing End Product with Targeted Audience

This project will be presented up the chain of command via the Interdisciplinary Pain Management Clinic, Carl R Darnall Army Medical Center, Fort Hood, Texas. It will be presented also to AOMA and the NCCAOM for professional development of students and practitioners.

Summary, Conclusions

By providing the findings of how to increase acupuncturist led DoD appointments by 217% per day, the hope is that more Active Duty, Veteran and Dependent populations can access acupuncture as a viable pain management strategy in the Military Health System. Whereas the lack of available acupuncturist appointments will only necessitate a military system that relies on physician led acupuncture appointments or non-physician providers appointments. It is imperative for the future of nonpharmacologic pain management that all of the extensive tools of this ancient system of Traditional Chinese Medicine be put to use. Our U.S. Military population deserves the best we have to offer in compassionate care.


The author is a DAcOM candidate at AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine. There are no financial conflicts of interest presented.


Download the Full Document [PDF]

Integrative Medicine: Traditional Chinese Medicine Interpretation of Biomedical Vitals (Bustillo, Summer 2018)


The purpose of this Quality Improvement Project (QIP) is to help students and acupuncturists understand how biomedical vitals can contribute to a Chinese medicine diagnosis.


As acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments gain more acceptance in the Western medical model as a valid form of medical treatment, utilizing biomedical vitals will be required for every patient.

Vitals allow the practitioner to understand the nature of the patient’s bodily functions. Understanding and utilizing Western medicine vitals can be used as a tool to gain insight to a Chinese Medicine diagnosis. The overall goal is to create a communication pathway between doctors of acupuncture and Chinese medicine and Western medicine physicians to better serve their patients.


  • Current acupuncture students
  • Licensed acupuncturist who are interested in integrative medicine or working in a hospital-based system.


This QIP is focused on helping acupuncturist and other Chinese medicine practitioners to understand how to use Western medicine vitals as a source of information for their Chinese medicine diagnosis.

This information will provide a general overview of Western medicine vital abnormalities and the Chinese medicine indications.


  1. General explanation of Western medical vitals and the TCM interpretations (PDF)
  2. Quick summary of Western Vitas and TCM Interpretation (PDF)


  • Downloadable PDF


Western medicine vitals are considered a standard in getting information on the state of one's health. As acupuncturist and doctors of Chinese medicine, one can use this information to make a qualitative diagnosis and ensure that a proper treatment strategy. In Chinese medicine, our diagnosis and treatments lay in the details of the human body. Every piece of information gathered either confirms our thought process or pulls us towards another direction. By understanding the general thought patterns and interpretation of both Western medicine and TCM, we can have an open dialogue on integrated treatment strategies. This moves us forward to truly merging the two practices.


Download the General Guide [PDF]

Download the Concise Summary [PDF]

Clinical Model for Affordable and Accessibility Pilot in Portland ME (Arris, Fall 2018)


Improving access to comprehensive acupuncture treatments in Greater Portland, Maine: A template and pilot year for an affordable cash-based acupuncture practice

Target audience:

There are two target audiences for this Quality Improvement Plan (QIP). The first group includes acupuncturists and entrepreneurs who would like a realistic template for opening their own cash-based acupuncture practice. The second group includes acupuncturists who are interested in tackling the problem of a lack of access to acupuncture in Portland, Maine and would like to take up the cause themselves.

Needs analysis:

When acupuncture students complete school and earn their acupuncture licenses, many immediately open their own private practices because jobs in the acupuncture field are relatively scarce. (Hanfileti, 2017). While there are some books and websites that offer insight into the process of establishing and growing an acupuncture business, they usually withhold specific details including actual numbers. This QIP documents the launch of a cash-based acupuncture practice that was started with under $3,000, and tracks growth over its first year in business. The model may be applied to any city where there is high demand for affordable acupuncture, and may be executed with under $3,000 in start-up costs.


The outcome of this QIP is a business plan template for a cash-based community acupuncture clinic that offers comprehensive evidence-based acupuncture treatments, the results of its pilot year in practice, and projections for a second year in practice.

Outcome measures:

Several outcome measures were observed to determine the overall success of the pilot year and plausibility of a similar long-term practice. These measures included growth in number of patient visits, percentage of patients retained, and monthly gross and net revenue.


The practice demonstrated steady growth that exceeded projections, and consistent revenue.


There is high demand for a practice that operates like Portland Acupuncture, but the only way for it to be financially lucrative is billing at least 200 treatments per month. I recommend having multiple providers and increasing those numbers. 

Download the Full PDF

Chinese Nutrition Simplified: Quick Foods for over 50 Common Syndromes (Hammick, Fall 2018)

The Intent of this QIP

This QIP is intended to act as a resource to TCM practitioners, specifically for those

interested in streamlining traditional Chinese nutritional therapy in their practices.

The Reasoning for this QIP

There is a dearth of resources that make Chinese nutrition easy for patients.

The Target Audience for this QIP

This QIP will be used by practitioners to help simplify Chinese nutrition for their patients,

who in turn will use the resource at home to guide their grocery shopping, cooking and eating.

A Description of the QIP End Product

The QIP is organized by TCM syndromes. Over 50 syndromes are included, each of

which has a summary of nutritional recommendations and an easy recipe.

The Method of Sharing this End Product with the Target Audience

The QIP will be made available for download.


This is a first step in reconciling the vast amount of detail and the multiple avenues of

thought within Chinese nutrition. It should prove to be a resource that practitioners refer to and

share with their patients on a daily basis.


There are no relevant disclosures for this QIP.

Download the Full PDF

Grasping the Abstract: Integrative Herbal Medicine (Stanley, Winter 2019)

Purpose, Intent of QIP

To integrate a combination of lenses in order to make recommendations for future herbal research that will allow for a deeper understanding of the biochemical components and mechanisms underpinning Chinese herbal medicine.

Needs Analysis                                 

Ongoing publications indicate a friction between Chinese medicine and the construct of science.  However, the practice of science as laid out by Sir Karl Popper is subject to a philosophical framework that lends itself to a new integration that echoes tenets of the pivotal paper, “Strong Inference.”  By looking at the intersection between philosophy, plant biology, and experimental design, recommendations emerge that can propel herbal medicinal research.

Target Audience/Group

The target audience for this QIP includes all who are contributing to the body of research focused in Chinese herbal medicine.

Description of Intervention/ End Product

The end product is a paper that first bridges the gap between science as a construct and Chinese medicine as it is taught and practiced.  Second, it dives into the biology of plants to piece together the broader picture of how this paradigm perceives this complex system.  Next, it presents recommendations that will provide better opportunities for retrospective analyses and propel research going forward.

Method of Sharing                                             

Ultimately, this paper will be expanded into a textbook of single herbs that show up in the Shanghan Zabing Lun.


The world is changing now more than ever, and the flora is changing alongside it.  By making more efficient use of research endeavors simply by using better methods and better documentation, perhaps, research can keep pace with change in spite of limited resources.  At the very least, a strong integration of lenses will allow for a better understanding from which all types of experts and practitioners can benefit.


Download the full PDF

AOMA Student Wellness (Orr, Spring 2019)


The purpose of this QIP is to address the gap in access to information for students at AOMA and is to be used towards their own healthcare/wellness goals while students and student practitioners in clinic. 

Needs Analysis

The needs assessment for this project was based on data underlying the nature and effects of stressors to student populations, specifically college age and medical student populations; as well as focus group data and the personal experience of the author. Data suggests that among the top challenges for student learners is simply access to vetted information, presented in a format which is easily accessible, specifically targeted to said population. 

Target Audience​

The target audience for this project is the AOMA student population including alumni with the potential that the model might additionally contribute to other complementary and alternative learning institutions. 


To maximize access and flexibility, this project takes the form of a website: a
“living document” used as a tool by student cabinets to represent and respond to the changing needs of the student body.  The author has initially suggested sub-pages including: “forum,”
“blog,” events,” “inspi/relaxation,” “contact,” and “community” with the intention that other pages would be added as needed. 

Transferal method-

The web page as constituted, will be transferred to the current student body president and coordinator of student services with the intention that after making initial edits they will then advertise the page to the student population. From there, the page will grow further and take shape with the needs and contributions of the students themselves. 


The student population at AOMA and many other complimentary medical programs are unique in the diversity of previous professional and personal skill sets and knowledge bases. Studies in Traditional Chinese Medicine further adds to students expertise, however the rigors of the program of study itself often contributes to student stress, this potentially affecting overall student health.  Data shows that access to information is key to positively affect student health outcomes and AOMA students are uniquely positioned to leverage their knowledge, both previous and current. It is of the utmost importance therefore to create and maintain a platform for this knowledge, this journey, to be easily accessible, easily shared and easily transmutable while healers not only heal their clients but also “heal thyselves.”


The names and/or personal information of any specific student or affiliate of AOMA has not been made as part of this publication other than that of the Author. Additionally there is no financial agreement between the author and any company or organization either public or private. 

Download a PDF of the web pages

A Prepared Editable Proposal Template Assistance for Acupuncturists to Appeal to an Existing Organization to Incorporate Traditional Chinese Medicine (Froeba, Spring 2019)

Purpose, Intent of QIP

To provide a general outline and editable template for Acupuncturists in need of developing a formal written proposal to bring any modality of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to an existing organization or medical clinic.

Needs Analysis, Gaps, Reason for QIP

Many hospitals, medical centers and clinics, as well as non-medical organizations such as office parks and schools may benefit from acupuncture and other medical services provided by a Licensed Acupuncturist. Offering a well written proposal can make the organization’s leadership aware of the benefits/need, offer plans to integrate/host/hire an acupuncturist, and develop professional respect for the acupuncturist.

Target Audience/Group

Licensed Acupuncturists seeking to bring TCM to an existing organization or medical clinic.

Description of Intervention, Solution, End Product to Fill Needs/Gaps

Use of a prepared proposal template developed by a fellow acupuncture professional can ease the pain of writing and improve outcomes. The proposal template would give freedom for the individual acupuncturist to elaborate on their specific vision. This template would be largely fill-in the-blank in style.

Method(s) of Sharing End Product with Targeted Audience

This QIP is to be published on the AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine website. Three documents are to be provided: 1) an introduction and guide (.pdf), 2) a sample of a written proposal (.pdf), and 3) an editable proposal template (.docx).

Summary, Conclusions

Professional level writing with inter-professional language can build trust in the acupuncture profession and the professional themselves, closing the professional gap and unfamiliarity between the acupuncturist and other professionals, while poorly written work can be damaging. Use of a prepared proposal template developed by a fellow acupuncture professional who has had success in writing and presenting proposals can ease the pain of writing and improve outcomes.

Download QIP Introduction and Guide (PDF)

Download Sample Proposal (PDF)

Download Editable Porposal Template (Word)

TCM Patient Handouts (Cauley and Ledbetter, Spring 2019)

Purpose, Intent of QIP

To provide practitioners with convenient information sheets answering frequently asked questions about TCM that may be given to their patients for educational purposes.

Needs Analysis, Gaps, Reason for QIP

Patients often lack the cultural and/or educational background to understand the TCM paradigm, inviting uncertainty and questions about its approach.  Providing patients with handouts answering commonly asked questions will help to put patients at ease by educating them on the topic and will also aid in practitioner’s time management.

Target Audience/Group

Patient and Practitioners of TCM.

Description of Intervention, Solution, End Product to Fill Needs/Gaps

Succinct information sheets answering frequently asked questions about TCM and related modalities that are easy to read in a convenient printable PDF format.

Method(s) of Sharing End Product with Targeted Audience

Printable PDF files in electronic format accessible on AOMA’s website.

Summary, Conclusions

Answering commonly asked questions about TCM will help them feel better informed and more comfortable with the process, ultimately benefitting both patient and practitioner.


Commonly Asked Questions About TCM

Commonly Asked Questions About Acupuncture

Commonly Asked Questions About Cupping

Commonly Asked Questions About Gua Sha

What is Moxa and What do I Need to Know About it

What is Liver Qi Stagnation and What Can I do About it

What is Blood Deficiency and What Can I do About it

What is Blood Stasis and What Does that Mean

Informing the Biomedical Field about TCM (Hall and Sandoval, Spring 2019)


The purpose of this Quality Improvement Project (QIP) is to help Integrative practitioners successfully present an informative introduction to allopathic practitioners on how Chinese medicine can complement their current practice, and how a practitioner can successfully chart proficiently to integrate the two modalities without inconvenience or confusion seamlessly.


As acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments become a routine procedure in the Western medical model, there is still a gap in the understanding and awareness by western medicine practitioners. Educating western practitioners, Chinese medicine practitioners can bridge the gap in integrative modalities. Knowing how to chart proficiently will allow practitioners to integrate the two medicine without inconvenience or confusion seamlessly. The overall goal is to create communication between doctors of acupuncture and Chinese medicine and Western medicine practitioners to serve their patients better.


  • Current Integrative Practitioners
  • Conventional Practitioners


This QIP is focused on helping Chinese medicine practitioners communicate and educate allopathic providers with a minimum understanding of how Chinese medicine will complement their medical practice.


  1. Tangible factual information to gain an understanding of Chinese medicine and the education involved.
  2. Substantial information in the form of a power point presentation and brochure.
  3. Handouts include Information to help practitioners of Chinese medicine competently communicate with allopathic practitioners.


Downloadable PDFs


As acupuncturist and doctors of Chinese medicine integrate into a western medicine environment, it is crucial to educate western medicine practitioners in the many forms of Chinese medicine complements whole health. It is also essential to communicate with practitioners for optimal health and patientcentered care.

By understanding the general thought patterns and interpretation of both Western medicine and TCM, we can have an open dialogue on integrated treatment strategies. The communication moves us forward to truly merging the two practices.

The goal is to work as an Integrative team, but conventional physicians need the information to make informed decisions. Things to consider:

  1. Limit time to present; no more than ten minutes.
  2. They will not retain all the information, so provide factual material to take.
  3. Doctors want to be informed but do not waste their time.

How TCM can complement your practice slides (pdf of ppt)

How TCM can complement your practice brochure (pdf)

Bridging the Gap Guidelines (pdf)

Oriental Medicine as a Career Choice: Introducing this medicine to school children (Brown, Spring 2019)


  • Introduce Oriental medicine (OM)—acupuncture and herbs to young people and awaken a desire in them to consider becoming an oriental medicine (OM) doctor
  • Educate young people about acupuncture and herbal medicine and how it can relieve pain and sickness without expensive doctor visits and dangerous medicines
  • Inform, educate, and motivate young people about Traditional Chinese Medicine and reduce fears and remove false information about OM
  • Encourage OM as a career path

Needs Analysis, Gaps

  • Rise in medical costs (Eisenberg, 2018) (Kacik, 2018) and rise in chronic diseases WHO reports by 2020 (WHO, n.d.)
  • Increase of OM practitioners needed to expand the voice of this modality and reduce the gap in patient to practitioner ratio;   17K acupuncturists (NCCAOM, 2017) compared to 954K  medical doctors (Young et al., 2017) about 339 patients/medical doctor & 19,000/acupuncturist )
  • Awaken the desire in young people to become OM doctors (top 15 kids dreams: dancer, athlete, firefighter, teacher, musician, scientist, detective, writer, astronaut, pilot, veterinarian, lawyer, doctor/nurse, actor, police officer) (Doyle, 2018)

Target Audience/Group

School aged young people greater than 5 years old

Description of Intervention, Solution, End Product to Fill Needs/Gaps

25-45 minute informative presentation to students in an area which supports: demonstration,  direct interaction between students & presenter, and age appropriate interactive workshop; i.e. classrooms with tables as work space, community conference rooms; an enclosed outdoor picnic areas is  great for moxa demonstration.

Method(s) of Sharing End Product with Targeted Audience

Informal presentation in class rooms, community rooms, designated outdoor area, etc., with space to display acupuncture tools/materials, and supports hands on interaction between students and presenter.

Summary, Conclusions

Acupuncture needs a larger and louder voice, which speaks more clearly with increased numbers.  Introducing this medicine to future generations is a way to increase this voice, and it may also prompt their parents toward this medical modality.

Medicine of the Orient, a Career Choice presentation plan (Word document)

Medicine of the Orient, a Career Choice presentation slides (Power Point file)

A Guide to Mindfulness Meditation: Enhance Neuroplasticity and Alter Gene Expression for Vibrant Health (Munson Spring 2019)


The goal of this Quality Improvement Project (QIP) is to bring awareness to the power behind mindfulness meditation (MM) in creating new brain structures that benefit health.  Medical practitioners often see patients who improve then regress.  Chinese medicine teaches that emotions are frequently an underlying cause of disease, and by suppression, severe illnesses result.   Patients living with chronic illness typically seem to get stuck in a cycle and have difficulty getting well.  There are a variety of helpful tools to incorporate into medical practice, and MM is one that delivers profound results.

Reason for QIP

Medical practices, regardless of conventional or integrative, have the primary goal of helping patients heal.  Lifestyle changes are usually recommended and but not necessarily understood by the patient.   It is beneficial for patients to understand information and scientific research revealing the positive outcomes of diseases with some being reversed and reducing stress levels that cause depression and anxiety.  If people realize the impact that MM can have in healing, and the simplicity of how to begin with just a few minutes per day, many lives will be improved. 

Target Audience

Licensed acupuncturists, current AOMA students and alumni, and any medical practice where they find benefit in incorporating integrative modalities into a health setting.

Description of Intervention, Solutions, End Product to Fill Need

This QIP is designed to give practitioners a simple guide to Mindful Meditation options Including scientific research demonstrating how one can enhance neurotransmitters, increase neuroplasticity and alter their gene expression by choosing a daily commitment starting with a few minutes per day. Patients deserve multiple options for better health care.  Most people have no idea of the implications involved with meditative practices, how to do it, or the real life-changing benefits.

Method of Sharing End Product

The QIP is a printable guidebook in PDF format.

Download A Guide to Mindfulness Meditation (PDF)

Enhance Your Acupuncture Practice with the use of Essential Oils (Daley, Spring 2019)


To help acupuncturists use essential oils in their practice from a Chinese medical perspective and create positive change in their patients lives.


Reason for this QIP

There is a tremendous amount of misinformation on how to use essential oils. This guide is a clear and comprehensive introduction on how to begin to use them.


Target Audience:Primary audience are licensed acupuncturists and other health care professionals


End Product to Fill Needs/Gaps

By following this guide, a practitioner will have the confidence to use essential oils regularly in their practice to support acupuncture treatments.  Similarly to the way that one develops herbal prescriptions, essential oil blends can be made to be used by the patient daily at home in between acupuncture treatments enhancing and supporting the effects of their in office visits. Essential oil blends can be used directly on accupuncepoint in lieu of needles. This is extraordinarily helpful and therapeutically effective with needle phobic patients and pediatric patients. 


Method of Sharing End Product

This document serves as a booklet to be printed and used in one’s clinical practice as a reference.


Summary, Conclusions

This guide outlines the use of essential oils that calm the shen (spirit) first, since a patient in a state of peace is ready to heal. The guide details eight of the most potent players out of all the essential oils that calm the shen, and it directs one in how to begin by making a single oil blend. From there one can make multiple essential oil blends. Recipes that use calm shen herbs are provided.


This guide will serve as a resource as one begins to understand how to combine oils based on their similar or complementary energetic effects and scent types. It will give the information one needs to use essential oils to unblock the seven chakras of the body and increase the smooth flow of Qi throughout the body. Lastly, this guide will serve as a resource as one expands the use of essential oils in treatments that address the most common disease patterns within Chinese medicine. Developing a passion for using essential oils and making them a permanent part of a practitioner’s practice.



Information within this guide is for educational purposes only. Statements about the essential oils’ efficacy have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. The information mentioned within are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any specific disease. As always, please consult your Medical Doctor for any medical advice or treatment.

Download Enhance Your Acupuncture Practice with the use of Essential Oils (pdf)

Electromagnetic Fields and Electromagnetic Radiation Guide for Acupuncturists (Kwon, Spring 2019)

Purpose, Intent of QIP

To provide practitioners to better treatment results by providing protocols for reducing electromagnetic fields (EMF)/electromagnetic radiation (EMR) at home.  

Needs Analysis, Gaps, Reason for QIP

Back when Chinese medicine was founded, EMF toxins were nonexistent. In these modern days of wireless technologies, our bodies are constantly getting attacked by the electromagnetic radiation(EMR) and electromagnetic fields (EMF). It has been creating more and more health issues to many, yet most of us are not aware of it or what to do to reduce exposure.

Target Audience/Group

Licensed acupuncturists that are in practice.

Description of Intervention, Solution, End Product to Fill Needs/Gaps

A document to help practitioners to educate them on basics of EMR/EMF and effects on health. Provide them with information that will help solve unresolved health problems or help get treatment results more effectively. 

Method(s) of Sharing End Product with Targeted Audience

Online PDF will be available for the practitioners to download on QIP website.

Summary, Conclusions

This document will provide general information on EMF/EMR and bring awareness of its effects on health. As a result, practitioners will take these factors into consideration when treating patients and patients will get better treatment results by reducing exposure of EMR.


Download the EMF-EMR Guide (pdf)

Sports Medicine Acupuncture Handout (Beavers, Spring 2019)


The purpose of this project is to circulate more accurate information to athletic patients, coaches, athletic trainers, gyms, and other health professionals with the specific intent of concisely presenting the benefits of acupuncture in the realm of sports medicine.

Need, Gap

Currently, there is very little acupuncture being used in athletic training facilities.  Alternatively, there is a growing number of facilities using dry needling by either a physical therapist, chiropractor, or athletic trainer.  The information being presented about acupuncture by these other practitioners is misleading, and therefore detrimental to the expansion of our profession.  There is a substantial need for more accurate information to be presented and accepted by the sports and fitness industry.  There is also an opportunity for advertisement of the acupuncture profession through the successful treatment of famous athletes.

Target Audience

The target audience for this handout would athletes, trainers, coaches, orthopedic physicians, or any patient interested in the sports-related benefits of acupuncture.  The handout could be designed with the intention of being a template used for other practitioners to complete with their information and logo.


The intervention will need to be concise enough that the intended audience will take time to read it, but with enough content to show the value of what acupuncture has to offer.  The final product will be a detailed handout with a list of the potential benefits to catch the attention of the reader with expanding information on each topic that includes a description of the current research.


This handout could be distributed by any acupuncturist interested in sports medicine to local gyms, athletic training facilities, orthopedic clinics, or any other location with public visibility.  Electronic distribution such as a PDF version could be emailed to any potential location or person.  A template could be made available for use by other acupuncturists interested in sports medicine.


There is a need for better representation of the benefits of acupuncture in the world of sports medicine.  This could potentially help any practice interested in treating athletes to have a professional handout available for advertisement that presents clear and accurate information backed by current research.


Download Brochure 1 (pdf version 1)

Download Brochure 2 (pdf version 2)

Five Needles: A Look Into the Past and Future of the NADA Protocol (Card, Spring 2019)

Purpose, Intent of QIP

The purpose and intent of this QIP is to release new and updated teaching materials for not

only trainers of the NADA protocol, but anyone that is interested in learning more about the protocol

in general.

Needs Analysis

Currently teaching materials regarding the NADA protocol are visually and materially out of

date. As the protocol has been used over time the vast instances in which it can be implemented has

grown. The initial development of the protocol revolved around being one tool in a multimodal

approach in treating substance abuse and addiction withdrawal. The protocol has now been

implemented in numerous new ways including treatment of stress and trauma.

It is clear, after the passing of NADA’s leader and advocate, Dr. Micheal Smith, the

community has reached a crossroads. New, young, capable and inspired individuals are needed to

help keep the legacy of NADA alive and prospering. There are currently gaps among the general

populations understanding of what NADA is. The lack of funds and manpower for new press,

research, funding for new materials, and historical documentation has made for a pause in the ability

for NADA to reach new heights.

Target Audience/Group

Five Needles aims to target a wide audience. Firstly, trainers who teach individuals to

become NADA specialists spend approximately 30 hours in class per training. Currently, training

videos give these individuals an opportunity to step back and allow trainees to hear other

perspectives and stories regarding the history, development, and continually growing use of the

NADA protocol. Giving trainees the ability to hear other individuals by bringing stories to them not

only validates what they have already been learning, but provides a cost effective way to bring more

opinions and stories into the classroom. Finally, interested individuals who wish to know more about

NADA before either committing to a training or seeking out care for themselves will be able to learn

and see in the comfort of their own homes or treatment facilities what NADA is about and of what

the treatment protocol consists.

Description of Intervention

The final teaching product will be made available for free to a handful of active trainers,

NADA practicing locales (to stock in their libraries or information areas for patients) and

administrators interested in introducing the NADA protocol into their practice.

Method of Sharing End Product with Targeted Audience

After the product has had adequate time on the market for word of mouth and feedback, it

will be available for purchase through either an independent website (future home of feature length

film of “Five Needles”) and at NADA conferences (pending approval).

Summary, Conclusions

The hope of creating this teaching material is to create more talk and buzz around the topic of

the NADA protocol and how it is being used around the world. In conjunction with the teaching

material, a feature length documentary is in production. This documentary will be used in informing

more of the general public about the protocol and giving the power back to the people in helping

them make their own decisions regarding health care. Just as NADA began, hopefully in the same

spirit it will continue to grow.

View the Video (mp4)

A Guide to Growing Chinese Herbs in Central Texas (Durbin, Spring 2019)

Purpose, Intent of QIP

This will provide a reference point for practitioners and students of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) of herbs that grow locally, how to grow them, and how to process them.

Needs Analysis, Gaps, Reason for QIP

Many practitioners and students of TCM would benefit from having fresh, locally sourced herbs. Providing a basic database of herbs that are specific for this region gives a reference point for growing formulas. The goal is to be able to provide a formula that can be grown locally from seeds and cuttings. This will allow the practitioner to customize the growing conditions and processing of the herbs.

Target Audience/Group

Practitioners and students of TCM with a desire to have fresh herbs available.

Description of Intervention, Solution, End Product to Fill Needs/Gaps

Having a guide of which TCM plants grow in this area may encourage those familiar with TCM to grow their own formulas. This would be a basic guide of the plants common name, Latin name, and TCM name with the intention to be able to provide seeds and cuttings to create a formula. This is also a basic guide of how to grow and process some of the plants.

Method(s) of Sharing End Product with Targeted Audience

Publication of the database on the AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine website page for Quality Improvement Projects.

Summary, Conclusions

Many practitioners come to this medicine due to its ability to help in ways that other forms of medicine cannot. Being a part of the process of growing a plant from the beginning to the harvest creates a deeper understanding of that plant and its special attributes and healing abilities, lending itself to an even deeper understanding of formulas and their effect on the body. The practitioner’s ability to harvest and process the herbs ensures the purity of the product that is free from unwanted additives and fillers.

Download Growing Si Wu Tang and Other Herbs (PDF)

Download Plant List for Zone 8 (PDF)

Endocrine Modulating Botanicals: Safety and Impact of Chinese Herbal Medicine on Hormone Sensitive Breast Cancer - A Scoping Review (Moore, Fall 2019)

Purpose, Intent of QIP

The intent of this project is to clarify what is known about the safety of endocrine modulating botanicals and their effect on patients being treated for, or at risk for, hormone-sensitive breast cancer as well as any herb-drug interaction that may exist between hormone therapy drugs and commonly proscribed Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM.)

Needs Analysis, Gaps, Reason for QIP

Breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer worldwide. Many oncology patients seek adjunctive therapies to mitigate the side effects of common biomedical cancer treatments and to improve their quality of life. Chinese Medicine may address physical pain and emotional distress associated with a cancer diagnosis while moderating treatment side effects and improving the immune system.  Patients and practitioners may be afraid of, or unsure of, herb-drug interactions between targeted therapy, like Tamoxifen, and CHM. The endocrine modulating properties of many Chinese herbs and Classical Chinese Herbal Formulas may not be fully considered or understood by practitioners who prescribe them in their clinical practice. Estrogen and progesterone may promote tumor proliferation in Hormone Receptor Positive (HR+) Breast Cancer, which is the predominant subtype. It is imperative that practitioners of CHM understand the risks associated with hormone modulating botanicals and potential herb-drug interactions before prescribing them in clinical practice.

Target Audience/Group

This Project is primarily geared towards practitioners of Chinese Medicine and other healthcare providers working within an Integrative Medicine framework to provide adjunctive therapy to cancer patients.

Description of Intervention, Solution, End Product to Fill Needs/Gaps

A Scoping Review was performed as a preliminary assessment of the available research on the safety of endocrine modulating botanicals for patients undergoing treatment for, or at risk for, hormone-sensitive breast cancer. The safety of Chinese Herbal Medicine and the potential effect on tumor proliferation was evaluated based on literature available through The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Some botanicals which directly affect breast cancer cell proliferation, or which affect breast cancer gene expression, individually or when combined, were identified. Chinese Herbal Medicines which may work synergistically with, or counteract the effects of, hormone therapy or targeted therapy were identified along with confounding factors and gaps in current research.

Method(s) of Sharing End Product with Targeted Audience

This Scoping Review will be submitted for publication in a Journal such as Meridians: The Journal of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (MJAOM) or as an article for Acupuncture Today and may be further expanded into a more comprehensive Systematic Review.

Summary, Conclusions

While some preliminary data is available, further study is needed to conclusively determine the safety and effects of commonly prescribed CHM on gene expression and tumor proliferation in hormone-sensitive breast cancer. Practitioners must use their professional judgement, training and knowledge of herb-drug interactions when prescribing herbal medicine to cancer patients, tailoring formulas to the individual needs of each patient. Potential risks and interactions as well as expected benefits of treatment must be clearly communicated to allow patient and practitioner to collaborate on treatment decisions.


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