AOMA Graduate School of Integrative Medicine

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Alumni Spotlight

 Kelly McBride - Class of 2005

From an integrative practice in a hospital setting to community-style acupuncture, AOMA alumna Kelly McBride (’05) has explored many facets of the practice of acupuncture since embarking on her new career.

Working with a chiropractor in her home state of Minnesota after graduation, Kelly recognized that several of her elderly patients were on limited funds and struggled to complete a full treatment protocol. Kelly knew about community-style acupuncture and after reading Working Class Acupuncture she opened her own clinic. “I started with five chairs and expanded to twelve,” she remembers. Kelly included herbs, qigong, and shiatsu while providing her senior patients with affordable treatments. Kelly reflects, “This style not only allowed me to be able to treat more people at discounted rates, but it also allowed my patients to come back more frequently to treat things like sore throats or colds.”

A friend informed Kelly about a local hospital looking for an acupuncturist.  Kelly remembered her father’s experience of illness and subsequent death in a hospital and realized “what a powerful experience it would be to offer integrative medicine to families and give them a new perspective on how to take care of themselves and their loved ones.” Kelly decided to interview and got the job.

Kelly now works as an acupuncturist with other integrative practitioners such as massage therapists, holistic nurses, and reiki masters at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minnesota.  She works in several different departments including spine/neurology, joint replacement, oncology, cardiovascular, women’s health, and behavioral health.  She offers patients acupressure and acupuncture, medical qigong, transformational language, integrative health education, aromatherapy, and massage therapy.  Kelly says, “I mostly see patients for pain management, stress, anxiety, nausea, constipation, and well-being.” Kelly treats in-patients and sees four to eight patients a day. 

Kelly enjoys providing medical qigong treatments along with the acupuncture. Interestingly Kelly finds she is more comfortable doing qigong on patients in the hospital because the doctors have seen improvements and will prescribe the treatments, whereas in private practice she feels she needs to justify these treatments to her patients.  She laughs, “It was major shock the first time a doctor observed me doing qigong and considered it normal.”

Kelly feels she received a well-rounded and solid education at AOMA.  She says, “I feel lucky to have Dr.  Shen, Dr. Wu, Dr. He, and Dr. Ma as teachers and Pamela Ferguson and Master Li for Asian body work.” She feels that her clinical experience was most valuable.  She reflects, “Clinical experience at AOMA gave me the opportunity to start translating the medicine into western terminology.”  

Read more Alumni spotlights on our blog.