The New Year brings fresh opportunities for students of Pacific College to gain experience in Oriental medicine. Under the supervision of Pacific College faculty and board members, students of Pacific College in San Diego have the opportunity to gain valuable experience in integrated health care settings, while providing much-needed care to people in the community. Through the off-site internship program, students can volunteer at eleven different sites around San Diego County. Working at an offsite clinic is an excellent learning experience that can change the way a student practices medicine. This kind of volunteer work will shape the future healer each student will become. Work at offsite clinics can be quite different from the work at the PCOM clinic. Sometimes the off-site clinics involve cramped conditions, and lack administrative support. Set-up tables or equipment may be needed, which means students will have to work as a team to help each other to operate efficiently and with what materials are available. Access to herbal remedies is limited off-site, presenting an opportunity for students to hone their needle technique. Each location also varies in clientele; some are inundated with patients, while others may be sparse. Working at various off-site locations can help students become proficient in both busy work environments as well as slower-paced places where more time is spent on each patient.
Senior Clinic at First Lutheran Church
This is a very popular clinic and is fairly fast paced. There are many senior patients whose chief complaint is often pain, although they also often have underlying complex medical problems. This clinic provides a great opportunity to see the effects of acupuncture when administered frequently, since most patients are willing to come to the clinic two to three times a week. UCSD Free Clinics Project has two locations in San Diego. The first is at the Pacific Beach Methodist Church and the second is at the First Lutheran Church, downtown San Diego. These are both busy clinics for the homeless.
They are run in collaboration with UCSD medical students and volunteer UCSD faculty physicians. The clinics offer a great opportunity to interact with Western medical professionals and future physicians. There are a wide variety of medical problems on a population ranging from young adult to old age. The people making use of these services are friendly and grateful. The atmosphere is safe, upbeat, and relaxed.
San Diego Hospice and Palliative Care
San Diego Hospice provides the unique opportunity to work with terminally ill patients in collaboration with physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, and bereavement counselors in a beautiful facility administering palliative medical care. The Hospice has a department of complimentary medicine using aromatherapy, massage, Reiki, healing touch, hypnotherapy, music, art, pet therapy, and acupuncture. Each of these therapies is an integrated and respected part of the hospice services aimed a providing he best possible end of life care. The general work at the Hospice is both challenging and rewarding. The pace is slow and relaxed with the emphasis on the quality of time spent with each patient. The Center for Grief Care and Education provides a team of three interns per rotation to de-brief PCOM students on any grief or other emotional issues that arise as a result of working with the terminally ill. Students may work in pairs, but are expected to be able to work fairly autonomously.
Rady Children's Hospital
The hospital is a completely unpredictable environment, so adaptability, dependability and independence are the paramount traits that are needed. Students treat all over the hospital in: cramped patient rooms, open bays right next the nurse administering chemo, the parent-family lounge and cold exam rooms. This externship teaches bedside manner, compassion, and patience as students work closely with children of all ages. An upbeat attitude and ability to connect to kids is necessary to soothe and distract the patients from their ailments even as a treatment is being performed. This experience can be especially rewarding as children can respond quickly to treatments and positive attention, students can provide a morale boost here as well as acupuncture.
This clinic serves UCSD athletes. PCOM students have the opportunity to treat many types of muscular-skeletal injuries alongside physical therapists and athletic trainers. The pace is fast and the work is very focused on specific problems. Pacific College interns use acupuncture to help rehabilitate post-operative injuries, sports injuries, and athletic performance by increasing range of motion, muscle strength, and tissue healing potential.
Students average three to five treatments per shift learning Matt Callison's unique combination of Sports Medicine, Chinese Medicine, and Kinesiology. Treatments vary from fifteen minutes to one hour. This is an excellent opportunity to learn musculoskeletal assessment and treatment techniques; this site is for interns only. To be selected for this site, students must pass a required examination.
Owen Clinic at UCSD Medical Center
The Owen Clinic is among America's top HIV care programs because of its comprehensive offerings, its very experienced healthcare staff, and its affiliation with the UCSD Medical Center. The Owen Clinic incorporates the various disciplines that an AIDS patient may utilize into one outpatient clinic, saving the patient the effort and confusion of going to many stations to get his or her needs met. An experienced team of physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners utilize fifteen rooms for patient exams, and each patient is assigned a primary care practitioner based on his or her particular needs. All gender and socioeconomic groups are represented in addition to a liver clinic and oncology clinic and research.
Integrative Health Nights: Community Clinics
This clinic shares three different locations: the Tubman-Chavez Multicultural Center, the City Heights Wellness Center, and Hoover High School. This shift is offered in association with Alternative Healing Network, www.althealnet.org, a nonprofit started by a PCOM alumnus, Ryan Altman. It is an opportunity to witness "community style" acupuncture helping underserved families in a fast paced, integrative setting. Work along side medical assistants; massage therapists, chiropractors, energy healers and yoga instructors. This is an optimal opportunity to gain practical information about the growing trend for delivering acupuncture to the uninsured and less affluent population.
San Diego Cancer Center (SDCC)
The Cancer Center has two primary arms, the first being a for-profit outpatient treatment center staffed by four oncologists. It provides consultation, radiation, chemotherapy, and bi-weekly breast tumor board (oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists and surgeons meet to round table breast cancer cases). The non-profit arm of Cancer Center consists of pharmaceutical clinical trials and an integrative program, with thirty or more volunteer CAM practitioners. The goal of this externship is to provide interns with hands-on TCM oncology experience within an integrated medical setting. Upon shift completion, students will have become comfortable analyzing a case from a TCM, biomedical, and psychosocial perspective. Students will be encouraged, but not required, to participate in tumor board (every other Tuesday at noon) and integrative program events.
Mental Health Services Inc., sponsoring: Family Recovery Center
FRC, housed in a renovated hospital for the last ten years, serves women for whom CPS has stepped in and taken their children. Most of the women are in recovery from substance abuse as a requirement for being re-united with their children, some are there to avoid losing their kids. The 72-bed facility currently houses 40-45 women and approximately 30 kids, aged 0-10. As with most inpatient recovery programs, the client's days are highly structured with various forms of therapy, groups, classes, and AA meetings. Students operate in a group room with chairs in a circle and one room for "traditional" treatment. The type of condition treated is quite varied with addiction being only one part of the picture. Both adults and children are treated. The umbrella company, Mental Health Systems, Inc (MHS) www.mhsinc.org, is the largest provider of county/public mental health-recovery services in San Diego County.
Telecare Corporation's San Diego Managed Care Access Program
Telecare is a program in San Diego County that provides case management for individuals with persistent mental illness. These individuals suffer from schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, mood disorders (depressive disorders, bipolar disorders), and anxiety disorders. In some cases, the clinical picture is complicated with drug/alcohol addiction. One of the goals of Telecare is to provide risk assessment and crisis intervention, support, independent living skills training, medication management, and life skills coaching in an effort to increase satisfaction in the client's life and avoid hospitalization, if possible. The Telecare team is comprised of mental health rehabilitation specialists, personal service coordinators, psychiatrists, and nurses. Acupuncture services are being integrated with Telecare in order to assist patients not only with their mental illness, but also with addiction and pain complaints.