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Alumni Spotlight: Don Snow / OM Summer 09

By Kathleen Rushall

One of the best examples of a Pacific College of Oriental Medicine education utilized to unify Eastern and Western medicine is embodied in Don Snow. An alumni of Pacific College San Diego campus. Don has drawn upon his learning at Pacific College to promote and merge traditional Chinese medicine with modern Western methods. Don has worked for years to accomplish a once little- known goal that is becoming ever more popular in American healthcare: the blending of East and West and advancement of preventive medicine. He has had a diverse career with varied experiences since his days as a student at PCOM.


After receiving his Master's in Traditional Oriental Medicine in 2002, Don went on to earn his Doctorate in Oriental Medicine in 2006 from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, San Diego. Don taught at Pacific College while earning his degrees and also served as Pacific College San Diego's Clinic Supervisor for several years while simultaneously starting an acupuncture practice in Mission Valley, San Diego with partner, Toan Truong.


A Louisiana native, Don took his experience in Oriental medicine back to his home state in 2007. In Louisiana, practicing laws are different. A practicing acupuncturist must be accompanied or shadowed by a Western medical doctor. Don saw the positive aspects to this law, realizing that by working with an M.D., many of his appointments can be billed and his patients can use their health insurance to cover their acupuncture.


The combination of Western and Eastern medicine has always interested Don, and in recent years he has developed his own integrated methodology company called AIMS, Acupuncture and Integrated Medicine Systems. Twenty-two hospitals are now working through Don to contract and place acupuncturists within hospital programs. Don recruits practitioners to work in Western hospitals and to further advocate the use of complementary medicine, or CAM, in typically Western settings. In each of his appointments, Don combines a Western method with his Oriental medicine treatment.

Don says that a large number of his patients see him for issues with chronic pain and are consistent visitors because of the combined quick relief and long-term pain diminishment acupuncture offers.


"Oriental medicine makes problems go away," said Don. "It is the only form of medicine I've found that does that. I had diabetes and hypertension and I no longer have either."


His capstone project at Pacific College focused on diabetes and acupuncture with the use of three specific points for treatments of Type 2 Diabetes, a formula Don developed and put his own faith in, and now advocates for others. Don frequently combines acupuncture with Western micro current therapies for his patients.


"People can't get enough of the immediate relief - neuropathy, neuralgia, chronic pain, they walk out of my office and don't feel any of it; and if they keep coming back, the pain doesn't," said Don."


Rather than compromising his Oriental medicine education with his simultaneous use of Western medicine in his practice, Don has combined the two ideologies in his livelihood. He understands the definitions of each method of medicine, East and West. In his explanation of the success of electrotherapy in conjunction with Oriental medicine, Don says, "That's what qi is - the micro current potential membrane of a cell."


Don's own philosophy is one of open-mindedness. He appreciates both Eastern and Western healing techniques, and is making his living encouraging the two to intersect and complement one another. OM