Academy of Oriental Medicine at Austin
I respect AOMA's efforts to be at the top of the academic heap, and I see those efforts challenge students who have no previous exposure to TCM. However, their focus remained too entrenched in the basics of TCM, and most of the faculty repeatedly showed resistance to offering more advanced info even on request. Additionally, my experience is that much of the faculty appeared threatened by the attempts to dialog about more advanced topics, or info that may stretch the dogma of plain TCM. I transferred to AOMA from another school, but my three years there were a struggle as I attempted to open discussions of advanced TCM/OM topics that were not in the curriculum. Unfortunately, I found it to be a fairly closed-minded environment based in the old-school Chinese faculty's way: faculty talks & students listen... period.
The herbal program was good although not really geared towards clinical practice. Many graduates will not be able to transform the academic knowledge to practical applications without further training. So I suppose many will not really develop clinical expertise in the herbal field as is the case with most graduates from any school.
My previous school was not on par with AOMA's academics, however it was a much more open-minded environment and allowed for nearly any dialog. That old school (Dallas College of Oriental Medicine -- now closed) was quite explicit that their goal was simply to prepare graduates for the board exams. AOMA seemed to profess the teaching of real TCM/OM, however I believe that they are in fact merely focused on board exam preparation as well.
To offer the benefit of the doubt I would also like to say that AOMA has been making more efforts to modernize their program. How that will change things I cannot say.
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