Advancing Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
July 20, 2020
Dear Emperor’s College Community,
I would like to express my gratitude to all the students, faculty, and staff who attended the recent campus forums on diversity, equity and inclusion and to all who shared and listened with open hearts and minds. I am also deeply appreciative of Dr. Ding-Jo Currie, Distinguished Faculty in the Higher Education Leadership Program at California State University Fullerton and Emperor’s College board member, along with the staff of the Orange County Human Relations Commission for facilitating the forums with care and sensitivity.
This was a powerful experience for us as a community. Some participants shared deeply personal experiences with racism and marginalization and others expressed their sincere desires to become more skillful allies in a racist society. We expressed our intentions to change on a personal level and to collectively work toward a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment at Emperor’s College, where everyone feels safe, included, and respected. Hearing diverse stories of our community members is essential for us to change as an institution, and we will have more opportunities to dialogue in the future.
Because of your openness and input, Emperor’s College board of directors and leadership have found helpful direction to advance our work in the areas of equity and justice. The forum facilitators took notes on the suggestions for changes, which the board and the administrative leadership reviewed and consolidated. The feedback from faculty, students, staff, and alumni is the basis for these action steps the College will be taking, both immediate and long-term. These initiatives will be ever expanding, and we will define our priorities together as a community moving forward.
The priorities that have emerged from this process are as follows:
Promoting Health Justice Education on Diversity,Equity, and Inclusion
Review of Programs and Services
Supporting Black Students
Discontinuing the Use of the Word “Oriental”
Promoting Health Justice
For decades, our vision and values have led us to work with both LA Free Clinic and Venice Family Clinic, which are federally qualified health centers, to bring acupuncture to underserved populations that otherwise would not have access to our medicine. We work with Being Alive, where our services are free to those with HIV/AIDS. Advanced level student interns participate in the externships at Being Alive and Venice Family Clinic, though the programs are on hiatus during the state of the emergency. We have participated in countless outreach events to bring acupuncture to the underserved and the underinsured, especially to the veteran community in Los Angeles. Our campus clinic provides low cost treatments, and we offer a sliding scale for low income patients who are most at risk. We recognize that health inequities stem from structural racism, and we are committed to expanding our work in this area.
Emperor’s College intends to continue to provide these and a variety of expanded community educational programming that can be a win-win for all involved by partnering with or contributing to institutions with like-minded causes. As one example of this expanded community programming, our Academic Dean, Dr. Jacques MoraMarco, will teach a continuing education class, Ear Shen Men and the Nogier Thalamus Phase II on July 25th, 2020. The College will donate the proceeds to Black AIDS Institute, whose mission is to end the HIV epidemic in the Black community. If you have ideas for expanded community programming or are prepared to share your expertise in this way, please contact me.
Education on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
The College will provide on-going in-service training and educational opportunities for faculty, students, and staff on anti-racism and implicit bias to raise the knowledge and awareness level of the entire campus community. Attendance and participation will be part of the regular evaluation process of faculty and staff so that we can achieve concrete results and progress. We intend to begin these educational programs starting Fall 2020.
We must also recognize the stigmatization and marginalization of diverse individuals and communities that occur on our own campus and must work hard to tackle them. I have heard from individuals who have experienced microagressions and stereotyping on our campus, and it is clear that we need to act with greater urgency to strengthen our culture to make it more inclusive for all members. Toward that end Emperor’s College will establish a clear, safe and confidential process for students, staff, and faculty to relay negative experiences or problems encountered so that they can be quickly addressed and remedied. Any member of the Emperor’s College community can write an anonymous complaint and mail it to Marcia Hirsh, Registrar. We will investigate all complaints.
Review of Programs and Services
In collaboration with faculty, students, and alumni, the College leadership will review Emperor’s College programs and services through the lens of equity, justice and inclusion. The College leadership will review the curriculum and see where course content can be bolstered, added, or changed to better educate our students to successfully serve diverse patient populations. This element will be part of the regular evaluation process of faculty and staff. Whenever possible, relevant elements will be added to curriculum as they are identified such as incorporating trauma informed care.
Supporting Black/African-American Students
In my conversations with Black/African-American students and alumni, they have expressed how the disregard for black lives in the United States has profoundly impacted them and the stereotyping and anti-black racism they have faced in their lives. Because the need to support Black/African-American students is urgent, the College launched an alumni mentorship program for them. Seven graduates have volunteered to serve as Alumni Ambassadors and to mentor our Black students. The College would like to have additional Alumni Ambassadors to help support and mentor all students, including BIPOC and LGBTQ+ students. Alumni, faculty, or staff who are interested in serving in this role, please contact me.
Discontinuing the Use of the Word “Oriental”
Our goal is to discontinue the use of the word “oriental” to define the name of the College and its academic programs, as well as more generally in the field. By the end of 2020, we will initiate the formal process with the goal of modifying our institutional name and removing the word “oriental.” We will also begin the work of removing the term from our website, social media, and other publications.
The phrase “Oriental Medicine” has been used industry-wide to differentiate programs that focus on acupuncture only and programs that integrate acupuncture and herbal medicine training. In many states, including California, the phrase “Oriental Medicine” is crafted into state legislations governing the practice of acupuncture. Language usage changes with the passage of time, and there is a growing consensus in our field to remove the outdated word “oriental” from our institutional names and degree titles.
Some progress has already made in this regard:
- In May 2020, the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) announced a new ACAOM program naming policy, where the degree title for master’s programs of acupuncture that include Chinese herbal medicine must change to “Master of Acupuncture (MAc) with a Chinese herbal medicine specialization” by January 2022. ACAOM did not mandate a change in the title of the postgraduate degree “Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.”
- In 2019, the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM), which is an association of accredited and pre-accredited acupuncture colleges in the United States, voted to remove the word “oriental” from its name.
- In July 2020, the California State Oriental Medical Association (CSOMA) voted to remove the word “oriental” from its name.
The acupuncture profession is championing this need for change, and we will do it carefully with due diligence so as not to impact our graduates’ ability to be licensed or curtail their scope of practice. These are major changes that have legal, regulatory, and licensing implications for acupuncturists in the United States, therefore it behooves us to do it thoughtfully so as to avoid unintended consequences./p>
Our Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Emperor’s College is committed to investing time and resources to strengthen our programs and services to make them more just and equitable. Changing the system to serve everyone and where no one is marginalized, excluded, or oppressed is the goal for all of us. We heard you and we are taking action toward that end. We invite you to be part of the change as it will take all of us together to accomplish that. It will take time and sustained effort and will require everyone’s participation. We will have difficult conversations, we will make mistakes, and there will undoubtedly be setbacks encountered along the way. We vow to learn from each and every one of these and to move forward to improve so that we can combat the pernicious effects of systemic racism and contribute to creating a more just and equitable society.
Finally, we are reminded that in our profession during commencement, our graduates recite the healer’s oath. Graduates pledge to – “Treat all patients with dignity and compassion and give to them all the respect they deserve” and to –“Cultivate myself so that I might serve my patients and the world more effectively.”
Emperor’s College pledges to strengthen its curriculum and culture so that the students are better prepared to live the healer’s oath in more meaningful ways.
Yun Kim, EdD