Western Medicine Department


A comprehensive and robust western medical education is one of the hallmarks of California acupuncture schools. This is no exception at Emperor’s College. The Department of Western Medicine is one of four areas of study in the Master of Traditional Oriental Medicine (MTOM) program at Emperor’s College and is composed of 77 units of clinically significant information.

California acupuncturists are granted the status of “primary care provider” and function at a high level of medical practice. Among the medical privileges granted to acupuncturists in California is the ability to be a patient’s primary medical provider, health insurance coverage, and the use of western medical diagnostic tools such as blood labs and imaging testing such as Xrays, CT scans and MRI tests.

As such, acupuncture students at Emperor’s College become well-versed in western medicine and gain the knowledge and confidence required to function as an integrative medical provider. Year 1 of the western medicine department begins with basic western sciences and progressively advances to learning how to collaborate with western physicians in the treatment of serious medical conditions through Year 4. The department is rounded off with the professional skills needed for success such as insurance billing, building a referral network, and marketing tips.

TitleCourse Descriptions
ChemistryThis introductory course is designed to teach elementary principles of chemistry and chemical elements and compounds.
Anatomy and Physiology IAnatomy and Physiology I examines the normal structure and function of the human Integumentary and Musculoskeletal Systems at the gross and intrastructural levels. It includes a detailed analysis of muscle actions, innervations, and clinically relevant origins and insertions.
Anatomy and Physiology IIThis course examines the normal physical structures and functions of the pulmonary, cardiovascular, lymphatic and immune systems, genetics and their clinical correlations.
Anatomy and Physiology IIIStudents will learn the normal structure, function and clinical correlations of the renal, reproductive, and digestive systems, including associated areas of metabolism, electrolytes and growth and development.
Anatomy and Physiology IVThis course analyzes the endocrine system, the central and peripheral nervous systems, the autonomic nervous system and the general and special senses and their clinical correlations.
BiochemistryThis course examines biochemical reactions in living systems, investigating functional groups, essential compounds, and metabolic pathways in eukaryotic cells. Biochemistry is foundational to understanding the chemical dynamics of physiology, nutrition, pharmacology and herbal medicine.
PhysicsThis course provides the basic information in the fields of mechanics, heat and sound, as well as light, electricity, magnetism, atoms and modern physics. The fundamental laws of physics are explained and discussed.
Biology This course is a study of living systems. It includes an examination of evolution, cellular structure and function, body systems, metabolism, homeostasis, genetics and reproduction.

Prerequisites: None

Normally offered in spring and fall quarters.
General PsychologyAn introduction to the major ideas and theories of the various schools of psychology as they conceptualize and influence the understanding and treatment of patients at various stages of development, including their meaning for health promotion and education, as well as clinical patient-practitioner interactions.
Psychology of Patient CareThis course analyzes clinical signs and symptoms of major psychological disorders listed in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) for treatment or for professional referral. Additional topics include patient-practitioner rapport, communication skills, and multicultural sensitivity.
Basic NutritionA study of the basic principles of nutritional science, including the classic nutritional deficiencies and the roles of nutritional components in various stages of the life cycle.
Pathophysiology IPathophysiology I introduces the fundamentals of disease processes as they relate to cellular dynamics, inflammation and repair, fluid and electrolyte balance, acid/base and blood gas regulation, hemodynamics, and immunity.
Pathophysiology IIPathophysiology II presents the etiologies, pathogenesis and major disease mechanisms of the circulatory, respiratory and renal systems, as well as the pathologic changes that occur in these disorders.
Pathophysiology IIIThis third course in the series analyzes the major pathological mechanisms and changes related to disorders of the gastrointestinal, endocrine and nervous systems.
Pathophysiology IVThis final course in the series analyzes the major pathological mechanisms and changes related to disorders of the musculoskeletal and reproductive systems. It also covers functional disease processes.
East/West Medical HistoryAn overview of the history of events and ideas that led to the development of both Eastern and Western medical paradigms. It surveys the major impact of specific historical events as well as the individuals who contributed to the medical advances and practices seen today.
Western Physical AssessmentThis course provides training in the techniques of history-taking and physical assessment according to the Western clinical paradigm. The emphasis will be on the hands-on training to prepare students to be able to perform the procedures of the physical examination with a high degree of comfort and skill.
Western Medical TerminologyThis course provides a working familiarity of common medical terminology used in Western medicine, including the definitions, roots, prefixes, suffixes and proper pronunciation of terms, emphasizing their clinical context. This course is foundational for the western sciences and allows for communication with other health care providers.
Clinical NutritionThe concepts and applications of Western clinical nutrition for the practicing acupuncturist, including diet modification and nutritional supplementation programs for prevention and treatment of the major diseases.
Medical Ethics & Jurisprudence An examination of the ethical issues surrounding licensed practice in the field of TCM. Course topics include standards of medical ethics, ethical issues, legal issues, and the rules and regulations relating to the practice of acupuncture and Oriental medicine with an emphasis on California acupuncture laws.

Prerequisites: Mid-Curriculum Exam (written and practical)

Normally offered in winter and summer quarters.
Public Health An introduction to public health and epidemiology, including the distribution and correlates of illness in the population and current efforts to prevent and control risk factors that contribute to morbidity and mortality. Additional topics include public health issues that face the primary care provider including TCM practitioners.
Western Clinical Medicine IThis survey course presents an overview of selected common diseases observed and treated in biomedicine, including neurology, psychiatry and gastroenterology. The etiology, pathogenesis, differential diagnosis and first line of allopathic treatment will be presented and discussed with the emphasis on the clinical manifestations of the diseases.
Western Clinical Medicine IIA continuation of Western Clinical Medicine I.
Western Clinical Medicine IIIA continuation of Western Clinical Medicine II.
Western Pharmacology This course introduces the basic concepts and pharmacological principles of Western pharmaceuticals and their major categories. Topics include pharmacological distribution, metabolism, excretion, and the mechanisms by which drugs produce their therapeutic effects.
Clinical Diagnosis by Lab Data This course provides the TCM student with a basic understanding of clinical laboratory and diagnostic tests, including blood, urine and stool tests, chemistry and microbiological studies, and an overview of specialized tests. Interpretation of test results and their clinical significance will be discussed, as well as indications for ordering tests and working with a lab to place orders.
Practice Management IUpper level students will survey the clinical practices of medicine, including osteopathy, dentistry, psychology, nursing, chiropractic, podiatry, naturopathy, and homeopathy. Additionally, students will learn to develop appropriate referral networks and explore the essentials of business in support of their post-graduate employment.
Practice Management IIA continuation of Practice Management I, additional topics include, among others, follow-up care, functional outcome measures, prognosis and future medical care, case management for injured workers, insurance , knowledge and use of CPT and ICD-9 billing codes, medical report writing, special care, and seriously ill patients, including emergency procedures.
Introduction to Medical Imaging An introductory imaging course for the TCM student. This course provides an overview of radiation physics and protection, normal radiographic anatomy, common pathologies, radiologist reports and ordering imaging for diagnostic purposes. Areas of discussion include: X-Ray, CT, MRI, PET, ultrasound and nuclear medicine.

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