Each life has its own path, its own story of success.
We speak with:
Alex Holland, M.Ac.
Interview Coming Soon
Interview Coming Soon
1. Q&A with Mr. Alex Holland, M.Ac., ACAOM Commissioner
Interview: February 26th, 2019
Alex Holland is a distinguished, older gentleman, gray haired, tall, thin. With his many obligations as the Vice President of ASAOM and as a second-time selectee to the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine, he makes time in his office for short social interactions. These ‘discussions’ are defined by his tight-angled sense of humor setting off jokes like landmines; there is little he cannot tuck his own shape of witticisms into. In his presence, jokes lie at every border conversation and though his humor fills his speech with angles, the rooms he brings his presence to bear in feel somehow, eternally round. Maybe it’s the cycle of his laugh, the beginning quip, the slow dampening … or maybe it’s the rhythm he generates in a tide of his own muse, relaxing into the searing gaze of his listening attention … we move from a tide to deep water, resting at the bottom of the ocean.
Why Chinese Medicine?
I became interested in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in the early 1970’s because of my curiosity for metaphysics, Eastern philosophy, holistic health and alternatives to western medicine. (As any ‘intelligent’ person would do) I dropped out of pharmacy school at the University of WA to explore music and the world (Obviously). My training in eastern therapies began with training in Jin Shin Do Acupressure with Ron and Ion Teeguarden. After completing all three levels of training in Jin Shin Do, I started my formal TCM education at the Northwest Institute of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NIAOM) in Seattle in 1982 - and became a teacher of Jin Shin Do Acupressure at Bastyr University of Naturopathic Medicine where I taught for two years, while completing my TCM education at NIAOM graduating with my degree in Acupuncture in 1985 after spending nearly 5 months (deep Breath, long sentence) in Chongqing, China, working in a TCM hospital. The experience of being in China and working in the hospital is one of the highlights of my life (The other is cats).
And China led you to … ?
I went into private practice after graduation and also became a faculty member at NIAOM. Very much involved in assisting the school to improve and grow. Three years after graduation, NIAOM invited me to become a Board member (Mind you, this is nothing like a ‘bored’ member, though circles argue). I became Board Chair in 1991. Academic Dean from 1992–96. And continued to teach and participate in curriculum development.
So how … why the desert?
I moved to Tucson in 2000. I had an inkling and a friend who read stars and told me this could be a good place to spend some time (Their was a time when we all listened to our friend who read stars). And I figured, deserts are always a good place to spend time. In Tucson I founded and became President and primary faculty member of the Asian Institute of Medical Studies (AIMS). AIMS sold in 2013, and changed its name to Han University of Traditional Medicine. Han University then fused with the Arizona School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ASAOM), of which I am currently the President.
What else grew in the desert? Aren’t you involved with the University of Arizona’s Integrative Health program?
Ah, yes. In 2002 fortune led me to meet Dr. Andrew Weil, the pioneer of bringing awareness of Complementary and Alternative Medicines (CAM) to the western world. I was recruited to become an educator and help develop their website as part of his growing Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine (AzCIM). As a TCM proctor, I participate in their educational programs designed to train western physicians in the theory and practice of CAM. I have held this position for over 18 years, providing on-line training, lectures and as a participant in Patient Conferences and educational panels. (And if you add all of my year durations together you’ll realize I’m nearly one hundred.)
“A doctor who treats dis-ease after it has happened is a medical doctor. A doctor who treats dis-ease before it happens is a superior doctor.”
— Huang Di - China’s Yellow Emperor
Where does ACAOM fit in?
I started working for the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) in 2005 as a Site Visitor. The Site Visit team assesses all components of a school’s operation and make recommendations to ACAOM for accreditation or reaccreditation. To date I have performed over 20 site visits to various TCM schools around the country. I became a Commissioner for ACAOM from 2008–14, and was recently invited back onto the Commission. Being a Commissioner is a gratifying way to serve the TCM community by helping to assure high quality TCM education in the US.
And you wrote a book.
You could say I wrote it before I started doing anything. Which is remarkable, cause there is a lot in it. I have written or co-written numerous articles about TCM and yes, I have made a worthy contribution to the public through my short, succinct book, Voices of Qi – An Introductory Guide to Traditional Chinese Medicine, published by North Atlantic Books. My book has been in print for nearly 20 years (Again, the years).
Any closing words …
Right, I’m using too much paper aren’t I? I will say this, I have had many opportunities to use my skills as a TCM practitioner and academician. I am married to a 30-year practitioner of Chinese Medicine, Linda Joy Stone, where we’ve been able to share our knowledge and skill sets with our communities as well as with each other. The opportunities available for those educated in TCM are continuing to expand as the medicine becomes more accepted in the west as a viable form of healing.
2. Interview to Come
3. Interview to Come