Welcome to the clinical program at Southern California University School of Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture (SCUSOMA). 

Your clinical training is where the various disciplines of the academic program are integrated into the practice of Traditional Oriental Medicine (TOM).

In the clinic, TOM is transformed from a myriad of concepts to a cohesive medical paradigm.  How this transformation takes place is the essence of the internship experience. 

Only by applying the various concepts learned to real clinical problems in the clinical environment can you develop an intimate understanding of the dynamics of Oriental medicine. 

Acupuncture, herbal medicine, Qi cultivation and nutrition are integrated into a therapeutic whole through the clinical process. 

It is in this setting that you will be transformed from student to practitioner.  It is through the understanding of the clinical experience that we can transform our patients into active participants of the healing process.

The overall goal of the clinical training program is fundamentally aligned with the overall mission and objectives of SCUSOMA.  Specifically, the objectives of the clinical training program are:

1. [Our] graduates [will] be amongst the most professional and competent healthcare providers in the medical field.

2. Knowledge of theories, principles and therapeutic approaches of Oriental medicine and including, but not limited to, acupuncture, herbology, tui-na, cupping, moxibustion and qi gong and apply them in a clinical setting.

3. Obtain an accurate medical history, formulate a diagnosis and design an appropriate treatment plan.

4. Perform appropriate physical and Oriental medical assessments.

5. Develop patient management protocols and maintain accurate medical records.

6. Communicate effectively with, and make referral to, other healthcare providers or emergency care services when necessary.

Understanding the clinical process is grasping how to apply the principles and techniques of TOM to practical situations. 

How do we use the medicine to treat our patients?  How do we counsel our patients to incorporate the ideas of TOM?  How are we and our patients changed as a result of our interactions?  Our success as health care providers is directly linked to our understanding of the breadth of clinical practice.

You will find the clinical education at SCUSOMA the best available.  How much you benefit from this educational experience is dependent on your degree of immersion in the process of clinical practice. 

This information is part of that educational process.  It will enable you to safely begin the transformation from a student to a practitioner of TOM.  Only in the clinic do we truly become doctors.  At the end of your clinical education you will find yourself on the path to being a living embodiment of the medicine.

The teaching clinic is where the student develops clinical skills and begins to apply the knowledge acquired in the didactic portion of the program at SCUSOMA.  The intern observes and practices the application of TOM in a supervised environment under the tutelage of the clinical faculty.


The purpose of this manual is to provide basic information to the intern in order to:

1) Effectively participate as a clinician.

2) Maximize the educational benefit of clinic participation.

3) Learn the skills that will enable the safe and effective treatment of patients both as an intern and as a licensed acupuncturist.

4) Comply with legal and ethical requirements of a primary health care provider.

5) Complete the clinical requirements of the degree of Master of Science in Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture (MSOMA) at SCUSOMA.

6) Observe the variety of clinical styles represented by the clinical faculty.


There are two categories of Interns in the SCUSOMA Clinic:

Observation Interns (Level 1) Observe the clinic supervisors and supervised practice interns during the treatment episode. A significant portion of the clinical observation experience must be with clinic supervisor. They also assist practice interns with maintaining the treatment rooms and preparing herbal formulas. Observation Interns also assist the clinic staff in tasks related to clinic maintenance and restocking supplies.

Practice Interns (Levels 2 and 3) conduct treatments under the supervision and guidance of the Clinic Supervisors.  These treatments include interviewing and examining the patient, establishing a diagnosis, developing a treatment plan, treatment of the patient and patient follow-up.  More information on both the Observation Internship and the Practice Internship is available in the relevant sections of this handbook.

Several principles guide the internship process:

 1. The patient’s safety and comfort are of paramount importance.  Every effort must be made to treat each patient as you yourself would want to be treated.  The intern is must provide each patient with the best healthcare possible under the supervision of the Clinical Faculty.  This supervision includes attention to the health and safety of the patient.

2. The patient’s privacy must be assured as much as possible under the operational conditions of a teaching clinic.  Observation Interns and Practice Interns are required to comply with all institutional and professional standards regarding privacy.  No Intern may violate these standards.  Information about a specific patient may leave the patient’s file only with the expressed prior written permission of the patient , or a legal subpoena in a connection with the patient’s chart information.  No Intern may copy or remove a file from the clinic.

3. Clinic Supervisors and other clinical staff must be treated in a respectful and professional manner.

4. The safety of the patients, Interns, clinical staff and clinical faculty must be considered in any procedure where there is risk.  No risk is acceptable in the clinical environment.  It is the policy of SCUSOMA and the guiding principle of this program that safety is the first and primary consideration in all policies and procedures.

5. In conjunction with the didactic portion of the course of study at SCUSOMA, successful completion of the clinical program enables the candidate to complete their training for the degree of MSOMA.  Completion of the degree program enables the successful candidate to sit for the California Acupuncture Licensing Examination (CALE).