Acupuncture Grad's Personal Quest Becomes a Career
The contrast is striking. Against a background of Chinese herbs and meridian maps of the human body, you meet a hot-blooded Irish man in the lab coat, his clear, green eyes flashing with passion as he speaks. Chris Hogan may not fit your traditional conception of a Registered Acupuncturist, but spend a few minutes listening to him expound on the politics of the health care system and you'll be captured by his fiery charm.
Chris Hogan wasn't born a believer, but his path from an electrical engineering career back to the classroom is a testimonial to the healing powers of acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
Over 17 years working at Telus, I had developed an incredibly painful and debilitating back condition, says Hogan, For nearly 13 years I lived under a fog of heavy medication.
Painkillers, muscle relaxants and tranquilizers just barely kept him functioning. Hogan would spend weeks at a time bedridden with pain. After seeing a host of doctors, specialists, chiropractors and physical therapists, he approached acupuncture with a healthy dose of skepticism. I told the guy I didn't believe in voodoo and I think I called him a witch doctor. He just smiled and nodded and went to get the needles.
After 14 treatments, Chris Hogan was a new man. After being told that surgery held no hope for pain relief, he was riding horses and enjoying his life again. He dove fanatically into self-study of acupuncture and the Chinese meridian philosophy, at first on an analytical quest to figure out his miracle cure, and then on a career path to become a professional acupuncturist. Discovering that there were no educational options in Alberta, he made it his personal mission to bring Alberta's medical community out of the dark ages.
Hogan did the legwork to set up a meeting between the core members of the Acupuncture Society of Alberta and Dean Gerri Nakonechny. After some intense government lobbying, MacEwan launched the province's first public acupuncture education program. Under the leadership of Marc Raedschedlers, the creme de la creme of Alberta's acupuncture practitioners helped develop curriculum, teach courses, and run public clinics at MacEwan's City Centre Campus. From humble beginnings the program has expanded to offer Chinese herbology workshops and recently signed a partnership agreement with the prestigious Heze Medical College in China.
When the Health Professions Act was created to oversee unregulated medical arts like acupuncture, the competencies for the title of Registered Acupuncturist (RA) were based on MacEwan's unique three-year diploma. The word diploma is misleading, seeing as applicants need two years of post-secondary education to gain entrance.
The program, an intensive three years of theory and clinical experience, demands some maturity but pays off in spades for graduates like Hogan. There's a growing grassroots awareness about wellness and people are starting to see the big picture, Hogan says, Acupuncture is not going away. It's been around for thousands of years. It works. People want it. The challenge is getting it integrated into the medical system.
Get in touch with Chris Hogan at his website, or call the Acupuncture & Health Centre just off 99 Street. For information about MacEwan's Acupuncture diploma program visit www.macewan.ca.