Acupuncturist seeking more...

I am an acupuncturist that graduated in 2004. I also have an UG degree in Anthropology. I am over 30 and interested in going to Medical school. I have always wanted to be a doctor but never really excelled at school. I have taken some hard sciences in my career but was never got superstar grades. I excelled in Anthropology and earned the required grades for Acupuncture school. I am inspired to go to Med school on a couple of merits: Firstly, my father is a physician. Secondly, I have been disenchanted with the acupuncture community and its lack of support to its practitioners. This involves many areas, but I have found in my personal experience to be of two main factors: the great lack of clients to support myself and pay off the cost of my education ($100K) and the over value of an “authentic” acupuncture experience by acupuncturists that are from mainland China. The latter point also poses problems as many Chinese acupuncturists hold only “Bachelors in Medicine” or a “Masters in Medicine” and get away with calling themselves and advertising themselves as “Doctor.” They are often verbally addressed as “doctor” and earn the salary as well (upwards of $70K). This happens in part from the ignorance of the patient and the sociopathic behavior of the practitioner, but I have found there to be this abuse of power especially pervasive in the school that I graduated from. This school is the only acupuncture school in the city. The vice president and 1/3rd owner is ESPECIALLY guilty of this delusion, and after exhausting all legal avenues I could find to hold him/it accountable still continues to abuse his patients trust with this phony title. I have realized that I cannot make people tell the truth, especially those representing my field of work and community. But this has inspired me to do more, ask more of myself and what I can offer to my patients and what I want to be in alignment with. I am grateful for what I have learned but feel useless at times in my ability to learn more clinically due to the gross lack of patients available to me. I am very much interested in human rights, culture bound syndromes, global methodologies of medical care. I am even interested in going to MSF (doctors without boarders). But I do have some reservations about my UG grades and where to begin and my age. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Hi, Betsy.

I am sorry that you have not found the fulfillment of which you were hoping in accupuncture.

Past grades can be overcome, but generally only with really stellar performance in future educational endeavors in science/math courses and a strong MCAT performance. You will need to determine yourself if this is possible for you. DO schools tend to be more forgiving of a lower GPA, but I am not certain how “low” they are really willing to go in bringing in an applicant and imagine you would still need a solid recent performance. Also, off-shore schools are pretty easy to get into, even with a poor GPA, but that is a route with lots of mines along the way. MD schools can be somewhat forgiving, but I think this is to a much lesser degree than DO schools and is really dependent on a great variety of factors in the applicant’s file.

The process of getting into medical school, completing it, and moving into residency is exciting, often scary, and expensive. I think at times people jump in without taking a good look both at the process and taking a realistic look at themselves and their abilities, resulting in racking up some pretty significant debt. It’s great to see that you’re giving it some good thought! Best wishes as you continue to “study” the situation.

Thank you so much for your reply! I totally agree that I need to think long and hard about this process. Regardless, in this economy, I have to return to school to secure a career to make a living. Right now I am currently taking care of a quadriplegic to pay the bills, sort of a CNA position. I will have to return to school and see where my grades are and if I cannot make the grades for MD school I will apply for nursing school. This is just the nature of my situation and I can accept this. Thank you for your realistic and honest advice!