Emperor's College Leading the Way in Integrative Medicine


March 28, 2024

Emperor's College, located in Culver City, California, is one of the oldest and most distinguished acupuncture colleges in the United States, specializing in a broad-based approach to the art and science of traditional Asian medicine. Founded in 1983, Emperor's College has been leading the way for the integration of traditional Asian medicine into the modern healthcare system. Offering master's and doctoral degree programs, Emperor's College alumni are pioneering leaders in academia, clinical practice, advocacy, and research in the field.

The beginning: A mission of spreading Traditional Asian Medicine throughout the US

Despite a 2,500 year history of effective health care throughout Asia, it was not until the 1970s that Americans were introduced to Acupuncture and Traditional Asian Medicine. On July 12, 1975 acupuncture became a legal medical practice in California in response to growing demand from patients who benefitted from the medicine. Dr. Bong Dal Kim, who received his education and served his apprenticeship in Korea, was among the first generation of acupuncturists in the United States who worked to regulate the practice of Asian medicine and to ensure its future in California and beyond.College

With a mission of spreading Asian medicine throughout the US, Dr. Kim established Emperor's College in 1983. His intent was to educate the succeeding generations of acupuncturists who would positively impact the health and well-being of others. As a visionary, he recognized the need for Americans to embrace the natural principles of life in order to achieve optimal health.

At the time of our founding, Dr. Kim could not have imagined the growth that would occur over the next 40 years. Today, in 2024, acupuncture is embraced by major medical institutions, including the Veterans Administration, UCLA, Providence St. John, and the City of Hope, to name a few.

A commitment to integrative medicine: Then and now

Since 1983, Emperor's College has worked to shape the future of medicine through efforts to integrate the best of Eastern and Western approaches. In 1997, Emperor's College was the first East Asian medical school in the US to provide acupuncture treatments in a hospital setting at the Daniel Freeman Memorial Hospital in Los Angeles, California. In 2000, we began providing acupuncture services at the Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), the first college campus in the United States to offer acupuncture services.

This spirit of integration continues to flourish today. In 2023, Emperor's College became the first acupuncture college to sign an academic affiliation agreement with the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (VAGLAHS), one of the largest VA facilities in the United States, serving over 80,000 veterans. At the West LA VA Medical Center, our doctoral students provide acupuncture to veterans in the PTSD clinic. "As a model of how multidisciplinary Integrative Medicine can elevate patient care, this program is another sign of the incredible commitment VA and our local VAGLAHS leadership have made to advancing the Whole Health of Veterans. We are not only able to provide expert, specialized care to Veterans with PTSD in this collaboration with the professionals and students of Emperor's College, but we are also able to help train the doctorate-level acupuncturists of the future," said Dr. Kirsten Tillisch, Chief of Integrative Medicine at the West LA VA Medical Center.

In addition to the VA, our clinical interns currently treat oncology patients at the Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center at Providence Saint John Medical Center in Burbank, California. Since 2004, Emperor's College has provided acupuncture services at Venice Family Clinic, the largest free medical clinic in the United States.

A bright future: The next 40 years and beyond

As we look toward the next 40 years, the future is bright for the field of Asian medicine. A recent successful petition to the White House requesting to have acupuncture treatments covered by Medicare is proof of a growing national movement to have licensed acupuncturists recognized for what they are – effective and valid health care providers. Emperor's College is committed to the continued growth of Asian medicine. We will forge new, innovative partnerships, which will provide master's and doctoral students opportunities for clinical training in Western medical settings. We will continue to be a driving force in promoting integrative medicine and helping to create acupuncture staff positions in hospitals. We will collaborate on research into the comparative effectiveness of acupuncture versus other medical modalities. We will continue to train Asian medicine practitioners to work alongside other health care professionals to provide the highest care possible to patients.

For the past 40 years, Dr. Kim's founding vision has inspired over two thousand graduates to become superior practitioners who strive first and foremost to prevent disease. The next 40 years and beyond promise to be just as transformational as we continue to champion integrative medicine for patients, practitioners and the good of society.

To read more about Emperor's College, please visit emperors.edu.


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