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Graduate Profile of Dana Hoffman, MSOM, L.Ac., Dipl. L.Ac. (NCCAOM)

  1. Date of graduation: September 2010
  2. Full-time or part-time practice: Full-time
  3. Current practice setting: Solo practice. I founded Lake Shore Acupuncture, LLC, in 2010 in Chicago and built my reputation. The practice was located in Chicago for the first two years in an office of five MD internists. I was then invited to have a second shared office in Winnetka, Illinois, alongside an integrative physician. There were two additional office changes along the way. In April 2015, I was invited - and jumped at the chance - to take the reins of another practice - Midwest Acupuncture Group. This was a huge honor as its founder had been a teacher and mentor to many acupuncture practitioners. My practice is now exclusively located in Chicago's Lincoln Square neighborhood.
  4. Areas of practice specialization:
    • Type of patients: I see mostly professional adults, retirees, and students.
    • Type of therapy used: Acupuncture, Chinese herbs, cupping, guasha, and sooji-chim.
    • Principal conditions treated: Psycho-emotional acupuncture, autoimmune disease, idiopathic illness, and cosmetic acupuncture.
  5. Postgraduate Education: Studied Channel Palpation under Dr. Wang Ju-Yi in Beijing and also learned and practice Mei Zen Cosmetic Acupuncture.
  6. Most rewarding aspect of practice: Problem solving was always my motivation to practice acupuncture. I love using thousands of years of established theory and medicine to tackle contemporary illness. You can elicit change so quickly and make it long-lasting, while always working on the preventative aspect for future disease. The most gratifying case to date has been restoring significant and quantifiable amounts of vision for a patient with Stargardt's, an autoimmune eye disease. But the victories are numerous every day. I also practice psycho-emotional acupuncture, which is releasing the stagnation in a controlled manner and allowing a patient a safe environment to repair from past trauma.
  7. Most essential tips for other graduates desiring to establish a successful practice: I had a long history in corporate sales and as a commercial pilot flight instructor (CFII). Both of these careers were excellent preparation for being in business for oneself and for staying organized. First: Sales and a solid reputation (patient satisfaction!) are the priorities for any business. Write articles and circulate your name. If you can network and speak to any potential referring source (and that's anyone - people at a Pilates class, people you meet at the theatre, or at small gatherings), you never know who will refer a patient. All of the preceding examples led to referrals. One of them led to a TV appearance and the other two led to shared offices, which kept overhead very low. Do speaking engagements, fundraising events, and conferences, but remember that sponsors for these events should be giving you this opportunity for free as you are donating your time. Invest in a good web site. When salespeople call to pitch advertising or other products and services, ask them to provide the demographics of their audience. Most will not be able to do this. Only invest in something if it makes sense and keep your expenses very low. Most small businesses owners fail very quickly because they cannot make their overhead. I negotiated each shared office arrangement and walked away from many potential ones as they would not have yielded a return on investment. Business is business. You have to stay focused, watch your statistics, and find your trends. Have a business plan, but know that wonderful opportunities you never could have envisioned in that business plan will come up. Be nimble and ready to roll with change. Your job is to be the best at what you do to elevate our profession to a higher level.

Dana Hoffman is a 2010 graduate of Midwest College of Oriental Medicine, a CCAOM member institution. For a list of all CCAOM member colleges, see state list.