Seattle Institute of Oriental Medicine

SIOM's 20th Anniversary

SIOM Marks its 20th Year Anniversary

This September will mark 20 years since the first group of students started their SIOM training. The idea for the school started about a year before when two friends, Dan Bensky and Paul Karsten, were discussing the qualities they would want in a hypothetical college if they could redo their educations in east Asian medicine. At that time they found they had agreement on these key features of the educational process:

1) Students would enter clinic and work with experienced faculty from the very beginning of the training.
2) Students would have faculty that represent different traditions within the field so that students learn a wide range of diagnostic and treatment methods in class and in clinic.
3) Students would learn medical Chinese so they could access native resources in the medicine.
4) To do the above well, a relatively small number of students would be chosen each year to start the program.

At that time these elements were not being incorporated into education in this field - anywhere. What began as hypothetical discussions sparked into the realization that such a model could be made real. The features discussed became the hallmarks of the design of SIOM instruction. Now, 150 graduates and 20 years later, the Institute still maintains the philosophy it had at its inception.