Faculty, Staff & Board

Faculty, Staff & Board 2017-04-27T11:08:45+00:00

Administration

Misti Oxford-Pickeral, Executive Director
Joanne Epstein, VP Administration
Chuck Graham, Academic Dean
Ryan Daniel, Registrar and Admissions
Ruby Bienert, Clinic Director
Odalis Cruz, Finance Director

Glenn Morris, Financial Aid Director
Patty Getford, Intensive Coordinator
Andi Houston, Executive Assistant to Administration
Kimberley McCall, Receptionist

Faculty & Staff

Andrew Ali Hamm, B.A., M.Ac, A.P. (FL), graduated from University of Florida with a degree in East Asian Languages. He received his M.Ac. from Academy for Five Element Acupuncture (2004). Andrew maintains a private practice in Gainesville, FL. Acupuncture/Herbal Studies.

Razia Ali Hamm, BA., MAc., A.P. (FL), holds a BA in Food Science & Human Nutrition from University of Florida. She received her M.Ac. from Academy for Five Element Acupuncture (2003). Razia is in private practice in Gainesville, FL. She is the former Director of Herbal Studies at the Academy. Acupuncture/Chinese Herbal Studies.

Ruby Bienert, B.A., M.S., M.Ac., A.P. (FL), holds a B.A. degree in Botany and a M.S. in Agriculture from University of Florida. She received her M.Ac. degree from the Traditional Acupuncture Institute (2003). Ruby is in private practice in Gainesville, FL. Acupuncture/Herbal Studies.

Donna Black, A.A., M.Ac., A.P. (FL), graduated from Sante Fe College in Gainesville, Florida. She received her M.Ac. from Worsley Institute for Classical Acupuncture (1995). Over the years she has served the school in many capacities including student dean, clinical supervisor and classroom instructor. Acupuncture.

Carrie Chauhan, B.S., M.Ac., A.P. (FL), earned her B.S. degree from Central Missouri State. She received her M.Ac. from Academy for Five Element Acupuncture (2010). She has taught the national exam preparation course for the Academy and now serves as Assistant Director of Chinese Herbal Studies. Acupuncture/Herbal Studies.

Gary Dolowich, B.A., M.D., M.Ac., L.Ac. (CA), holds a B.A. in Psychology from Brooklyn College. He received his Doctorate of Medicine from University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine and his M.Ac. from College of Traditional Chinese Acupuncture (1981) in Leamington Spa, UK. He is the author of Archetypal Acupuncture: Healing With the Five Elements and is in private practice in Santa Cruz, California. Acupuncture.

Jennifer Downey, B.A., M.A.O.M, A.P. (FL), graduated with a degree in music from University of Florida. She received her Masters of Oriental Medicine from Dragon Rises College of Oriental Medicine (2002). Jennifer maintains a private practice in Gainesville, FL. Herbal Studies.

Thea Elijah, B.A., M.Ac., L.Ac. (VT), graduated with a B.A. in Women’s Studies from Empire State College in New York. She received her M.Ac. from Traditional Acupuncture Institute (1995). She is a featured lecturer nationwide and maintains a private practice in Brattleboro, VT. Acupuncture/Herbal Studies.

Joanne Epstein, B.A., M.Ac., A.P. (FL), holds a B.A. in Radio and Television from the University of Arizona and a Masters in Public Affairs from Occidental College. She received her Licentiate in Acupuncture from Worsley Institute of Classical Acupuncture (1996), and her M.Ac. from Academy for Five Element Acupuncture (2001), along with a Master of Medical Qigong. Joanne maintains a private practice in Gainesville, FL. Acupuncture.

Merry Gerard, B.A., M.Ac., L.Ac. (MA), received a B.A. in Psychology from the State University of New York in Buffalo. She holds a M.Ac. from both the Traditional Acupuncture Institute (1982) and the College of Traditional Chinese Acupuncture (1989) in Leamington Spa, UK. Merry is in private practice in Boston, MA. Acupuncture.

Patty Getford, A.A., M.Ac., A.P. (FL), graduated from University of Florida with an Associates degree in Computers/Electronics Repair. She earned her M.Ac. from Academy for Five Element Acupuncture (2001). Patty currently practices in Gainesville, FL. Acupuncture.

Isaac Goren, B.S., M.Ac., A.P. (FL), received a B.A. in Business Administration from Nova University. He received his Licentiate in Acupuncture from Worsley Institute for Classical Acupuncture (1997) and an M.Ac. from Academy for Five Element Acupuncture (2001), along with a Master of Medical Qigong. Isaac is currently in private practice in Miami, FL. Acupuncture.

Chuck Graham, B.A., M.Ac., L.Ac. (MD), holds a B.A. in English/Fine Arts from Loyola College. He received his M.Ac. from Academy for Five Element Acupuncture (2002). Chuck maintains a private practice in Baltimore, MD. Acupuncture.

Rachel Harrison, B.A., M.A., M.Ac., M.M.Q., L.Ac. (MN), earned a B.A. in Music Performance from the Eastman School of Music and a M.A. from Julliard. She studied at Academy for Five Element Acupuncture where she received her L.Ac. (1999) , her M.Ac. (2001) and Master of Medical Qigong. Rachel is in private practice in Minnesota. Acupuncture.

Mary Huse, A.A., R.N., M.Ac., L.Ac. (CA & OR), graduated with an Associates degree in Nursing from College of the Redwoods. She earned her M.Ac. from Traditional Acupuncture Institute (1990). Mary is in private practice in California and Oregon. Acupuncture.

Michael Kowalski, B.A., L.Ac., B.Ac., A.P. (FL), earned his B.A. in Economics and Political Science from Yale University. He received his B.Ac. (1984) and L.Ac. (1987) from College of Traditional Acupuncture in Leamington Spa, UK. Michael maintains a private practice in Jacksonville, FL. Acupuncture.

Alexander Love, M.Ac., L.Ac. (CO), received a M.Ac. from Academy for Five Element Acupuncture (2004). He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Classical Chinese Medicine. He is a certified Quantum Cranial Practitioner and Instructor. Alexander is in private practice in Colorado. Acupuncture.

Nicole Mezoff, B.F.A., M.Ac., A.P. (FL), holds a B.F.A. from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She received her M.Ac. from Academy for Five Element Acupuncture (2003). Nicole is in private practice in Palm Beach, FL. Acupuncture.

Dava Michelson, B.F.A., M.Ac., D.M.Q., A.P. (FL), graduated from Antioch College with a B.F.A. She received her M.Ac. from Academy for Five Element Acupuncture (2002), along with a Master of Medical Qigong. Dava maintains a private practice in Miami, FL. Acupuncture.

Gale Mowry, B.S., M.Ac., C.A. (MT), earned a B.A. in Pre-Medical Sciences from The Evergreen State College. She received her M.Ac. from the Academy for Five Element Acupuncture (2002). Gale is in private practice in Helena, Montana. Acupuncture.

Robert Murdoch, L.Ac., B.Ac., A.P. (FL), studied Biology and Physics at Poole College
in England. He earned an L.Ac. (1986) and a B.Ac. (1990) from College of Traditional Acupuncture in Leamington Spa, UK. Robert is in private practice in Cape Coral, FL. Acupuncture.

Misti Oxford-Pickeral, B.S., M.Ac., A.P. (FL), graduated from Texas Tech University with a B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology. She received her M.Ac. from Academy for Five Element Acupuncture (2003). She is the executive director of the Academy, and the former director of the Chinese Herbal Studies program. She also maintains a private practice in Gainesville, FL. Acupuncture/Herbal Studies.

Dorit Reznek, B.S., M.Ac., A.P. (FL), earned a B.A. in Life Science from the New York Institute of Technology. She holds a M.Ac. from Traditional Acupuncture Institute (1990). She is the past president of the Academy and is currently in private practice in Israel. Acupuncture.

Janet Rucker, A.P. (FL), received her Diploma in Acupuncture from the Classical Acupuncture Institute (1990) in Jacksonville, FL. Janet maintains a private practice in Gainesville, FL. Acupuncture.

Dan Sachs, B.S., B.Ac., M.Ac., L.Ac. (MA & VT), holds a B.S. in English from the State University of New York. He earned both his L.Ac. (1984) and B.Ac. (1989) from College of Traditional Chinese Acupuncture in Leamington Spa, UK. He received a M.Ac. (1989) from Traditional Acupuncture Institute. Dan is in private practice in both Massachusetts and Vermont. Acupuncture.

Eve Soldinger, B.A., M.PH, B.Ac., M.Ac., L.Ac. (MD), received a B.A. in International Affairs from George Washington University and a Masters in Public Health from Columbia University. She earned her B.Ac. from College of Traditional Chinese Acupuncture (1988) and her M.Ac. from Traditional Acupuncture Institute (1989). Eve is in private practice in Maryland. Acupuncture.

Susan Weiser Mason, B.A., B.Ac, M.Ac., L.Ac. (ME), holds a B.A. in Education from University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She received her B.Ac. College of Traditional Acupuncture (1989) and her M.Ac. from Traditional Acupuncture Institute (1986). Susan maintains a private practice in Maine. Acupuncture.

Governing Board

Chairperson Merry Gerard*, M.Ac., has served for a number of years as the Board Chair and seen the Academy through many stages of growth including a change of location from south Florida to Gainesville, the hiring of a new Executive Director, the scouting of real estate for the purchase of our two buildings, and several fundraising campaigns. She has been practicing and teaching Five Element acupuncture for more than 30 years. Merry is based in Newton, Massachusetts, where she maintains a thriving private practice.

Vice Chairperson Dale Block*, M.D., is board certified in Family Medicine and Medical Management. He has been a licensed, practicing family physician for 23 years. He has achieved success in private practice, academia, corporate medicine, and in the health insurance industry. Dr. Block has authored two textbooks on health care management as well as several articles and abstracts. Dr. Block opened Premier Family Care of Mason to serve the needs of patients from infants to the elderly. He has a special interest in sports and occupational medicine. Dr. Block lives in Centerville, Ohio.

Secretary-Treasurer Gale Mowry*, M.Ac., is a 2002 graduate of the Academy. She was a student of the first clinical internship group in south Florida, as well as a graduate of the Academy’s first Chinese Herbal Studies program. Gale was instrumental in developing new procedures for the student clinic and organizing the Academy’s initial Chinese herbal dispensary. Since graduating, her dedication to the school has taken many forms, including teaching preparation courses for the national exam, developing policies for professional conduct, and developing curriculum. Gale practices acupuncture full­time in her private practice in Helena, Montana.

Nancy Dowd, J.D., is the Chair of Family Law and the Director of Center on Children and Families at University of Florida, Levin College of Law, in Gainesville, Florida. In addition to her experience as a lawyer in private practice, she is familiar with both teaching and administration in higher education, having worked in a university setting throughout her career. She is a published author whose works include numerous books on family law as well as articles and chapters in numerous legal publications.

Michael Kowalski, B.Ac., is an acupuncturist in private practice in Jacksonville, Florida. He is also Founder/Director of the 5 Element Institute of Jacksonville, which provides continuing education courses for physicians, nurses, and acupuncturists. His interest lies in building an interprofessional bridge between the acupuncture profession and biomedicine through research, treatment, and educational programs rooted in the tradition of Five Element acupuncture. His objective is to encourage collaborative and integrative clinical practices that enhance the patient experience, improve health outcomes, and lower healthcare costs. He has been an acupuncture educator for more than 30 years.

Misti Oxford­-Pickeral*, M.Ac., is the Chief Executive Officer of the Academy and a member of the Board’s Executive Committee. Misti provides leadership both for the school and at the national level, where she was recently named President of the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM). She is an alumni of the school as well as the former admissions coordinator for the Academy. She consistently receives the highest possible marks for her teaching and clinical supervision in both the acupuncture and herbal studies programs. Prior to joining the Academy staff, Misti maintained a full­ time private practice in acupuncture and herbal medicine and served as an adjunct faculty member at Bluefield State College.

Angela Xistris, M.A., works in higher education as a teacher and administrator and is currently the Substantive Change and Graduate Assessment Coordinator at the University of California, Merced. In addition to expertise in graduate level programs, she has an intimate knowledge of our academic programs and the functions of the administrative team. Following her tenure at the Academy as the admissions coordinator and registrar, she consulted on several writing assignments including the Academy’s website and marketing materials. She is also a writing consultant for graduate students.