Administration

Rebekah Johnson, Executive Director
Theresa Jarvis, Office Manager
Chuck Graham, Academic Dean
Jessica Babaker, Registrar
Misti Oxford-Pickeral, Director of Clinics
Andi Houston, Clinic Manager
Samantha Gamble, Admissions Coordinator
Sue Steininger, Director of Title IV Compliance
Mari Steinke, Education and Library Coordinator

Faculty

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/Herbs.

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/Herbs.

Jim Brooks, B.A., M.S., M.Ac., A.P. (FL), holds a B.A. in Psychology and Master of Social Work from State University of New York at Albany. He received his M.Ac. from Academy for Five Element Acupuncture (2010). Jim is in private practice in Gainesville, FL. Acupuncture/Herbs.

Erika Chase, B.S., M.Ac., D.A.C.M, A.P. (FL), holds a B.S. in Biology from Augusta State College. She graduated with her M.A.c. from Academy for Five Element Acupuncture in 2015 and went on to earn her doctorate in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine (2020) from Pacific College of Health Sciences. Erika is in private practice in Gainesville, FL. Acupuncture/Herbs.

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. Herbs.

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/Herbs.

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 Newton, 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.

Margaret Ginestra, B.A., M.F.A., M.Ac., A.P. (FL), received her B.A. in English from Florida State University and earned her M.F.A. in poetry from Washington University in St. Louis. She graduated from Academy for Five Element Acupuncture where she received her M.A.c. (2021). Margaret is now in private practice in Georgia. 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.

Brendan Kelly, B.A., M.Ac., L.Ac. (VT, MT), graduated from Swarthmore College with a degree in Political Science in 1992. He received his M.Ac. from Academy for Five Element Acupuncture (2004). Brendan has a private practice in Burlington, VT. 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.

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 (2001), 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). 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 Director of Clinics of the Academy, and the former director of the Chinese Herbal Studies program. She also maintains a private practice in Gainesville, FL. Acupuncture/Herbs.

Mindy Rohrbacher, R.Y.T., B.S., M.Ac., A.P. (FL), graduated from the University of Florida, Magna cum laude, with a B.S. degree in Health Science. She received her M.Ac. from Academy for Five Element Acupuncture (2012). She maintains a private practice in Gainesville and is a registered yoga teacher. Herbs

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.

Amy Sear, B.S., M.Ac., A.P. (FL), graduated from Cornell University and received her M.Ac. from Acupressure-Acupuncture Institute. Amy has a private practice in South Florida and is the acupuncture physician at the Breast Cancer Center of Memorial Hospital in Hollywood, FL. Herbs.

Shayna Stringer, B.A./B.S., M.Ac., A.P. (FL), graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Sociology and Psychology. She earned her M.A.c. from Academy for Five Element Acupuncture and currently maintains a private practice in Gainesville, FL. Acupuncture.

Joon Thomas, B.A., B.F.A., studied Asian History and Chinese language at the University of Pennsylvania; holds a B.A. from Haverford College; and a B.F.A. in printmaking from the University of the Arts (Philadelphia College of Art). Joon is an artist, calligrapher and designer; owner of Palmstone Studio which provides commissioned art to clients worldwide; and a member of Sweetwater Print Cooperative in Gainesville, Florida. Acupuncture.

Peggy Watson, B.A., M.Ac., L.Ac. (TN), graduated from Wesleyan University with a degree in East Asian Studies and earned her M.Ac. from Academy for Five Element Acupuncture (2001). Peggy is in private practice in Tennessee. 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

Chair Barbara Ellrich, M.A., received a MA in Applied Healing Arts from Tai Sophia Institute in 2008. She worked from 1981-2011 at the institution that over the years has evolved from Traditional Acupuncture Institute to Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH). During her 30 year tenure at MUIH she served in various roles including Executive VP & Chief Operating Officer, Chief Executive Officer of the Graduate School, Chief Values Officer and Consultant. From 1996 – 2019 she served on various non profit boards including the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine (CCAHM), Evergreen Center for Balanced Living, and the Cookes Hope Homeowners Association Barbara is fluent in Spanish and German and served as an interpreter for Talbot County’s Infants & Toddlers Program from 2017 – 2019. She is currently living on Amelia Island, FL with her husband.

Vice-Chair and Treasurer Tim Chapman-Wilson, Ph.D., M.A.c., received a Ph.D. in medical sociology from Yale University in 1994. He graduated from the Academy’s acupuncture program in 1998, and served for five years as the school’s Academic Dean. From 2004-2016 he was Vice President for Academic Affairs at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, where he directed the college’s doctoral program. He has served on a variety of nonprofit boards, including the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine (ACAHM), and the Council of College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM). Tim is also an experienced accreditation site visitor, and in 2014 he chaired ACAHM’s First Professional Doctorate task force. He is currently based in Centralia, Washington.

Secretary, Angela Xistris-Krueger, M.A., received her Master’s in English Literature from the University of Connecticut in 2008. A former English teacher, she served as the Registrar and the Admissions Coordinator from 2009 to 2012. Since then she has worked extensively in higher education in the areas of assessment, accreditation, and higher education policy development at both small and large institutions. She was first elected to the Academy’s Governing Board in 2016. Angela currently resides in Cleveland, OH.

Rebekah Johnson, B.A., is the Executive Director of the Academy. Rebekah has a Bachelor of Art in Education from the University of Florida and an Executive Certificate in Non-Profit Fund Development from the University of Notre Dame. She has over six years’ experience working in education administration specializing in the areas of enrollment management, marketing and communications, and fundraising.

Pam Smith, M.A.c., received her BA in Anthropology at the University of Florida in 1974. She did one year of graduate school in Medical Anthropology at UF before getting her M.Ac. from the Traditional Acupuncture Institute in 1990. She practiced Five Element acupuncture from 1990 to 2019 and taught at the Worsley Institute of Classical Acupuncture, the Academy for Five Element Acupuncture, and Dragon Rises College of Oriental Medicine. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Gainesville Women’s Health Center, Hogtown Grainery Food Co-Op, Florida School of Traditional Midwifery, Florida Organic Growers, and now on the Board of Governors of AFEA. She lives in Gainesville, Florida.

Misti Oxford­-Pickeral, M.Ac., is the former President of the Academy, current Director of Clinics, and a member of the Board’s Executive Committee. Misti 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.