Administration

Misti Oxford-Pickeral, President and Clinic Director
Brandon Weintraub, Administrative Director
Chuck Graham, Academic Dean
Odalis Cruz, Finance Director
Jessica Babaker, Registrar
Angela Xistris Krueger, Accreditation Specialist

Samantha Gamble, Admissions
Sue Steininger, Director of Title IV Compliance
Patty Getford, Educational Coordinator
Mariam Higginbotham, Marketing Coodinator
Andi Houston, Clinic Manager
Robbie Milam, Office and Building Manager
Liana Simon, Receptionist

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.

Teresa Bruggeman, R.N., A.P., B.S.N., L.Ac., M.Ac. Earned her Bachelor Degree in Nursing from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She graduated with her M.Ac. from Academy for Five Element Acupuncture in 2012. Teresa maintains a 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.

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 (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.

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/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 is the Assistant Director of Herbal Studies, 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.

Stewart Thomas, B.A., B.F.A., graduated from University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Asian History and Chinese Language, and earned his B.F.A. at Philadelphia College of Arts. Stewart is a master calligrapher, local creative director, and owns a private art studio in Gainesville, FL. 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

Co-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 40 years. Merry is based in Newton, Massachusetts, where she maintains a thriving private practice.

Co-Chairperson 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-Treasurer, Pam Smith, M.A.c.

Barbara Ellrich, M.A., received a MA in Applied Healing Arts from Tai Sophia Institute in 2008. She worked from 1980-2019 at the institution that over the years has evolved from Traditional Acupuncture Institute to  Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH). During her 39-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 has served on various nonprofit boards, including Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM), Evergreen Center for Balanced Living, and the Cookes Hope Homeowners Association. Barbara is fluent in Spanish and German and served as interpreter for the Talbot County Department of Education from 2017 – 2019. She is currently living on Amelia Island, FL with her husband.

Mary Leslie Robinson, M.S.W., L.C.S.W., received a B.S. in Elementary Education in 1989, and a Masters in Social Work from Florida State University in 2011. She has devoted her life to the health and well-being of the individual; first as an educator of 20 years in the public school system, then later as a supervisor and mental health counselor for those in treatment for addiction and mental health conditions. A mindfulness-oriented psychotherapist, she maintains a private practice in Gainesville.

Leslie Suskin is the co-owner of Suskin Realty and a devoted volunteer in local schools and affordable housing agencies. She graduated from the University of Florida in 1982 with a degree in accounting. Leslie’s expertise and knowledge of the Gainesville community is a huge asset in our ongoing efforts to build local awareness of our school and clinic.

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.