Information for Future StudentsClick here for guidance

DAcHM & MAcHM Programs

DAcHM & MAcHM Programs

Department Chairs

Joanna Chen Ping Chao
L.Ac., Dipl.Ac. (NCCAOM), DAOM Fellow
Department Chair of TCM Clinical Medicine and Clinical Training, Senior Professor

Joanna Zhao, Academic Dean, has been Director of Five Branches’ TCM Clinic since she co-founded it in 1984. Her commitment to TCM began as a youngster in China, when she became interested in the work of her uncle, a famous TCM doctor. Joanna received her education from the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in the People’s Republic of China, where she trained in both Western medicine and TCM. She studied with noted medical doctors and acupuncturists Xiuyan Lu and Yuan Fang. Joanna has spent more than a quarter of a century teaching and practicing TCM in China and the U.S., working with local oncologists and developing specialties in cancer, immune diseases and mental emotional disorders. Joanna has lectured at the Five Branches’ International Symposium on Women’s TCM and on Pediatric TCM, and has been a guest speaker at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has also been the lead speaker at national conferences on female reproductive cancer, and leukemia. She has led study tours to China since 1992, where Five Branches’ students and graduates study in Shanghai’s Shuguang Hospital and Zhejiang Chinese Medical University. Joanna is an accomplished musician, integrating Eastern and Western styles of music. Like her teacher and great-grandfather, she is also an excellent calligrapher. Professor Zhao teaches in the Departments of TCM Acupuncture and TCM Herbology, and is a faculty member of the Five Branches DAOM program.

Gary Dolowich
M.D., L.Ac., B.Ac. (UK), Dipl.Ac. (NCCAOM)
Department Chair of Five Element Specialty, Senior Professor

Dr. Gary Dolowich graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1971 and practiced Western medicine for seven years before studying at the College of Traditional Chinese Acupuncture in England. He integrates Five Element acupuncture, the bodywork system of Zero Balancing, and Jungian techniques, with Western biomedicine in his medical practice in Aptos, California. Dr. Dolowich first began teaching Chinese Medicine in 1983 as a faculty member of the Traditional Acupuncture Institute in Maryland. Currently he teaches at the Academy for Five Element Acupuncture in Florida and Five Branches University.

He has published articles in The Journal of Traditional Acupuncture, co-authored Ancient Roots, Many Branches: Energetics of Healing Across Cultures & Through Time, and written a book, Archetypal Acupuncture: Healing with the Five Elements. In his teaching, Dr. Dolowich brings together the Five Element approach, archetypal psychology, the I Ching, and the poetry of Rumi. The spiritual teachings of ancient China and the work of Carl Jung have long been an inspiration to him on his own life-journey. In his free time he enjoys kayaking, backpacking, gardening and poetry. His website is Dr. Dolowich teaches in the Departments of TCM Theory and TCM Clinical Training and is a faculty member of the Five Branches DAOM program.

L. Francesca Ferrari
L.Ac., Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM)
Department Chair of Medical Qigong Science, Professor

Francesca Ferrari received her undergraduate degree in History from the University of California at Berkeley, a Masters degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine, from Five Branches University and her Doctorate from the Beijing Western District Medical Qigong and TCM Research Institute in China. After years of Medical Qigong study with Professor Jerry Alan Johnson at the International Institute of Medical Qigong, she completed post-graduate training with Dr. Xu Hongtao at the Xiyuan Hospital in Beijing, China. She combines her hard-style qigong background with Medical Qigong. In teaching, Francesca blends her innate ability with the wisdom of her mentors to enhance her students’ diagnostic skills.

Francesca travels regularly to China for advanced study with her Master; she was chosen and inducted as an 80th generation lineage holder and inner disciple of the renowned Maoshan Daoist Temple, where the adept alchemist Sun Si Miao trained.

Francesca lectures internationally, emphasizing the importance of standing meditation, self-reflection and attention to subtle detail to cultivate enhanced qi flow and awareness. Her students, by fourth semester, will stand in meditation for one hour as part of the final exam. Francesca has been featured numerous times on both television and radio. She maintains a private practice where she combines her expertise in rare temple-style qigong with the best of western functional medicine. She enjoys teaching Medical Qigong Intensives and can be contacted at With her rich fusion of style she brings energy and enthusiasm to her classes. Francesca Ferrari teaches in the Departments of Complementary Studies and TCM Clinical Training and is a faculty member of the Five Branches DAOM program.

Lucy Hu
L.Ac., Dipl.Ac.(NCCAOM), M.D. (China)
Department Chair of Pediatrics, Senior Professor

Lucy Hu comes from a family of healthcare practitioners. Her great grandfather was a doctor of Traditional Chinese medicine and her two older sisters earned Western MD degrees in China. Lucy received her medical degree from Shenyang University in Shenyang, People’s Republic of China, in 1961 and worked as a pediatrician and instructor at the Dalian Children Hospital from 1961 through 1979. Lucy graduated from the Chinese Acupuncture Medical Institute of Hong Kong in 1982, with diplomas in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine. In her three decades of medical experience, she has specialized in pediatrics. Lucy became a licensed acupuncturist in California in 1987 and obtained her National Certification (NCCAOM) in both Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology. In 2004, Lucy presented a case study of a child with a severe genetic metabolic disorder at the International Conference on Diagnosis and Treatment of Difficult Diseases by Herbal Therapy and Acupuncture in Hangzhou, China. She treated the child with success unobtainable by Western methods. After 12 months of treatment, the child’s health and quality of life continued to improve significantly. Lucy maintains a private practice for adults and children in Santa Clara, California. Her interests include classical music and cooking, especially the healthy Chinese herbal soups so favored by her students. You can visit her website at Professor Hu teaches in the Departments of TCM Clinical Medicine and TCM Clinical Training and is a faculty member of the Five Branches DAOM program.

Mary Huse
R.N., L.Ac., M.Ac., Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM)
Department Chair of Five Element Specialty, Professor

Mary Huse was an ER and critical care nurse for 18 years before finding her way to acupuncture. She graduated from Traditional Acupuncture Institute in Maryland in 1990 and Santa Barbara College of Oriental Medicine in 1993. Her deep love and knowledge of the Five Elements is expressed through her theory classes, clinical rounds, and internships at Five Branches University. She blends her background of Western medicine, TCM and Five Elements to best support her patients and maintains a full-time practice in Santa Cruz. Professor Huse teaches in the Departments of TCM Theory and TCM Clinical Training.

Christine Klein
Department Chair of Complementary Studies, Senior Professor

Christine Klein is a graduate of both the first graduating class of Five Branches as well as a DAOM graduate in the first doctoral class of Five Branches University. She graduated with a B.A. in English Literature from San Francisco State University. In private practice in Santa Cruz since 1987, her specialties include: pain management, pulmonary and digestive disorders, immune problems, gynecology, internal medicine and scalp acupuncture. Christine volunteers at the Rice Project in Carmel, Ca. (supporting needy families of Monterey county). She has taught Acupuncture II, theatre, internship and TCM Qigong at Five Branches University. Her interests include meditation, hiking and medical Qigong. She currently studies Medical Qigong with Dr. Bingkun Hu Ph.d. Dr. Klein currently teaches in the Departments of Complementary Studies and TCM Clinical Training.

Sally Lewis
L.Ac., Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM), DAOM
Department Chair of Clinic Quality Control, Senior Professor

Sally Lewis holds a TCM Master’s and DAOM degree from Five Branches University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Lake Forest College in Illinois. Sally has been in private practice since 1987. She incorporates Esogetic Colorpuncture, a healing technique developed by German Naturopath and Acupuncturist Dr. Peter Mandel into her treatments, using colored light on acupuncture points to affect balance in the body. She also integrates Medical Biomagnetism, developed by Dr. Issac Duran Goiz, into her treatments to help balance the ph of the body, and neutralize bacteria, parasites, viruses and other diseases. Sally completed a three-year program in Spiritual Direction at the Mercy Center in Burlingame, California. She specializes in treating pain and working with spiritual and emotional issues, including PTSD. Aside from practicing acupuncture and Chinese herbalism, Sally enjoys gardening, hiking, and swimming with the dolphins in Hawaii. Sally Lewis teaches in the Department of TCM Clinical Training.

Jeffrey Pang
L.Ac., M.D. (China)
Department Chair of TCM Theory & Herbology, Senior Professor

Growing up as a member of a distinguished medical family in southern China, Jeffrey Pang was privately educated to join a lineage of traditional Chinese doctors spanning several generations. In 1968, he received his M.D. (training in both Western medicine and TCM) from the Sun Yat Sen University of Medical Sciences located in Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China. In 1984, Jeffrey emigrated to the U.S. and became a licensed acupuncturist in California. His experience includes ten years of clinical practice in Guangzhou and Hong Kong hospitals, and 25 years of private practice. A principal member of the Five Branches’ faculty since its inception in 1984, Professor Pang leads the review and development of Five Branches TCM curriculum as Theory and Herbology Department Head. He has been a contract acupuncturist with Kaiser Hospital, and Santa Teresa Pain Management Center since 1997 and currently maintains a private practice in San Jose, California. His areas of specialization include joint pain, visual disturbances, dermatological diseases and immune system disorders. Jeffrey balances his full-time TCM career with Taiji exercises, camping in Yosemite, swimming and planting fruit trees from cuttings given to him by his students. Professor Pang teaches in the Departments of TCM Theory, TCM Herbology, TCM Clinical Medicine and TCM Clinical Training and is a faculty member of the Five Branches DAOM program.

Jean Vlamynck
L.Ac., Dipl.Ac. (NCCAOM), DAOM
Department Chair of Medical Qigong Science, Professor

Jean Vlamynck has been cultivating her energy with Qigong and Taiji for over 25 years. She began her private practice as a Certified Massage Practitioner in 1987, with treatments including polarity energy work. She graduated with a Masters of TCM from Five Branches and became a California licensed, nationally certified acupuncturist in 1992. As part of the first Five Branches post-graduate program in China, Jean completed four months of studies at Zhejiang Chinese Medical University in Hangzhou, China, which included studying with Qigong and Taiji masters. In 1999, she attained her Master’s degree in Medical Qigong from the International Institute of Medical Qigong, and since then has been teaching and treating with Medical Qigong. Jean initiated and co-founded the Medical Qigong program at Five Branches. Jean has been in private practice since 1992. In her free time she enjoys hiking and swimming. Jean Vlamynck teaches in the Departments of Complementary Studies and TCM Clinical Training.

Douglas Yi Wang
L.Ac., M.D. (China), Dipl.Ac. (NCCAOM), DAOM
Department Chair of TCM Internal Medicine, Senior Professor

Faculty and department chair / clinic director in San Jose campus, Since 2004. Douglas Wang received his Medicine degree in 1982 from Qinghai University Medical School in China. He continued his medical studies at the International Psychiatrist Training Center offered through the WHO and Shanghai Psychiatry and Hygiene Center where he received the title of Neuro-Psychiatrist. He pioneered the first series of seminars for physicians treating substance abuse, and established the first substance abuse program in Qinghai Province; this program employed a combination of Western medical and TCM treatments for its participants. Professor Wang earned his Master’s degree in TCM from ACTCM in San Francisco, Doctoral degree in TCM from Five Branches University. He has California state licensure, National acupuncture and Chinese herbology certificatios. Professor Wang has held numerous teaching positions in China and the U.S. including President of Bo-Ai Special Hospital in China and Director of the Chinese Bilingual Program, Assistant Dean of Academic Studies at ACTCM, clinic director at Five Branches University, San Jose campus and department chair of integrative medicine at Five Branches University. Professor Wang specializes in stroke, paralysis, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, mental illness, emotional / behaviors disorders, and drug addiction. He is in private practice, and his hobbies include hiking and skiing. Professor Wang teaches in the Departments of TCM Herbology, Clinical Medicine and TCM Clinical Training and is a senior faculty member of Five Branches DAOM program.

Alan S. Wong
Department Chair of Western Medicine, Senior Professor

In his early life, Dr. Alan Wong was in poor health. He became interested in the study of medicine as he searched for ways to help regain his health. Dr. Wong completed medical school at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and did his residency in internal medicine at Stanford University. His professional work experience includes private practice and group practice with the Permanente Medical Group, and principal physician at Lockheed Missiles and Space Corporation. Dr. Wong is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine, and has completed the Medical Acupuncture training program at UCLA.

In addition to his medical training, Dr. Wong is interested in the application of modern clinical research methodologies to the study of TCM. He has a strong interest in integrative medicine and believes that optimal care of patients requires the combined use of Western medicine, TCM, and mind-body medicine. In his free time he enjoys Tai Chi and hiking. You can learn more about Dr. Wong on his website: Dr. Wong teaches in the Department of Western Medicine and is a faculty member of the Five Branches DAOM program.

Natasha Worrell-Merritt
Department Chair of Review and Assessment, Instructor

Natasha Worrell-Merrett received her Masters in Traditional Chinese Medicine from Five Branches University and currently serves as the Department Chair for Review and Assessment.

Wenying Zhu
Department Chair of TCM Acupuncture, Senior Professor

Wenying Zhu is a graduate of Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Pharmacology. She has nearly 30 years of experience treating a variety of diseases with acupuncture and Chinese herbs. In addition to teaching at Five Branches University, Julie maintains a private practice in Fremont, California, specializing in women’s health and pain management. Professor Zhu teaches in the Departments of TCM Acupuncture and TCM Clinical Training.

Expert Practitioners and Exceptional Teachers

Five Branches faculty members are influential scholars in the TCM profession and skilled medical practitioners, who are able to convey complex issues clearly and memorably. They embrace a progressive and creative approach to the dissemination of authentic TCM knowledge as it applies to practice in a modern healthcare environment. 

The shared experience of clinical training fosters especially meaningful connections between you and your teachers. Learn more about the Five Branches Faculty, and browse the DTCM/MTCM Faculty Directory.