Service Learning

What is Service Learning?

What is Service Learning?

  • Service Learning Project (SLP).  A recommended, on- or off-site rotation in which a DAOM fellow teaches, instructs, supervises, manages or functions as a leader of small or large groups of community members (lay or professional) as part of and in accordance with a specified community service plan approved by the DAOM Program Director.
    • Each Fellow may complete a 50-hour community service project as part of their DAOM clinical hours.
    • Each in accordance with the College Mission and the fellow’s educational objectives, this project fine-tunes the professional, interpersonal and practice-building skills of licensed practitioners as they ascend the pinnacle of their profession.
    • SLP also educates the public on the health benefits of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
  • Through Service Learning the fellow will apply his/her knowledge, skills and time to fulfill at least one personal program objective while meeting an identified community needs.
  • In addition to its more obvious and undeniably flashier service aspects, community service primarily is undertaken for its educational value to the DAOM fellow.  Service Learning, also called Community service, is a teaching and leadership strategy connecting classroom curriculum with service projects. Service Learning engages DAOM fellows in projects which serve the community while building social and civic awareness, and academic and professional skills.
  • Healthcare is an essential part of our healing, educational and leadership mission. Maintaining a dialogue with allied health practitioners and the public at-large is key to the growth of our practice and of our profession. Through a preceptorship of community service, Emperor’s fellows participate in activities where they directly can share and experience the benefits of networking and charitable, public service
  • The goals of preceptorship as an offsite rotation are to:
    • Begin by conducting a rigorous self-assessment of one’s personal and professional strengths and weaknesses as well of the opportunities for and threats to their success as a successful acupuncture professional; a comprehensive learning plan will result from this self-assessment – such plan constituting a blueprint for the fellow’s entire clinical curriculum of their DAOM program;
    • Form habits of community service and volunteerism. who grow into leadership positions in industry knowing the heartbeat of society better, so that decisions made will not be based merely on the bottom-line but with integrity toward society and the environment
    • Foster such qualities as confidence, compassion and self-reliance.
    • Engender the acquisition of new skills, interests and knowledge.
    • Provide opportunities for fellows to exercise creativity, organization, teamwork and leadership skills.
    • Lay the groundwork for their research.
  • Upon completion of the onsite Service Learning at EC, the fellow shall be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an ability to maintain professional interactions with patients, fellows, supervisors and clinic administration.
  2. Accurately diagnose a patient and in turn, assess the master’s fellow’s diagnosis, treatment plan, and provide feedback regarding clinical considerations.
  3. Use adult learning concepts with fellow interactions and select teaching methods based on fellow outcome objectives.
  • Upon completion of the Service Learning at an offsite location, the fellow shall:
    1. Have a better grasp of their strengths and weaknesses.
    2. Be better-known in and more familiar with their community.
    1. Be more adept at making their self and practice more marketable by garnering favorable publicity for their practice.
    2. Have better-integrated their practice with that of allied health professionals.
    3. Have expanded or initiated for their practice the habit of public service.


Prerequisites and Corequisites
Service Learning Project Four-Step Guidelines

How to get started with your community service/community outreach project?  In brief:

  • Get Inspired!  If you are stuck for ideas:
    • Find out what your other classmates are cooking on.
    • Browse the web.
    • Ask around in your community.
    • If you still are stuck, start working on SOMEthing . . . ANYthing to jumpstart your idea machine.  Usually that gets the juices flowing.
    • Ideas abound!
  • Focus on Your Passion! Think about what you are passionate about:  
    • Do you love to talk? Plan a series of presentations about how acupuncture can help.
    • Love to write? Plan a project which you can write up for Acupuncture Today.
    • Love to teach? Plan a workshop on your expertise.
    • Love children? Plan a free pediatric clinic.
    • Focusing on one‘s passion will focus your project.
  • Match Passion with Need. Ask yourself: “What does my community need?”
    • If you are passionate about kids, ask local child care centers how you can be of service to them [with their parent’s involvement, of course].
    • The community service projects which add the most value are the ones which truly fill a need or vacancy.
  • Big or Small? Will your CSP be narrow or broad?  
    • It is recommended that your first project be small – about eight hours. Keep it simple, the major focus being on getting the hang of doing it well.
    • Build in initial success in later and larger CSP’s.
  • Consider applying for community support. If you believe it’s a fit, ask a local agency for support – logistical or financial. Your efforts will have blank-check support from the DAOM Program Director who will be happy to provide a letter of support, a phone call, etc.
Program and Format

Service Learning must:

  • address at least one of the fellow’s program learning objectives.
  • meet a documented community need.
  • be rendered pro bono.
  • refrain from promoting a particular religious or political point of view.
  • Be begun and completed within the timeframe of the program.
  • be approved in advance by the DAOM Program Office
  • Service Learning Applcations need to be turned into the DAOM Program Office prior to the start of the project (no exceptions).
  • (Court-mandated community service time is not eligible for consideration.)



By ‘community service’ is meant provision of a thoughtfully-planned/organized service which:

Not Acceptable

(Service TO the community, while laudable, is NOT what is meant here by community service.)

• Is above and beyond his/her normal professional or personal responsibilities • Any activity for family, friends, an employer or private business — building one’s own practice excepted.
• Is the culmination of appropriate assessment and strategic planning. • Caring for an ailing relative; cleaning a park.
• Is appropriately-documented and evaluated • Documentation non-existent or incomplete.
• Addresses at least one DAOM program goal. • Unrelated to DAOM program goals.
• Fulfills at least one of the fellow’s program learning objectives. • Promotes a particular religious or political point of view.
• Meets a documented community need otherwise not addressed. • Membership in a local community service club.
• Is professionally-related (i.e. Healthcare, AOM) • Collecting items for charity such as clothes, food, or furniture; cleaning roadways; etc.
• Is rendered pro bono. • Any reimbursed service or service performed for disciplinary or adjudicated purposes.
• Occurs within the timeframe of Cohort 6 – from acceptance to receipt of diploma. • Any activity completed prior or subsequent to enrollment in the DAOM Program.
• Provides AOM trainings/workshops, outreach to other healthcare providers, participation in community health fairs and similar services. • Attending trainings/workshops/meetings of any type generally is considered personal enrichment and not community service.
• Is approved in advance by the DAOM Program Director [DPO]. • Any activity undertaken without prior approval of the DPO.



Service TO the community is NOT what is meant here by ‘community service’:  

  • Public utilities provide a service to their community.  For a fee.
  • Gas stations and the local 7-11 provide a service to their community.  Again, for a fee.
  • An acupuncture clinic or office provides a service to its community.  The fee for such may be comparatively low, but nevertheless there IS a fee for service.
  • Low-cost and sliding-scale services CAN be a service to the community, but they do not qualify here as ‘community service’.
  • It could be argued that even a ‘free’ acupuncture consultation is a service to the community rather than a ‘community service’



By ‘community service’ is meant participation in thoughtfully-organized service which:

  • Is a professionally-related [i.e. healthcare, acupuncture, AOM, Oriental medicine]
  • offered pro bono [free]
  • by the DAOM fellow
  • conducted in and meets the needs of community members otherwise  not addressed
  • and which service/information is:
    • above and beyond his/her normal professional or personal responsibilities
    • approved in advance by the DAOM Program Director
    • falls within the two-year DAOM program window [2009-2011],
    • involves reflection on and analysis/evaluation of the experience, and
    • appropriately-documented.

Service Learning Project Duration.

  • A 50 clinical hours of community service is recommended; there is no maximum.  
  • At least two [2] projects are recommended – no project may be fewer than 10 hours in length.
  • All project activities must occur between time of acceptance into the program and receipt of diploma.
Registration for Service Learning

Service Learning may be performed anytime during the fellow’s DAOM program following the first quarter. The recommended number of hours is 50; there is no maximum.  

Registration for this rotation is accomplished via an application form; no activity is authorized to commence without a duly-executed Service Learning application form.

Please visit the Service Learning Syllabus at to register your Service Learning Project.

  • Community Service.  In order to fulfill their educational objectives while furthering their understanding of and service to  the profession of Oriental medicine, EC DAOM fellows provide Healthcare and AOM-related community outreach services such as:
  • Informative Open Houses and Health fairs.  These events provide a perfect opportunity for attendees to interact with [other] health professionals and have their questions answered. 
  • Serving as expert speakers to local organizations
  • Acting as presenters at special events and workshops such as health & wellness presentations/programs.  Often these are performed in a lunch-n-learn mode.
  • Topics for any of the above might include:
  • ADD
  • Hormone Replacement (Women’s Health)
  • Anti-Aging
  • Laughter Workshop (de-stress)
  • Asthma
  • Nutrition
  • Boosting one’s Immune System
  • Osteoporosis
  • Carpal Tunnel
  • Pain Control
  • Diabetes
  • Pressure Point Therapy
  • Digestion
  • Smoking-cessation
  • Ergonomics Workshop
  • Sports Performance
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Stress management
  • Headaches
  • Veterans programs [PTSD, etc.]
  • Heart Disease
  • Other examples:
    • Being active within CSOMA or other related AOM professional organization.
    • Providing AOM information for radio/TV programs.
    • Writing for AOM publication such as Acupuncture Today.
    • Participating in other AOM activities to benefit a community and one’s practice.

Possible target audiences for the community service project include a health-related issue or condition affecting practically any demographic, including:

Patient/Audience Demographic Symptom
  • Adolescents
  • Addiction
  • Adult women
  • Co-occurring disorders
  • Adult men
  • Criminal justice issues
  • Gays or Lesbians
  • Depression
  • Physically/emotionally/mentally-challenged
  • Seniors or older adults
  • Infertility; Pregnancy/Postpartum
  • Teens
  • Migraine headaches
  • Allied health practitioners
  • PTSD



Assessment and Evaluation

The last step of your SLP is to evaluate it.   In a community-service project like this, reflection on the project is the single most important element of the learning process.  Reflection lets one monitor service experiences and transform a single project like this into further involvement or broader issue-awareness. Reflection also helps increase sensitivity to community issues, expanding one’s capacity to serve more effectively and be a more successful acupuncturist.

The results will be compromised if one waits until the project is over to design its evaluation component. Evaluation design should occur in Step One during the planning process; it then should be the subject of reflection throughout the remaining project steps – not tacked on at the end.

  • Obtaining Feedback.  If you never know what patients and/or community members think, you will never be able to adequately address future needs. So, don’t hesitate to ask people in your SLP for their feedback! Most people will be happy that you asked and are interested in their replies.
    • To get feedback, ask those involved (patients, community members, allied health practitioners, agency members, volunteers) to complete a Service Evaluation Survey the end of the project before everyone leaves. You already have them there; the experience is fresh on their minds; and you can get it from them quickly.
    • Don’t ask people to put their names on the forms. People are more comfortable giving feedback anonymously. Don’t read the surveys or react to comments in their presence. If a someone volunteers his/her name and contact information, you should call him/her to discuss the survey further shortly after the project.
    • If immediate feedback is not an option, you can mail or email participants a survey within a week of the project.  You can attach a survey to the thank-you letter or follow-up correspondence. If you are mailing the survey, be sure to include a stamped return envelope to increase the likelihood of getting the survey returned.
  • Formative and Summative Evaluation. There are two basic forms of evaluation – both of which occur during a community service project:]
    • Summative. When most people think of ‘evaluation’, it connotes something which comes at the end of something – a sort of summation.  Summative evaluation is the researcher’s term for this form of evaluation. It also is called a wrap-up.
    • Formative. An equally-important form of evaluation occurs on-going throughout a project; researchers refer to it as formative evaluation. It also is called monitoring. Monitoring means checking at regular intervals on progress. This involves ongoing monitoring progress against your specific project plans and/or monitoring of the services you provide.  
    • To be effective, summative or formative evaluation of CSP’s should be:
      • regular
      • systematic
      • planned
      • purposeful and meaningful
      • structured into the way the CSP is managed.
    • The type of evaluative data to collect may include:
      • client numbers (by age, gender, ethnicity, income level, referral source etc)
      • problems/issues being addressed (or not addressed)
      • results of interventions
      • level of unmet need (e.g. waiting lists).
    • It is also useful to monitor trends in relation to overall service-demand or provision; e.g.:
      • changing consumer/client group
      • changes in the wider community
      • changes in inter-agency working
      • impact of any particular local events on the services.
  • Written/Oral Evaluation. Reflect on and evaluate your CSP in two forms, written and oral:
    • Written, using and modifying, as needed, the CSP Evaluation Form to evaluate your project:
      • What?
        • Describe the service project and how it:
          • met at least one documented community need;
          • addressed at least one DAOM program goal;
          • fulfilled at least one personal program learning objective.
        • ID major project results/outcomes:
          • Goal-based: Did you meet your goals?
          • Process-based: Did you plan, manage, and implement the project effectively?
          • Outcome-based: Did you achieve the objectives of the project?
        • What was accomplished?
          • What were your principal successes?
          • What challenges did you face?
          • Feedback you heard from participants in the project;
          • What did you learn about yourself?
          • What, if anything, surprised you about the results/outcomes?
      • So What?
        • What did you think about during the project activity?
        • What effect do you think this activity has had on those intended to benefit from it?
        • How as it affected you?
      • Now What?
        • What are the larger issues that caused the need for you to participate in this service activity?
        • How did your efforts help?
        • What more needs to be done to improve these problems?
        • How will you apply what you have learned here in the future?
        • Describe the basis/bases for your evaluation [e.g. observation, survey, etc.]
      • Please write a 100-word executive summary of this community service project.
      • What did you think about during the project activity?
      • What effect do you think this activity has had on those intended to benefit from it?
      • How as it affected you?
      • Note: Unlike other clinical rounds, this SLP activity is self-supervised.  This is an experiment. Please help us evaluate the benefits of this approach.
    • An oral presentation – open to the community (details announced later).