About Us

2020 Board of Directors

President: Gene Bruno, OMD, LAc, FABAA

Gene BrunoGene Bruno completed his undergraduate studies in pre-med at UCLA.
In 1971, Gene was one of the Directors of the Veterinary Acupuncture Research Project of the National Acupuncture Association (NAA), who introduced Animal Acupuncture into the United States for the first time. As a staff acupuncturist with the NAA he participated in the Acupuncture Pain Clinic at UCLA medical school from 1972 until 1974. Dr. Bruno was a co-founder of the first two schools of Acupuncture in the United States, and the co-founder of the Oregon Acupuncture Association in 1978. He is the past president of the AAOM. From 2007 until 2011, he was a member of the Executive Counsel of the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies/ In 2007 he founded the Trudy McAlister Foundation, a charitable, scholarship foundation for AOM students. In addition to the extensive research on developing animal acupuncture, Dr. Bruno has done research at Harvard Medical School and at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, looking into the practical applications of acupuncture for the treatment of pain. Dr. Bruno has recently published a book entitled, Acupuncture Points on the Horse.

Vice President: Jamie Wilcox, MCM, LAc

Jamie’s passion for acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine was born during her undergraduate studies in Nursing. After struggling with an endocrine disorder and many failed attempts from allopathic medicine, Jamie began studying Taoism and quickly found healing through acupuncture and herbal medicine. Years later she is a graduate of Northwestern Health Sciences University and practices at her clinic in her hometown of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Jamie is an advocate for expanding the profession of Chinese medicine as a stand-alone medicine and as an integrative modality of all western/allopathic clinics.

Jamie believes part of building success for acupuncturists is not only furthering the legislation but furthermore building credibility and supporting the financial success of students and licensed professionals. As a two-time recipient of the Trudy McAlister Scholarship during her graduate program, Jamie is eager to help pay it forward and support current students.

Willian Morris, PhD, DAOM, LAc


Pamela LeeBorn in Los Angeles in 1952, where I received my professional education, I graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Therapy, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration in Health Administration, and later attended SAMRA University of Oriental Medicine with Bachelor and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Oriental Medicine. After a short time in the physical therapy field, I returned to school for my master’s degree and spent the following ten years as an assistant administrator at the Hospital of the Good Samaritan. During this time, I developed my passion for acupuncture and Oriental medicine and returned to school once again. Having been in private practice for 29 years, the first 4 years in Woodland Hills, CA, and the remaining in Paso Robles, CA, I retired at the beginning of 2017, having been fortunate to pass on my local 25-year practice to a well-trained and skilled practitioner.

An integral part of my passion for Oriental medicine, was the realization that, in its nascent stage, here in the United States, our profession needed to grow both educationally as well as public policy wise. To this end, I joined other like minded “leaders” and became active at both the state and national levels. I served in many capacities as follows: the Board of Directors at SAMRA from 1983-1993; the Board of Directors of the California State Oriental Medicine Association (formerly CAA and CAAOM) from 1989-1993, being the State Chair and President from 1990-1991; the Council of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Organizations (formerly Council of Acupuncture Organizations) from 1991-1993, being President from 1992-1993; the Acupuncture Professional Network, dba AcuNet, from 1994-1998 as Treasurer; commissioner on the national Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine from 1997-2002, as Secretary and Vice Chair during 1998-2002; and the Board of Directors of the Trudy McAllister Scholarship Fund from 2007 to the present. Alongside my colleagues, we were able to accomplish many goals, which included greater public visibility of our profession, strengthening licensing requirements in California, becoming a player in the growing insurance market for acupuncture, and developing standards for doctorate level education by the Accreditation Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. It is gratifying to see the rising caliber of students entering and graduating from our national schools and colleges, to participate in the rewarding of the profession’s emerging leaders through the Trudy McAllister Scholarship Fund, and to witness the advent of our place and contribution to the integrative medicine umbrella of today.

Over the past 10 years I have developed another passion, that of Chinese brush painting and calligraphy,.  I continue to celebrate and revel in the rich cultural history and heritage of East Asia.

Secretary: Laura E. Ocker, LAc, MAcOM, Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM)®

Laura OckerWith a background in ecological science and a keen interest in the healing arts, Laura began studies at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine in Portland, Oregon in 1998. In 2003 she graduated with a Master of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, earned national certification through the NCCAOM, and was licensed to practice by the Oregon Medical Board.

Now in practice for more than 15 years, diverse clinical settings have included private practice, Federally Qualified Health Centers, primary care / OB clinics, and settings focusing on recovery from chemical dependency. She is currently a Senior Program Specialist and Acupuncturist with the Multnomah County Health Department.

Laura has been a strong advocate for greater inclusion of acupuncture under conventional health care delivery systems. Toward that end, she is an active member and past-president of the Oregon Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She has been engaged with the Oregon Health Authority, serving on the Values-based Benefits Committee of the Health Evidence Review Commission, the Back Pain Lines Reorganization Task Force, the Chronic Pain Task Force, and the Integrative Medicine Advisory Group. She currently serves on the Acupuncture Advisory Committee of the Oregon Medical Board. Laura was enlisted as a member of the CAM Expert Panel for a RAND study that was published in 2015 and currently is contracted as an advisor for a PCORI funded study with the Kaiser Foundation Research Institute.

When not at work, she is happiest spending time with friends and family, listening to music, and exploring the stunning natural areas of the Pacific Northwest.

  Marilyn Allen

Marilyn AllenMs. Allen is a nationally recognized speaker and educator on the subject of alternative healthcare professions and serves as the Editor of Acupuncture Today. Ms. Allen regularly speaks at associations, schools, and regulatory boards on the topics of practice management, risk management and ethics. Ms. Allen is currently serving as the liaison to the World Health Organization for the International Classification of Traditional Medicine Committee and is a U.S. delegate to the International Standards Organization’s technical advisory group.

And our Executive Director, Heather George, DSOM, LAc.

Heather GeorgeAs a lifelong teacher, student, healer and philanthropist, Dr. George has been dedicated to using her passions and skills to support and inspire people who wish to grow, live and die vitally. Dr. George specializes in issues now being associated with the Endocannabinoid System from a classical/eastern medical perspective. She consults healthcare professionals as well as works with individuals of all ages and backgrounds. Her patient-students live all over the world, so she does a lot of work via phone and video, as well as in-person sessions. Her services are provided in service to this Foundation. Here is a link to her resume.

Our History and Founding Donors

In the fall of 2005, a grateful patient of acupuncture, Trudy McAlister, became interested in donating to a scholarship program for students of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. When she discovered from her acupuncturist, Dr. Gene Bruno, that there was no scholarship fund for students of acupuncture, she asked him if he would help her start one. Trudy’s worked with Dr. Bruno and they established the first national scholarship fund of students of Acupuncture and Oriental medicine. Trudy also decided to endow the fund with a percentage from her final estate along with donations she has given each year. That same year, Trudy received the Patient of the Year Award from the AAOM for her philanthropic work.

Trudy’s dream of a scholarship fund became a reality. Trudy has contributed thousands of dollars to the fund to the benefit of the awardees that receive the scholarships each hear.

The following video was recorded on Trudy’s 102nd birthday in 2015. Just ten days short of her 103rd birthday, Trudy made her transition. We are so grateful to this kind and generous human being for all she did with her life in service to others.

2015 Interview with Trudy McAlister

In 2010, another grateful patient, Mary Hecht, contributed a large portion of her estate to the Foundation upon her passing. As other individuals, AOM businesses and institutions donate to the fund, the scholarships increase in numbers and amounts.

The purpose of the Foundation is to help support students of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine who attend ACAOM accredited schools schools in the United States studying for their First Professional Degree, and for support of research and related activities that promote the advancement of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
One of the goals of the Foundation is to increase the number of scholarships and the amounts of the awards. Of course this greatly depends upon donations. The Foundation has given scholarships to deserving students each year since 2007.

The Trudy McAlister Foundation is a public non-profit organization [501(c)(3)]. All donations are tax-deductible up to the fullest extent of the tax code.

Trudy McAlister
Dr. Gene Bruno presenting Trudy with the Patient of the Year Award in 2005 at the AAOM’s national conference in Chicago.

This is Trudy’s autobiography, which has been posted here for all to download and enjoy.


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