About Us

2024 Board of Directors

Founder: Gene Bruno, OMD, LAc, FABAA

Gene Bruno

Gene Bruno completed his undergraduate studies at UCLA. In 1972, Gene was one of the acupuncturists of the Veterinary Acupuncture Research Project of the National Acupuncture Association (NAA). This group, headed by John Ottaviano, introduced Animal Acupuncture into the United States for the first time. As a staff acupuncturist with the NAA he participated part time in the Acupuncture Pain Clinic at UCLA medical school from 1972 until 1974. Dr. Bruno was a part of the group that founded the first two schools of Acupuncture in the United States, and the co-founder of the Oregon Acupuncture Association in 1978. He served on the Oregon Medical Board’s Acupuncture Committee from 1980 until 1989. 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 was an acupuncturist in research projects 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 two books, Acupuncture Points on the Horse and Acupuncture Points on the Dog.


President and Executive Director: Heather George, DSOM, LAc.

As 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. In 2024, Dr. George took over Dr. Bruno’s private practice (AcuDoctor.com), specializing in regenerating retinal conditions like macular degeneration. 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. She is also the Director of The Lotus Way, 501(c)(3).


Secretary: Lisa Franzetta, LAc, FABAA

An East Coast native, Lisa earned her bachelor’s degree in biology at Brown University before settling in the San Francisco Bay Area. Before graduating summa cum laude with a Master of Science from Berkeley’s Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine College, she was a two-time recipient of a Trudy McAlister Foundation scholarship award. She has received specialized training to become a certified practitioner of animal acupuncture, and her doctoral thesis research is focused on companion animal  acupuncture.

Lisa practices in Berkeley and Napa, California, and she is a volunteer acupuncturist and herbalist at Oakland’s nonprofit Charlotte Maxwell Clinic for underserved women with cancer. She is also an avid runner and an RRCA-certified running coach. When not at the clinic, Lisa can be found running the trails of the Bay Area, practicing yoga, and relaxing at home with her rescue cats.


Board Member: 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.


Board Member: Willian Morris, PhD, RH, DAOM, LAc.

Will Morris possesses two earned doctorates, one in Chinese medicine and a Ph.D. in clinical epistemology focused on pulse diagnosis. He served as president of AOMA graduate school of Integrative Medicine, leading the institution to regional accreditation. Will also led the development of two doctoral programs in Chinese medicine that were accredited. In support of that mission, he created two Institutional Review Boards. As an author, he has published two books on pulse diagnosis, one on TCM dermatology and another on cycles in medical practice. He currently teaches Shang Han Lun, Wen Bing, and The Sky and Medicine. His practice  is presently in telemedicine.


Board Member: 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.


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. Trudy made her transition just ten days short of her 103rd birthday. 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, Full Circle, which has been posted here for all to download and enjoy.


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