Hello and Welcome to PIHMA!
I am excited to share with you what I know about one of the world’s oldest and most widely used medicines, and about our spirited and innovative college.
My personal story is that I am the daughter of Polish and Filipino immigrants. I grew up mostly in Arizona and went to law school in San Francisco at University of California, Hastings College of the Law. While involved in a stressful litigation practice and due to the rather cold, damp weather of the Bay area, I suffered several bouts of bronchitis. I had the good fortune of having a nurse practitioner refer me to a Chinese herbalist after finding little relief from antibiotics. Just a few sips of a raw herbal tea prescription provided such immediate relief and improvement, I went on to study Chinese Herbal Medicine further. (I also later found out from my mother that my great-grandfather was an herbalist in the Philippines.)
My studies, combined with a longing to return home to sunny Arizona for warmer weather, led me to work with the local acupuncturists in Arizona to get a licensing law established. Using my legal background, along with a lobbyist, the state association, acupuncturists and laypersons, we were able to get the Arizona Acupuncture licensing law passed in 1998.
Prior to that, in order to grow Asian Medicine in Arizona, we needed to create institutions to support legislation and the growth of medicine in Arizona. So in 1996, we founded the Phoenix Institute of Herbal Medicine & Acupuncture (PIHMA). Since then, several hundred students have graduated and multitudes of patients have been helped at our college’s clinic.
I have seen amazing things happen with Asian medicine: spontaneous healing or remission, relief from pain, the reduction of stress and depression, improvement in chronic health conditions, and more. I have also seen amazing things at our college: the excited enlightenment of students who fall in love with this medicine, the noticeable positive community and atmosphere at PIHMA about which students and faculty frequently remark, and the extreme satisfaction and pride of students and faculty at graduation when we commemorate what we have all accomplished to get students to this point.
Indeed, when we combine Asian medicine and PIHMA, we see competency, passion for healing others, and a collective collaboration based on PIHMA values (serving compassionately, living the medicine, acting with integrity, being innovative, growing thoughtfully, committing to excellence and practicing gratitude). I know if you choose to come to PIHMA, you will find the same. We look forward to meeting you soon!
Catherine Niemiec, JD, L.Ac.
President & CEO, PIHMA