I am a licensed acupuncturist, educator and author with a background in journalism. My day job is department chair of the transitional doctorate program of acupuncture and Chinese medicine at Pacific College of Health and Science in San Diego, where I teach clinical research design, evidence-informed practice, and preventive medicine and public health. I also supervised a free downtown clinic for low-income older adults until the pandemic forced us, to my dismay, to close indefinitely. My greatest clinical interests are older adults and cancer patients, two groups that often overlap. My primary academic interest is how Chinese medicine and acupuncture can benefit underserved populations. I’ve spent much of the last three years researching and writing a book, under contract with University of Michigan Press, about the history of acupuncture as a means of political and social revolution in the United States from the early 1970s to the present.
Before studying acupuncture I was a journalist, in London. Part of the attraction for me in journalism was getting to interview many different kinds of people in diverse areas and delving into their stories, if just for a little while. I find some of the same intrigue in conducting intakes with patients now. A book allows one to delve more deeply and over a longer time, which is one reason I love both writing and reading books.
Professionally, I’m interested in most matters pertaining to health care and public health, including indigenous medicine, radical healthcare movements, and the intersection of culture, politics and public health, as well as healthcare research. More generally, I have a strong interest in environmental issues (my undergraduate major) and am fascinated with butterflies – I have a fiction project focused on butterflies and climate change that’s been simmering on the back burner for a long while but is my favorite thing to return to when time allows. One day that time may come.
Rachel Pagones is chair of the doctoral program in acupuncture and Chinese medicine at Pacific College of Health and Science in San Diego and a licensed acupuncturist.