Frequent Flyer, Fertility and Fate
Paula only considered it fate when she saw an announcement of a new doctoral program at Yo San University in Los Angeles with a specialty focus in Fertility Studies/Reproductive Medicine. In spite of the distance between Fairbanks, Alaska and Los Angeles, California, Paula was determined to be a part of the program. The intensive one weekend per month modular format sealed the deal for making the focused education that Paula so eagerly desired a reality.
Paula Kunkel knows well the Alaska Airlines flight schedules between her home in Fairbanks, Alaska and Los Angeles. As an Alaska resident Paula was a frequent flyer (one weekend per month) for two years from the start to the finish of her study in the Yo San University Reproductive Medicine Doctoral program. Paula is a graduate of Los Angeles’ prestigious Occidental College where she majored in Psychobiology and minored in Asian Studies. Her early career included service as a Microbiologist for the State of Alaska, a job where she performed virology and immunology lab tests and also served in the roles of the safety and continuing education officers. After further training including certification in Integrating Shiatsu, Paula squeezed into her already busy life the additional activities of part-time massage therapist and energy healer. Those new roles as well as a pivotal personal experience with an acupuncture inspired Paula to complete a Master of Traditional Chinese Medicine (MTCM) degree and achieve licensure as an acupuncturist. When she entered full-time practice, Paula was only one of three licensed practitioners in the Fairbanks area. Since then, interest in TCM on the part of the residents of Fairbanks has grown enormously. Among the geographically distant but closely networked communities of Alaska, word spreads rapidly, especially for individuals dealing with fertility problems. While her practice was thriving, Paula yearned for more training, especially additional education focused on the fertility issues of the women and men who began seeking her consultation with increasing regularity. Paula only considered it fate when she saw an announcement of a new doctoral program at Yo San University in Los Angeles with a specialty focus in Fertility Studies/Reproductive Medicine. In spite of the distance between Fairbanks, Alaska and Los Angeles, California, Paula was determined to be a part of the program. The intensive one weekend per month modular format sealed the deal for making the focused education that Paula so eagerly desired a reality. That reality resulted in outstanding personal and professional growth experiences including a weekly commute to teach at an Anchorage area acupuncture program, election as a board member of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine (ABORM), travel to China with Yo San’s Chengdu reproductive medicine externship, and performance of a research project. During the DAOM program her home state directly inspired the topic of Paula’s capstone research project. While Alaska is known as the “Land of the Midnight Sun,” the long bright days and short/no nights occur only during the summer months, and Alaska residents then conversely must adapt to the brief hours of daylight that characterize the environment from the early fall through late spring each year. Awareness of the impact sunlight on her patients’ lives led Paula to explore in her research project both the Western and Eastern medical perspectives of the role of Vitamin D Deficiency (well known to be influenced by the quantity and quality of available sunlight exposure) in fertility and gestational development. Now Paula can bank that cache of frequent flyer miles and settle in for those long Alaskan winters and endless sunlit summer days as Dr. Kunkel, for whom fate as well as boundless energy and dedication inspired her to achieve the highest degree in the profession.