Alumni Spotlight: Denise Cicuto, L.Ac

Yo San University’s Veronica Manz recently had the chance to catch up with 2007 YSU alumna Denise Cicuto, L.Ac, to chat about her experience at YSU, life after school, and more…

When I first reached out to Denise, I immediately felt a warmth from her. Though we’ve only ever spoken over Twitter and Email, I always feel comfortable, and as though I’m talking to an old friend. Denise, who currently practices in San Francisco and the East Bay, agreed to let me pick her brain and interview her about her experience at Yo San.

Why did you choose Yo San University (YSU)?

After I told him I was applying to acupuncture school and going to look at Yo San, my Qigong teacher in the Boston area took me into his office and showed me a whole shelf of books written by Hua-Ching Ni. I took that as a sign. Yo San was the only school I visited. The intimacy and size of the school, and the fact that it has family lineage really appealed to me.

What are the benefits of attending Yo San University?

The teachers and staff are great – knowledgeable and friendly. The internships and externships available to students help prepare us for the real life challenges of working with different communities. I loved my internship at the Yo San Clinic and got different things out of my externship at Being Alive. And Vice President of Academic & Clinical Affairs, Lawrence Lau has always made sure that Yo San’s courses more than adequately prepare us for the hardest acupuncture exam in the country; the California Acupuncture Licensing Exam.

How do you feel your training at Yo San University has given you an edge?

When I got to shadow Dr. Dao in his clinic for a few months, I gained invaluable knowledge that would help shape my future practice with a focus on Gynecology. It was more than just what acupuncture points he did and diagnoses, it was watching him relate to patients. Dr. Dao really makes his patients feel like they are his only focus for the short time he spends with them. All of it made me make little notes in my head about the kind of practitioner I wanted to be.

Did your education at YSU any new doors for you? Do you have a success story?

My externship experience at Being Alive in Los Angeles led me apply for work at the Immune Enhancement Project (IEP) in San Francisco. I worked there for a few years both in their main clinic, and in a satellite clinic at St. James Infirmary. The work at St. James was a very fast-paced, kind of a community acupuncture-style setup where I treated 8 people an hour. It was trial-by-fire and I learned a lot. 

The continuing education program in Chengdu that I participated in 2012 was amazing. It gave me a chance to see how our medicine is practiced in a teaching hospital in China. And I also gained new information to take back to my clinics in the Bay Area to help my gynecology patients. Plus it was an exciting trip and I got to spend time with several people who were in the YSU doctoral program.

What is your overall feeling about your experience at YSU?

Perhaps it was fate that brought me to Yo San, and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.

If you live or find yourself up in the San Francisco / East Bay area, be sure to check out the talented and kind Denise. You can find more information by clicking the link below.

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