I recently sat down with former Dean of Students, and longstanding AOMA faculty member Robert Laguna to talk about how he got started in the world of Acupuncture & TCM, his over two decades of history with AOMA, and the impact community healthcare has to create life-altering change.
MP: How long have you been at AOMA and how did you first become acquainted with the school?
RL: If you put all of my time together at AOMA it’s been close to 25 years. I started as a student in ‘94. I was in the second class of AOMA; they opened in ‘93. I graduated in 1997, then I went to private practice for about a couple years and then somewhere around late 1998/1999 they asked me to supervise a couple of Student Clinics. When I was in school, I would always help other students, and I also had a background in
teaching. I had been a band director for many years. I had a teaching certificate and stuff like that, so I knew my way around a classroom especially teaching in the arts. I think around ‘99, they asked me to come around as a classroom teacher. Around that time the owner of the school, Stuart Watts was trying to limit the amount of administrative stuff he was doing, and he was actually bringing in administrators little by little, and he asked me to do some of the admin things he was doing, specifically with transfer students. Around 1999, he established a deanship, and I became the Dean of Student. I stayed in that position until about a year ago. I don’t remember exactly when I did not become the dean of students [laugh].
MP: That’s a very interesting start to becoming an acupuncturist. What made you want to shift from being a band director to entering into the field of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine?
RL: In my dad’s recovery from alcoholism, he became a licensed chemical dependency counselor (LCDC); this was in the late 70/80s. He established a small, outpatient detox clinic in San Antonio. I would help them, and I was basically working as a consultant for class instruction. I would help them with different stuff, with the paperwork, teaching classes, curriculum design, helping to recertify the counselors, etc. during the summer when I was off [from teaching]. Band Directors don’t get the full summer off, just a month and a half but during those time I would help them and then any time during the year when I could help.