PASO ROBLES — Retiring is often thought to be an unattainable dream, one always just out of arm’s reach. For Paso Robles Doctor of Oriental Medicine and Licensed Acupuncturist Pamela J. Lee, however, retirement is just right around the corner. Lucky for her, she also already managed to find a well-trained, licensed acupuncturist — Salena Hanrahan, MSTOM, LAc — to assume her practice beginning last month.
While the use of traditional Chinese medicine in Western culture — like the use of herbs, acupuncture and tai chi — has been closely scrutinized, that perception changed here on the Central Coast, largely due in part to Lee and her many tireless efforts.
Having earned a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy and a master’s in public administration in health care services at the University of Southern California, Lee has years of credentialed schooling and qualified experience. Upon graduating, she spent the next 10 years working locally as the Good Samaritan Hospital’s vice president of administrative services while simultaneously studying acupuncture and Oriental medicine at neighboring SAMRA University.
After beginning a career as an acupuncturist in Woodland Hills, Lee moved to the Central Coast in 1991 when she established Paso Robles’ Acupuncture Center for Health. In 1992, her practice moved into the 939 Oak St. location, where it still resides today.
While the study and practice of Oriental medicine at the time was not nearly as common on the coast as it was in larger cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, the public was eager to learn.
Lee, an already active member of the soon to be growing industry, felt it was her duty to help better educate the surrounding community. Not only did she form strong, lasting relationships with countless neighboring physicians, but she also became heavily involved with local clubs, rotaries and boards, as well.
“I served over 4,000 patients in North County over the past 26 years, many of whom I have treated for over 20 years now,” Lee said. “Having long-lasting relationships has been a source of great pleasure and satisfaction. I would like to thank the community at large for the trust it placed in me over the years.”
After such a successful and influential career, 65-year-old Lee feels now is the time to retire. While she can now spend her free time enjoying the simpler things in life, like brush painting and calligraphy, Lee will still reside in Paso Robles as the owner of the building.
To maintain the proper care for her patients, Lee chose to transition the practice to an up-and-coming practitioner. Originally from Chicago, Ill., Hanrahan studied at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. With years of experience as a personal trainer and coach, Lee is fully confident that Hanrahan will be able to skillfully treat orthopedic and musculoskeletal issues, as well as several other areas of overall health and wellness.
Hanrahan is excited for the career opportunity. She said she eventually hopes to grow the center into a more integrative practice dependent on the needs of the community, but for now simply aims to continue Lee’s outstanding legacy.
After all, it was because of Lee’s strict dedication that the Paso Robles community so readily accepted this natural and holistic approach of Oriental medicine and acupuncture in the first place. Just like the medical practice itself, the eventual expansion of this office will require time, patience and simply being realistic, Hanrahan said.
In the meantime, both old and new patients are welcome. For any questions or to schedule an appointment, contact Salena Hanrahan at 805-237-1011.
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