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August 8, 2017

Symposium Explores Future of TCM Herbal Medicine in U.S.

I recently had the opportunity to represent the Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine College (AIMC), Berkeley at the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine’s “Symposium on the Potential of Chinese Medicine in the U.S. Healthcare System”.

The purpose of the Symposium—I believe UCLA’s first on the subject—held on Sunday, July 16th, 2017 was to bring together professionals in Chinese medicine, integrative medicine, and public health to discuss the potential and challenges of Chinese medicine in the United States.

Dr. Qi Zhang, head of the traditional medicine unit at the World Health Organization (WHO) gave the keynote speech addressing his organization’s role in “strengthening integrated, people-centered health services” in 2017 and beyond. He also discussed the WHO’s current work in developing a traditional medicine chapter in the ICD-11, the eleventh version of International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD), a medical classification by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Other notable speakers included the current president of the California Acupuncture Board, Hildegarde Aguinaldo, JD, MPD, Marilyn Allen, MS, of Acupuncture Today, and Tony Kuo, MD, MSHS of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. The speakers discussed ways in which our profession is changing and steps we can take to stay at the forefront of this powerfully effective medicine.

The afternoon session included panelist discussions involving administrators from Los Angeles area acupuncture colleges as well as practitioners in the Southern California region. The panels focused on ways to strengthen education at the college level and how to prepare and provide for current practitioners as this medicine moves towards further integration.

It was exciting to note that many of the changes AIMC is working towards in our program as well as the integrative training included in our upcoming Doctoral degree are being discussed by some of

the other top acupuncture colleges – while we are

already working to implement them!

One such example will be a new Pharmacognosy class that we will introduce in our doctorate program. That class will specifically give students the tools to communicate with Western practitioners about herbal medicine.

Under the supervision of our academic chair, Dr. Nishanga Bliss, the herbal department is already working to develop and strengthen our program to provide students with the highest possible education in the field of integrated Chinese herbal medicine.

If you would like to hear more about the Symposium, please feel free to stop by the Herbal Pharmacy! My door is always open.

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