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Acupuncture Today
October, 2001, Vol. 02, Issue 10
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Recollections from the Great River Symposium

By Molly Pool

BLOOMINGTON, MINNESOTA - The First Annual Great River Symposium and Spring Gathering, presented by the Minnesota College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (MCAOM) from May 11-13, 2001, was a tremendous success, with more than 150 attendees enjoying three days of education and camaraderie.

Internationally recognized acupuncturist, lecturer and author Dr. Tran Viet Dzung was the featured presenter. A total of 27 hours of continuing education were offered for licensed acupuncturists and students, providing a wealth of knowledge for beginning and experienced practitioners alike.

"I was very pleased with this year's Great River Symposium. There were so many students and Oriental medicine practitioners gathering together to advance the practice and science of acupuncture and Oriental medicine. This gives those involved a chance to develop comradeship and heightens the spirit and friendship they share," remarked Dr. John F. Allenburg, president of Northwestern Health Sciences University (MCAOM is one of the colleges under the university's umbrella of health care). "Northwestern's goals are to educate and share a common purpose, and this Great River Symposium meets both of those."

As the featured presenter, Dr. Tran spoke eloquently on several topics, including: the pathways and symptomatology of the tendinomuscular meridians; treatment techniques involving those meridians; and effective treatment of a wide variety of musculoskeletal disorders and related conditions such as facial tics, facial neuralgia, TMJ and facial paralysis. "I am really enjoying it," said Vince Wisniewski of St. Paul, Minnesota. "The instructor, Dr. Tran, is so down to earth, and he communicates so well." "He is such a wonderful speaker to listen to," added Donna Gangestad, a practitioner from Two Harbors, Minnesota.

Other presenters at the symposium included Andy Ellis, Dipl. CH (NCCAOM); Patricia Culliton, MA, LAc; Kejian Xiao, TCMD (China), LAc; Wei Liu, TCMD (China), LAc; and Yanchi Lacska, MEd. Topics included: the tendinomuscular meridians and the treatment of pain; acupuncture in the treatment of breast cancer; the forgotten role of music in ancient Chinese medicine; herbal treatment of musculoskeletal injuries; and many other interesting subjects.

The Great River Symposium was the first alumni event for MCAOM, formerly known as the Minnesota Institute of Acupuncture and Herbal Studies (MIAHS). Many of those who attended remarked on how well the meeting was designed. When asked to rate the format of the lecture sessions, Steve Meyer, a practitioner of Minocqua, Wisconsin noted, "It's great, well organized and put together very well." "This is absolutely excellent. Everything is so put together and organized. I have seen many continuing education seminars, and this is great," added Patricia Worth, the continuing education coordinator for the Illinois State Acupuncture Association.

The symposium also included several exhibitors, who demonstrated the latest products to support and enhance a provider's practice. During snack and lunch breaks, the attendees were able to converse with each other and with the exhibitors, helping to promote the sense of togetherness for this natural health care profession. On Friday, May 11, a special reception and social hour was held for the alumni of MIAHS, during which each alumnus was recognized by being given a pin in honor of their accomplishments. Special recognition was also given to MIAHS founder Edith Davis, who was present at the reception along with her husband Lionel. Saturday night's ceremonies featured a dinner for all of the attendees, students included.

"The Great River Symposium and Spring Gathering was an unqualified success. The goals were to build community among the acupuncture and Oriental medicine providers; provide important clinical education to licensed acupuncturists; honor the alumni and history of the Minnesota Institute of Acupuncture and Herbal Studies, the precursor institution to the Minnesota College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine; and to promote Northwestern Health Sciences as a nationally unique and distinct institution of health care education," observed Dr. Stephen Bolles, vice president for institutional advancement at Northwestern. "I believe we accomplished all of those with outstanding organization."

Planning for the 2002 Great River Symposium is already underway. The 2002 symposium will be held on the Northwestern campus in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For more information, contact the school's continuing education department at (925) 885-5446 or (800) 888-4777 ext. 446, or write to:

Northwestern Health Sciences University
Continuing Education Department
2501 West 84th Street
Bloomington, MN, 55431

or visit the school's website (


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