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Acupuncture Today
June, 2002, Vol. 03, Issue 06
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News in Brief

By Editorial Staff

ACHA Gets New Name, Master's Degree Eligibility

Established in 1994, the Academy of Chinese Healing Arts has undergone a dramatic expansion in the last year. In November 2001, the school achieved college status as a result of its being licensed by the Florida State Commission for Independent Education.

In January, the commission boosted the school's credibility further, allowing the academy to award master's degrees in Oriental medicine.

To reflect its new status in the acupuncture community, the school has been renamed the East West College of Natural Medicine. According to the college's chief executive officer, Cynthia O'Donnell, the designation will more than double East West's enrollment within two to three years.

"We're finding that the students that are applying are becoming more savvy about what they want," O'Connell said. "They are happy to receive the master's degree for the amount of effort they put into the program."

The master's program is expected to increase the amount of time a student is enrolled from four years to five. To accommodate the extra time and the expected increase in students, the college plans to increase its curriculum and class time. Other plans include the addition of courses in ayurveda and naturopathy.

In addition, East West will petition the commission for a waiver that would allow it to award master's degrees to students who have graduated since the college received accreditation status in November 1999. A decision on that petition is expected to be announced in the next few months.

OCOM Receives Grant to Develop Doctoral Program

The Meyer Memorial Trust has awarded a challenge grant of $100,000 to the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine. Funding from the three-year grant will be use to help develop the college's proposed doctoral program.

"We are delighted that the Meyer Memorial Trust is so generously supporting our development of a clinical doctoral program in acupuncture and Oriental medicine," remarked Dr. Elizabeth Goldblatt, OCOM's president.

While some colleges already offer doctoral degrees, acupuncture schools in the U.S. train their students at the master's degree level. Goldblatt added that OCOM's doctoral program would give experienced practitioners the benefits of advanced training, clinical skills and specialization.

The Meyer Memorial Trust was created by the late Fred G. Meyer, who built a chain of retail stores bearing his name throughout the Pacific Northwest. Last year, it awarded more than $23 million in charitable contributions to schools and non-profit organizations.

Singapore Plans to Make Large Investment in TCM

A recent issue of the Singapore Sunday Times reports that government officials are planning to make a considerable investment in traditional Chinese medicine within the next few years, with one proposal calling for the allocation of more than $100 million into research and education.

In an interview with the Times, Dr. Cham Tao Soon, chair of the government task force that drafted the proposal, labeled traditional Chinese medicine a "big market" and hinted that more money might be channeled into TCM programs pending the results of an upcoming research conference.

"Traditionally, Singapore uses a lot of Chinese medicine," remarked Cham. "We should understand the scientific basis behind it. We wouldn't want to miss out on this big market."

The task force's proposal calls for the creation of a university program to raise the level of traditional Chinese medicine education in Singapore, with other funding used to foster research into acupuncture, traditional health foods, herbal treatments and life sciences. When asked how much money the government might be willing to spend, Cham said, "We are still thinking about it. We must decide how much is necessary before you can make an impact."

A preliminary version of the proposal has already been submitted to the country's Biomedical Research Council for review. A finalized proposal will be sent to the council at the conclusion of the Traditional Chinese Medicine Research Symposium, which will be held in Singapore in November.

Researchers Showcase Online TCM Translation System

Scientists are always looking for a way to combine the best of what traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine have to offer, yet there remains a large (and seemingly impassable) gap in communication. Two researchers - Liangvi Cui of Shanghai Jiatong University, and Kaisu Zhuang of Brigham Young University - may have found a way to bridge this gap with the creation of a promising computer-based translation network.

The system, which Cui and Zhuang unveiled at the most recent meeting of the Pacific Telecommunications Council in Honolulu, Hawaii, is called the Multilingual Terminology Wizard for Online TCM, or MTW for short. The system allows users to not only translate information to and from several languages, but allows the information to be combined into an easy-to-read format, taking into account differences in language and culture.

"Today, we can find a great deal of TCM websites, thus far more TCM contents than we know what to do with," said Zhuang. The problem, he noted, is that these sites "vary widely in features, services and purposes."

Part of the answer to this problem lies in the MTW's database, which includes a program that works on the frequency of certain words and includes set phrases in Chinese characters. Although still in development, the system will be expanded to eventually give the reader a choice in the level of translation, and the ability to combine information on the same subject from ancient and modern sources.


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