Record Number Attends Largest U.S. Educational Forum on Traditonal Chinese Medicine
By Ellen Schaplowsky, Vice President/Conference Director, TCM World Foundation
Building Bridges of Integration for Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the largest U.S. educational forum on TCM, was convened by the Traditional Chinese Medicine World Foundation from Oct.
6-9, 2005 at the Sheraton Meadowlands Hotel and Conference Center in East Rutherford, N.J. It hosted a multidisciplinary audience of more than 300, including acupuncturists, physicians, psychologists and social workers, with 22 faculty and 27 exhibitors. Its theme, "True Healing - True Health," provided the focal point for the exploration of the spirit behind the medicine and the advantages and benefits of TCM and its modalities as part of the growing complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) landscape.
This year, the importance of the TCM World Foundation's work of building bridges between Eastern and Western health-care practitioners was acknowledged by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation with a grant to foster sustainable dialogues between TCM practitioners and conventional/Western health care practitioners, and the exchange of knowledge among diverse audiences. The support enabled the foundation to conduct an essay application process for select schools of acupuncture and Western medical schools so students could earn scholarships to the event. "It's exciting to have the resources to bring Eastern and Western medical students together in their formative years so that each can become more conversant with the other's medical system," said Elaine Katen, the foundation's program director. The support also allowed for outreach to influential individuals and multidisciplinary health care organizations so that dialogues with the TCM and acupuncture community could be initiated.
Noted psychoneuroimmunologist David Felten, MD, PhD, newly appointed medical research director of Beaumont Hospitals in Royal Oak, Mich., opened the forum with his keynote address, "Incorporating Eastern and Western Approaches in Pursuit of Wellness, Disease Prevention and Healing." Felten discussed how problems in the U.S. health care system could be helped by a paradigm shift that emphasizes wellness and prevention and the role TCM modalities can play. Felten concluded the conference with Les Moore, ND, head of Clifton Springs Hospital in New York, with a look at "The Future of Collaborative Medicine."
The Saturday evening lecture, supported by the Health and Healing Center of Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, featured Bernie Siegel, MD, internationally known author and seminal figure in the body-mind-spirit movement. "Bernie," as he prefers, delved into "The Miracle Within: Where the True Healing Begins," a lecture that was open to the public, and that a record crowd of more than 280 people braved a nor'easter to attend.
"The spirit of TCM is alive and well in the U.S.," said Nan Lu, OMD, TCM World Foundation president, conference founder and co-chair. "It's heartening to see the enthusiasm and commitment of so many acupuncturists to build bridges of all kinds through our forum. The diverse approaches and backgrounds of our faculty also illustrates the growing openness to examine ways to expand health care options and to improve health outcomes here," Dr. Lu added.
Other highlights included the following:
- At Thursday's pre-conference event, leading expert on health care law, ethics, practice management and professional responsibility, Michael Taromina, Esq., lectured to a rapt audience on "Risk Management: Liability and Professional Responsibility in CAM." He reviewed how the expansion of TCM into America's health care system has produced unique opportunities as well as concerns. The workshop satisfied the new National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) continuing education requirements for diplomates for four hours in ethics and/or safety.
- Shin Lin, PhD, presented "Physiological Evidence for the Benefits of Qigong and Taiji"; Effie Chow, PhD, RN, LAc, brought her lively, interactive presentation, "Medical Qigong: An Essential Practice for Health Professionals"; and Nan Lu, OMD, shared his insights and experiences on "The Mystery of Qigong" and its role in the healing process.
- Stephen Cowan, a leading pediatrician, addressed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and spoke eloquently of how the parents of his young patients have benefited from the application of the principles and modalities of TCM to alleviate this increasingly prevalent condition.
- Lixing Lao, MD, PhD, LAc, presented a landmark research study conducted with colleagues that revealed the efficacy of acupuncture for osteoarthritis of the knee. The study recently appeared in the peer-reviewed journal, Annals of Internal Medicine.
- Dr. Xiaoding Cao, internationally known researcher from the Institute of Acupuncture Research at Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, China, and member of the World Health Organization's Expert Advisory Panel on Traditional Chinese Medicine, shared some highlights of her 40 years of work studying acupuncture analgesia.
- Heiner Fruehauf, PhD, LAc, discussed "How the Treasure Trove of Classical Chinese Medicine Information Can Be Restored for the Modern Practitioner"; Lonny Jarrett, MS, MAc, challenged workshop participants with two provocative questions: "What does integral medicine look like?" and "If holistic medicine is to be practiced, how do practitioners become integrated human beings themselves?"
- Les Moore, ND, and Ruan-Jin Zhao, MD, PhD, examined cancer and chemotherapy and presented clinically relevant information and recent research on herbs, formulas, acupuncture, moxibustion, tuina, dietary therapy, cupping, and medical qigong for cancer patient care. They discussed how traditional Chinese medicine can help manage symptoms related to surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy, and in cases of palliative and end-of-life care.
- Joseph Acquah, Effie Chow, Shin Lin, Nan Lu and Les Moore, long-time practitioners and masters of the art of taiji (tai chi), enthralled participants with a Friday evening masters' demonstration. The two-hour performance spoke to the heart of taiji's original purpose for healing and wellness.
Conference attendees expressed their appreciation with comments like: "I got a peaceful feeling here. It was more like a healing retreat than a conference," which came from a Chicago social worker. A Florida acupuncturist commented, "Despite the fact that there's no perfection in this world, I consider those four conference days as close to a perfect event that I could imagine."
Building Bridges of Integration for Traditional Chinese Medicine 2005 was cosponsored by Mount Sinai School of Medicine; the School of Graduate Medical Education, Seton Hall University; the Center for Health and Healing and Donna Sanzari Women's Health Center, Hackensack University Medical Center; the School of Social Welfare, State University of New York at Stony Brook, the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine; the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine; and Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, a peer-reviewed journal.
The fifth educational forum of Building Bridges of Integration for Traditional Chinese Medicine will be held from Oct. 5-8, 2006 at the Sheraton Meadowlands Hotel and Conference Center. The focus will be on the spirit and power behind TCM and its unique healing modalities. Visit www.tcmconference.org for more details on the 2006 conference as they become available.