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Our Person-Centered Approach for Health and Resilience Against COVID-19

“All forms of medicine aim to ease human suffering, and improve quality of life; they differ only in the approach to their realization of this goal. The blending of Eastern and Western approaches to health and healing can maximize the safety and effectiveness of care in an accessible and affordable manner” 

- Ka-Kit Hui, MD, FACP, Founder and Director of UCLA Center for East-West Medicine

The UCLA Center for East-West Medicine’s (CEWM) Person-Centered Integrative East-West Health Model

The Center’s approach to integrative medicine, which has been successfully applied for 26 years now, since the conception of the Center, is not like an international buffet, where a provider picks randomly from a disjointed assortment of therapies, such as adding acupuncture or massage to a drug therapy. Instead, it is like a carefully curated dinner menu, with the most appropriate therapies working together to address the specific needs of each individual patient, with an emphasis on health promotion, disease prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation.

We combine Western biomedicine’s strengths in disease detection, acute condition management, and vital system stabilization with Traditional Chinese Medicine’s concept of balance and emphasis on the body’s innate ability to heal. This approach has been embraced by hundreds of Western-trained doctors who refer their patients to us and by the thousands of students who have joined our educational programs.


How UCLA CEWM’s Person-Centered Integrative East-West Health Model Can Help Everyone to Develop Resilience Against and Rehabilitate from COVID-19

For COVID-19, public health measure such as social distancing, masking, and personal hygiene are vital primary measures to protect ourselves from the disease. The importance of these cannot be overstated. Since the pandemic has erupted, our 4 clinics and in-patient program have remained active to continue to provide care for our patients. In addition to these public health measures, the Center’s approach can help place you in the best position to prevent and, if need be, recover from not only COVID-19 and the flu, but also many chronic health issues. We attribute this to our focusing on the kind of person who has the disease(s), rather than on the type of disease(s) a person has. Rather than focusing on symptom and disease management, we are able to treat underlying conditions by identifying and addressing the root causes such as constitution, mal-adaptive lifestyle, stressors that are not apparent to individuals and inappropriate diet and exercise.

A core component of our clinical model is patient education. We view patients as indispensable change agents to improve their overall health and well-being; and so, in addition to providing appropriate and tailored treatment for our patients, we also motivate and empower our patients to make the necessary lifestyle changes to help them maintain health, prevent disease and expedite recovery.

Not only does our model benefit our patients, but we have also committed to disseminate our work by educating people of all backgrounds and sectors. We teach hundreds of students and professionals annually through our many educational programs including a summer course for trainees from around the world, a summer travel study abroad program, medical student courses, resident rotations and 2-year fellowships.


Education and Training

From August 3 –September 9, 2020, the Center held its 12th annual summer course at UCLA titled MEDICINE (MED) 185: Introduction to Integrative East-West Medicine for Health and Wellness online via Zoom for the first time since the course was launched. Through this course, we have shared our experience in caring for thousands of patients since the onset of the pandemic. The class was a great success with 31 formally enrolled students (mostly UC pre-health students) and 10 guests of various backgrounds. To challenge these highly intelligent and motivated students, we asked them to develop a wellness plan for themselves and address the final assignment prompt “How Integrative Health Can Help Save the COVID-19 Devastated World” by writing a proposal for a project that includes steps, a sustainability plan, a timeline, a budget, list of needed resources (and team members) and references. To encourage motivated students, we even made this assignment a competition with internship and research project opportunities at the Center to help students to continue their education in East-West Integrative Medicine.

Since this course teaches practical skills at a personal level to help one to stay well and healthy by appreciating the facet of factors that play a pivotal role in health and wellness, it is valuable for everyone to learn from it, especially during these challenging times midst the ongoing pandemic.

We will make the course materials accessible and adapt it for different populations, including underserved communities and young children. Please support our work by clicking here. Your contributions are highly appreciated and will support our educational programs in integrative medicine.

If you are interested in learning the integrative health concepts and techniques from this course, please contact our education manager, Ms. Annie Law.