From July 13–16, the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine (CEWM) organized an "Integrative Medicine Week" and hosted an international group of experts and thought-leaders for the inaugural Chinese Herbal Medicine Summit & Symposium on the Potential of Chinese Medicine in U.S. Healthcare.
Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) Summit
Chinese Herbal Medicines (CHMs) are used worldwide by a large and growing segment of the population. In China, where these products are a core component of traditional Chinese medicine, CHMs are integrated with western health care. In the U.S., CHMs are more often used outside of conventional medical systems as complementary and alternative medicines.
A growing base of scientific evidence suggests that CHMs are safe and effective for the treatment of certain conditions. However, adverse outcomes can result from poor quality control, inappropriate use, and unmonitored drug-herb interactions. Moreover, particularly in the U.S., physicians are unfamiliar with CHMs. As a result, CHMs are largely used outside of mainstream health care systems, which may negatively impact doctor-patient communications and the use of CHMs.
To improve the safe and effective use of CHMs, the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine launched its Herbal Medicine Initiative with an Inaugural Chinese Herbal Medicine Summit on July 15, 2017 and a Chinese Herbal Medicine Publishing Competition. In the Summit, prominent academics, practitioners, researchers, and industry leaders from Asia, Europe, and North America engaged in roundtable debates about CHMs. The event discussed new strategies to longstanding challenges to the use of CHMs, encourage integration of CHMs with Western and Eastern medical training programs, improve consumer practices, and encourage industry collaboration The global group of presenters and discussants included Professor Vivian Taam Wong from the University of Hong Kong School of Chinese Medicine, Dr. Qi Zhang, Director of World Health Organization (WHO)’s Traditional Medicine Unit and Dr. Tai-Ping Fan from the University of Cambridge, Dr. Hwee Ling Koh from the National University of Singapore, Dr. Lixing Lao from the University of Hong Kong, Dr. Rainer Nögel from the SMS International Society of Chinese Medicine in Germany and Dr. Heather Boon from the University of Toronto.
As part of the Herbal Medicine Initiative, the CEWM sponsored a Chinese Herbal Medicine Publishing Competition. Robin Anderson, LAc, was awarded First Place for her submission on “The Surprising Intersection of Rural Mexico and Chinese Medicinal Herbs.” Her submission focused on her work with a non-profit organization working to create local and sustainable ecosystems integrating Chinese and traditional Mexican herbal medicines in poor, rural communities. Collectively, the winners of this competition received $12,000 in prizes, with all submissions evaluated by a blinded panel of internationally recognized experts in herbal medicine and related fields. Key judgment criteria included novelty, feasibility, and potential impact.
Symposium on the Potential of Chinese Medicine in the U.S.
The Symposium, which was held on July 16th, 2017, the day after the Summit, convened stakeholders in the Chinese medicine community such as Chinese medicine schools, students, professionals, policy experts and industry members to discuss how Chinese medicine can help improve American Healthcare. The various hurdles that must be overcome in order to integrate this healing tradition more broadly into clinical practice were also be discussed.
In the morning of the Symposium, key figures from both the local and international Chinese medicine community such a Ms. Hildegarde Aguinaldo, President of the California Acupuncture Board, Dr. Tony Kuo for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Ms. Marilyn Allen, Editor in Chief of Acupuncture Today and Dr. Qi Zhang, Director of WHO’s Traditional Medicine Unit, gave keynote lectures. Conference attendees networked with speakers and invited visiting experts, such as Dr. Lixing Lao from the University of Hong Kong and Dr. Rainer Nögel from the SMS International Society of Chinese Medicine in Germany in a Meet with the Experts Luncheon sponsored by TCM Zone. In this session, topics covered simultaneously in three meeting rooms included Policy and Regulation for Traditional Medicine, Clinical Research on Traditional Medicine and Interprofessional Relationship in Clinical Settings.
After the interactive Meet the Experts session, panelists in the Professional Training Panel, which included the Presidents and Vice President of Yo San University, Southern California University of Health Sciences, Alhambra Medical University and Emperor's College of Traditional Oriental Medicine, shared their respective institutions and thoughts on the future of Chinese Medicine and Chinese Medicine education before engaging in a panel discussion about Educational Programs for Future Practitioners of Chinese Medicine. In a following Professional Practice panel, medical experts and researchers in various clinical settings from private acupuncture clinics to hospital settings to the military and the LA county, shared their experience and participated in a discussion on the Successes and Challenges of Chinese Medicine in Clinical Settings.
The CEWM plans to make the Summit and Symposium an annual event. Over the past 23 years, the Center has been involved in research and consulting for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), World Health Organization (WHO), national and international governments and universities, health insurance companies, foundations, as well as drug and herbal companies. In addition, the Center’s education and training programs have transformed the thinking of thousands of health professionals, many of whom have become change-agents and healthcare leaders.
At the end of the Symposium, Ka-Kit Hui, MD, Founder and Director of CEWM summarized the goal of the Summit and Symposium as a step in building a better future integrative medicine model, noting that healthcare resources should be shifted "to patient-oriented care, prevention, early disease recognition and promotion," rather than expensive, critical intervention. In final emphasis of the Summit and Symposium's goal, Ka-Kit Hui said "this task will require the concerted efforts, ingenuity and collaborative spirit of the scientific and medical communities, policymakers, the public and other segments of society."
The Center is now taking the next step to aid the transformation of global healthcare.
Come join us on July 31 - Aug 11 in Shanghai, China!