To me, Chinese medicine is more than a healing art; it’s a movement—a movement to change the system of medical care in America. My job as a teacher is to prepare my students to become the future leaders in this movement.
After graduating from acupuncture school in 1983, I focused my career on bringing acupuncture to community health care projects in Chicago, IL, working in areas such as substance abuse and HIV/AIDS treatment. I helped start programs that brought acupuncture to impoverished inner city communities - places where natural healing services were virtually unheard of. Long before the term “integrative care” was coined, I was working side-by-side with nurses and medical doctors.
Through these experiences I learned first-hand what acupuncture has to offer the modern health care system. But more importantly, I saw the need for more rigorous acupuncture training. I came to realize that if acupuncture were to grow and become a permanent part of mainstream medical care, the educational process needed to be more grounded in real-life clinical experience. In the spring of 2000, I was offered an associate professorship at Northwestern and I jumped at the opportunity.
My goal since then has been to provide my students with the tools they need to apply acupuncture and Oriental medicine in real-world settings; to work as team members in Western medical care delivery; and to reduce the need for drugs and surgery. I feel grateful for the opportunity to work in an institution that has one of the most sophisticated internship systems in the country, and I have enjoyed the opportunity to watch former students take acupuncture and Oriental medicine into places it has never gone before.