As most Angelinos know, the UCLA Health System is on the cutting edge of healthcare; however, many are not aware of its interest in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). On June 10, 2010, Vice Minister Wang Guoqiang of the Chinese Ministry of Health and a six-person delegation visited UCLA to learn how TCM and integrative medicine are practiced in the United States as a new healthcare model. Integrative medicine is a concept that explores new ways to concurrently treat the mind, body, and spirit. In essence, integrative medicine is a holistic approach that treats the whole person. TCM includes a variety of traditional practices practiced in China dating back thousands of years; it includes herbal medicine, dietary therapy, acupuncture, and massage. Traditional Chinese medicine is completely different from Western medicine in both theory and practice; it differs from Western Medicine in how the human body functions, what causes an illness, and how the illness should be treated. Currently TCM is used to treat more than 25% of the world’s population. The early Chinese physicians were philosophers; their medical treatments were influenced by the way they viewed the world and man’s role in it. TCM advocates moderation in all things––living in harmony with nature and striving to attain balance in all things. Prevention is emphasized in TCM; a strong emphasis is placed on educating the patient to live responsibly.
The Chinese coalition visited with Dr. Ka-Kit Hui and his team at the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine; the center is collaborating with China to develop a virtual library of integrative medicine information. Other projects of the Center for East-West Medicine include the creation of an Internet-based multimedia resource for clinicians, educators and consumers, and research comparing the effectiveness of TCM and integrative medicine on healthcare. The Chinese delegation also met with faculty from the UCLA Collaborative Centers for Integrative Medicine, the UCLA Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research, and Dr. Eugene A. Washington, vice chancellor for health sciences and dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.