By Lauren Sauer January 24, 2017
When the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine merged with CIIS last summer, it brought with it a relationship with the oldest and most revered Chinese medicine company in the world: Beijing Tong Ren Tang (TRT).
As a longtime leader in Chinese medical education, ACTCM at CIIS makes a natural ally for TRT. In 2015, the two organizations formed a three-year partnership to promote the advancement of knowledge in traditional Chinese medicine. Together, ACTCM at CIIS and TRT are working toward a future where both Eastern and Western medical practices are fully integrated at health and wellness centers across the United States.
MANIFESTING A PARTNERSHIP
TRT deepened its commitment to ACTCM at CIIS with a $1,000,000 corporate grant, $270,000 of which was dedicated to the establishment of the Tong Ren Tang Education Center and Herbal Store. In collaboration with TRT, CIIS designed the educational and retail center within the university's Innerlight Bookstore, which has recently relocated to the first floor of CIIS's Mission Street home.
The TRT Education Center and Herbal Store is the first TRT location in the Bay Area. Its opening at CIIS on September 30, 2016 coincided with the launch of retail stores in New York City and Los Angeles. ACTCM at CIIS is excited to showcase the ancient wisdom of Chinese medicine in San Francisco's mid-Market neighborhood as a permanent display of its partnership with TRT.
AN UNCOMPROMISING COMMITMENT TO QUALITY
Beijing Tong Ren Tang was founded in 1669 during the eighth year of Emperor Kangxi's reign in the Qing Dynasty. For 188 years beginning in 1723, TRT was designated to provide medicines for the royal pharmacy that served eight generations of Qing emperors. It was among the first to be designated a Chinese cultural heritage brand by the People's Republic of China and is one of the best-known companies in China.
TRT's adherence to its central tenet, "No effort shall be compromised, no matter how complicated the medicine production processes are; no materials shall be spared, no matter how costly the materials are," has contributed to its global dominance of the Chinese medicine industry. The Beijing Tong Ren Tang Group operates more than 800 retail stores through multiple international joint ventures covering 16 countries and regions.
SUPPORT FOR ALUMNI
The educational partnership between TRT and ACTCM at CIIS launched in April 2015 with three goals: to drive innovations in clinical care, support new practitioners, and advance knowledge in the field of traditional Chinese medicine.
An exciting step toward achieving CIIS's and TRT's shared vision is the development of the first graduate training program to support recent TCM graduates as they transition from being students to full-time practitioners. Its implementation will give newly licensed practitioners access to formal mentorship and collaborative case management by ACTCM at CIIS faculty in TRT clinics. This pioneering program will create a pipeline of highly skilled integrative healthcare practitioners.
A REVOLUTION IN RESEARCH
ACTCM at CIIS has already begun to offer a portfolio of programs sponsored by the TRT grant. In November 2015, ACTCM at CIIS and TRT were joint cosponsors of the Society for Acupuncture Research (SAR) conference, which was organized by the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital and supported by the NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. SAR is the only professional organization dedicated to evidence-based research in the field of acupuncture. It has formed a critical bridge between biomedical research universities and colleges of acupuncture and Eastern medicine.
TRT supported three ACTCM at CIIS faculty members and one doctoral student to give poster presentations of their research. Lixin Huang, Vice President of China Projects and Executive Director of ACTCM at CIIS, gave a short address to the conference's attendees, emphasizing the leadership role in conducting scholarly research that ACTCM at CIIS has taken among acupuncture and Chinese medicine schools.
In October 2016, ACTCM at CIIS hosted its own two-day conference: New Paradigms in Integrative Medicine: Reconciling Scientific Research and Chinese Medicine. Over two days at Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco's historic Japantown, leading scholars and practitioners of Chinese medicine collaborated with biomedical researchers to explore new approaches to complementary healthcare. Conference speakers included Richard Hammerschlag, a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine; Jennifer Stone, editor-in-chief of Meridians, a leading journal of acupuncture and Oriental medicine; and Lixing Lao, director of the School of Chinese Medicine at the University of Hong Kong.
ACTCM at CIIS has laid the foundation for a sponsored research initiative within the university. Western biomedical researchers examining Chinese medicine through an outsider's lens dominate the current TCM research landscape. ACTCM at CIIS is working with TRT to promote the equal participation of acupuncturists and Chinese medicine practitioners in shaping the future of TCM investigation in concert with major research institutions such as Stanford University Medical Center.
A long-term result of TRT's support of TCM education will be the establishment of TCM wellness centers and, eventually, TCM research and teaching hospitals in the U.S. that are modeled after integrative health institutions in Asia and Europe. This development will bring ACTCM at CIIS closer to achieving its vision of being an international center of educational excellence that advances professional collaboration and sustainability in Chinese medicine and healthcare.
Ding Yongling, CEO and executive director of TRT subsidiary Beijing Tong Ren Tang Chinese Medicine Co. Ltd., said, "We are pleased to cooperate with ACTCM to promote the culture of Chinese medicine in the United States and to educate and train Chinese medical practitioners.
"Through strategic first steps in building the Beijing Tong Ren Tang Education Center and Herbal Store on the CIIS campus, offering continuing education to alumni, and hosting and participating in international acupuncture research conferences, ACTCM at CIIS has strengthened its reputation as a leader in integrative healthcare education and has positioned TRT as a leading supporter of traditional Chinese medicine in the United States. CIIS looks forward to the unfolding opportunities provided by the university's ongoing partnership with Beijing Tong Ren Tang.