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Vision for the future of Oriental Medicine and Integrative Medicine in the US - the next 10-20 years
by Therese Walsh Van Keuren, LAc, PhD



In the United States, Oriental/Asian Medicine and Integrative Medicine will surely continue moving in the direction of greater acceptance within the general medical system.
When I first entered into the study of Oriental Medicine, I was so enthusiastic about the field. I felt that there had been no better time for me than that very moment to enter and contribute to this field of medicine. That was in April 1993. Every single year since then, I have continued to feel more strongly about that insight, and every year does, in fact, get better:

* Better visibility
* Better exposure
* Better community awareness
* Better scientific studies on Acupuncture and Oriental Herbal Medicine published
* Better translations of texts available
* Better professional discourse, conferences, and symposiums
* Better education and  certification programs being developed, and
* Better integration of the various disciplines of medicine available for the Consumer of healthcare optimization.

I work in a multi-disciplinary integrative clinic in Los Gatos. The doctors are very much operating like you see in the Television show “Private Practice”. How about that? A TV show with an acupuncturist working in an Integrative Medical Clinic in Southern California. That’s what I mean! Better Visibility. My colleagues and I cross-refer and hold team consults on cases that we work on together, and this is the true meaning of integrated medicine. I live in that world each day. But having integration in the clinic is not enough. Reaching out to other clinics and medical professionals increases the integration of different fields of medicine in the larger community. Kaiser Permanente offers Acupuncture, yoga, meditation, stress management classes and more. Something is happening! All around us! And it is just the beginning!
Another opportunity to see the expansion of Oriental medicine and Integrative medicine happens in the universities. While teaching classes at Five Branches University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Jose, I see that we have some of the best programs for the community at our clinic. For example, one of our programs focuses on U.S. veterans, offering treatment with Acupuncture at no cost two days a week.

When living in Southern California, I taught a class to second year medical students at UCLA on Oriental Medicine. The budding ideas to implement new programs grew each day. The desire to add more advanced degrees to academic centers, like PhDs and DAOMs reflect the passion to continue growing in this field and deepening our wisdom and knowledge and expertise. 
We, as Oriental Medical Professionals, promote integration by being passionate about Oriental Medicine and interfacing with other medical professionals, whether at the clinic where you treat patients, at a business networking meeting for natural healers (e.g., the Natural Healers Network in Campbell CA) or at the university. We share what we love about Oriental medicine, and learn more about other perspectives and specialties in health care. This year was even better than last year for Oriental Medicine and Integrative Medicine and next year is going to be even better. Keep the love alive in your community.
Bring the Vision of Integration into being in your community by:

1. Building case management teams with the other medical professionals that your patients are already seeing regularly;
2. Get involved in “programs” offered at the nearest university for integrated medicine;
3. Network with other medical professionals in your area. Build referral lists and cross refer with other professionals;
4. Offer treatments to your medical colleagues who have not experienced acupuncture and to those who already have, because the way you deliver the body of understanding is unique; and
5. Give talks that introduce Oriental Medicine to the community at the Library, Pharmacy or Hospital.

The power of Integrative Medicine is in the sharing of the gift we provide – and will expand with our willingness to educate and learn beside our healthcare colleagues. 



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About the Author

Therese Walsh Van Keuren is Licensed in Acupuncture and Herbology by the Medical Board of California and Certified by the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncturists. She received her Ph. D. from the American University of Complementary Medicine in the department of Classical Chinese Medicine. Through this program Therese had the opportunity to study with Jeffery Yuen, 88th generation Taoist Priest, accupuncturist and herbalist. She continues to study and consult with him in her private practice. Therese teaches as a professor at Five Branches University in San Jose, CA.

For more information visit Therese's website, True Chi.





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