A chance meeting nearly 20 years ago sparked a dream between two men. Now, two universities nearly 7,000 miles apart have met to bring that dream to fruition.
While earning his medical degree and doctorate at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Phillip Kuo (now University of Arizona professor of medical imaging, biomedical engineering and medicine) met ShaoJun Lyu (now a professor at Beijing Normal University in the College of Physical Education and Sports). As a student, Dr. Kuo took Tai Chi classes from Dr. Lyu and it quickly became clear that the two shared enthusiasm for the ancient Chinese martial art that benefits the mind, body and spirit.
The two friends dreamed of starting a special project that would promote the practice and understanding of this ageless form of exercise.
Fast forward to 2017, UA Professor Kuo was participating in a martial arts examination in his spare time when he realized one of the judges was his old friend, Professor Lyu. They exchanged information and picked up where they left off in Tai Chi class so long ago. They still dreamed of promoting traditional Chinese health practices.
Today, the International Society of Chinese Health Practices (ISCHP) is the realization of that dream. A non-profit organization incorporated in Arizona, ISCHP is an international collaboration between the University of Arizona and Beijing Normal University (BNU), one of China’s key institutions of higher learning.
Professor Lyu and his colleague, Professor Guofeng Qu, traveled to the UA in January 2019 to represent BNU in a meeting with representatives of the UA College of Medicine – Tucson, the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and the UA Libraries. The meeting initiated the process of forming ISCHP and the group now is working on an International Memorandum of Agreement to solidify the cooperative relationship between the UA and BNU.
As a physician and researcher, Dr. Kuo is enthusiastic about both Western and Eastern medicine. “Researching the benefits of Chinese health practices will promote the complementary use of Eastern and Western medicine on a global scale,” Dr. Kuo says.
Dr. Kuo’s passion for Tai Chi is only one aspect of ISCHP, which also will include the study of acupuncture and herbal medicine. “Traditional Chinese health practices can take an integrative and balanced approach to treating illness and preserving health,” Dr. Kuo says.
ISCHP is planning to co-sponsor conferences to facilitate collaborative research by scholars, students and faculty throughout the world. The first annual conference is planned for November 2019 and will be held on the BNU campus. The UA is co-sponsoring this effort. ISCHP also will promote the exchange of students and faculty between the UA and BNU.