A chance meeting nearly 20 years ago sparked a dream between two men. Now, two universities nearly 7,000 miles apart are bringing that dream to fruition.
While completing a dual M.D./Ph.D. program at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Dr. Phillip Kuo met ShaoJun Lyu. As a student, Kuo took tai chi classes from Lyu, and it quickly became clear that the two shared a passion 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. Kuo, a professor of medical imaging, biomedical engineering and medicine at the University of Arizona, was participating in a martial arts examination when he realized one of the judges was his old friend Lyu, who is now a professor in the College of Physical Education and Sports at Beijing Normal University, or BNU.
They exchanged information and picked up where they left off many years ago – both still dreamed of promoting traditional Chinese health practices.
Today, the International Society of Chinese Health Practices, or ISCHP, is the realization of that dream. A nonprofit organization incorporated in Arizona, ISCHP is an international collaboration between the UA and BNU, one of China’s key institutions of higher learning.
Lyu and colleague Guofeng Qu traveled to Tucson in January 2019 to represent BNU in a meeting that included interested parties from the College of Medicine – Tucson, the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and the Libraries. From that meeting, the ISCHP was born.
As a physician and researcher, 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,” Kuo says.
In addition to tai chi, the ISCHP 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,” Kuo says.
The ISCHP is planning to co-sponsor conferences to facilitate collaborative research by scholars, students and faculty throughout the world. The first conference is planned for November 2019 and will be held on the BNU campus.
A version of this article originally appeared on the UA Health Sciences Office of Public Affairs website: https://opa.uahs.arizona.edu/newsroom/news/2019/realization-20-year-old-dream-international-society-chinese-health-practices