School of Chinese Medicine proposed in Friday Harbor

Presentation at 5 p.m. July 30 Hospital District Board meeting in EMS building

Could Chinese Medicine be a boon for the local economy?

A proposal by Vincent W. Shu, MD, FCCP would create the Washington Institute of Natural Sciences (W.I.N.S) Integrative Community Clinic and School of Acupuncture and School of Herbal Medicine at the site of the former Inter Island Medical Center.

Research opportunities, sustainable farming of medicinal herbs, and alternative medical treatment are part of the proposal. 

Dr. Shu says there is important research to be done involving the efficacy of the medicines which have been in use for thousands of years.

Since the climate in the islands is similar to areas in China where medicinal herbs are grown, expansion of the islands agriculture to include medicinal herbs is possible.  Dr. Shu noted some Chinese medicines contain up to 50 different herbs.

Dr. Shu will moderate four public meetings about the proposal. The meetings will center on three questions:

1. In collaboration with Peace Island Medical Center, is complementary alternative medicine provided by the W.I.N.S. Community Clinic an ideal health care model for islanders?

2. What is the barrier to discourage our children in developing their careers here? Can we reshape our future to retain our children by developing local careers engaged in solving growing national issues in healthcare, environment and green energy?

3. Can grant-sponsored Scholar Farmer Program foster local economy and farming sustainability by growing Chinese Herbal Medicine?

Meeting Schedule: All of the meetings will be held in the San Juan Island Library.

Wednesday, July 16 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Saturday, July 19 from 2 to 4 p.m.

Wednesday, July 23 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Saturday, July 26 from 2 to 4 p.m.

The Mission Values and Vision for this project which would bring a Natural Science College to Friday Harbor are:

1. To promote a long, joyous, healthier life and to provide affordable, compassionate holistic medical care for islanders.

2. We greatly value the importance of evidence-based translational sciences in providing a comprehensive foundation for providing medical care.

3. We respect medicinal herbs and plants that have been evolving over millennia. We strive to seek scientific validation and discovery of their potential healing power through advanced molecular, cellular and genetic imaging technologies and clinical trials.

4. To build and develop a bridge of comprehensive understanding of life sciences between western and eastern medicine and thus consolidate a single discipline and entity.

5. To foster economic vitality and conserve natural beauty in our community with the implementation of scholar gardener and scholar farmer programs leading to meaningful usage and better management of our lands as well as potential new discoveries and inventions in the fields of herbal and agricultural sciences.

Program Description

Washington Institute of Natural Sciences (WINS) School of Acupuncture and School of Herbal Medicine: will be an ACAOM (Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) accredited academic institution of complementary and integrative medicine located in Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, Washington.

The college will provide world-class education, modern research opportunities and premier clinical services in a variety of medicinal modalities including Acupuncture, Oriental Medicine, Western Herbal Medicine, Integrative Medicine, Holistic Nutrition as well as Mind-Body-Spirit disciplines (Tai Chi and Yoga).

The Institute will be founded upon an unwavering commitment to excellence, compassion and truthfulness. It will be a place where east meets west. Founded by Dr. Vincent Shu, a board certified Internist/Geriatrician/Cardiologist trained in both eastern and western medicine, recognized that education in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)is at all times heavily linked to classical writings, in particular the Yellow Emperor's Internal Canon written thousands of years ago.

While accepting the importance of the knowledge contained in such classical Chinese writings, he found that, the greatest hurdle for western-trained scientists and/or clinicians with a firm foundation in western bio-sciences when studying TCM was not simply access to the knowledge, but also the ability to explore and model the Chinese way of thinking of Yin-Yang and "five elements" theories. He believed that using the common language of western bioscience to conceptualize the theory of TCM could be the path to address this issue.

Accordingly, the Institute will, through western-recognized modalities, endeavor to investigate, validate, and perhaps transform the knowledge and properties of acupuncture and herbal medicine as they have evolved through five thousand years of tradition.

The Institute, using this approach, will offer a depth of instruction simply not available at any other school of Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine in North America.

Focus on Some Key Questions

Despite the recent economic downturn, American consumers have been spending approximately $34 billion per year for "Alternative Medicines" claiming to be "secret remedies of thousand(s) of years". As consumers, we have legitimate reasons to question the presence of evidence-based data to support such usage, for example:

• Are western medicine approaches to new drug discovery superior to those of eastern medicine?

• With the advent of new fast and relatively inexpensive DNA sequencing technology making personalized medicine a real possibility, can either western or eastern medicines favorably modify the behavior of genetic profiles sufficiently to prevent or modify the expression of certain diseases?

• Can a retirement community model for green land and natural beauty conservation evolve into one that drives younger generations to accomplish the same goals?

• Can we re-shape our future to retain our children by developing local careers engaged in solving growing national issues in healthcare, environment and green energy?

Initial Research Project at WINS:

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study in health subjects by using a common Chinese Herbal Formula--- the studies of flow cytometry and cDNA expression arrays to assess immune functions and gene expression.

Programs offered:

• 3 year Herbal Medicine/Acupuncture Practitioner Master degree Program

• Master degree in Herbal Medicine

• Certificate and diploma in Herbal Medicine

• Certificate and diploma in Acupuncture

• Scholar farmer/ scholar gardener program: to grow Chinese Herbal Medicine and to discover new Herbal Medicine in the San Juan Islands

Internship to China where students can learn Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine as well as how to grow Chinese Herbal Medicine in the Pacific Northwest.

Gaining clinical experience in the WINS Community Clinic Center for Integrative Medicine

Measurable Objectives

1. To present comprehensive 3 year programs that encompass the five modalities of traditional Chinese medicine, including the requisite Western Biomedical Sciences as well as other required subjects;

2. To assist students in attaining an understanding of the principles of herbal medicine and see the function of that paradigm in everyday life;

3. To prepare students to meet all of the qualifying examinations and regulations concerning acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, as such regulations and licensing come into force;

4. To prepare students to become responsible health care providers and able practitioners;

5. To offer a curriculum that meets or exceeds all academic and clinical requirements required by the profession’s regulating bodies;

6. To provide a compassionate, comprehensive integrative health care for the diversified population on the San Juan Islands including low socioeconomic and/or no income population;

7. In collaboration with oncologists at Peace Island Medical Center, to provide complementary alternative medicine for islanders undergoing chemotherapy in order to improve their quality of life and prolong their life by mitigating chemotherapy-associated adverse side effects;

8. To grow Chinese medicinal herbs – both traditional as well as newly discovered – locally in the San Juan Islands, and then validation of their therapeutic properties before clinical usage; 9. To provide scientific validation of commonly prescribed Chinese herbal formulas out of 150,000 plus Chinese herbal formulas;

10. To maintain and enhance community economic vitality by creating an intellectually challenging environment that encourages and supports our children and grandchildren to develop local careers in solving growing national issues of health care, farming and environment, for example in evidence-based natural healing centers and clinics, herb-growing farms, as well as green energy production.

Impact Summary

1. In the relatively near future, we envision that medical care decision will link with western genetic-based personalized medicine and through this link the better treatment outcome can be predicted and evidenced by either herbal medicines or ( reduced dosage of ) western medicine or both with accompanying significant healthcare cost savings.

2. While working on medicinal herb research projects at W.I.N.S. grant-sponsored scholar gardeners/ farmers will help sustain local economic vitality and meaningful land usage, thereby also helping to fulfill the missions of, for example, San Juan County’s Land Bank and Agricultural Guild.

3. Nature-Science College Academic Programs will bring in diverse talented professionals in the fields of medicine, herbs, agriculture, green energy and environmental science, helping the San Juan Islands to become renowned for personalized-medicine-based healing, attracting people seeking not only the enjoyment of natural beauty but also a healthy life.

4. The San Juan Islands will over time become a center for organically-grown science-validated medicinal herbs in North America. Locally held research seminars in Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture will attract many people around the world to both work and visit.

5. The W.I.N.S. will provide significant complementary healthcare services for residents currently receiving western medicine such as chemotherapy and/or others, and further serve as a local clinical center for herbal medicine and acupuncture as well as disciplines such as Tai Chi and Yoga.

6. W.I.N.S. will provide a supporting source of academic unbiased data and act as a liaison between the western and eastern practitioners with resultant improved treatment outcome.

Dr. Vincent Shu can be contacted at 360.370.7380 or fax: 866.651.0544 or email: 

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