Yemeng Chen, President of New York College of Traditional Chinese Medicine: Our message? Ancient wisdom for modern times.

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Yemeng Chen, President of New York College of Traditional Chinese Medicine: Our message? Ancient wisdom for modern times.
photo: Yemeng Chen
flag 10 / 12 / 2020

TCM and Western medicine, knowledge, information and experiences, have to be shared more and more. Especially in Europe, in and after “pandemic times”. It is necessary to watch the highest professional level. Let us use the first sentence of College introduction:

New York College of Traditional Chinese Medicine teaches acupuncture and herbal medicine much as they are taught in China, while helping students relate this approach to the contemporary Western healthcare system. TCM WORLD asked Mr. Yemeng Chen, President of New York College of Traditional Chinese Medicine:


How long is the history of TCM in United States?

The first American publication on acupuncture was translated from French by Dr. Franklin Bache, a great-grandson of Benjamin Franklin in 1825. In the later 19th century, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine has been transmitted to the US through Chinese labors. But acupuncture has not developed as a profession until in 1970’s. The landmark of national professional organizations formation was in 1982. In 1997, National Institutes of Health (NIH) held a Consensus Development Conference on Acupuncture which concluded acupuncture was safe and acceptable.

Are there people interesting to use it as patients, clients?

The acceptance by the general public and medical field is increasing. Many people is interesting in acupuncture and Chinese herbal treatment in the United States. 

At your University, do you have teachers and professors from China, or more countries?

NYCTCM has about 65% Chinese medicine faculty members who had official TCM training in the mainland of China and Taiwan.

Is TCM official part of healthcare system in United States?

Acupuncture is ongoing a part of integrative healthcare system in the United States, but not Chinese herbal medicine. Recently 47 states plus Washington, DC have passed practice act for acupuncture but only about over 20 states allow to use Chinese herbs.

Is your University in NY accredited as official medical field?

New York College of Traditional Chinese Medicine has been fully accredited by Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (ACAOM) since 2002, pre-accredited in 1999. ACAOM is the only accreditation agency recognized by the US Department of Education in the field of acupuncture and Chinese medicine. I served as a Commissioner of ACAOM for two terms, 6 years, and just stepped down as the Chair in February 2020.

Do you prefer to tech acupuncture, or herbs, tuina and other methods, too? Within herbal medicine.

Either one is fine to me. I have taught all kind of courses related to TCM in my 25 years of teaching in the Untied States 

What about difference between NY TCM „school“, and for instance Californian? 

Due to legislative regulations difference, all NY acupuncture school are used name as “College”. The curriculum of those programs includes MS in Acupuncture Program, and MS in Acupuncture with Chinese Herbal Medicine Program (Acupuncture plus Chinese herbs, was called TCM programs). In California, acupuncture schools can be named as either School, College, or University and all programs are MS in Acupuncture (or Doctor of Acupuncture, D.Ac.) with a Chinese Herbal Medicine Specialization, which means they are all TCM programs. California state acupuncture license requirement includes herbal study.

It means there is Acupuncture alone program in NY State but in California, all acupuncture program includes herbal study.

How many TCM doctors and practitioners are in NY? 

The TCM practitioners in NY states have their titles as Licensed Acupuncturists and now herbs are covered in the practice scope of acupuncture.

Now there are over 6,000 license acupuncturists in NY State 

Could you use TCM in public hospitals, is it a part of health insurance?

Some hospitals already has acupuncture services but not Chinese herbs. Since herbs are already legally in the practice scope in NY State, some hospital intends to use some patent herbs in their integrative medicine center.  NYCTCM already had two teaching sites in Gouverneur Healthcare Services in Manhattan and the Health & Wellness Center in the State University of New York, Farmingdale. One week before COVID-19 pandemic in March, we just signed an agreement with Flushing Hospital Medical Center as an additional teaching site and were in the middle of gaining agreement with NYU Langone Hospitals – Brooklyn as an observation site. Unfortunately, all the teaching sites in the healthcare system suspended due to pandemic.

Nonpharamacological pain management service is required in hospital accreditation now so more and more hospital will provide acupuncture service. It creates many job opportunities for acupuncture gradates. Also more and more insurance company accept acupuncture reimbursement. Starting from January 2020, MediCare, federal insurance plan, has accepted reimbursement for acupuncture applied to treat low back pain. 

NYCTCM team /

Could you send anytime your teachers, to teach in Central and Eastern Europe TCM?

Sure, we could. We are happy to cooperate with your programs for teaching.



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