What just happened? Now I’m teaching again! Taking the blank slate of innocent, curious minds and crafting them into well oiled, thinking machines. Raising them from crayons to pencils to Ipads and beyond, and preparing them to tackle all manner of things and to move the field beyond anything that I can imagine. A little like To Sir with Love? Why not.
Good Ole Days
Looking back to my days as a professor at UCSF, I haven’t really stopped teaching. But since leaving the hard, sturdy schoolrooms of western academic medicine, the audience has changed. Instead of plying the minds of undergraduate or graduate students, I have since spent time updating peers in board reviews, lending a vision to federal research programs, and lecturing colleagues around the world on the nuances and cutting edge realities in our field.
Class, Turn to Page…
I have joined the faculty at Yo San University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Los Angeles. Why? Because Eastern medicine is a 4000 year old tradition that integrates body function and healing as well as, or better than, its younger sibling, Western medicine. Sure, there is less emphasis on anatomy, but there is far more on the many functional entities that integrate body systems into a whole. Simply stated, “health” in Eastern medicine is perceived as harmonious interaction of various bodily entities and the outside world and “disease” is observed as disharmony. Hard to believe, but Western medicine is just beginning to see the value of this view, now termed “functional” or “integrative” medicine.
So, in fact, there is a give and take here: Through my involvement at Yo San, I plan to be a kind of student myself and learn from the true founders of integrative medicine.
The Aha Moment
I’ve always enjoyed the two-way street of learning that teaching offers. Can’t remember how many times the simplest question from the newly taught student has turned into a significant research project. To boot, there is really nothing like watching the glow of realization appear on those who crave even the most basic understanding of what makes us tick. And it is that “aha” moment that makes it all worthwhile, knowing that you may have forever changed, in some small way, how gears turn in the minds of those in whose hands our future depends.