Integrative science courses at Tai Sophia Institute combine and coordinate diverse perspectives from multiple scientific fields. Courses developed are tailored to fit the needs of students in complementary and alternative medicine programs, including acupuncture, herbal medicine, and holistic nutrition.
The Integrative Health Sciences department began in 2009 under the leadership of Kimberly Duncan, PhD. Dr. Duncan was brought on to design a science program that would serve the Master of Acupuncture (MAc) program. She had significant experience with Tai Sophia culture and with programs of excellent academic rigor and scholarship, including those at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, Cambridge University (UK), Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and the National Institutes of Health. After several years leading the department, Dr. Duncan handed over leadership to James Snow, MA, RH(AHG). With Mr. Snow’s leadership and experience in educational design, the department has grown and now provides integrative science courses for many academic degrees and certificates.
One example of these courses is anatomy, which serves the master’s degree programs in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. The anatomy course is unlike any other in that it tailors anatomy to the specific needs of the students in these programs. Students focus on the detailed surface anatomy that is needed to find the acupuncture points. Faculty emphasize the depth and layers of tissue in each region in the body to support the development of safe needling techniques. Special attention is given to areas of the body where students should utilize great caution when needling. In later courses, students build on this knowledge and learn which specific areas of the body should not be needled in times of pregnancy or during medical challenges, including seizure disorders and pathology of the liver or any other internal organs. For patient safety, learning when and where to avoid inserting needles is as important as learning how to place needles. Students develop a deep understanding of the physical body and any specific details that support the safe and effective use of needles as a therapeutic entity. Anatomy programs at conventional schools that emphasize musculoskeletal anatomy would not provide the detail afforded by this course.
The anatomy course at Tai Sophia Institute has been taught since 2009 by Heming Zhu, PhD, CMD, MAc, LAc. Dr. Zhu holds a PhD in Medicine in Anatomy and Neuroscience from Tongji Medical University. He completed extensive and award-winning research in molecular structure at Louisiana State University and at the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, in Bethesda, MD. Dr. Zhu is an acupuncturist and scientist who has practiced, taught, and researched modern conventional medicine and traditional Chinese medicine for 29 years. Dr. Zhu is the recipient of the 2007 Award for Research Excellence, has published more than 20 peer-reviewed journal articles, and is the author of Surface Anatomy of Acupuncture, which was published in 2009 and is the required textbook for the anatomy course.