The OCOM Alumni Association is proud to announce the winner of this year’s $1,500 annual Alumni Association Scholarship, Lenore Cangeloso, MAcOM candidate for 2016. Below is her winning submission, answering the question, “As a future Chinese medicine practitioner, what role do you envision your practice playing in the broader integrative health care movement?”
The future of medicine lies within the hands of its current students. This is a huge responsibility that I am willing to take on and am proud to sit in classrooms with others dedicated to the cause. The medical paradigm is shifting to become more inclusive as conventional medicine is beginning to take into account modalities from around the world. Chinese medicine is making its way into mainstream medical centers and I wish to dedicate my efforts to bring TCM [traditional Chinese medicine] to cancer patients. Treating them in my clinic or hopefully working hand-in-hand with hospital oncology units.
This shift is already happening, Portland’s very own Providence Hospital employs an integrative approach within their Oncology unit.¹ But it is sadly not fully utilized. My close friend is currently undergoing palliative care for Stage 4 stomach cancer, and did not hear of these services available to her; such as Chinese medicine, Naturopathy, and therapy until weeks into her treatment. She actually was unaware of these services until I brought them to her and her nurses' attention.
I hope to become not only a practitioner, but a liaison and advocate for cancer patients to receive care that not only addresses their disease but their body and spirit. The collaborative relationship that needs to be established between the TCM practitioner and oncologist will only help increase patient care and improve outcomes of treatment. I dream of the day that any cancer patient can have access to health centers where doctors and TCM practitioners join forces so the patient can make an informed choice between herbal remedies or pharmaceuticals or even receive a combined treatment of acupuncture and herbs to help counteract adverse effects of modern cancer therapies, such as nausea and depression.
I want to dedicate my practice to helping people find strength, peace and healing when receiving treatments as harsh as radiation and chemotherapy. As Chinese medicine continues to carve out its place within the American Medical system, more patients will be open to trying various remedies, more clinical studies will be funded, and more patients will find relief and effective treatments for disease.
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