Dr. Kin Wai Tony Hung (center) and Dr. Ka-Kit Hui (right) treat a patient at the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine.
Five years ago, I traveled to Beijing, China, where, immersed in the richness of the culture and surrounded by the ancient Great Wall, I explored traditional Chinese healing in a personal attempt to integrate the best of medicine from the East with the West. My journey actually began at UCLA years before and can be attributed to my mentor, Ka-Kit Hui, MD ’75 (RES ’78, FEL ’79), founder and director of the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine (CEWM). Dr. Hui inspired me to see medicine through two lenses and to unify the finest of both worlds of healing.
Like the unique expression of language, with the West’s alphabet and the East’s characters, medicine has its distinctive expression between the polar paradigms. In a synergetic harmony, integrative East-West medicine brings the two worlds together. As Albert Einstein wrote of quantum mechanics and the duality of particles and waves, “It seems as though we must use sometimes the one theory and sometimes the other, while at times we may use either. … Separately, neither of them fully explains the phenomena of light, but together they do.” So, too, East and West medicine can compliment each other.
“Optimal healthcare that is effective, safe, accessible and affordable should become the priority of every country’s healthcare system,” said Dr. Hui at the 2000 World Health Organization International Symposium in Japan. With the emerging need to redesign our current healthcare system, I, too, believe that a concerted effort of collaboration among the various stakeholders, as well as the courageous spirit to think differently and to see and appreciate the value of innovative models of practice beyond the conventional standard of care, is what will underpin its success.
That is what iCareX is all about, I now tell my UCLA undergraduate students as we launch our own Project Health Coach. As I move forward on my journey as an aspiring leader in medicine, and I reflect on Dr. Hui’s influence on my growth, I think of Sir Isaac Newton’s famous quote: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”