One Converse College student found herself in studying medicine China this past summer. Roberta Turner ’06 spent two and a half weeks traveling through China and visiting cities such as Beijing, Xi’an, and Chengdu with a group called the International Mission on Medicine. The group consisted of about 50 pre-med students from across the country. It was the first trip to China for many of them.
“I was nominated through the National Dean’s List to participate in this study tour,” said Roberta. “The company offered trips to many places, and I chose China mainly because it fit into my summer schedule. But any place would have been fascinating.”
The goal of International Mission on Medicine is to give students an invaluable opportunity to study and work with distinguished medical leaders, researchers and practitioners to gain a head start toward their career goals. Roberta is a biology and German double major at Converse, and her career aspiration is to practice internal medicine.
“What made this trip so interesting is that we mainly studied Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) versus western medicine,” Roberta said. TCM is different from western medicine is that it focuses on procedures such as acupuncture, Chinese massage, and the use of herbal medicines. Whereas western medicine is best for short-term ailments, such as broken bones, TCM works well for long-term illnesses that deal mainly with internal problems. Participants witnessed western medicine working hand-in-hand with Traditional Chinese Medicine.
“We visited many hospitals and universities that focused on western medicine and TCM,” said Roberta. “One hospital that is particularly memorable is the No. 4 Military Medicine University. It is a Chinese university run by the Chinese military, and all the students are in the military as well. They taught western medicine, though, which just means that when people come in with problems, they do surgery or prescribe medicine, as opposed to TCM.”
Roberta’s group was guided by Chinese medical students. “We saw where herbs were dried and packaged and learned a little bit about them,” she said. “For example, Chrysanthemum tea is used to reduce ‘heat’ in the body. We also had Tuina (Chinese massage) and acupuncture demonstrations.”