From a young age, I was interested in what makes people tick. I was fascinated by the field of animal behavior, both because of a love of nature and because I thought it would provide insights into human nature. My college studies in animal behavior led in an increasingly reductionistic direction–from physiological psychology, to neurobiology, and finally to the biophysics of brain cells. While I enjoyed doing research in these areas, I began to feel that the mechanistic answers it produced were too far removed from the deeper philosophical and spiritual questions that were my real passion.
I began to read a lot about natural medicine and spirituality, and met more and more friends and colleagues with similar interests. I added meditation and taiji to my obsession with jazz tap dancing. By the time I finished my doctorate in 1990, I was searching for a career path that was more whole for me.
I worked for a couple of years developing programs and curricula for the Division on Addictions at Harvard Medical School, and then in 1993, enrolled in the naturopathic medicine program at the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon. In addition to the core studies of homeopathy, herbalism, hydrotherapy, nutrition and physical medicine, I was drawn to the qigong retreats in the classical Chinese medicine program that had just begun under the direction of Dr. Heiner Fruehauf. I started participating in annual trips to China led by Heiner and his wife Sheron, to study qigong with Professor Wang Qingyu, official lineage holder of the Jinjing School of Qigong. This system of movement and meditation made sense to me–from the basic principles to the walks and forms designed to bring you into the present moment and deepen your perceptions and awareness. I was especially drawn to this lineage because of Professor Wang’s emphasis on “becoming a better person”.
Upon graduating from NCNM, I started a private practice as a naturopathic physician and pursued additional training at the Hahnemann College of Homeopathy and The Jaffe Institute of Spiritual and Medical Healing. I continued to study qigong in Portland and China, and began to teach classes for the general public and NCNM students. In 2004, I returned to NCNM to help develop a holistic basic science curriculum for the classical Chinese medicine program. I took on the role of dean, and continue to teach qigong at the school. I am deeply honored to work with wonderful colleagues in the service of students and faculty committed to the pursuit of harmony, self-responsibility, and real transformation. Together, we seek real healing for ourselves, our patients, and the planet.