Senior Chinese Doctor Aspires to Help TCM Go Global

 December 7, 2018
Senior Chinese Doctor Aspires to Help TCM Go Global
Guo Funing [] 


A senior Chinese doctor who runs a clinic in Sydney, Australia has benefited more patients around the world by popularizing traditional Chinese medicine over the past 30 years, according to a recent profile. 

Guo Funing, 74, was born in east China's Anhui Province. As a child, her parents moved with her to Guangzhou, a city in south China's Guangdong Province. 

After earning her bachelor's degree from Sun Yat-sen Medical College in 1967, she started her work in a hospital in south China's Sichuan Province. Three years later, she moved back and joined the hospital affiliated to Zhongshan Medical College (currently Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine). 

"My seven years' work experience in the affiliated hospital have given me the basic ability to treat patients by combining Chinese and western medicine," Guo recalled. 

In 1978, when China resumed its national college entrance exam, her alma mater started to enroll postgraduate students. Seizing the opportunity, Guo applied and was accepted. 

Guo was lucky. She became one of the earliest Chinese students to earn a master's degree and doctoral degree in the medical field, because it was not until 1981 that China began to introduce the current academic degree system. 

In 1985, Guo became the first student of Sun Yat-sen Medical College to win a doctoral degree in clinical medicine. 

"I am grateful for the opportunities presented by my motherland and the era," said Guo. 

In 1986, Guo commenced her postdoctoral study at University of California, Los Angeles. At the invitation of her friend, she started to work in a western medicine clinic in Australia in 1987 to treat patients by combining disciplines. 

In her cooperation with western doctors, she found although Chinese medicine was backward in its development,  the potential for development was great. 

What she experienced there made her determined to popularize Chinese medicine to help more people realize its importance. 

In 1988, she opened a clinic, the first Chinese clinic in Australia run by a medical degree holder. 

At that time, Guo mainly treated common chronic diseases, but she was best at curing digestive system diseases. Her treatment of ulcers was so successful that it earned her a wide reputation in Australia. 

"Ulcerative colitis is a common disease in western countries. To complicate matters, this disease is hard to cure and easy to reoccur, so it tortures patients both mentally and physically," said Guo. 

David Atkins, director of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, also suffered from the disease. 

Having no other choice, Atkins turned to Guo for help on the recommendation of his friend. 

After receiving treatment from Guo for one month, Atkins had basically recovered. He had received treatment for four years before totally recovering. 

The experience of the celebrity furthered enhanced the reputation of Chinese medicine. 

"Generally speaking, the effect of Chinese medicine is slower than that of western medicine, but as long as the patients feel the effect, they will gradually place trust in it," said Guo. 

Because of the vast differences between Chinese and western medicine, Australians like asking Guo lots of questions. Not knowing how to translate Chinese medical terms, she resorts to literal translation, which, to her amazement, make sense to them. 

"Chinese medical treatment is nature-oriented, while Australians also believe the power of Australia. That is probably why they can understand Chinese medicine if I make explanations to them patiently," said Guo with a smile. 

Thanks to the successful treatment cases of Chinese medicine and the efforts of TCM doctors in Australia, Australia incorporated Chinese medicine into its medical system in 2012. 

In the past, Chinese medicine was only popular in the China Town districts of cities. Now, Chinese clinics can be found in nearly every community in Australia and Chinese medical treatment has become increasingly popular. 

Some Australian universities such as RMIT and University of Western Sydney have successively offered undergraduate programs on this front. Academic exchanges between Australia and China are also increasing. In the near future, there are expected to be more foreigners who engage in work related to Chinese medicine. 

However, Guo is quite aware that Chinese medicine still has a long way to go to before it enjoys equal opportunities with western medicine. In Australia, for example, people can enjoy free medical services if they choose western medicine, but they must receive Chinese medicine treatment at their own expense. 

Guo has a big goal — to make more people know that Chinese medicine is not just alternative medicine, but a good way to cure severe and acute disease. 

To attain this goal, Guo has no plans to retire. Besides running her own clinic, she serves as a senior consultant in the Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Society of Australia and off-campus counselor of several Australian universities including the University of Western Sydney. 

On October 23, during his inspection tour in Guangdong, President Xi Jinping made a speech, emphasizing that great efforts should be made to help Chinese medicine go global. 

The news gave Guo tremendous excitement. 

"The development of Chinese medicine is inseparable from the prosperity of my homeland. In the new era, I shall work harder so as to help Chinese medicine go global," said Guo.

(Source: and edited by Women of China


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