Standing Together

Dear Five Branches University Colleagues 

In these uncertain times, our nation is faced with multiple crisis all at once. In the wake of George Floyds murder by Minneapolis police, there has been a worldwide outpouring of remorse and rage at the perpetuation of anti-Black violence and discrimination from all corners of American society and institutions. Coupled with the challenge of the global pandemic, which has disproportionately impacted the Black community in the United States, we are shocked. Five Branches University fully supports the Black Lives Matter movement. We demand changes for equal rights and justice. We need fundamental change in culture to manifest this.

Beyond the Black Lives Matter movement, other civil rights movements are observed now. May was Asian American Pacific Heritage month in honor of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in May 1869. This is of special interest given that our practice is a Chinese tradition and that the Chinese origins of COVID has triggered xenophobic reactions in our country, which may have fallout in our practice. Now, June is LGBTQ Pride month commemorating the Stonewall riots of June 1969. Five Branches University supports all these wholeheartedly, now more so than ever.

Five Branches University has always been an advocate for diversity. Chinese medicine is an immigrant discipline and has always been open to any applicants regardless of race, creed, color, religion, or gender. A founding teacher, Sun Si Miao, wrote: A Great Physician should not pay attention to status, wealth or age; neither should they question whether the particular person is attractive or unattractive, whether they are an enemy or friend, whether they are Chinese or a foreigner, or whether they are uneducated or educated. A physician should meet everyone on equal grounds. A physician should always act as if they were thinking of their close relatives.”

We take pride in the fact that our faculty, student body and staff are diverse, with a high proportion of Asians and female students. However, the Black community is underrepresented across Chinese medicine in general and this reflects within our University. This is not a case of exclusion on the part of our university. The truth is that very few Black candidates apply. With fewer students, there are fewer practitioners and fewer individuals qualified to serve as instructors. When the pandemic subsides, Five Branches University is looking at launching a team to analyze why TCM is not attracting Black applicants. We are confident that increasing the inclusion of the Black community as well as other minorities within TCM will bring fresh insights to our field and further propagate the acceptance of TCM in America.

As healers, the Five Branches community has always sought the compassionate approach. Our overarching mission is to heal. This healing starts with us. We must heal ourselves, then our community, and inevitably the world. We truly hope that the world overcomes the present crisis and comes out stronger and equally inclusive.

The effects of trauma and stress impede learning and we realize what a strain this is on all our students, staff, and faculty. Five Branches University is doing everything possible to maintain the quality of instruction as always under the Shelter in Place.  Many of you may also be at the forefront of the protests supporting these important and history-making movements. Please take care of yourselves. Be strong and safe. We remember that to heal others and the world, we first heal ourselves. We must each tap our own inner heart qi, and share that with the world.

Be well.

Five Branches University