Humber College School of Health Sciences is launching the first publicly funded traditional Chinese medicine practitioner (TCMP) program in Ontario.
The province’s move to regulate the TCMP industry in 2006 opened an opportunity for Humber to provide a program giving students the skillset needed to pass the certification assessment from the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and Acupuncturist of Ontario (CTCMPAO).
The CTCMPAO is the provincial governing body created to set and maintain a quality standard of healthcare in the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) field.
The overseeing body is responsible for registering and qualifying TCMPs, who must pass the certification assessment before legally calling themselves TCM practitioners.
The CTCMPAO reports that of its 3,054 registered members, more than 70 per cent are 40 years of age or over.
The generation gap in practitioners offers an opportunity for younger graduates of the TCMP program as the older generation phases out into retirement.
Employment options in the field could include TCM clinics, long- term care facilities, retirement homes, and rehabilitation clinics and acute care hospitals.
“I am delighted that Humber College has recognized the importance of TCM as an element of Ontario’s health care system, and look forward to meeting the alumni who will soon provide safe, effective and ethical care,” said Allen Mak, CEO and interim registrar at CTCMPAO.
The advanced diploma program teaches students about herbology, moxibustion — burning the herb mugwort near the skin to facilitate healing — and acupuncture. The program consists of six semesters with six mandatory clinical placements, one clinical observation and one clinical practicum.
The TCMP program appeals to a wide range of people, said Dr. Michael O’Leary, associate dean at Humber College School of Health Sciences..
“Everyone from massage therapists who are interested in diversifying their skillset to students straight out of high school who want to select traditional Chinese medicine as their next step in education,” he said.
O’Leary said traditional Chinese medicine benefits individuals who are looking for an alternative approach for treatment.
“The diversity of treatment options when we seek our healthcare will be the future,” O’Leary said.
Cai Rui, a first year Humber media studies student, supports the use of Chinese medical practices.
Rui said people react differently to prescription drug medication and traditional Chinese medicine provides an alternative.
She said her friend’s grandfather was suffering from Facioplegia, a condition that paralyzes facial muscles, and acupuncture treatments cured him.