Community Health and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Shadow Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners and work with health professionals in urban and rural communities.

At a Glance




Relevant previous coursework

Language of Study


Courses taught in



Jun 15 ‎– Jul 27

Program Countries


Program Base


Critical Global Issue of Study

Global Health & Well-being

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Why study health in China?

Please note that SIT will make every effort to maintain its programs as described. To respond to emergent situations, like COVID-19, however, SIT may have to change or cancel programs.

Beautiful Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province, is known for its good air quality, spacious parks, and ethnically diverse population. From this base, you’ll learn Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) philosophies and techniques by shadowing medical professionals at Yunnan Provincial Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital. In lectures, you’ll learn the history of TCM and its philosophical foundation in Daoism; the concepts of yin and yang, the organs, and the meridians; and the pharmacopoeia of TCM herbal medicine. You’ll visit parks and gardens with a botanist to learn about healing plants and herbs, explore a TCM pharmacy, and see a demonstration of medicine making. On excursions to Weibaoshan Mountain, Dali ancient cities and Shaxi ancient town, Lijiang World Heritage site, and Zhongdian Tibetan area, you’ll explore the unique qualities of indigenous ethnic minority healing systems. At the end of the summer, you’ll have a TCM certificate from Yunnan Provincial Chinese Medicine Hospital and a good foundation in Chinese language.


  • Obtain a certificate from Yunnan Provincial Chinese Medicine Hospital.
  • Earn two Chinese language credits, learning from ACTFL-certified instructors.
  • Observe indigenous and minority healing systems on multiple field excursions.
  • Learn 24-form Taiji through daily Taiji exercises.
  • Learn TCM theory and techniques, as well as artistic healing methods.


Previous college-level coursework or background in the health sciences or a related field, as assessed by SIT.


Northwest Yunnan: Indigenous health practices

You will go on an extended excursion to Weibaoshan Daoist mountain, the ancient city of Dali, the town Shaxi on the ancient tea and horse caravan route, the Lijiang World Heritage site, and Zhongdian (Shangri-La) Tibetan area. You will visit clinics, explore Bai herbal medicine, Tibetan traditional medicine, and Naxi Dongba shamanic traditions. As you experience the vast differences between urban and rural life, you will also gain insight into change and continuity in indigenous health practices among diverse cultural communities in Yunnan Province.

Day Trips around Kunming

Get a deeper understanding of Chinese health practices during multiple day trips around Kunming. Destinations vary from one summer to the next, but common ones include a Buddhist/Daoist temple for an introduction to Daoist philosophy and its relationship with TCM, a traditional medical clinic for a demonstration of TCM diagnoses, a TCM garden for an herbal plant identification session, a restaurant for an explanation of traditional medicinal food, Kunming’s flower and bird market, a cultural institute for a demonstration of traditional Chinese musical therapy, and a foot massage clinic.

Please note that SIT will make every effort to maintain its programs as described. To respond to emergent situations, however, SIT may have to change or cancel programs.



The thematic course introduces students to community health issues in Yunnan with major emphasis on the role of Traditional Chinese Medicine in China today. This includes the philosophy behind the practice and an unparalleled opportunity to observe the various techniques associated with Traditional Chinese Medicine. These include herbal remedies, medicinal preparation, Chinese tuina massage, acupuncture, cupping, and moxibustion. Chinese language study provides a window into Chinese culture and the program’s theme.

The following syllabi are representative of this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term.

Please expand the sections below to see detailed course information, including course codes, credits, overviews, and syllabi.

Key Topics

  • Community health issues such as HIV/AIDS and healthcare reform
  • Indigenous ethnic minority healing systems
  • Traditional Chinese healing practices
  • The pharmacopoeia of TCM herbal medicine
  • Techniques of massage, acupuncture, moxibustion, and cupping
  • Daoist philosophy and TCM theory/diagnosis

Community Health and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Community Health and Traditional Chinese Medicine – syllabus
(IPBH3000 / 6 credits)

This course offers students a classroom-based introduction to the program theme as well as structured activities alongside professionals in Traditional Chinese Medicine, both in community and clinical settings. Students examine critical issues such as HIV/AIDS, China’s reproductive policy, women’s and children’s healthcare, and the reform of China’s healthcare system. They also learn traditional Chinese healing practices, including Taiji, Qigong therapy, Five Animal Movements, medicinal food therapy, tea therapy, foot massage therapy, hot spring therapy, and music therapy.


Beginning Chinese – syllabus
(CHIN1002-1502 / 2 credits)

Intermediate Chinese – syllabus
(CHIN2002-2502 / 2 credits)

Advanced Chinese – syllabus
(CHIN3002-3502 / 2 credits)

Emphasis on speaking and comprehension skills, as well as reading and writing skills, through classroom and field instruction. Based on in-country evaluation, including oral proficiency testing, you are placed in beginning, intermediate, or advanced classes. Language instructors have completed ACTFL OPI training and are certified in teaching Chinese as a foreign language. A variety of interactive communication-based language teaching techniques form the core of this course.



The program is based in Kunming, Yunnan Province’s largest city and political, economic, and cultural center. Kunming is called “the City of Eternal Spring” and is famous in China for its nice climate, green environment, and good air quality.

While in Kunming, you will stay in a comfortable hotel just a few minutes’ walk from the Yunnan Provincial Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital, where most of your classes will take place. You will stay in two-person rooms with attached bathrooms.

Other Accommodations

During excursions, you will stay in hotels and guesthouses in Dali, Lijiang, and Zhongdian (Shangri-la).

Faculty & Staff

China: Community Health and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Lu Yuan, PhD
Academic Director
Wen Zengzhe
Program Coordinator
Zhao Jie (Charles)
Language Instructor and Program Assistant
Zhou Yan
Student Affairs Coordinator
Xiao Huaguo
Language Instructor and Field Trip Coordinator
Luo Xiaolei
Language Program Coordinator
Huang Suying
Language Instructor
Zhang Xian, MA
Language Instructor
Wang Juan
Language Instructor

Discover the Possibilities

  • Cost & Scholarships

    SIT Study Abroad is committed to making international education accessible to all students. Scholarship awards generally range from $500 to $5,000 for semester programs and $500 to $3,000 for summer programs. This year, SIT will award more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants to SIT Study Abroad students.

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