App State Fulbright Award winner Dr Eric Karchmer studies adaptation of traditional Chinese medicine to treat emerging diseases


BOONE, NC – Adapting traditional Chinese medicine to treat emerging illnesses, primarily in children, is at the heart of Dr. Eric Karchmer’s Fulbright research in Taiwan. Karchmer, assistant professor of anthropology in the anthropology department at Appalachian State University, received a 2020-21 Fulbright through the US Fulbright Scholarship Program.

“I think this project will be of great importance in helping popularize some of the fascinating innovations that are happening in the world of Chinese medicine.”

App State’s Dr. Eric Karchmer, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, on his Fulbright 2020-21 project to explore the role of traditional Chinese medicine in the management of pediatric diseases.

The dual purpose of his Fulbright project, according to Karchmer:

  • Understand how Taiwanese families deal with their children’s illnesses, especially new and emerging ones.
  • Learn more about the innovative strategies traditional Chinese medicine physicians are developing to treat young patients.

While in Taiwan, Karchmer will observe Chinese medicine physicians, especially pediatricians in their clinical practice, and follow volunteer families to explore how traditional healing strategies are adapted to new medical concerns resulting from the challenges of raising families. in a society undergoing modernization.

“For much of the early part of the 20th century, traditional Chinese medical practices were denigrated as an obstacle to modernization, causing this healing practice to steadily decline. But interest in Chinese medicine has increased in recent years, in East Asia and around the world, ”Karchmer explained.

Through his previous research, Karchmer said he discovered that parents and doctors of Chinese medicine are “concerned about the dangers of new foods, new products and rapid social changes that were unimaginable just a few decades ago.”

According to Karchmer, studies in Taiwan have shown a growing interest in using traditional Chinese medicine to help treat the following conditions:

  • Children’s allergies.
  • Tourette syndrome.
  • Stomach disorders.
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Menstrual irregularities in young women.

He said there has also been a boom in demand for acupuncture to treat children with mental and neurological conditions, such as cerebral palsy and autism spectrum disorders.

“I believe this project will be of great importance in helping popularize some of the fascinating innovations that are occurring in the world of Chinese medicine. … Chinese medicine doctors and parents draw inspiration from both the past and the present, deploying ancient healing strategies to deal with new dangers and finding innovative ways to negotiate an uncertain future, ”said Karchmer.

Dr Eric Karchmer, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Appalachian State University, is the 2020-2021 Fulbright Scholar recipient under the US Fulbright Scholar Program. He is on a 10-month Fulbright mission to Taiwan, where he studies the role of traditional Chinese medicine in managing children’s health in contemporary Taiwanese society. Submitted photo

The Fulbright program, created in 1946 under legislation introduced by former United States Senator J. William Fulbright, is sponsored by the United States Department of State Office of Educational and Cultural Affairs (CEA).

The program offers participants – chosen for their academic merit as well as for their leadership potential – the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to common international concerns. . To date, over 400,000 Fulbrighters have participated in the program since its inception.

In addition to his role at App State, Karchmer is a licensed acupuncturist and practitioner of Chinese medicine, treating patients in North Carolina for over two decades.

Among his areas of research interest are scientific studies, medical anthropology, Chinese medicine and studies of China, colonial and postcolonial societies, and ethnobotany – the study of how people use plants. indigenous to their region. He taught Specialized college course in medical anthropology and supervised the theses of three Honors College students.

Karchmer holds a doctorate. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as a BA from Princeton University and a second BA in medicine from Beijing University of Chinese Medicine.

Dr Yen Hung-Rong, a leading pediatrician at the China Medical University in Taichung, Taiwan, hosts and oversees Karchmer’s Fulbright Project.

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State Fulbright Scholar Program App

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and was created to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

At App State, the program is administered through the Office of International Education and Development (OIED) and Research office.

About the Department of Anthropology

The Department of Anthropology offers a comparative and holistic approach to the study of human experience. The anthropological perspective provides a broad understanding of the origins as well as the meaning of physical and cultural diversity in the world – past, present and future. Learn more about

About the Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Appalachian State University’s College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) is home to 17 academic departments, two centers, and a residential college. These units cover the humanities and the social, mathematical and natural sciences. CAS aims to develop a distinctive identity based on the strengths, traditions and unique location of our university. The college’s values ​​are based not only on service to the university and the local community, but also on the inspiration, training, education and support for the development of its students as citizens of the world. More than 6,400 adult students are enrolled in the college. Since the college is also largely responsible for implementing App State’s general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing courses. major in other colleges. Learn more about

About Appalachian State University

As the first public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead meaningful lives as global citizens who understand and are committed to their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system. Appalachian is home to over 20,000 students, has a low student-faculty ratio, and offers over 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.

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