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Helen Ye, MS, LAc, Helen Weng, PhD, & Sudha Prathikanti, MD, will be presenting “Panel Discussion on Cultural Appropriation in Integrative Medicine & Health,” moderated by Maria Chao, DrPH, MPA.

At the end of the activity, learners will be able to:

  • Identify ways cultural appropriation of acupuncture and East Asian medicine occurs in the community, practice, and research; and can negatively impact its credibility and expansion.
  • Identify ways cultural appropriation within mindfulness research and practice can negatively impact researchers and clinicians belonging to both dominant and oppressed groups.
  • Recognize obvious and not-so-obvious appropriations of yoga by scholars, researchers, and clinicians that can reflect damaging legacies of imperialism, rather than the appreciation of yoga in its wholistic, cultural context.

Maria Chao, DrPH, MPA, is an associate professor at the University of California San Francisco’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine and the Division of General Internal Medicine at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. Dr. Chao’s overarching goal is to investigate how complementary and integrative health approaches can advance health equity and improve quality of life among underserved populations living with chronic conditions. Her research bridging public health and integrative medicine is nationally recognized. Her work has received funding support through the NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, numerous foundations, and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. She currently serves on the steering committees for the Integrative Pain Management Program of the San Francisco Health Network and the Bravenet Practice-Based Research Network in Integrative Medicine. She is on the advisory board and co-chair of the Research Committee of Integrative Medicine for the Underserved, a national multi-disciplinary organization committed to affordable, accessible integrative health care for all.

Helen Ye, MS, LAc, a licensed acupuncturist, has been involved in integrative medicine since 1999 and has been a practicing clinician since 2003. Her background includes specialized work in stress management and women’s health, as well as treating individuals who have complex health histories, including immune dysfunction, digestive disorder, pain, and those in hospice care.

Prior to joining the Osher Center, she founded and directed the Rising Phoenix Integrative Medicine Center, a collaborative interdisciplinary center in San Francisco. She has also previously practiced at California Pacific Medical Center’s Health and Healing Clinic. She grew this practice and pioneered the first group acupuncture program to be offered in any major medical center, as well as pioneering integrative medicine team appointments with a physician, psychotherapist, a Chinese medicine practitioner, and movement therapist-bodyworker.

Ms. Ye has given many public presentations, including the national conference for the American Public Health Association and UCSF, and has been a contributing writer to San Francisco Medicine Magazine and other publications.

Helen Weng, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and neuroscientist who originally joined the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine in 2014 as a postdoctoral scholar in the Training in Research in Integrative Medicine (TRIM) fellowship. Dr. Weng was a UCSF Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences from 2016-2020 and is currently an affiliated Research Associate. She is collaborating on the KIND study (Studying Loving Kindness with Intersectional Neuroscience and Diverse meditators) with Dr. Ariana Thompson-Lastad and Dr. Shelley Adler, investigating the lived experiences of diverse meditators practicing lovingkindness meditation through the East Bay Meditation Center (Oakland, CA), particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Dr. Weng’s previous work as an Assistant Professor at the Osher Center and an affiliated faculty member of the Neuroscape Center, she developed new ways to quantify meditation skills using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and machine learning to identify mental states of body awareness during meditation. She also partnered with the East Bay Meditation Center using community engagement to increase diversity of meditators within neuroscience studies, including racial and ethnic minorities, the LGBTQ population, and people with disabilities. This innovative work led to an invitation to present her work to His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Buddhism and Science conference in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (video below). She has been a Mind and Life Institute Fellow since 2012 and was named one of the 2019 10 Powerful Women in the Mindfulness Movement by her peers at She values integrating multicultural and social justice frameworks into her work and communication.

Dr. Weng’s early research, conducted at the Center for Healthy Minds and Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, demonstrated that compassion meditation increased both altruistic behavior towards others and the brain’s response to human suffering. This work was some of the first to suggest that compassion is a skill that may be enhanced through training, which results in both behavioral and neuroplasticity changes. Her research has been featured in such media outlets as the New York Times, the BBC, National Public Radio, and Fast Company.

Sudha Prathikanti, MD, is Board-certified in Adult Psychiatry, a diplomate of the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine. At the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, she founded both the Integrative Psychiatry service and the Ayurveda consultation service, and currently directs the Integrative Psychiatry Teaching Clinic at this site. Her research on treating depression with yoga has been featured in local and national media. She is also interested in studying other holistic mental health interventions that are accessible to vulnerable populations from a variety of cultural backgrounds.

In her clinical practice, she uses a variety of techniques to help patients find emotional balance, including Ayurveda, yoga, meditation, herbs and Jungian dreamwork. She considers many factors that may impact healing and wellness, including psychosocial, cultural and spiritual influences.

Dr. Prathikanti is also the medical director for Primary Care Adult Psychiatry at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital (ZSFG), where she consults to primary care physicians on the diagnosis and treatment of outpatient mental health problems, and where she supervises fellows in the Public Health Psychiatry Program. Dr. Prathikanti collaborates closely with ZSFG clinicians to develop, research and implement holistic psychiatry interventions that are accessible to the culturally-diverse and vulnerable populations served by the city’s community health system.

Registration link:

This event is eligible for CME/CEU credit. To receive credit, complete the event evaluation at: 

Accreditation Statement:

The University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine (UCSF) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing education for physicians and allied health professionals.

UCSF designates this live activity for a maximum of 12 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. This credit maximum reflects all Osher Integrative Medicine Grand Rounds to be offered in Fiscal Year 2021. UCSF designates each live activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Learners should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Acupuncturists: This live activity is approved by the State of California Acupuncture Board for 1 hour of Category 1 CE course credit (provider number 1377).

CME Disclosure Statement:

Planners: Shelley Adler, PhD; Selena Chan, DO; Anand Dhruva, MD; and Sarah Patterson, MD, have no relationships to disclose.

Speakers: Helen Ye, MS, LAc, Helen Weng, PhD, & Sudha Prathikanti, MD, have no relationships to disclose.

Event Details