Dr. Ralph Coan: a hero in establishing acupuncture as a profession in the United States

by Arthur Yin Fan
(Vienna, Virginia, USA)

McLean Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, PLC. Vienna, VA 22182, USA. Correspondence:Tel: +1-703-499-4428; Fax: +1-703-547-8197; E-mail: ArthurFan@ChineseMedicineDoctor.US

Journal of Integrative Medicine: Volume 11, 2013 Issue 1


Dr. Ralph Coan is not well known to the general public. Originally, we had wanted to interview him as he was the medical director of the first acupuncture center in the United States that opened in the early 1970s. We wanted to know more about that center’s history. Prior to visiting Dr. Coan, we found that Dr. Coan was the founder of the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, which is the national association of acupuncturists and Chinese medicine practitioners in the United States. While interviewing Dr. Coan on February 18, 2012, it became apparent that he truly is a leading light in establishing acupuncture as a profession in the United States.Dr. Coan is 75 years old and retired several years ago from his busy medical practice in Kensington, Maryland, USA. As he had recently partially recovered from a stroke while also suffering from heart disease, he could not talk much. To collect further information about him, we also consulted his former colleagues and relatives, and researched articles written about him.

Dr.Coan was suspicious to acupuncture, but became a strong believer in 1972, was the second medical director of US first acupuncture clinic.

He was the pioneer of acupuncture research in United States, did first set of acupuncture clinical trial for low back pain and neck pain in late 1970s, which was filed in the Congress Hearing on Acupuncture in 1979.

He was the one of key persons in Maryland acupuncture legislation in 1970s-1980s,he was the founder of Maryland Acupuncture School(later, Maryland Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine), was the president of Acupuncture Association of Washington Metropolitan over 10 years.

He was the founder of American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM), served as president then vice president over ten years, helped 13 states to pass the acupuncture legislation in person.

The whole article is in Journal of Integrative medicine, website: http://www.jcimjournal.com/jim/FullText2.aspx?articleID=jintegrmed2013007

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