Symposium Speakers and Talks

Tai Chi as Medicine
Current Research on How Tai Chi Improves Health

Linsly-Chittenden Hall Room 101
63 High Street | New Haven, CT 06511
Saturday, April 27, 2019
2:00-4:00 pm


Keynote speaker: Chenchen Wang, MD, MSc

Tai Chi for Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain and Well-being

Dr. Chenchen Wang is a professor at Tufts University School of Medicine and Director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. She is one of the world's most cited authorities in tai chi mind-body intervention and chronic pain research.

As principal investigator, Dr. Wang has been awarded numerous NIH grants to research the health benefits of tai chi. Earning an NIH Midcareer Investigator Award, she currently mentors over 50 individual and team scientists in the United States and across the world in Integrative Medicine disciplines. Many landmark peer-reviewed publications have originated from these pioneering projects. The trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine (2010, 363: 743-754) was selected by Evidence-Based Medicine Reviews as an article “most likely to change clinical practice and to confer immediate impact on healthcare.” More recent trials published in BMJ (2018; 360: k851); JAMA (2018;319:2069); Ann Intern Med (2016;165:77-86); Ann Intern Med (2018 doi:10.7326) further confirm that the tai chi mind-body approach may be considered as a therapeutic option in the multidisciplinary management of chronic pain.

Over the years, her team accomplishments have garnered praise and academic prizes worldwide for outstanding merit and best in research awards in the field of Integrative Medicine. Dr. Wang holds many advisory roles including serving as a featured expert for the New England Journal of Medicine Group Open Forum and the American College of Rheumatology Guideline Committee. She is the Vice Chairperson of the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Society and holds membership in the Tufts Steering and Scientific Affairs Committees and the National Advisory Council for Complementary and Integrative Health at the NIH.

Amer Abdullah, MD, CMI

Refugees: Mental and Physical Health through Tai Chi

Dr. Amer Abdullah is a general practitioner, a surgeon from Syria, and an independent clinical researcher and investigator. One of Dr. Abdullah’s main goals is to offer healthcare providers and refugees a better understanding of the healthcare system and patient needs. Utilizing his medical, cultural, behavioral, and linguistic background, he helps patients and providers overcome obstacles, achieve effective outcomes, and see better health without unnecessary frustration. He is the first Arab physician to have validated an Arabic survey in occupational medicine that resulted in a unique and pioneer research study within the diplomatic sector involving employees of different embassies in Iran and in the world. 

Dr. Abdullah has been repeatedly recognized for his exemplary contributions in research in the United States, Iran, and Syria. Dr. Abdullah serves as an independent consultant in refugee health and affairs including management, advising, advocating, and programming. Dr. Abdullah is recognized in the community as a thoughtful leader, a role model, and a faithful representative.

Dr. Abdullah’s training includes his medical doctoral degree from Tehran University of Medical Sciences and Health Services, General Surgery Residency at Al-Assad University Hospital in Damascus, Syria and a clinical research fellowship from Danbury Hospital in Connecticut. Dr. Abdullah speaks and teaches several languages including Arabic with 4 main dialects, Persian (Farsi, Dari, Tajiki), Arabic and American Sign Languages.

Partnering with Dr. Aniyizhai Annamalai (Director, Yale Adult Refugee Clinic) and Dr. Bruce Wexler (Professor Psychiatry at Yale University), Dr. Abdullah co-designed, supervised, coordinated and completed a successful tai chi clinical study for Syrian refugees who suffer from physical and mental health issues and used tai chi classes as a therapeutic intervention. 



Edward Rippel, MD

Physicians’ Wellness and Tai Chi

Dr. Edward Rippel is a Board Certified Internist in Hamden, Connecticut, and a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. Dr. Rippel is Connecticut’s first solo practitioner recognized as a Patient Centered Medical Home (level 3) by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) – a distinction that has been said to be unattainable in a solo practice.

Considered by many in the medical community as a thought leader, Dr. Rippel serves on management and advisory bodies in healthcare innovation and technology. He has been featured in local publications, and has served as an adviser to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. He has received numerous leadership and innovation awards, such as Physician of the Year by Business New Haven Magazine (2011), the Primary Care Leadership Award from the Connecticut Center for Primary Care (2011), repeated recognition in the NCQA’s Diabetes and Heart/Stroke Recognition Programs, and the third place winner of the nationwide Healthcare Informatics/AMDIS IT Innovation Advocate Award (2013) – this was the first time a solo physician received this distinction.

Dr. Rippel’s training includes his doctoral degree from New York Medical College, internship in Internal Medicine at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, and residency at Morristown Memorial Hospital (an affiliate of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons). From 1990-1993 Dr. Rippel worked for the National Health Service Corps, serving the Federal Bureau of Prisons and Boriken Health Center, in Spanish Harlem. In 1999, he opened his practice, Quinnipiac Internal Medicine, P.C., which participates with all commercial insurance plans and Medicare. Dr. Rippel speaks several languages including Spanish and Italian. 

After gaining first-hand experience of the value of mindfulness training through practice of tai chi, Dr. Rippel now provides tai chi / qigong mindfulness training for his entire practice team and has incorporated tai chi and other mindfulness methods as adjunctive therapeutic interventions for his patients.

Linda Honan, PhD, MSN, CNS-BC, RN

Panel Discussion Moderator

Linda Honan is a professor who has taught in the Graduate Entry Prespecialty in Nursing Program at the Yale School of Nursing since 1989. She is responsible for Medical Surgical Nursing didactic, Applied Anatomy, and is Associate Director for Interprofessional Longitudinal Clinical Experience (ILCE) for Yale School of Nursing, Yale School of Medicine and the Yale Physician Associate Program.

She obtained her nursing diploma from the Meriden-Wallingford Hospital School of Nursing, a BSN from Southern Connecticut State University, her MSN from Yale School of Nursing, and her PhD from the University of Connecticut.

 A scholar and clinical educator dedicated to understanding and developing effective and innovative techniques for clinical education, Professor Honan has been recognized with numerous awards for her creativity in the development of novel and effective teaching strategies for adult learners. Her research reveals that diagnostic observations can be significantly improved by training in the visual examination of works of art, that the narratives of student experiences can give insight into the process of learning nursing, and aural training with music improves auscultative abilities. She spearheaded the development of the Creative Writing Award and created the books “Do you see what I see?”, which are compilations of student journalings. She edited the first medical surgical textbook for accelerated nursing programs. Additionally, she developed a state-wide public education program “Have Bones, Will Travel”, which introduces elementary school children and young adults to human anatomy with an emphasis on health and safety.


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Special thanks to Dr. Xiaohui Gao

This symposium is generously sponsored by