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The Kam Wah Chung & Co. Museum is an Oregon State Heritage Site in John Day, Oregon which houses a rare collection of records produced by a Chinese herbal practice during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Herbal prescriptions and formulas, raw herb materials, patent medicines, and medical books of the period are all present in the Kam Wah Chung archives and included in the Kam Wah Chung Digital Archive created by OCOM in partnership with the Museum.

The medical legacy left behind by Ing “Doc” Hay and Lung On spans 60 years the business functioned as a social and medical center serving their eastern Oregon community. As members of the Chinese diaspora engaged in herbal prescribing, sales and trade, the primary source materials they left behind encompass a comprehensive set of documents that reflect the training and practice of a Chinese physician as well as the life of an immigrant in an early 20th century Western mining town.

OCOM will be hosting two events on the Kam Wah Chung legacy with Eric Brand, PhD. The first event will be Sunday, March 3, 2024 at the OCOM campus in the Old Town/Chinatown neighborhood in downtown Portland, Oregon. Dr. Brand will offer a free public talk on the legacy of the herbal pharmacy at Kam Wah Chung and its vital place in the documentation of the practice of Chinese medicine. A Pracitioner Workshop will follow and is open to students and practitioners of Chinese medicine.

Later in March, Eric will lead a full day experience at the Kam Wah Chung & Co. Museum in John Day, Oregon. Along with the museum staff, participants will be able to have a private group tour of the facility, followed by an afternoon of viewing parts of the collection relevant to Chinese medicine that are from the archive that are not on public display. Participants will work with museum staff and Eric in a rare opportunity to encounter and perhaps contribute Chinese medical context to parts of the collection.

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Eric Brand is a Chinese medicine practitioner with a passion for materia medica and herbal quality discernment. After graduating from the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in 2003, Eric spent over a decade pursuing academic and clinical opportunities in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and mainland China. He earned his PhD at the School of Chinese Medicine at Hong Kong Baptist University with a focus on Chinese herbal pharmacy, and he serves as a TCM advisor to the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia. Eric has written or translated a variety of modern and classical texts and peer-reviewed articles, and serves as an Assistant Professor at Taipei Medical University. 

In recent years Eric traveled with his PhD advisor, Prof. Zhao Zhongzhen, with a team of experts from Asia to visit the museum. Later on, Professor Zhao inspired the Discovery Channel and a Chinese TV producer to tell the tale of KWC to the world. Dr. Brand also had the opportunity to investigate several historical collections of Chinese herbs in the UK and Holland and research specimens of several herbs species that are often confused in commerce that were collected in China, Japan, and Malaysia in the 1800s and early 1900s.

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