The Catherine Kerr Vital Energy in Health and Healing Lecture and Workshop Series

          The Catherine Kerr Vital Energy in Health and Healing Series Mission

This speaker series was originally conceptualized by the late Catherine Kerr, PhD to catalyze a new field of integrated discovery around the role of vital energy ("Qi/chi") in health and healing. Building off of recent advances in the sciences, as well as the longstanding scholarship in the humanities examining how contemplative practices (eg meditation and qigong) may promote health, this speaker series will bring together humanistic, scientific, clinical, and practitioner perspectives. In honoring Cathy’s work and vision, this speaker series will provide an important forum to continue and deepen a critical interdisciplinary approach to studying the role of vital energy in health. We will accomplish this through the exploration of current and future scholarship and research pathways and collaborations.

The Kerr Vital Energy Research Collaborative Members:

Larson DiFiori, Stephanie Jones, Christopher Moore, Harold Roth, Simona Temereanca
Ibanescu, Chloe Zimmerman, Dylan Daniels, Anne Heyrman-Hart

July 7, 2022 - Heiner Fruehauf, Ph.D., LAc
Virtual Lecture and Discussion:  The Transformation of Chinese Medicine in the Age of Scientific Materialism: Overview of a Journey
7 - 8:30 pm, EDT
To Register and receive the Zoom Link, please go to:


For at least two millennia, the theory and practice of Chinese medicine represented the tangible application of a cosmology laid out in the Daodejing, the Huainanzi and other Daoist classics: consciousness governs energy, and energy rules matter. Since encountering the dominant forces of the materialist worldview in the 19th century, attempts to preserve the legacy of Chinese medicine as a unique expression of Chinese cultural identity have been contrasted by materialist reinterpretations of the classical record. This presentation will provide an overview of the development of traditional Chinese medicine before this historical backdrop during the last 200 years.

Heiner Fruehauf (Ph.D., University of Chicago, East Asian Languages and Civilizations) is the Founding
Professor of the College of Classical Chinese Medicine at National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon. He researches the cultural history of Chinese medicine, teaches herbal medicine and Qigong, and practices as a licensed acupuncturist.

May 14, 2022 – Sifu Donald Wong
Workshop:  A Taste of Qigong
10 am - 1 pm pm, EDT
Brown/RISD Hillel, Winnick Chapel
RSVP to [email protected]

Recorded Lectures and Workshops

Professor Heiner Fruehauf, Ph.D., LAc
Inaugural Lecture:  A Brief History of Qi:  From Ancient Cosmology to Modern Medical Practice
November 6, 2020

Professor David Palmer (University of Hong Kong)
Lecture:  Out of Ontological Bounds:  Researching Qi During China's Qigong Craze
With Response by Professor Nancy Chen (University of Califoria, Santa Cruz) 
January 14, 2021

Roundtable Discussion 1
Professors Heiner Fruehauf, Nancy Chen and David Palmer
March 18, 2021

Roundtable Discussion 2
Masters Yang Yang, Kenmeth Cohen and Harrison Moretz
June 28, 2021

Dr. Albert Yeung, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School
Lecture:  Qigong and Tai Chi for the Treatment of Depression
October 26, 2021

Dr. Shamini Jain, Founder and CEO of the Consciousness and Healing Initiative (CHI)
Lecture:  Biofield Therapies:  Surveying the Clinical Landscape
December 9, 2021

Dr. Julienne Bower, Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry/Biobehavioral Sciences at the University of California Los Angeles
Lecture:  Mind-body Interventions:  Effects on Mental and Physical Health
January 27, 2022

Dr. Byeongsang Oh, Associate Professor at the Universtiy of Sydney 
Lecture:  Tai Chi and Qigong in Medicine:  Opportunities and Challenges
February 24, 2022