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Media Contact: Kathi Baker 21 October 2004    
  (404) 727-0464   Print  | Email ]

Tibetan Physician Joins Emory Psychiatrists in Symposium Mind-Body Interaction
The Emory-Tibet Partnership and the Quality of Life Program at Emory University's Winship Cancer Institute have joined together to offer the community a unique opportunity to examine mind-body connections from both Western scientific and Tibetan Buddhist perspectives.

During a symposium scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 13, 2004, Charles L. Raison, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine, and Director of the Behavioral Immunology Clinic, will present the Western perception of how the mind and body interact to develop the symptoms of depression. Dr. Pema Dorjee, the most senior and renowned Tibetan physician practicing today, will follow with a lecture on Tibetan Buddhist understandings of depression.

The symposium will include a case presentation with a patient who developed depression in the context of a serious medical illness. The patient will be examined by both Dr. Dorjee and Emory psychiatrist, Dr. Philip Ninan, Director of the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine. A panel made up of Emory physicians and Dr. Dorjee will discuss differences and similarities in their approaches to diagnosis and treatment. Symposium participants will then have an opportunity to ask questions.

Geshe Lobsang Negi, PhD and Dr. Raison are co-organizers of the event. Professor Negi is a lecturer in the Department of Religion at Emory University, Chair of the Emory-Tibet Partnership and Director of Drepung Loseling Institute. He teaches and lectures internationally on Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, culture, and the connections between Western and Tibetan psychology.

Dr. Raison's research involves the relationship between medical illness and depression. Dr. Raison has a long interest in examining mechanisms by which meditation may improve health via effects on the body's stress and immune systems.

"Through numerous scientific studies going on here at Emory and other institutions looking at the biological basis of mental illness, the Western medical community has finally begun to understand that there is an interaction between mind and body that must be considered during patient care," said Dr. Raison.

"His Holiness the Dalai Lama has always believed that Tibetan knowledge of the inner science of mind and Western medical science have great potential to complement each other," said Professor Negi. "It is wonderful that Emory is taking the lead in exploring the strengths of these two traditions."

About the Emory-Tibet Partnership

Through a broad array of programs, the Emory-Tibet Partnership creates courses and activities for Emory students and scholars to explore the Tibetan tradition; develops programs for Tibetan students and scholars to explore the Western tradition; and originates opportunities for scholars to explore the complementary aspects of the two traditions.

About the Quality of Life Program

The Quality of Life Program at Winship Cancer Institute combines faculty and resources from the Departments of Medicine, Anesthesiology, Hematology/Oncology, and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences to address both the physical and emotional needs of patients and their families who are facing cancer and its treatment.

Additional sponsors include Emory College, The Walter Candler Endowment for the Humanities, The Hightower Fund, The Institute for Comparative and International Studies, Center for International Programs Abroad, Department of Religion, The Mind/Body Center, and the Drepung Loseling Institute.

The November symposium is free and open to the public. Registration is required. For information and registration, call 404/727-2108, or go to the website at

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