Dr. Kunchok Gyaltsen


Dr. Kunchok Gyaltsen, D.T.M., M.I.I.M., M.P.H., Ph.D. is a leading Tibetan healthcare specialist and the first Buddhist monk to complete a doctorate in public health. He is currently a Visiting Professor at the University of Virginia as well as professor at the Shang-Shung School of Medicine.

Dr. Gyaltsen completed his Doctor of Philosophy in Public Health at UCLA School of Public Health, California. He also holds masters degrees in Primary Health Care Management from ASEAN Institute for Health Development at Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand, and in International and Intercultural Management from the School for International Training in Vermont.

From a young age Dr. Gyaltsen studied and practiced both Buddhism and Tibetan Medicine under the guidance of knowledgeable teachers and skilled doctors. Dr. Gyaltsen was ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist monk in 1981 at Kumbum Monastery in Amdo, Tibet (Qinghai Province, P.R. China). Kumbum Monastery recognized him as a Tibetan Medical Doctor in 1984. In 1991, Tibetan Medical College in Lhasa certified Dr. Gyaltsen in Traditional Tibetan Medicine and Sanskrit Studies. He was officially licensed as a Tibetan Medical Doctor by the Health Bureau of Qinghai Province, P.R. China, in 1992, and soon thereafter accepted the position of Deputy Director of the Red Cross Branch Hospital at Kumbum Monastery. Dr. Gyaltsen has held the position of Executive Director of Kumbum Tibetan Medical Hospital since 2001, managing the out- and in-patient and medical products departments.

In 2003, Dr. Gyaltsen facilitated the opening of Kumbum Tibetan Medical Hospital’s first branch clinic in Beijing, P.R. China, and has since opened an outpatient clinic in Shenyang City (eastern China) and a small hospital near Xianyang (western China). Kumbum Tibetan Medical Hospital is currently the largest facility of its kind, reputed for its quality care, professionalism, and pharmaceutical expertise.

In 2003, Qinghai (Tso-ngon) University Tibetan Medical College bestowed Concurrent Post Associate Professorship upon Dr. Gyaltsen, where he established an exchange program for students and professors at UCLA School of Public Health in 2007. Since 2003, Dr. Gyaltsen has been nationally recognized as a scholar in his field by the National government, editing, translating, and contributing to medical textbooks published by the National Government for University-level medical courses in the Tibetan language. From 2001 to 2004 Dr. Gyaltsen was the Program Officer in Amdo Province for the Trace Foundation (based in New York City), during which he established and oversaw rural development projects in basic education and primary health care management. Dr. Gyaltsen has conducted significant public health research in Thailand, Burma, Nepal, Laos, and China.

In 2001, Dr. Gyaltsen founded the Tibetan Healing Fund, a non-profit organization with offices in both Amdo Province and Seattle, Washington. The mission of the Tibetan Healing Fund is to provide basic education and primary health care to rural Tibetan women and children. Today, a growing number of isolated and impoverished women and children in the Tibetans regions of northeastern P.R. China are served by Tibetan Healing Fund projects. Projects include bilingual and bicultural education, community midwife training, and health education and outreach. In July 2009, the Tibetan Healing Fund opened the first Tibetan Birth Center for rural Tibetan women in Ma-lho Tibetan Prefecture in western P.R. China.

Dr. Gyaltsen has published and lectured widely in the U.S. and elsewhere on the holistic approach of Tibetan Medicine. His lectures integrate his extensive knowledge of medical theory, history and practice combined with the ethics learned through his Buddhist studies.