The Fifth Annual Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) Global Forum commenced on March 29, 2019. Close to 500 medical professionals from 16 countries gathered at San Dimas, California to present and exchange new trends in medical treatments and other topics. With the increase in frequency of natural disasters caused by climate change and rapid depletion of natural resources, TIMA must further expand its reach globally in order to help those in need. Thus, the first day of the2019 TIMA forum will focus on humanitarian relief and encourage more medical professionals to participate in free health fairs, so great love can spread across borders and religions.
This year marks not only the first time the TIMA Global Forum is being held by Tzu Chi USA, but it is also the 30th Anniversary of Tzu Chi USA’s in the U.S. The general public is also welcomed to come to Tzu Chi San Dimas campus to witness the fruits of Tzu Chi’s continual services in the medical field. Dr. Han Huang, CEO of Tzu Chi USA, Dr. William Keh, CEO of Tzu Chi USA Medical Foundation, Dr. Chin-Lon Lin, CEO of Tzu Chi Medical Foundation, Mr. Powen Yen, CEO of Tzu Chi Charity Foundation, Mr. Stephen Huang, Executive Director, Tzu Chi Global Volunteers and TIMA representatives from 16 countries waved flags and enthusiastically welcomed guests to participate in this three day event.
During the opening ceremony, California State Senator Connie M. Leyva spoke of Tzu Chi volunteers servicing residents in the low-income communities and leaving many touching stories. Senator Leyva shared a story of a lady crying after receiving Tzu Chi’s blankets on Christmas eve at a mobile home community one year and marveled at the warmness it provided at nights. This commitment to helping others deeply touched Ms. Leyva and she realized she should not take everything she has for granted. Senator Leyva said: “People think kindness is a weakness, but I think kindness is its own strength” that will touch people’s lives.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger presented Proclamation of Congratulations to Tzu Chi USA and Medical Foundation volunteers. Supervisor Barger has seen Tzu Chi volunteers providing free medical care for everyone including new immigrants for 26 years in Alhambra when Tzu Chi established the free medical clinic in 1993. Supervisor Barger shares: “(The) Government alone cannot help. It takes the works of groups across the world to really help those in time of need.”
Dr. Chin-Lon Lin, CEO of Tzu Chi Medical Foundation had vivid memories of the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Tzu Chi Free Clinic at Alhambra in 1993. Dr. Lin said, “We have received quite a bit of award. The government officials told us, most of the immigrants to the United States will ask for resources. You are the first organization not only not asking for community resources, but you are returning and try to benefit those poor people.”
With Cyclone Idai devastated East Africa nations, Tzu Chi USA initiated the fundraising campaign for the survivors of Cyclone Idai (go to https://tzuchi.us/ for more information). As volunteers mobilize for disaster relief, the medical team will follow. Dr. Lin hopes more people will join TIMA because as physicians, it is important to understand that “it is better to give than receive.” Regardless of where TIMA members are, whether struggling over mud left by Hurricane Haiyan in the Philippines, delivering babies for Nepal earthquake survivors, or treating Syrian refugees in Turkey, they will make a 90 degrees bow to the patients. Respect and compassion overcome national borders, skin colors, genders, cultures or religions. Love goes on and on among people.
TIMA currently has about 18,000 members globally and has provided services to over 3 million people in 50 countries. The 2019 TIMA Global Forum has the theme of “Enlightened Wellness” with topics such as integrative medicine, acupuncture, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), dental, artificial intelligence, etc. The general public is welcomed to attend.
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