Contemplative Studies Initiative and Concentration

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

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


Please join us for Daoist Medicine, a lecture by Josh Paynter, L.aC. on February 9th, 2023 from 7 - 8:30 pm. EST.  This is a virtual event.

Register and receive a Zoom link


In this talk we will explore the complexity of the notion of Qi in the context of disease, medicine and the practitioner. Investigating obsolete materia medica as a forensic tool, we will look at the various ways in which an object takes on its medically useful qualities. We will also look at this principal of imbued qualities as it pertains to the practitioner. The various practices and parameters of Daoist medicine (Zhuyou 祝由, Fuzhou 符咒 or talismanic practices etc.) will be central to this discussion.

Recorded Lectures and Workshops

A Brief History of Qi: From Ancient Cosmology to Modern Medical Practice

Inaugural Lecture

November 6, 2020


Professor Heiner Fruehauf, Ph.D., LAc

Out of Ontological Bounds: Researching Qi During China's Qigong Craze

With Response by Professor Nancy Chen (University of California, Santa Cruz)

January 14, 2021


Professor David Palmer (University of Hong Kong)

Roundtable Discussion 1

March 18, 2021


Professors Heiner Fruehauf, Nancy Chen and David Palmer

Roundtable Discussion 2

June 28, 2021


Masters Yang Yang, Kenmeth Cohen and Harrison Moretz

Qigong and Tai Chi for the Treatment of Depression

October 26, 2021


Dr. Albert Yeung, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Biofield Therapies: Surveying the Clinical Landscape

December 9, 2021


Dr. Shamini Jain, Founder & CEO of the Consciousness & Healing Initiative

Mind-body Interventions: Effects on Mental and Physical Health

January 27, 2022


Dr. Julienne Bower, Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry/Biobehavioral Sciences at the University of California Los Angeles

Tai Chi and Qigong in Medicine: Opportunities and Challenges

February 24, 2022


Dr. Byeongsang Oh, Associate Professor at the University of Sydney

The Transformation of Chinese Medicine in the Age of Scientific Materialism

Overview of a Journey

July 7, 2022


Prof, Heiner Fruehauf, Ph.D., LAc, Founding Professor of the College of Classical Chinese Medicine at National University of Natural Medicine

The Sociological Imagination, Contemplative Practice and Social Change

October 24, 2022


Prof. Hiro Saito, Associate Professor of Sociology at Singapore Management University and Director of Holistic Education Lab

Daoist Medicine

February 9, 2023


Josh Paynter,