Dr. Steven K.H. Aung is a pioneer in the integration of western, traditional Chinese and complementary medicine. His efforts have helped to make Alberta and Canada an active centre in the field of integrated and complementary medicine. His unique approach to medicine, combined with the remarkable compassion he brings to all that he does, has made him a highly respected teacher, researcher and physician.
Dr. Aung’s professional journey began at an early age when his grandfather, a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, asked that one of his three grandsons dedicate his life and career to integrating the best of eastern and western medicine. That early direction became a guiding force, leading Dr. Aung to map out an approach to medicine based on balance and harmony, and rooted in the believe that medicine should be focused on offering the best possible treatment for patients regardless of geographic divisions.
Dr. Aung pursued studies in traditional Chinese medicine as a physician in both his native Myanmar (formerly Burma) and China, before moving to Canada. Wanting to see as much of Canada as possible and guided by his interest in studying specializations that could benefit from integration with traditional Chinese medicine, he completed residencies in Vancouver, Montreal and St. John’s. His studies included internal medicine, family medicine, neurology, rheumatology, oncology and counseling. An interest in geriatric medicine eventually led him to Edmonton and the University of Alberta.
Dr. Aung took a gentle approach to introducing the notion of integrated medical care. As his own integrated medical practice grew, so did his reputation as a doctor skilled in both western and eastern approaches. His quiet persistence led to Canada’s first Certificate Program in Medical Acupuncture, developed by Dr. Aung for the University of Alberta, Faculty of Extension in 1991 and subsequently offered by Continuous Professional Learning, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry from 2010-2013. During its development, Dr. Aung played a major rolel as the program’s chief instructor, examiner and curriculum consultant.
Dr. Aung serves as an associate clinical professor in the Departments of Medicine and Family Medicine at the University of Alberta. He also shares his expertise in acupuncture to the University of Alberta Hospitals, the Cross Cancer Institute, Convenant Health (formerly Caritas Health Group) and the Glen Sather University of Alberta Sports Medicine Centre.
In 1995, Dr. Aung brought the 3rd World Congress of Medical Acupuncture and Natural Medicine to Edmonton. It was the first time the event was held outside China. The conference returned to Edmonton in August 2000. The theme of that second Alberta-based conference reflected the lifelong goal of Dr. Steven Aung: Integrative Medicine: Competent, Complementary and Compassionate Primary Care for the Next Millennium.
He is active in national and international organizations, serving as president and founding member of the World Natural Medicine Foundation; Health Canada advisor on acupuncture standards; World Health Organization advisor on acupuncture nomenclature and Health Food Standards, cancer pain control and Herbal Medicine; Fellow, American Academy of Family Physicians; Associate Clinical Professor, Division of Surgical Sciences, New York University College of Dentistry; and Fellow, International College of Acupuncture and Electro-Therapeutics, American College of Acupuncture and Australian Medical Acupuncture College.
In addition to his medical practice and teaching work in Edmonton, Dr. Aung holds visiting professorships with a number of universities and medical colleges across Canada and around the world. Dr. Aung travels to universities in California, New York, New Zealand, Australia, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Japan, and China to speak to physicians, medical students and other medical practitioners interested in hearing his message and learning his techniques and approaches.
Dr. Aung’s life and career are strongly rooted in the tenets and practice of Buddhism and in the concept of finding balance in all things. He spends time everyday meditating and offering blessings for his patients, a practice that helps his approach his work as a physician in the spirit of love and compassion. He practices Qi Gong, an ancient form of exercise and healing that focuses on breathing concentration and energy flow, as well as traditional Chinese calligraphy. He teaches both these disciplines, thus allowing him to share traditional Chinese concepts of wellness, balance and harmony with people from across Alberta and around the world.
Teaching also allows him to continue sharing the vision given to him as a child. “I carry the light of my grandfather’s vision for balanced and integrated medicine,” says Dr. Aung. “Every time I teach someone, I pass that light on to another and they pass it on to someone else. I don’t just teach techniques. I also try to teach and remind others of the vital importance of compassion in medicine.” His long-term goal is to further honour his grandfather’s original vision and mission through the creation of a medical centre or hospital that offers fully integrated western and eastern treatments to its patients.
Dr. Aung was inducted into the Alberta Order of Excellence in 2002, and was invested as a Member of the Order of Canada in February 2006.