Welcome To Life At Won Institute of Graduate Studies

Fostering a community of interconnectedness and spirtual cultivation

Our Statement of Support for the AAPI Community

Dear Won Community,

With the tragic Georgia shooting of Asian American women, other recent reports of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans being attacked in public, and the general increase in hate crimes over the last four years, I want to clearly state that Won Institute strongly denounces all forms of racism and discrimination. 

We mourn for and stand with the victims of these crimes. Such incidents are not new in the United States, but this alarming rise is troubling. That is why we must recognize such hateful acts and condemn them – strongly.

These current events remind us of the troubled history of American racism and cause anxiety for many in our community: they are painful daily reminders of a long, sad history of anti-Asian discrimination.

As a community, we must stand together to face this problem. We should draw inspiration from our institution’s Won Buddhist roots to face ignorance, greed, and hate with wisdom, generosity, and loving-kindness. Giving tacit approval of stereotyping or racial biases by remaining silent undermines the foundation of equity, inclusion, and dignity that we value. Our words and actions are critically important to creating an equitable and multiracial democracy.

Addressing racism means having difficult conversations – and those conversations should not ignore the struggles of Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, or international students and workers from Asia. I urge any member of the Won community who has experienced racism, discrimination, or harassment to contact our Title IX Coordinator Frederick Ranallo-Higgins ([email protected]) or any member of our new Equity Resolution Team ([email protected]). Violations of our non-discrimination policy are taken very seriously.

For those needing spiritual guidance or a private source to counsel with during this time, please consider reaching out to our Dharma Chaplain Hojin Park ([email protected]).

We encourage all those in our Acupuncture Medicine and Won Buddhist community, and the people of Philadelphia and the United States, to stand in solidarity with Asian and Pacific Islander Americans. We must speak when we see wrongdoing, and we must support one another. 

We at Won Institute envision a world where all people realize their full potential unhindered – we demand no less. 

With palms together,

Bokin Kim

Consider supporting the Asian and Pacific Islander American community through one of these organizations:

AAPI Covid Project

Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus

Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund

National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum

Stop AAPI Hate

COVID-19 Updates

On orders of Governor Wolf, the Won Institute school building is closed until further notice. Administrators, faculty and staff are still reachable by email and working remotely. For immediate acupuncture clinic treatment options please click here to find an acupuncturist nearest you. Admissions Counselors continue to be available via email Monday-Friday at [email protected] To support you during this challenging time, join us daily for virtual live evening chanting and enjoy our meditation and tai chi videos here.

Dear Won Institute Community,
The Delta Variant poses serious risks to our Institute community and to the public in general. The Delta outbreak is so serious that Philadelphia has just implemented a vaccination mandate for all city healthcare workers and students enrolled in Philadelphia colleges and universities. While this does not affect the Institute directly it is a clear sign that public health officials take the mitigation of this new variant very seriously.
Please take note:

All vaccination confirmation cards or declination forms are due by close of business on Friday, August 20th, 2021. A copy of the Institute’s declination form is attached. These documents must be received by August 20th by close of business. Those who have previously submitted their forms do not need to resubmit.
If we have not received these completed forms from you by 5:00 PM on Friday, August 20th you will lose access to the Populi system until the form is submitted.

Students must send their forms to the Registrar. Faculty and staff must send this information to Dr. Fred Ranallo-Higgins (HR).
Please submit completed vaccine cards or declination forms in .pdf or .jpeg format. Individuals who submit declination forms and are later vaccinated can request that their declination form be deleted once proof of vaccination is provided. Students and faculty who work solely online do not need to submit forms.

Here are the Institute’s current policies and procedures related to the mitigation of COVID-19 transmission:

1. The Institute’s policy on masks and mask-wearing will remain in place through the rest of 2021. We ask that all students, faculty, and staff continue to wear non-vented cloth or surgical masks in common areas (including classrooms). KN95 masks are required and provided for students and faculty during clinical interactions.

2. We strongly recommend that all students, staff, and faculty are vaccinated. Vaccinations are not required.

3. We will continue to require a pre-check that includes a temperature check and screening for COVID-19 symptoms for all people entering the building. Markers for safe distancing during temperature screens must be used.

4. The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has created a compilation page of materials related to COVID-19, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and other EEO laws as they relate to pandemic response and workplace safety. We urge you to review the federal regulations which pertain to COVID-19 and health and wellness protocols:

https://www.eeoc.gov/wysk/what-you-should-know-about-covid-19-and-ada-rehabilitation-act-and-other-eeo-laws

Thank you for your attention to these important matters and we anticipate your cooperation in taking steps to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Sincerely,
Gerry O’Sullivan
Dear Won Institute community,

We strongly recommend that all students, staff and faculty who interact with clinic patients get a COVID-19 vaccination. Anyone working in a clinical healthcare setting qualifies for vaccination under the current 1A designation.

Please note that while we are encouraging everyone at the Institute to pursue vaccination (as their circumstances and the state and county’s timetables allow) we are not requiring vaccination.

Anyone interested in opting out of COVID-19 vaccination may do so by completing the attached declination form and sending it to the Office of the Registrar. The completed form will be uploaded to the Populi system.

Those who decline to be vaccinated at this time but who decide to be vaccinated at a later date may request that their form be removed from the system once proof of vaccination is provided. Again, no member of the Won Institute community is required to be vaccinated now or at any time in the future unless such action is mandated by federal, state or county agencies.

Finally, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has created a compilation page of materials related to COVID-19, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and other EEO laws as they relate to pandemic response and workplace safety. We urge you to review the federal regulations which pertain to COVID-19 and health and wellness protocols:

https://www.eeoc.gov/wysk/what-you-should-know-about-covid-19-and-ada-rehabilitation-act-and-other-eeo-laws

Thank you for your attention to these important matters and we anticipate your cooperation in taking steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Sincerely,

Gerry O’Sullivan, Ph.D.,
Academic Dean

To the Won Institute Community,

We hope this finds you healthy and safe.

The Won Institute of Graduate Studies will welcome students back for classes on August 24th using a hybrid format of both online and face-to-face instruction.

Didactic classes will be offered in a wholly online format. Clinical classes for all cohorts will be offered on a face-to-face basis, following the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s guidance for clinical education programs: Such instruction shall employ physical distancing measures, universal masking, and applicable DOH and CDC guidelines. During the yellow phase, class size is limited to 25 or fewer students for in-person instruction.

For so long as Montgomery County and the surrounding Pennsylvania counties (Bucks and Philadelphia) remain in the green or yellow zones for contagion, the Institute shall offer in-person clinical instruction. In the event that these counties return to the red zone, all clinical instruction will be migrated to online and telehealth formats.

Likewise, so long as Montgomery County and the surrounding Pennsylvania counties remain in the green or yellow zones, the Institute’s clinics will be open to patients.

Due to the fluid nature of this virus, we reserve the right to make a final decision relating to the protocols above, no later than August 14th. This decision will be contingent upon Montgomery and the surrounding counties remaining in the green or yellow zones for at least two weeks prior to that time.

All students and faculty will be given the choice to opt out of in-person clinical instruction. Likewise, staff will be given the opportunity to continue to work remotely, as their duties allow.

At this time the normal student course schedule will be followed and the Fall term will conclude on December 14th. The schedule is available on the Google Calendar and in Populi. However, the Institute reserves the right to determine if closure immediately after the Thanksgiving holiday is warranted, with options for students to make up needle practicum hours.

Symptomatic faculty, students, and staff must quarantine for 14 days. In the event that a symptomatic faculty member, student, or staff member tests positive for Covid-19 they must report their results to the Lead Receptionist, Miranda Casiano: [email protected]

Anyone entering the building will be required to sign an informed consent waiver. Anyone entering the building must have their temperature checked and will be asked a series of health/pandemic-related questions.

Thank you for your attention to this announcement and for your ongoing cooperation in helping us all adapt to the current situation.

Sincerely,

Rev. Dr. Bokin Kim,
President

Gerry O’Sullivan, Ph.D.,
Academic Dean

To the Won Institute Community,

We hope this finds you healthy and safe.

The Won Institute of Graduate Studies will welcome students back for classes on August 24th using a hybrid format of both online and face-to-face instruction.

Didactic classes will be offered in a wholly online format. Clinical classes for all cohorts will be offered on a face-to-face basis, following the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s guidance for clinical education programs: Such instruction shall employ physical distancing measures, universal masking, and applicable DOH and CDC guidelines. During the yellow phase, class size is limited to 25 or fewer students for in-person instruction.

For so long as Montgomery County and the surrounding Pennsylvania counties (Bucks and Philadelphia) remain in the green or yellow zones for contagion, the Institute shall offer in-person clinical instruction. In the event that these counties return to the red zone, all clinical instruction will be migrated to online and telehealth formats.

Likewise, so long as Montgomery County and the surrounding Pennsylvania counties remain in the green or yellow zones, the Institute’s clinics will be open to patients.

Due to the fluid nature of this virus, we reserve the right to make a final decision relating to the protocols above, no later than August 14th. This decision will be contingent upon Montgomery and the surrounding counties remaining in the green or yellow zones for at least two weeks prior to that time.

All students and faculty will be given the choice to opt out of in-person clinical instruction. Likewise, staff will be given the opportunity to continue to work remotely, as their duties allow.

At this time the normal student course schedule will be followed and the Fall term will conclude on December 14th. The schedule is available on the Google Calendar and in Populi. However, the Institute reserves the right to determine if closure immediately after the Thanksgiving holiday is warranted, with options for students to make up needle practicum hours.

Symptomatic faculty, students, and staff must quarantine for 14 days. In the event that a symptomatic faculty member, student, or staff member tests positive for Covid-19 they must report their results to the Lead Receptionist, Miranda Casiano: [email protected]

Anyone entering the building will be required to sign an informed consent waiver. Anyone entering the building must have their temperature checked and will be asked a series of health/pandemic-related questions.

Thank you for your attention to this announcement and for your ongoing cooperation in helping us all adapt to the current situation.

Sincerely,

Rev. Dr. Bokin Kim,
President

Gerry O’Sullivan, Ph.D.,
Academic Dean

Dear Won Institute community,

I hope this finds you well and safe during these most unusual times. Governor Thomas Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Education have directed educational institutions to close all physical facilities until June 30th. The Won Institute will comply. The building is closed until further notice. This saddens us, as I’m sure it saddens all of you. But we must act to protect the health and well being of everyone concerned.

All AOM didactic classes through spring and summer have been brought wholly online while clinical coursework will be completed, in part, with telemedical support. We are waiting for additional guidance from our accreditors and from NCCAOM before finalizing our plans for AOM-related clinical education but please know that we will keep you updated on a regular basis.

In the areas of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine we are working directly with ACAOM, NCCAOM and CCAOM to ensure that there will be no interruption to your studies. Please watch for additional details from your Chairs and Directors.

We are in the process of applying to the Middle States Commission on HIgher Education for approval to offer our Won Buddhist Studies M.A. program entirely online in the fall and then after the lifting of the quarantine. By securing ongoing Middle States approval for a second online program (in addition to our D.Ac.), the Institute will be able to offer any of its current or future degree programs in both wholly online or hybrid formats. This will give the Institute the flexibility we need to deliver our distinctive degree programs in any delivery modality we choose.

Our Institute Librarian assures us that students, faculty and staff will have access to the digital resources you will need to prepare for courses and conduct research. Please visit the Institute Library’s web page at: https://bit.ly/2xnEQ9Z. There you will find a link to Populi’s Library Portal.

Regretfully, we have decided to delay this year’s August Commencement Exercises. This was a painful decision for us and I am sure that it will bring our third year students and their families much sadness. However, Dr. Kim and members of faculty and staff are preparing to share congratulatory video messages with the graduating members of the third year class. All students who are in good standing and scheduled to graduate this coming August will receive their final transcripts and diplomas through the mail.

Graduates of the 2020 Class are invited to join your peers for a combined 2020 and 2021 Commencement (August 5, 2021 and location TBD).

Thank you for your attention to these announcements. We will keep you updated as time goes by. You are all in my prayers for continuing health and safety during this outbreak.

Sincerely,
Gerry O’Sullivan

Dear Won Institute Faculty and Staff,

As you are likely aware, on Tuesday, February 25th, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) gave a press conference updating the country on the current status of the coronavirus (COVID-19), and what steps should be taken moving forward.

As the CDC emphasized, there is not currently a coronavirus pandemic in the United States. A pandemic occurs when a disease is spreading from a variety of sources across a large region, and the number of cases across the US is still small. However, given how quickly the global situation is evolving, we are monitoring new developments and will continue to reevaluate our steps and actions daily.

In the meantime, we ask you to follow basic health practices here at the Institute, as recommended by the CDC and public health sources, to stay healthy and minimize the spread of infectious disease, including:

  • Practicing great hygiene, like washing hands thoroughly and covering up coughs/sneezes

  • Wiping surfaces frequently touched by hands, such as door handles, light switches, keyboards, railings and so forth

  • Staying home when feeling ill until you recover – symptoms include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath.

In addition to these practices, we are prepared to further alter our procedures and plans should the situation change. We are also thinking ahead regarding the potential impact of the virus on the annual summer trip to South Korea, as well as any non-typical school activities, such as conferences on-site.

We will communicate any changes affirmatively when the time is appropriate. Our clinic director is also working on a policy towards patients and will communicate that soon. Separate letters will be sent to students by the dean and to patients by the clinic director.

We want to reassure you that faculty and staff, other than Dr. Kim, have had no recent trips to South Korea nor have they been in close physical contact with any travellers. Dr. Kim returned from South Korea in January and has been asymptomatic.

It is important to remember that handling the spread of a serious contagion like the coronavirus is primarily a task for public health agencies. Any directives from the World Health Organization, CDC, or local governmental organizations should be followed. We have listed a series of frequently asked questions and responses from the Pennsylvania Department of Health at the end of this letter.

In times like this, we are particularly grateful for the strength and togetherness of this community. Please continue to look for further communications from us on this matter.

Sincerely,
Bokin Kim, PhD
President

Now Offering Telehealth Visits

Won Institute of Graduate Studies is currently closed following government regulations concerning the Covid-19 pandemic. We are not able to provide acupuncture or herbal medicine services in our student clinics but we can provide telehealth visits that may help you navigate our current world.  

In general, telehealth is the distribution of health-related services and information via electronic information and telecommunication technologies. It can facilitate patient and clinician interactions and provide care, advice, reminders, education, monitoring, and remote admissions when face-to-face contact is prohibitive.


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