Dr. James Chi Ming Pau

Downtown eastside doctor wins humanitarian award

October 4, 2007

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Marianne Meadahl

Dr. James Chi Ming Pau, whose dedication to providing health and support services to Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside residents spans more than three decades, received this year’s Thakore Visiting Scholar award on October 2 during a ceremony at SFU’s Burnaby campus Images Theatre.

SFU’s Institute of Humanities administers the award on behalf of the Thakore Family Charitable Foundation and the India Club of Vancouver.

It is presented annually during Gandhi Jayanti, an Indian national holiday celebrating the birth and philosophy of the country’s "Father of the Nation," the late Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi.

The award is given to recipients who "while honouring tradition have not let themselves be bound by traditionalism in their seeking of well-being for the human race and the planet."

Pau trained as a nurse in western medicine and a doctor in traditional Chinese medicine in Hong Kong. He immigrated to Canada in 1975 and moved to Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, where he focused on improving the health and well-being of residents.

A registered doctor of traditional Chinese medicine in the areas of herbs and acupuncture, Pau worked to have traditional Chinese medicine regulated under the Health Profession Act of B.C. He began a free treatment program for patients seeking alternative therapy in the 1980s, using traditional Chinese medicine in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, substance abuse and related issues — all free or by donation.

Pau has also volunteered as an English tutor for immigrant youth. He was one of the founders of the Downtown Eastside HIV/AIDS Consumers’ Board to help spread education and clean needles.

Pau has been involved with many city organizations, including the St. Paul’s Hospital Acute Care of Elders, the Vancouver Health Board and the city’s advisory committee on seniors.

He has received numerous awards, including a volunteer award from the Government of Canada in the International Year of Volunteers (2001) and Volunteer Vancouver’s Community Service award.

The United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution declaring Gandhi’s Oct. 2 birthday its annual International Day of Non-Violence.

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