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Journal article Open Access

Global Pandemic, Translocal Medicine: The COVID-19 Diaries of a Tibetan Physician in New York City

Craig, Sienna; Gurung, Nawang T.; Perlin, Ross; Daurio, Maya; Kaufman, Daniel; Turin, Mark; Tseten, Kunchog

This article analyzes the audio diaries of a Tibetan physician, originally from Amdo (Qinghai Province, China), now living in New York City. Dr. Kunchog Tseten describes his experiences during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, in spring and summer 2020, when Queens, New York—the location where he lives and works—was the “epicenter of the epicenter” of the novel coronavirus outbreak in the United States. The collaborative research project of which this diary is a part combines innovative methodological approaches to qualitative, ethnographic study during this era of social distancing with an attunement to the relationship between language, culture, and health care. Dr. Kunchog’s diary and our analysis of its contents illustrate the ways that Tibetan medicine and Tibetan cultural practices, including those emergent from Buddhism, have helped members of the Himalayan and Tibetan communities in New York City navigate this unprecedented moment with care and compassion.

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