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Tawni Tidwell Web
Tawni Tidwell
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Center for Healthy Minds

Tawni is interested in investigating the mind-body relationship foundational to facilitating healthy minds and bodies through biocultural and Tibetan medical paradigms for well-being. At the Center, she is particularly interested in work that contributes the cultural, social and environmental contexts that support practices and qualities of mind that lead to experiences of well-being across the life course, as well as aspects of its diversity among populations and their sociocultural contexts.

Tawni is a biocultural anthropologist and Tibetan medical doctor. Her research facilitates bridges across the Western scientific tradition and the Tibetan medical tradition, along with their attendant epistemologies, ontologies and pedagogical methods. Her doctoral work focused on embodiment in textual-oral transmission and perceptual techniques in differential diagnostics.

She recently returned from a postdoctoral fellowship with the Austrian Academy of Sciences, working with ERC-funded Project RATIMED to characterize the transnational Tibetan medical (Sowa Rigpa) pharmaceutical industry. Her work focused on eastern Tibet (Qinghai, Gansu and Sichuan provinces) pharmacological lineages, and its current Tibetan medical renaissance and innovation amidst challenging globalization dynamics.

In addition to her work at the Center for Healthy Minds (CHM) and private practice, she continues collaborative work on compositional chemistry and toxicology analyses of tsotel, one of the most important medicinal compounds in Tibetan medicine, with a team at Emory University partnering with Men-Tsee-Khang in India, Qinghai Provincial Tibetan Medical Hospital in Amdo, and several smaller clinics in Tibet. As an affiliated researcher with University of Vienna, she provides Tibetan medical translational and pharmacological knowledge to the Austrian Science Fund Project Sowa Rigpa and Buddhist Ritual, looking at concepts of potency in Tibetan pharmacology and medicine-compounding (menjor) for mind-body transformation.

She contributes transdisciplinary work to understanding gut metabolism disorders and cancer, and she maintains a private clinical practice and sees a broad spectrum of patients.

Recent Publications

Tidwell, T. & K. Gyamtso. (in press). “Sowa Rigpa Paradigms for the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic: Understandings of COVID-19 in Tibetan Medical Nosology. Asian Medicine, 16(1).

Jingnan, L., T. Tidwell, H. Zhao, L. Jialin, W. Jiajie, M. Meng, W. Li, W. Huichao, C. Wei, H. Mengling, R. Xiaoqiao, & L. Tonghua. (2020). Theoretical Characteristics of Tibetan Medicine. World Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 6(4), 490-499. doi:10.4103/wjtcm.wjtcm_65_20.

Wangyal, R, T. Tidwell, W. Dhondrup, T. Yungdrung, G. Dhondrup, Q. X. He, & Y. Zhang. (2020). Dataset of Materia Medica in Sowa Rigpa: Tibetan Medicine Compilations and Gawé Dorjé’s Classification System. Data in Brief, 106498. doi:10.1016/j.dib.2020.106498.

Tidwell, T. (2020). “Covid-19 and Tibetan Medicine: An Awakening Tradition in a New Era of Global Health Crisis." Hot Spots, Fieldsights, online series from Journal of Cultural Anthropology.

Tidwell, T. (2020). Blood and Chuser across Research Paradigms: Constitutive Links in Mapping Biomedical Cancer Maps into Tibetan Medical Nosology. Asian Medicine,15(2), 209-250. doi:10.1163/15734218-12341451.

Dhondrup, W., D. Tso, R. Wangyal, G. Dhondrup, Z. Liu, T. Dolma, Y. Zhang, T. Tidwell. (2020). “Dataset of Illness Classifications in Sowa Rigpa: Compilations from the Oral Instructions Treatise of the Tibetan Medical Classic (Rgyud bzhi).” Data in Brief 29, 105321. doi:10.1016/j.dib.2020.105321

Dhondrup, W., T. Tidwell, X. Wang, D. Tso, G. Dhondrup, Q. Luo, C. Wangmo, T. Kyi, Y. Liu, X. Meng, Y. Zhang. (2020). “Tibetan Medical Informatics: An Emerging Field in Sowa Rigpa Pharmacological & Clinical Research.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology 250, 112481. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2019.112481

Kloos, S., H. Madhavan, T. Tidwell, C. Blaikie, and M. Cuomu. (2020). “The Transnational Sowa Rigpa Industry in Asia: Preliminary Figures on an Emerging Economy.” Social Science and Medicine 245, 112617. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2019.112617


PhD, Biocultural Anthropology, Emory University

TMD (Tibetan Medical Doctor, Kachupa-equivalent Degree)

Sorig Loling Tibetan Medical College of Qinghai University (2013-2015), eastern Tibet (Xining, China), graduated 2015; Men-Tsee-Khang India (2010-2013)

MA, Anthropology, Emory University

BS, Earth Systems, Minor in Physics, Stanford University

What does well-being mean to me?

"Thriving in mind, body and being across varied cultural, social and environmental contexts with openness, resilience, and vibrant joy."

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