Yo San University Library

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Contact library@yosan.edu.

Lawrence J Ryan Learning Resource Center

The Lawrence J. Ryan Learning Resource Center (YSU Library) plays an important role in your academic success. From required course texts to scholarly journals to a quiet space to relax and study, YSU library is here to serve you. The library also contains a small bookstore that sells used books and required course texts. Contact us at library@yosan.edu or 310-577-3000, ext. 122.

Black History Month 2024

In celebration of Black History Month, Yo San University Library is proud to honor the rich heritage, achievements, and contributions of African Americans. This month, we highlight the enduring legacy and cultural impact of Black individuals in shaping our history and society. We invite you to explore our selection of resources, including books, articles, and multimedia, that reflect the profound influence and diverse experiences of the African American community.

Featured Items from the Library Collection

Acupuncture as Revolution: Suffering, Liberation, and Love

By Rachel Pagones, LAc, DAOM (Yo San Alum)

In November 1970, activists occupied part of Lincoln Hospital in New York, leading to a novel drug detox program. This movement, driven by African American and Latinx activists, including the Young Lords and Black Panthers, and pioneers like Dr. Michael Smith, used acupuncture to address heroin addiction, linking it to broader issues of capitalism, colonialism, and “chemical warfare.” “Acupuncture as Revolution” details this history, connecting it to today’s community acupuncture movement.

African American Herbalism: A Practical Guide to Healing Plants and Folk Traditions

By Lucretia VanDyke

This guide unveils the history of African American herbalism, tracing its roots from Ancient Egypt to the US. It showcases influential healers like Emma Dupree, detailing their contributions to herbal medicine, including rituals, tinctures, and recipes. With a focus on commonly used herbs, it’s a comprehensive exploration of healing traditions and practices.

The Racial Divide in American Medicine: Black Physicians and the Struggle for Justice in Health Care

Edited by Richard D. deShazo

“The Racial Divide in American Medicine” explores the fight for health equity among African Americans in Mississippi and the U.S., linking historical segregation to present health disparities. It covers the evolution from slave hospitals to current challenges, highlighting African American physicians’ fight for desegregation and social justice in health care, including efforts by physicians like T. R. M. Howard who played pivotal roles in civil rights movements.

Additional Resources

National Library of Medicine (NLM) – Black History Month 2024
The NIH celebrates Black History Month by honoring “Black Excellence in Health and Science,” spotlighting Black Americans’ contributions to healthcare and science. The campaign aims to inspire future professionals by recognizing past and present medical pioneers who have advanced the field, saving lives and fostering a more equitable future through events and discussions.

Association of American Medical Colleges – Racism and Health: A Reading List
The AAMC’s “Racism and Health” reading list emphasizes the importance of understanding racism as a fundamental cause of racial and ethnic health inequities. It features a curated selection of research and literature aimed at exploring the impact of racism on health and well-being, providing a basis for further study on the topic.

The Burdens of Race and History on Black People’s Health 400 Years After Jamestown by Stephen B. Thomas PhD, and Erica Casper MA, American Journal of Public Health (AJPH), October 2019.
Racial discourse in American history, significantly shaped by slavery, has led to the false belief in inherent medical differences between races. Documented examples of racism in medicine reveal a long-standing misconception that Black individuals are “less than” human, a notion that persists in contemporary society.

Use of Acupuncture by 1970s Revolutionaries of Color: The South Bronx “Toolkit Care” Concept by Eana Meng, MPhil, American Journal of Public Health (AJPH), May 2021.
In the 1970s, revolutionaries of color in New York City and Oakland, influenced by a trip to China by the Black Panther Party, turned to acupuncture as an alternative healthcare method amid a drug crisis. Their pioneering work at Lincoln Detox and through Dr. Tolbert Small’s practice introduced a holistic, community-focused model of care, challenging traditional narratives of acupuncture’s history in America and influencing global health practices.

Dope is Death – Documentary (kanopy)
A documentary by Mia Donovan.  During the early 1970s in the South Bronx, communities suffering from poverty, a direct result of prolonged systemic racial discrimination, were devastated by a heroin epidemic. Dr. Mutulu Shakur, step-father to Tupac Shakur, spearheaded an initiative with the Black Panthers and The Young Lords to introduce the United States’ first acupuncture detoxification program, aimed at rehabilitating and empowering the South Bronx communities. Also available through apple and amazon.

Dope is Death – Podcast
“DOPE IS DEATH” is a four-part podcast series detailing how Dr. Mutulu Shakur and activists from the Black Panther Party and Young Lords launched America’s first acupuncture detox program in 1970s New York, offering hope amid a heroin crisis. It examines the program’s impact, its perceived threat to U.S. stability, Shakur’s eventual FBI pursuit and incarceration, and broader civil rights issues.

Healthline – Decolonizing Alternative Medicine: The Herbalism and Ecology of the African Diaspora
“Decolonizing Alternative Medicine” by Priscilla Ward delves into the rich heritage of African diasporic herbalism, tracing its roots back to ancient Egypt and its survival through enslavement. It emphasizes the deep connection between Black communities, plant medicine, and ecological practices, highlighting the enduring fight against structural racism and environmental injustice.

Reading List

Brown, J. (2023). Twice as Hard: The Stories of Black Women Who Fought to Become Physicians, from the Civil War to the 21st Century. Beacon Press.
Harrison, D. L., & Laymon, K. (2021). Belly of the Beast: The Politics of Anti-Fatness as Anti-Blackness. North Atlantic Books.
Menakem, R. (2017). My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies (1st edition). Central Recovery Press.
Skloot, R. (2011). The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Crown.
Strings, S. (2019). Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia (First Edition). NYU Press.
Washington, H. A. (2008). Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present (Reprint edition). Vintage.
Williams, B. H. (2023). The Bodies Keep Coming: Dispatches from a Black Trauma Surgeon on Racism, Violence, and How We Heal. Broadleaf Books.

Yo San Library Collection

The Library carries a variety of resources related directly to the Yo San curriculum and in the general areas of Chinese and Western Medicine. It collects all texts used by the California Acupuncture Board, as well as all texts used in all courses. Many frequently used books have multiple copies. The library also houses a growing collection of audiovisual materials (CD, DVD, video), mostly related to meditation and spiritual areas, including Qi and basic sciences, such as biology, anatomy, and physiology.

The reference collection includes handbooks, manuals, directories, encyclopedias, medical dictionaries, copies of the current Physicians Desk Reference (PDR), study guides for licensing examinations, as well as a selection of important publications. Overall, the collection provides students with information on diagnoses, treatment, etiology, supplement and therapeutic intervention for their research as well as their clinical experiences. The majority of all holdings are in English, with a small number of books in Chinese.

The YSU library provides access to several online journals and databases in the areas of Western and Integrative Medicine, as well as providing a comprehensive list of Internet resources relating to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, and Herbal Medicine. The library also maintains a collection of journals that are no longer in publication.

The primary cataloging system used is the National Library of Medicine. For holdings that are not included in that system the library uses the Library of Congress system.

Library Research FAQ's

Where are the books in the library?

The location represents the general area of the library. Reference indicates that the book will be in the reference section and may not circulate. Books located in the Stacks may circulate.

How do I find a DVD or CD?

Most are located next to the Reference books. A few sets are located behind the circulation desk.

What is the difference between a scholarly journal and a magazine?

Periodical indexes will often categorize journals as Scholarly, Professional/Trade or Popular. For academic research, scholarly journals are generally preferred but professional/trade (and, to a lesser extent, popular) sources can also be acceptable.

Scholarly journals are targeted to researchers and scholars; they contain articles that are usually peer-reviewed and present research findings. Information sources are always cited in a bibliography.

The audience for professional or trade journals is usually members of a profession or trade. They contain articles that address current topics and issues relevant to the profession or trade covered. Information sources are sometimes cited in bibliographic format.

Popular magazines are written for the general public; their purpose is to present general information or news and often to entertain. They are considered less reliable than scholarly or professional/trade journals and do not cite information sources in bibliographic format.

How do I find a book?

Search the library catalog to find books. If you know the name of the book you are searching for, select “Title” from the drop-down menu, type the book’s title in the empty box and click the “Search” button.

The catalog will display a list of matches for your search terms. Click on the title of the book that you are looking for. From the next page, write down the call number and location to help you locate the book.

You may also search by author, subject, etc.

If you would like to do a more general search, just enter a word or term in the search box and leave the drop-down menu as “All Words”. This will search all fields in the item records and produce a greater amount of results to choose from.

What is a citation?

A bibliographic citation contains information that identifies a larger work. It contains information about the work including title, author, publication date, etc. Citations for journal articles include the name of the publication that the article appeared in, as well as the volume, issue and relevant page numbers.

Citations are essential for crediting materials that are referenced in your work. Knowingly representing the work of others as your own is plagiarism; consequences are extremely serious and can include a failing grade or even expulsion.

There are several different types of citation styles, but the most commonly used are APA (American Psychology Association) and MLA (Modern Language Association). Confirm with your instructor which style they prefer you to employ before starting your research.

Examples of some citations in APA format are as follows:


Author Last Name, Initial(s). (Year of Publication) Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. Location: Publisher.


Author 1 Last Name, Initial(s)., & Author 2 Last Name, Initial(s). (Date of publication). Title of article. Title of Online Periodical, volume number(issue number if available)


Author 1 Last Name, Initial(s)., Author 2 Last Name, Initial(s)., Author 3 Last Name, Initial(s). (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, volume number(issue number), pages.

Government Document

Government Agency. (Year). Title of publication (Report number/contract number/monograph number/other publication number). Place: Publication information.

A great resource that contains multiple examples of citations in both formats is the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL).

Where is the full-text of the article I found?

If the full-text is not available in the index you are using, write down all of the citation information and try to locate the full text version via one of the following methods:

  1. Check to see if the library has a subscription to the journal the article appears in. If so, you will either be able to find the material in a print copy or on the journal’s web site (you will need to get log in information from the library to access journals electronically)
  2. Search the internet to see if a PDF of the full-text of the article is available for free. (Do not purchase an article unless you have exhausted all other possibilities.)
  3. Consult with the Library Manager about retrieving the full-text version from another source such as a local library or ordering a copy through our inter-library loan service.

How do I find an article?

Use a periodical index (i.e., online database) to find articles. A list of subscription databases, as well as many other free resources, is available on our Research Resources page. Ask the Library Manager if you need help selecting the best database to search for your particular topic.

You can search for a periodical article by title, author, keyword, publication, etc. Each database has a unique vocabulary of subject headings or index terms that are used to index each article. These are usually listed in the records for each article and can be very helpful – incorporate them in your future searches to find related material.

Here are some links to directions on how to search some of the library’s most popular research resources (links open in new tab):

What if the library doesn’t have the book or periodical that I need?

You can also search for books and other materials in tens of thousands of other libraries in OCLC’s WorldCat catalogs.



For books (and journal articles) the Yo San University Library does not own, we can often borrow them for you (or obtain copies) from other institutions. The service is free, but students are required to pay all postage and handling charges.