July 19, 2016 -- Sonam Doje's dream came true when he secured a job as a teacher of Tibetan medicine shortly after he graduated from university in June.
"When I was a child, there was no hospital in the village. Little ailments often worsened into big troubles and even became fatal," said Doje, who is preparing to leave home for his job in Chamdo Prefecture, Tibet.
His dream to be a medical teacher originated in his home province of Qinghai, which neighbors Tibet. "I longed to learn Tibetan medicine, spread the knowledge, and save lives in Tibet's herding areas."
Doje entered Qinghai University's School of Tibetan Medicine in 2011. "Five years of study, at school and in hospitals, taught me a lot about the ancient practice, and I'm eager to start working," he said.
Nearly all 51 graduates from Doje's class have secured jobs. His classmate U'Maigya is now a doctor at the Hospital of Tibetan Medicine in Qinghai's provincial capital Xining.
"Girls rarely had any chance to enter university in the past, let alone work as doctors," said U'Maigya.
Today, however, women graduates like U'Maigya are very popular at hospitals in Qinghai and Tibet.
"Some of our best doctors are women," said Goin Qoiyang, a senior Tibetan herbalist at the Hospital of Tibetan Medicine in Qinghai.
Tibetan medicine was traditionally taught at monasteries and the best doctors were often high monks, he said. "In those days, women were rarely given the opportunity to learn medicine."
"Tibetan medicine is evolving into a multi-disciplinary subject. Its further development needs university graduates who are well-grounded in Tibetan medicine as well as modern science," according to Goin.
Altogether, 151 students graduated from Qinghai University's School of Tibetan Medicine this summer. They majored in the five disciplines of Tibetan medical practise, Tibetan herbs, nursing, public health administration and modern medicine.
"About 85 percent of them have secured jobs in Qinghai Province and the rest have chosen to work in Tibet, or the neighboring Gansu and Sichuan provinces," said Ma Xueyuan, dean of the university's Tibetan medicine department.
Instead of securing a job in a hospital, Doje Cedain joined a Tibetan pharmaceutical group in Gansu Province. "I think it's a promising career, as an increasing number of patients nationwide are seeking Tibetan-style treatment for chronic diseases," he said.
The total output value of traditional Tibetan medicine has topped 1.3 billion yuan (201 million U.S. dollars), thanks to growing demand across China for the ancient herbal therapy.