Prof. Mingshan Lu

PhD, TCMD, Dr. Ac.


Adjunct Professor

Cumming School of Medicine, Department of Community Health Sciences

Faculty member

O'Brien Institute for Public Health

Contact information

Web presence

Phone number

Office: +1 (403) 220-5488


Office: SS328

For media enquiries, contact



Dr. Ac., College of Acupuncturists of Alberta , 2023

Educational Background

BEng Management Information System, Tsinghua University, 1992

M.A. Economics, Boston University, 1997

Doctor of Philosophy Economics, Boston University, 1997

Traditional Chinese Medicine Diploma (TCMD) & Diploma in Acupuncture Alberta College of Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine, 2022


Mingshan Lu, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Calgary, where she has been a faculty member since 1997, after earning her MA and Ph.D. in economics from Boston University. She is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the Cumming School of Medicine and a Member of the O'Brien Institute of Public Health at the University of Calgary. Dr. Lu has been the Lead of Health Economics at the Methods Hub, Alberta's Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) Support Unit, a Fellow at the Institute of Health Economics in Alberta, and a Member of the Network of Alberta Health Economists (NOAHE). She served as a member of the Science-Policy-Practice Network in Children's Mental Health in Alberta, a consultant for the World Bank, the US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), and the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Dr. Lu has published widely on a range of topics in economics, health economics, health services research, health policy, and medical journals. She led an innovative book project funded by the Institute of Health Economics in Alberta. This commissioned volume reviewed theoretical rationales, empirical evidence, and international experiences to provide lessons about the impacts of various financing and payment models that are particularly of interest to health policymakers in Canada. Dr. Lu's research achievements are demonstrated by the various research awards and grants she has received. In addition to two consecutive AHFMR Population Health Investigator awards, she has successfully received various operating grants for her research from provincial, national, and international funding agencies.

Dr. Lu's research interests span several topics, including health care financing and fund allocation, economic evaluation in health care, health care disparities and vulnerable populations, substance abuse and mental health, patient-centered care, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and integrative medicine. Dr. Lu's passion for precision medicine and TCM led her to study as a disciple with TCM masters since 2010. Additionally, she received her Diploma in Acupuncture and Diploma in Traditional Chinese Medicine from the Alberta College of Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACATCM) in 2022 and became a registered Acupuncturist in Alberta in 2023.

Serving as the Director of Research at Huatuo Clinic, Dr. Lu has been playing a pivotal role in spearheading groundbreaking programs aimed at providing TCM to vulnerable populations struggling with pain and mental health conditions. Her expertise in this area has resulted in successful projects such as the Complementary Health Integration Project (CHIP), Societal Health Integration Project (SHIP), and the Alberta Innovative Disabilities Program (AIDP). These world-first interventional studies on TCM integration have contributed significantly to evidence-based research in this area, demonstrating the potential of TCM in managing mental health and pain conditions.

On the clinical side, Dr. Lu is dedicated to enhancing patients' mental health and cognitive function through practicing precision Chinese medicine, centered around Chinese herbal medicine therapy supplemented by acupuncture. Her specialties include mild to severe cognitive impairment and cognitive disorders, including memory loss or amnesia, avoidance procrastination, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), dementia, and Alzheimer's.  


Areas of Research

Health Economics

Health Care Financing

Design and Impacts of Health Care Payment Systems

Health Care Disparities/Vulnerable Populations

Patient-Centered Care

Economics of Substance Abuse and Mental Health

Precision Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

TCM Cancer Care

Evidence-based Integrative Medicine


Course number Course title Semester
ECON 379 LEC 01 01 The Economics of Health Winter 2023
ECON 679 / MDCH661 Health Economics I Winter 2023


The Alberta Innovative Disabilities Program (AIDP)

According to Statistics Canada, around 13.7% of Canadians aged 15+ years are living with a disability, 5.1% of which (315,500) report having a developmental disability or disorder (PDD). Addressing the diverse and special needs of persons with disabilities presents significant social and economic benefits. According to a report released by the Institute for Work & Health in November 2021, “the benefits to Canadian society from full accessibility and inclusion of persons with disabilities amounted to $337.7 billion, or 17.6 percent of the GDP, in the reference year 2017”. Many individuals with pervasive developmental disorders (PDD) such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience coexisting pain, mental health issues, and/or substance misuse, which can have a negative impact on their quality of life, employability, and re-employment opportunities.

The Alberta PDD report (Alberta Panel Review, 2018) identified significant gaps in addressing complex service needs within the existing PDD structure, resulting in a diminished quality of life and employability for PDDs, particularly in addressing co-existing pain, mental health issues, and substance misuse.

Funded by the Government of Alberta Civil Society Fund (CSF),  Alberta Innovative Disabilities Program (AIDP) is proposed as a solution to fill these gaps by providing a more collaborative and comprehensive approach to care that addresses both physical and mental health needs. AIDP aims to improve the overall well-being and employability of those with disabilities, increase their re-employment prospects, and promote innovation and knowledge translation based on evidence-based research. The program provides evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) services and holistic care to individuals with diverse disabilities free of charge, to reduce the adverse effects of coexisting pain and mental health issues through CAM interventions. By doing so, the AIDP aims to improve the overall wellness and function, self-esteem, resilience, and social inclusion of individuals with disabilities, thereby enhancing their employability and re-employment opportunities.

Project website:

Societal Health Integration Program (SHIP)

This Societal Health Integration Program (SHIP) proposes an innovative community-based model in which Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) services are provided to help achieve social recovery and improve economic participation.

SHIP aims to develop a cost-effective, scalable and transferrable community-based CAM service model to achieve the following objectives: 

* Mitigate, treat, and prevent the mental health issues that arise in response to or recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and promote development and continued well-being, and in doing so increase community integration and overall productivity

* Increase civic society’s capacity to respond to the mental health crisis that follows the COVID-19 pandemic

* Organize community-based interventional group workshops to promote practical CAM health preservation ways of living to promote better mental health and well-being, and expand recovery capital for those in needs

* Collect and analyze critical information to monitor social recovery and economic participation, as well as program cost-effectiveness

* Share research data and analytic results with the civil society sector to encourage duplications of the community-based model developed

Project website:

Alberta Complementary Health Integration Project (ABCHIP)

Funded by the Government of Alberta, ABCHIP is a community-based health and research project. This study aims to explore how Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) could help people, especially following challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. CAM treatments—such as acupuncture, dietary therapy, and mind-body exercises— are well-established as reliable and beneficial methods of promoting individual and community health. CAM treatments in this study are structured in accordance with local and international clinical expertise and evidence, ensuring quality and safety of the highest degree.

For project details including preliminary outcomes, see


The Costs and Benefits of Transitioning from ICD-10-CA to ICD-11 in Canada

Global surveillance and monitoring of disease requires the most current and comprehensive system to track and improve the health of individuals worldwide. The International Classification of Disease (ICD) is an internationally adopted system used to code disease diagnoses. Currently, Canada uses the 10th version of ICD to code health information. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently released the 11th version of ICD (ICD-11), which offers current diagnoses codes (e.g. opioid overdose and gaming addictions codes) and user-friendly electronic coding tools. However, urgent questions have arisen about the costs and benefits of implementing a new classification system. The objectives of the proposed study are to develop a framework for estimating the economic impacts of ICD classification system transition, to project the costs of moving to ICD-11 coding algorithms in Canada, to estimate the benefits of moving to ICD-11 coding algorithms in Canada, and to identify implementation issues and specific support needed in each province and territory, and provide unique recommendations to each province for ICD-11 implementation. Our team is ideally positioned to conduct this work, as we are a WHO Collaborating Centre that has been instrumental in the testing and improvement of ICD-11, and have been teaming up with CIHI to develop this proposal, and have built long-standing partnerships with Alberta Health Services (AHS) and the Canadian Health Information Management Association (CHIMA). This project will provide methodology and critical information for countries worldwide to make a decision on ICD-11 adoption, and offer an opportunity to prepare for the benefits and challenges of implementation (e.g. training and technology).