John Weeks’ Integrative Medicine, Complementary Alternative Medicine and Health Round-up #54: April 2012 on Integrative Care


Article suggests “integrative oncology” is often non-integrated, parallel practice

Integrator adviser and integrative oncology consultant Glenn Sabin of FON Therapeutics sends note of a March 15, 2012 article in the ASCO Post (American Society of Clinical Oncology) entitled Some Patients Using Complementary and Alternative Therapies May Be Receiving ‘Parallel’ Rather Than Integrative Care. The article by Charlotte Bath focuses on a study by University of British Columbia researcher Lynda Balneaves, RN, PhD. She concludes: “For most individuals, true integration is not occurring. Complementary, alternative medicine and conventional care are being provided in parallel systems by health professionals who are not consulting each other.” Balneaves presentation was at the 2011 meeting of the Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO). Balneaves also found that integration is desired by patients. She is quoted as saying that patients wished “to have complementary and conventional care combined.” She added that one woman described integrative care as “like an orchestra – everyone is working together and there is synergy.”

Comment: The finding is not surprising. And, 15 years ago, the finding of any integration would have been shocking. Here’s to recruiting to the orchestra


The (intense) home birth midwifery model of integration with other CAM fields 

At Symposium 2012 of the Certified Professional Midwives (CPM) and Association of Midwifery Educators (AME), I asked the roughly 150 midwifery leaders assembled for a shows of hands of those who had “used or referred for” the services of acupuncturists? What do you think the percent would be? For chiropractors? For AOM? For massage? For naturopathic doctors?  The answer: virtually all arms shot up with each question, at close to 100%. The only fall-off was for NDs, who are only licensed in 16 states, but still at perhaps 80%. 

Comment: I was quite surprised to see how profoundly integrated these practices are with the other natural health disciplines. I queried a couple of colleagues who were similarly surprised. I’d have guessed 30%-50% for each, except for massage. The suggestion here is that this field incorporates perhaps the most thorough approach to team care of any health care field. It’s too bad that more obstetrician’s don’t allow the home birth midwives to comfortably round out their care teams. 



Mayo Clinic takes alternative medicine to Mall of America

One of the biggest names in medicine has linked with the biggest mall in America to feature integrative medicine (Mayo Clinic’s focus on integration on display at Mall of America). Mayo already had one clinic in the Mall. The second will offer a variety of integrative services “that we already offer on campus,” Mayo’s integrative medicine leader Brent Bauer, MD is quoted as saying. Adds Bauer of the Mall gambit: “There seems to be quite a bit of demand (at the Mall). It’s a nice place to kind of test, and push a little bit, the idea of how do we promote wellness.” According to the article the clinical site now includes acupuncture, massage therapy and counseling about supplements.


Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine opens oncology research center

The Canadian Colleges of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) has opened the first integrative cancer center in Eastern Canada, according to a March 26, 2012 release. The Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre (OICC) will provide “multi-disciplinary complementary medicine and whole-person care for people with cancer, and to those wanting to prevent cancer or its recurrence.” The center, which will feature both clinical services and research, is led by Dugald Seely, ND, MSc, FABNO. Seely is also the director of research and clinical epidemiology at CCNM. The release notes that Seely “has helped to establish CCNM as one of North America’s leading research center in complementary medicine.” The program “has two pillars: clinical trials of complementary therapies and evaluating integrative whole-systems of care.” The work is expected to be integrated with conventional treatment and is anticipated to benefit from Seely’s extensive relationships developed as an affiliate investigator at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) where he has “a number of collaborations with OHRI scientists.”

Comment: Seely is developing a fine body of work, particularly in the whole practice, whole systems examination of naturopathic care. See Model Whole Practice Study Finds Naturopathic Care Effective, Cost Saving for Canadian Employer. Notably, the release includes a supportive quote from the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation, which anticipates collaborating with the OICC. Kudos to Seely, CCNM and all parties involved. We can expect a good deal from this operation. 



Bravewell Collaborative makes November 2011 symposium talks available

The Bravewell Collaborative has made public a series of significant presentations at their November 2011 Integrative Medicine in Action seminar. Those video-taped include integrative cardiologist Mimi Guarneri,MD; Col. Kevin Galloway of the US Army Pain Management Task Force; Tracy Gaudet, MD from the VA; F16 pilot and health coach Lt. Wendy Hendrick; Allina CEO Ken Paulus; and Allina chief medical officer Penny Wheeler, MD.

Comment: The Bravewell program was a well-assembled and powerful testament to integrative medicine in both civilian and military environs. Particularly compelling were the comments of Paulus, speaking about how integrative medicine has become his ally since, for the first time in 100 years, Allina can “get paid to keep the village healthy.”   



University of Toronto awards spine professorship to chiropractor

The University of Toronto has awarded the Canadian Chiropractic Research Foundation (CCRF) Professorship in Spine to Carlo Ammendolia DC, PhD. The professorship is funded with an initial investment of $500,000 from CCRF in a partnership agreement between the CCRF and the University of Toronto. The new “Research Professorship in Spine” will have its home in the Faculty of Medicine. Ammendolia is a clinical epidemiologist and assistant professor in the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. This is the 12th research chair or professorship to be funded through CCRF.

Comment: I have a couple queries out as to gain clarity on how CCRF funds these. What I recall from informal conversations is that in the Canadian system, the structure of professional organizations is quasi-governmental, and, as such, as I recall, associations can have coercive powers to require contributions. Huey Long, the master of the “deduct,” would like this. I, by the way, do too.



Acupuncture association reaches out to secure more submissions to their professional journal

The American Association for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine is actively reaching out to beef up submissions to The American Acupuncturist, its journal. According to a statement available here, the professional association is “aggressively pursuing a goal of being indexed by Medline.”  Details for submission to the quarterly are here.


Short Notes on integrative care in the nation’s hospital and health systems

These briefs arfe from Google Alerts: Beth Israel director of integrative medicine talked up the value of probiotics on KXLY radio … The Parkview Physicians Group in Fort Wayne, Indiana announced a new integrative medicine program. It will be led by Angella LaSalle, MD, a University of Arizona Fellow in Integrative Medicine … Patrick Massey, MD, PhD, the medical director for complementary and alternative medicine for the Alexian Brothers Hospital Network  promoted “bioenergy healing” in the Illinois Daily Herald” … Kaiser Northern California integrative medicine leader Catherine Gutfreund, MD was named Sonoma County Family Physician of the Year … Acupuncture,yoga and Tai chi are featured public education programs over the next 3 months at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Harvard University … Integrative Medicine for the Underserved (IM4US) has made available a powerpoint on introducing integrative medicine to faculty … Mercy Health posted back integrative content from the Springfield, Missouri system’s integrative medicine leader Lance Luria, MD of Mercy … Integrative medicine is one of the subjects at Stamford Hospital’s mini-medical school … Sierra Tucson has linked with Univresity of Arizona to help educate students their integrative programs for treating addictions … OhioHealth promotes its integrative medicine program– but without any evidence of who the providers may be …