John Weeks’ August 2012 Round-up on Academic Medicine

Translating research: Haramati/Harazduk mindbody train-the-trainer program influences health professional education on both sides of the Atlantic

Joseph Colette, ND, LAc, is the chair for biomedicine at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine. He describes this way his experience with a 3-day intensive, faculty-training program entitled Educating for Enhanced Self-Awareness and Self-Care: An Experiential Faculty Training in Mind-Body Medicine:

“When I first heard about the Georgetown body mind program and the possibility of being trained as a facilitator, the whole concept resonated with me. In many medical educational institutions, OCOM being no exception, stress and burnout of students and faculty is commonplace. This program seemed to be a good antidote to that. From the initial research at Georgetown, to the experiential workshop at an IAMSE conference, to the training sessions with Adi [Haramati] and Nancy [Harazduk], this program became a good fit for our institution. Our mission statement explicitly states that we engage in “…educating highly skilled and compassionate practitioners…”

“My co-facilitator, Nancy Grotton, and I have led two groups, one consisting of ten students and one of ten faculty/staff members. The response from the participants has been overwhelmingly positive, as has the response from the greater OCOM community. There is a palpable change and excitement around the mind body work in which we are engaged. The participants’ lives have clearly been touched and positively altered by their engagement with the work of increasing self awareness. I am very gratified to see such deep commitment by our institution to this project. ”

The three-day program, led by Georgetown University integrative medicine leaders Aviad (Adi) Haramati, PhD and Nancy Harazduk, MEd, MSW, is offered through the not-for-profit Institute for Integrative Health. The focus is on training the trainers and building mind-body programs inside educational institutions. Just 10 students are accepted at a time to the program. It has now been offered six times. Participants have come from institutions ranging from a triad in Oregon (OCOM, Oregon Health Sciences University, University of Western States (a principally chiropractic institution) to the University of Maryland, Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine and medical schools in Germany and Sweden. Joe Brimhall, DC, president of the University of Western States comments: “The mind-body training provide students with tools and practices that they can employ to improve their ability to provide effective and compassionate care.  It also gives health care providers valuable modalities and procedures that they can utilize with patients to enhance health and wellness.”

One German participant who took the training is well-known integrative medicine leader, Claudia Witt, MD, MBA, a professor at the Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics at Charité University Medical Center in Berlin. Asked about her experience, Witt commented: “It is a great program which includes an element of reflective self-care into medical studies and supports the aim to train a generation of ‘better’ doctors.” Witt adds that two faculty memebrs have taken the training and they have since trained 3 more.

Comment: Haramati came to his leadership in integrative medicine via research nearly a decade ago, via an NCCAM R-25 grant. One of the first things he did was recruit Nancy Harazduk as director of the Mind-Body Medicine Program to oversee the training and curriculum. Their team examined the effects of mind-body interventions of medical students. The outcomes of that study included, according to researcher Geoffrey Wong, MA, “helping advance several desirable educational goals.” Among these: reduce perceived stress, increase mindfulness, increase self-awareness and foster empathy  (See The Future of MD Education: Empathy, Roses and Respect Via Georgetown and U Minnesota Pilots.)

Credit Haramati, Harazduk and the Georgetown mindbody/integrative health team for taking their own research seriously and creating this program to translate it into educational practice. Credit them also for the multidisciplinary focus. One positive side-effect is that this intensive is likely a significant interprofessional experience for participants.


UCLA Center for East-West Medicine (CEWM) offers new fellowship in East-West Primary Care

The UCLA Center for East-West Medicine (CEWM) has announced that it is offering a new fellowship in East-West Primary Care. The fellowship is designed for medical doctors who have completed an accredited residency program in internal medicine. This two-year program is described as “a person-centered approach operating within the biopsychosocial framework with a strong emphasis on self-care to help solve clinical problems while incorporating many diagnostic approaches and therapeutic modalities originating from traditional Chinese medicine.” The release notes that the program is linked to “a planned expansion (of present clinical services to) a full-service integrative health center which merges primary care seamlessly with the East-West specialty consultative clinic.” The UCLA Center, led by Ka-Kit Hui, MD, presently provides roughly 13,000 patient visits each year through its clinical services. The Center already has an East West integrative medicine fellowship and a nurse practitioner fellowship.

Comment: My reading of the residency support in the planned new National coordinating center for Integrative Medicine would include this among the various emerging integrative medicine residencies that may benefit through the broader coordinating initiative. This appears to be the most significant such residency the zeroes in on the East-West integration.