by John Weeks, Publisher Editor of The Integrator Blog News & Reports Column honors Bravewell Collaborative at the time of their announced "sun setting" – with an appearance by Hillary Clinton The opportunity to attend the fifth and final Bravewell Gala (with

by John Weeks, Publisher/Editor of The Integrator Blog News & Reports 

Column honors Bravewell Collaborative at the time of their announced “sun-setting” – with an appearance by Hillary Clinton

The opportunity to attend the fifth and final Bravewell Gala (with the sponsorship of a Bravewell member) at which president Christy Mack announced the decision of the organization of philanthropists in integrative medicine to “sunset” its operations, led me to write this for the Huffington Post: Honoring How Powerful Consumers Known as Bravewell Implanted Integrative Medicine in the System. The whole system, strategic approach to investment of this group of philanthropists – mainly vital women in the 55-70 range – sequentially boosted this field in numerous, powerful ways: infrastructure, education, authority, evidence, visibility and leadership.  There is truly a remarkable legacy. Of special note is a comment on the Huffington Post article from Mack, the second and final president. She underscores a point which she likes to make when introducing her view of the field of integrative medicine with any audience: “Integrative Medicine is not complementary and alternative medicine.”

: I have had my differences with Bravewell’s strategy – mainly with its essential disregard of the potential value in investing in any organizations or initiatives not run by MDs (with the exception of one integrative nursing program). The choice, and of course it is hers and theirs to make, has always felt essentially non-integrative and old-medicine – hardly transformative. Meantime, one cannot complain about the ability of these women to access power. One visitor to the cocktail party at the Gala was Hillary Clinton. Those with long memories will know that candidate Clinton has a deep association with the field. She convened a 1993 meeting at the White House of 20 alternative medicine leaders. This was a break-through moment for the field back when she was running the ill-fated Clinton healthcare reform. Her presence, alongside the leaders of the Institute of Medicine media personality Mehmet Oz, MD, was a fitting closing touch.

Robert Wood Johnson funds Kaptchuk’s placebo work at Harvard

Better late than never department (re my reporting): earlier this year the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) awarded a $250,000 “Pioneering Ideas” grant to Harvard’s Ted Kaptchuk, OMD, to support his Program in Placebo Studies at Harvard University. As shared in this blog on the RWJF site, the influential foundation sees this grant as “just one way we’re exploring the power of non-medical interventions to change behavior and improve health outcomes, from behavioral economics to positive health.”

Comment:  This is among the first significant RWJF grants, if not the first, to anyone associated significantly with the integrative health and medicine movement, with which Kaptchuk, a licensed acupuncturist, is. (The foundation once made a small grant to support an Urban Zen initiative.) The last time that placebo was a significant bridge to these fields was that the exploration of the placebo’s value was the closest that NIH NCCAM director Josie Briggs had been to the field before her appointment to her role in early 2008. Whatever it takes. 

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