John Weeks February 2013 Integrator Round-up covering the topic of Education

Tai Sophia Institute Become Maryland University for Integrative Health

It is no secret that in recent years one of the nation’s most significant institutional players in educating acupuncturists has been adding multiple new programs and moving toward university status. On February 11, 2013, the Tai Sophia Institute in Howard County, Maryland announced that it has been approved for university status and will change its name to the Maryland University for Integrative Health (MUIH). Stated president Frank Vitale, MBA: “In achieving university status, we strongly feel that Maryland University of Integrative Health is on its way to becoming the preeminent institution in this country in the area of integrative health. This designation validates our academic excellence and is a significant milestone. It also positions us as leaders in bridging ancient wisdom and contemporary science.” In the last three years, MUIH has seen its enrollment jump from 400 to more than 730 graduate students and its academic programs grow from four to 18. In the release, the institution defines integrative health as “an evidence- and effectiveness-based model that considers physical, mental, spiritual, and lifestyle influences on health, is steadily becoming a desirable treatment option and career path for many people.” Notably, the institution announced in January its most recent offering, a Master of Science in Health Promotion.

Comment: Kudos to Vitale, his executive vice president and provost Judi Broida, PhD, and their team. They set the goal of recognition as a university, and via a stepwise process, achieved it. The name change surprised me. I like the poetry of Tai Sophia. At the same time, to letting the institution’s name directly say what it is and market, as happens with Maryland University for Integrative Health, makes sense.

Choosing to tie the institution to “integrative health” is intriguing. This is a relatively new concept in the culture. The term has elevated during the Institute of Medicine Summit on Integrative Medicine and the Health of the Public. There it became clear that most of those assembled favored the more unifying and value-laden “integrative health” to “integrative medicine” as a descriptor of the movement. The following year the concept appeared in federal policy, in some sections of the Affordable Care Act. I personally find the term the most comfortable way to speak of these fields, as in advancing the values of integrative health. The landscape has shifted with this institution declaring in its name for an integrative health future. My personal hope would be that MUIH will take full advantage of its position in the Nation’s beltway to direct its leadership in integrative health to policy leadership.  


Have Tables, Will Travel: Palmer College of Chiropractic West’s “Portable Clinics” in the South Bay Area

Greg Snow, DC is the dean of clinics at Palmer West in San Jose, California. I recently became aware of the institution’s clinical programs that both provide educational opportunities and service to the under-served and asked Snow for some information. He provided this brief synopsis of the school’s “outreach clinic program.” 

Snow reported: “For more than 20 years, Palmer College’s West Campus has developed and operated outreach clinics in the South Bay area serving those whose health care resources are limited or non-existent, including the homeless, individuals battling substance-abuse addictions, and low income seniors. The West Campus outreach clinics are an integral part of the student doctor’s educational experience, and “community health” is part of the College’s ongoing mission. West Campus outreach clinics are based at off-site facilities managed by social service agencies: the Salvation Army, Emergency Housing Consortium, and Ecumenical Association of Housing. The outreach clinics are staffed by clinicians and interns from the campus-based Palmer Chiropractic Clinic in San Jose. These clinics provide care that is well in excess of $100,000 annually.”

He explained that with the exception of the Salvation Army clinic, the clinics are each located in common areas at the respective sites. Each clinic is set-up for operations each shift, portable tables and transported files that are typically in secured storage on site between clinic days. These are taken down at the end of the day.

Comment: A useful research project would be to estimate the total contribution to the under-served, in visits and in dollars, of all of the outreach clinics of all of the schools that educate professionals for the licensed “CAM” disciplines. The finding would be significant.


Website Goes Live for Clinical Care Conference Sponsored by CAHCIM
The website for the first International Congress for Clinicians in Complementary and Integrative Medicine (ICCCIM) which will be held October 29-31, 2013 in Chicago is live. Call for papers will be sent out February 28, 2013 with the close on April 26, 2013.

Comment: The content of this conference, organized by academic integrative medicine leaders, will be an interesting comparator to, for instance, an Institute for Functional Medicine conference, or the Integrative Healthcare Symposium. The latter two represent the “town” side of the gown/town split between integrative medicine’s ivory tower and its streets. Either could reasonably be sub-headed as a conference “for clinicians in complementary and integrative medicine.” How will ICCCIM content differ? What portion will include forms of researched outcomes? Will exploration of clinical care in integrative clinic structures suggest more content on work by teams? Interestingly, CAHCIM did not choose to partner with the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care on this Congress as they did for a recent congress for educators. Consider submitting!


Bastyr University: Two Articles on the Impacts of the Affordable Care Act on the “CAM” Professions

Bastyr University has had Jon Hiskes research two articles that explore the role that the Affordable Care Act is having or may have on the “CAM” community and on naturopathic medicine in particular. The first is Health Care Law Creates Openings for CAM Fields and the second is entitled Health Care Reform Extends Reach of Naturopathic Medicine. The former includes some specific information relative to acupuncture, midwifery, mental health, physical therapy and nutrition.