John Weeks January 2013 Integrator Round-up covering the topics of Integratve Healthcare Policy; Integrative Clinical Care; Academics & Education; International; Philanthropy; People

Exiting the Ivory Tower #1:  Focus on “practice” in the interprofessional education (IPE) movement

Comment: The interprofessional education (IPE) movement in conventional health professional education has been recognized by many integrative health leaders as an open door for integrative health values and for the so-called CAM disciplines. Integrative medicine at is best, like IPE, see health as a team sport. And what “patient-centered” initiative would leave out the licensed “CAM” practitioners? So it is notable that the announcement of the new, $13.5-million National Center for Interprofessional Practice & Education (NCIPE) was called what it was; meaning, “practice” is prioritized over “education.”

This is a welcome shift. It marks a focus on the real world that was called for in the powerful 2010 report in The Lancet, Health Professionals for a New Century. Written on the centennial of the 1910 Flexner Report, the Lancet document was a necessary corrective to the silos, top-down patriarchy, and focus on expertise in-patient practices that were both intended and unintended consequences of Flexner. The prioritization of “practice” by NCIPE director Barbara Brandt, PhD, and the team with which she is working is a next step in translating the real world focus of the Lancet into practice. It’s a step away from the harmful insulation of the ivory tower. This is good for health care and for the community-based, outcomes focus of much of the integrative practice community.

Exiting the Ivory Tower #2:  Student-faculty-practitioner combination at Oregon College of Oriental Medicine opens state Medicaid program to acupuncture treatment

A story in Acupuncture Today, History in the Making from Oregon Practitioners and Students, tells how a remarkable collaboration of students, researchers and a professional association opened Oregon Medicaid to acupuncture treatment. On April 1, 2012, “acupuncture for the treatment of pregnancy, depression and mood disorders, tension headache and migraine has been added to the Oregon Health Plan (OHP).” Students at Oregon College of Oriental Medicine were organized through an associate of the college’s research department, as part of OCOM’s Masters’ of Acupuncture program, to put a required research project to use in the real world. The subsequent student searches for supportive data fed efforts led by Laura Ocker, LAc, head of the Oregon Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, that the association submitted to the state’s Health Evidence Review Committee (HERC). The April inclusion decisions followed. In the current phase of the project, students will focus on arming OCCAOM for submissions “of high quality research on neck pain and osteoarthritis” for HERC’s next prioritized list in 2014.

Comment: My organizer’s mind immediately imagines such efforts mutiplied many times over in the educational programs in represented by the councils of colleges and schools of the licensed CAM disciplines, and in the integrative medicine programs. Resources are tight. This is a great appropriation of free labor for good, public health purposes.

Heal the healers: Samueli and Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences team to teach medical students good lifestyle habits

A program that focused on yoga and meditation was offered to 4th year medical students December 6-7, 2012 via a partnership between the Samueli Institute and Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences. In a letter to Samueli Institute subscribers, CEO Wayne Jonas, MD credited the former Army Surgeon General LTG (RET) Eric Schoomaker, MD, MPH, for organizing the event. Jonas views the military as ahead of the pack of regular medical schools in helping new practitioners practice good health habits. The importance, says Jonas, lies in evidence that “physicians and other health care practitioners who engage in more healthful activities such as non-smoking, better diet and more exercise are the ones who also discuss and work with their patients more on these topics.” More than 170 medical students attended the training, which was mandatory, as is noted in this account at  

Selected Conference Links

This list of conferences particularly focuses on those that have an integrative health focus or component.