Johh Weeks July 2012 Round-up on Professions covering updates on: American Board of Integrative Medicine; AMA discrimination against non-MD health professions; AMSA joins the IHPC; NUHS presidency.

Dumoff: Community integrative MDs concerned that inclusion criterion of the new American Board of Integrative Medicine will favor fellowship graduates

The attorney and adviser to a consortium of integrative physician organizations, Alan Dumoff, JD, MSW, has called the potential inclusion criterion of a new American Board of Integrative Medicine (ABoIM) “angst-inducing.” The ABoIM is backed in its move to gain recognition from the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) by the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine which offers by far the most influential Fellowship in Integrative Medicine in the country. Dumoff’s sometimes client, the Integrative Medicine Consortium (IMC), is led by community-based integrative physicians who have not completed fellowships. Instead, they have learned via colleagues and seminars and certificate programs.

In a guest column in The Integrator Dumoff writes: “The eligibility criteria to sit for the examination, and inclusiveness of how core competencies are defined, will have a dramatic effect on the future of integrative medical practice. If eligibility is limited to graduates of academic fellowships, the more adventurous physicians who have been able to develop functional medicine to surprisingly complex levels, in part because they have been free of academic medicine, will risk losing the credential for the very field they have been central to creating. For these (integrative physicians) who would be excluded, an ABPS credential could provide well-deserved armor against the scorn of uninformed peers.” Notably, the IMC has also queried the ABoIM on allowing naturopathic physicians to sit for certification. 

Comment: The University of Arizona’s move has stimulated a huge outpouring of interest. See Strategic Shift: Weil’s Arizona Center Leads Push for MD Board Certification in Integrative Medicine. The backers of the initiative have not shared developments since the announcement. Now have they formally responded to the IMC and others that attempted engagement on key issues, such as grand-fathering, on which Dumoff touches, and interprofessional education. Dumoff’s column and some comments are here.


AMA considers additional resolution in favor of discrimination against non-MD health professions

The membership of the Coalition for Patients Rights (CPR) received a heads-up note June 20, 2012 regarding a proposed Resolution 241 (A-12) under consideration by the American Medical Association House of Delegates. The proposed resolution requested that the AMA “promptly initiate a specific lobbying effort and grassroots campaign” to repeal the provider nondiscrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act. The note, from nurse anesthetist Maureen Shekleton, PhD, RN, FAAN, a “professional relations specialist” for her profession, continues: “This is not new activity from the AMA and, in fact, the AMA’s reference committee that heard the resolution recommended just reaffirming existing AMA policy on this issue, but the HOD asked for a report back at the November 2012 Interim Meeting.” The motion was brought forward by the Arizona Delegation of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. A report from the AMA on actions taken at the meeting did not mention the non-discrimination issue. Shekleton anticipates increased AMA activity to prevent the non-discrimination statute from shaping care after 2014. The American Chiropractic Association, American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, American Association for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and Integrated Healthcare Policy Consortium are each listed as members of CPR.

Comment: The AMA action on this is likely to be as widely advertised as are actions of any groups that engage organized bigotry. Good that the CPR is tracking it. Notably, the state backing this action, Arizona, is known, lately, for promoting other forms of institutional racism.

Credit the AMA: In other news, the AMA House called for mandatory pre-market safety testing of genetically engineered foods as part of a revised policy. Good for the AMA. Why not spend more of your time on this and less on suppressing other disciplines? (Thanks to Walter Crinnion, ND for this link.)


American Medical Student Association (AMSA) joins the Integrated Healthcare Policy Consortium (IHPC)

A note from Kristina King, the National Medical Professional Action Committee and Integrative Medicine Coordinator for the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) arrived in late June: “The AMSA Board of Trustees has agreed to join Partners for Health with the Integrated Healthcare Policy Consortium (IHPC).” Asked for background on the decision, King ticked off IHPC’s accomplishments and added in a note:  “The American Medical Student Association, recognizing the importance of coordinating efforts to advance healthcare policy that is prevention-oriented, equitable and integrated, chooses to become a member of Partners for Health. There is no question that AMSA will be an important member of Partners for Health – bringing to IHPC’s deliberations the day-to-day concerns of providing high quality integrated care. This is a synergistic partnership. As physicians work every day to deliver the best possible care to patients, IHPC is working to strengthen and undergird their efforts by advancing the bedrock changes needed to make integrated health care a functioning reality in the U.S. There is no doubt that together, IHPC and AMSA will accomplish great things.”

Comment: AMSA’s open and affirming view of diversity is particularly warming as the AMA (see above) continues to favor discrimination. It’s also terrific to see IHPC expanding its base in its Partners for Health program. The IHPC’s partners range from organizations representing massage therapists and licensed acupuncturists to the MD-dominated and multidisciplinary American Academy of Pain Management and the MD/DO only American Institute for Homeopathy. AMSA joins the Naturopathic Medical Students Association as the second medical student organization to join IHPC. 


Interview provides insight into perspectives of new AANP CEO Jud Richland

The June 2012 Integrator Round-up noted that the former director of the Partnership for Prevention, Jud Richland, has chosen to take a position as CEO of the American Association for Naturopathic Physicians (AANP). In an interview in the Natural Medicine Journal, the official journal of the AANP, Richlands’s first words are: “The most important reason I sought this role is that I share the same values about health and wellness as naturopathic physicians. I believe that empowering people to take control of their own health is the foundation for living a happy, energetic, and fulfilling life. Our current health system, however, is not geared toward empowering people; it’s not geared toward treating the whole person or addressing root causes of illness. Therefore, we need to reorient the health system, and I wouldn’t have accepted this job if I didn’t think AANP was well positioned to help do so. Although the task is challenging, naturopathic physicians are agents for change, and I’ll do everything I can to help them become even more effective.”

Richland ticks off his top 3 goals, pre-articulated by the AANP board: make sure every individual has access to a naturopathic physician if he or she so desires; ensure every naturopathic physician has the opportunity to be successful; and third, accelerate the pace at which healthcare institutions and the healthcare system at large evolve toward an emphasis on wellness and prevention. 

Comment: I cannot think of a better bio for a CEO of the national professional organization for the naturopathic doctors than Richland. Here’s a postulate on AANP’s priorities as laid out by Richland: by focusing the AANP heavily on truly providing outspoken leadership on #3, it will draw to it the energy that will help it fulfill on #1 and #2. This is a community organizing strategy. Relatively poor organizations can’t buy visibility and influence and so need to create it through their actions. Richland would seemed to be beautifully position in a network of national leaders in prevention for such a strategy. What we need are thorough models of whole-person, clinical prevention and health promotion that are linked to respect for community methods that need to be engaged at address the determinants of health. The NDs are position to do this. Here’s hoping the best for Richland’s ability to empower the enthusiasm he has already found in the ND community.


Jim Winterstein, DC to step down from NUHS presidency in 2013

Jim Winterstein, DC, the most outspoken advocate of chiropractic medicine (vs ‘chiropractic’) and chiropractic physicians (vs. chiropractors or chiropractic doctors) and of chiropractors as part of the solution to the nation’s need for primary care, has announced that he will retire in June 2013 after 27 years as president of National University of Health Sciences. A proponent of an integrative healthcare system that relies more heavily on various forms of natural healthcare, Winterstein re-shaped the National College of Chiropractic to a university structure with programs in acupuncture and Oriental medicine, massage and naturopathic medicine, and a strong research department. His successor will be Joseph Stiefels, MS, DC, EdD (Cand.) who currently heads up NUHS’ Florida campus. Winterstein, who turns 70 shortly before the transition, had told the board he thought he should resign, will continue involved with NUHS as president emeritus

Comment: Winterstein is one of natural healthcare’s warriors. He has also been an Integrator subject and contributor: from an article about the transformation of NUHS under his guidance to numerous comments in Reader Forums over the years. (Search Winterstein on the site.) I personally honor Winterstein for his multidisciplinary vision and his decisions to involve his institution financially, and via the volunteerism of key personnel, in the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care. Anyone who knows Jim will be likely to guess that, as emeritus, his presence will continue to be felt.