John Weeks July 2013 Integrator Round-up covering the topics of Integrative health care policy, research and publications, integrative practice, academic medicine, professions, natural products, conferences, people

Iris Bell, MD leads team in JAMA Internal Medicine publication on systems outcomes in integrative medicine

University of Arizona researcher Iris Bell, MD led a team that published Integrative Medicine and Systemic Outcomes Research: Issues in the Emergence of a New Model for Primary Health Care in JAMA Internal Medicine. The abstract states that integrative medicine is not merely the addition of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Rather: “Integrative medicine represents a higher-order system of systems of care that emphasizes wellness and healing of the entire person (bio-psycho-socio-spiritual dimensions) as primary goals, drawing on both conventional and CAM approaches in the context of a supportive and effective physician-patient relationship.” Bell and team focus on related research issues: “Thus, unlike biomedical research that typically examines parts of health care and parts of the individual, one at a time, but not the complete system, integrative outcomes research advocates the study of the whole …The systemic outcomes encompass the simultaneous, interactive changes within the whole person.”

Comment: This is an excellent piece of work in an area where the integrative medicine community should provide leadership. And not just for the field. More importantly, focusing on multiple agents and systemic outcomes can help us cut the umbilicus that forces health care to struggle on the thin sustenance of single agent, reductive trials. Here’s hoping that the Consortium for Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine, with which Bell’s team at the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine is involved, will begin to use its 57 member organizational base to open the channels of new research methods which will allow the application of whole person care for diabetes, heart disease, cancer and every other chronic condition to thrive. 


NCI calls for submissions on the role of integrative medicine in cancer survivorship

The National Cancer Institute has issued a call for submissions to a monograph to be called The Role of Integrative Oncology in Cancer Survivorship. The NCI positions the call at “the convergence of the two exciting new fields, cancer survivorship and integrative oncology.” These, the NCI notes, “create enormous opportunities to ask important research questions and to develop innovative clinical models to promote the long term health and wellbeing for cancer survivors.” The monograph is sponsored by the Society for Integrative Oncology, Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine, the Abramson Cancer Center at University of Pennsylvania, Allina Health, Beth Israel Medical Center, University of Hawaii, and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The guest editors are Lorenzo Cohen, PhD from MD Anderson Cancer Center and June J. Mao, MD, MSCE of University of Pennsylvania.

Comment: Integrative oncology center consultant and cancer survivor Glenn Sabin of FON Therapeutics forwarded news of this special report with a brief comment: “Pretty big deal for the field.” I’d say so. As a person post-cancer whose career and colleagues helped him in ways that this monograph will likely help others, I urge everyone to contribute in any way possible to this publication.