Jill’s List invites LAc, DCs and massage therapists to pilot referral program with 3 Boston medical centers Applications are open to Boston area massage therapists, acupuncturists and chiropractors to become credentialed participants in a new program with Boston Medical Center,

Jill’s List invites LAc, DCs and massage therapists to pilot referral program with 3 Boston medical centers 

Applications are open to Boston-area massage therapists, acupuncturists and chiropractors to become credentialed participants in a new program with Boston Medical Center, Spaulding Rehab Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The initiative, developed and managed by Jill’s List, is called Comprehensive Medicine for All. The internet-based business is seeking 30 practitioners for a 3-month initiative. The site tells prospective participants that if they “would like to participate in this program you must be willing to donate 2-4 hours of pro bono time per week to the Pilot Program.” With this labor comes potential reward: “Hospitals will refer both MASS HEALTH patients and patients who are willing to pay out of pocket for treatments not covered by insurance.” Jill Shah, founder of the well-connected internet start-up, hopes to see the program flourish in Boston then expand to other major metropolitan areas. Among those on the Jill’s List advisory board are Mark Hyman, MD, David Reilly, MD, former editor of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine (ATHM), Michele Mittelman, RN, ATHM’s former nursing editor and a Bravewell member, plus former Bravewell member and thought leader Linda Stone.  

Comment: I have on occasion spoken with Shah, an experienced internet entrepreneur. Each time I have been impressed by her quick grasp and constructive reframing of both the challenges and opportunities in the integrative space she is seeking to create for Jill’s List.  She and the organization get 5 stars for understanding the critical importance of relationship-building behind this pilot. Relationships seems to be key to the network’s emerging business model.


 Educators from licensed CAM disciplines publish Competencies for Optimal Practice in Integrated Environments   

An organization of educator leaders in chiropractic medicine, acupuncture and Oriental medicine, naturopathic medicine, massage therapy, direct-entry midwifery and related fields announced in May 2011 a set of collaboratively-developed Competencies for Optimal Practice in Integrated Environments.  Mike Wiles, DC, MEd,vice president and provost at Northwestern University of Health Sciences explains the importance of the initiative: 

“The era of integration is here. Yet the educational standards and clinical models of the licensed integrative healthcare disciplines are generally not emphasizing integrative models of care. These competencies focus us all on the current and future needs of providers.” 

The work was engaged in late 2009 through the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care (ACCAHC). One of Wiles’ collaborators, Jan Schwartz, MA, a massage professional and online educator with Education Training Solutions, notes in an ACCAHC release that the organization’s “central focus going forward is the development and hosting of an extensive body of resources that will assist educators, students, clinicians and administrators toward bettering patient care through the identified competencies.” ACCAHC, notes Schwartz, is seeking philanthropic partners to create what it calls the Center for Optimal Integration as a clearinghouse and organizing site for this work. Other leaders of the Competencies initiative are Marcia Prenguber, ND and Jason Wright, MS, LAc. (Alignment of interest note: I was involved in ACCAHC’s work to develop the competencies.)

Comment: When conventional medicine dropped a box over scores of disciplines and therapies and declared them “CAM,” they created false community. Author Kurt Vonnegut calls this a “granfalloon.” These collaboratively-developed competencies, on the other hand, are a significant declaration of an actual community of interest. ACCAHC plans to ensure that the competencies don’t merely gather dust on a shelf by creating the Center for Optimal Integration. This portal will work to continuously re-invest the involved fields in this work in collaborating to enhance optimal integration. Note the parallel with the work of the 6 conventional academic fields noted in the article on collaboratively-developed team care competencies in this Round-up. The medium is the message. Marshall McLuhan would like this. 


Briggs’ cites promotion of healthy behaviors as reason for MDs to talk CAM with patients; 25 CAM-related practice guidelines posted   

The new Resources for Health Care Providers portal on the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine website includes links to 25 practice guidelines with CAM/IM components from conventional sources. These range from Alternative Therapies for Parkinson’s Disease (Neurology) to Integrative Oncology in Lung Cancer (ACCP) and Management of Traumatic Stress Disorder and Acute Stress Reaction (Veteran’s/Department of Defense). Each is presented as a down-loadable PDF. That NCCAM is proud of the new site is clear in this audio-file transcript of an interview with NCCAM director Josephine Briggs, MD. In her comments on the site, Briggs is asked why conventional practitioners should routinely be talking about CAM with their patients. She notes three reasons. One is potentially negative drug-herb-nutrient interactions. Another is the possibility that a patient is inappropriately using the alternative in lieu of a proven conventional treatment. The third, states Briggs, is: 

“CAM practices are used by many Americans to promote health and it’s also a valuable entry for the healthcare provider to talk about health behaviors. The advice that we need to be more active and eat a healthy diet is one that patients need to take charge of themselves and talking about their health practices, the whole range of health practices, is a very good way as a physician, and I know this from my own care patients, to begin that dialogue.”

Comment: Credit Briggs for linking evidence that people use CAM therapies and providers for health-promoting reasons to the ongoing campaign for conventional doctors to discuss CAM use with their patients. The other 2 reasons (interactions, missed care) cast CAM the black hat role that is most comfortable for her conservative colleagues. Briggs’ 3rd reason, however, is affirmative. The question of CAM use is urged to kick-start a conventional practitioner’s shift out of reactivity toward more focus on health promotion. CAM stimulates stimulates changing the medical interaction toward a focus on health. This is high honor. Meantime, NCCAM provides a great resource by pulling all these guidelines into one place. Good work.

American Society for Clinical Oncology featured integrative track    

According to a blog post from Glenn Sabin, a board member for the Society for Integrative Oncology, complementary and integrative medicine had a heightened profile at the 2011 meeting of the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO). Sabin notes that his own efforts and those of others led to inclusion of a 5-speaker, 2-hour afternoon session entitled “Extended Education Session: Role of Nutrition, Supplements, and Integrative Medicine in Cancer Prevention, Treatment, and Survivorship.” The integrated group of presenters included an ND, MD, 2 PhD, RDs and PhD researchers. In addition, the naturopathic doctor, Heather Greenlee, ND, PhD, and Gary Deng, MD delivered oral poster presentations. Sabin links the integrative interest to the “buzz this year around personalized oncology.”

Comment: This is nice sign for ASCO, if rather remedial, given the comparison of governmental funding of integrated care cancer clinics in British Columbia. (See Policy, above.)


Penny George Institute offers programs to educate massage therapists and acupuncturists on becoming integrative practitioners 

The Penny George Institute, which operates the nation’s leading inpatient-outpatient integration operation, offers three programs this summer as part of its Integrative Health in the Hospital Setting program.