November 2012 John Weeks Integrator Round-up covering the topics of:  Policy, Business, Integrative Centers, Academics, Natural Products, Professions, and People

American Board of Integrative Medicine (ABOIM) posts eligibility requirements for MDs/DOs in integrative medicine

The American Board of Integrative Medicine (ABOIM), a new entity taking shape under the umbrella of the American Board of Physician Specialties, has declared its eligibility requirements. Medical doctors or osteopaths or British MDs who have finished normal residencies can be accepted to sit for the exam. Their training in integrative medicine can be either completion of a fellowship in integrative medicine or, as an option, a full, a four year residential program in naturopathic medicine, a National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine-recognized acupuncture and Oriental medicine program, or a chiropractic program accredited through the Council on Chiropractic Education. In addition, applicants “must currently hold, or previously have held, board certification granted by an American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS), American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), American Osteopathic Association (AOA) or a Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) Board.” 

Comment: This is the first significant news from ABOIM (as it will be known) since September 2011 when the initiative was announced. (See the Integrator Special Report on the initiative to create the Board and the 20 voices of an Integrator Forum on the subject.) The focus on MDs/DOs will disappoint some. Once the University of Arizona and their colleagues entered the ABPS zone, they were committed to this direction. Credit them for formally honoring the depth and breadth of the ND, AOM and DC programs as providing the requisite training . That was a giant step out of the guild box. In an email give-and-take with a group of non-MDs/DOs about the ABOIM requirements, one naturopathic physician remarked: “What is most important here is that in the struggle for existence against the traditional US Medical System, integrative medicine has created a very strong foothold.  Our allies and friends have reached a new position of strength and recognition that can only benefit us all.” Well said.


Holistic nurses in “Joining Forces” initiative for Veterans

The American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA) last spring signed on to the Joining Forces campaign led by First Lady Michelle Obama, Dr. Jill Biden, and the White House “to bring mainstream awareness to Veteran issues.” These include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) according to an October AHNA notice to members. As part of their commitment to veterans, the AHNA dedicated the October 2012 Beginnings magazine to “Holistic Nurses Caring for Veterans.” Explains Glenda Christaens Ph.D, RN, AHN-BC, AHNA president: “The expectation is to educate and bring greater awareness to holistic nurses across the country with the goal of providing improved person-centered care to Veterans and their families.” The six-part feature describes various roles holistic nurses are playing in treating veterans.

Comment: Pleasing to see the typically insular AHNA reach out and connect to an external initiative. I hope that one day soon they will see the value in joining their colleagues in additional change agency initiatives, such as membership in the Partners for Health of the Integrative Healthcare Policy Consortium.


Chiropractic group rescinds recognition of pediatrics certification program

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) announced November 1, 2012 that it has rescinded its recognition of a pediatrics certification program administered by the International College of Chiropractic Pediatrics (ICCP). The ACA made the move on learning “that certain requirements of the ICCP Board violate industry standards and could potentially affect public safety.” At issue was a requirement that those sitting for the board must also be members of Council on Chiropractic Pediatrics of the International Chiropractic Association (ICA). ICA is a separate national organization for chiropractors. The ACA views the membership requirement as giving a professional organization “undue influence on examination writers and testers or graders, potentially compromising the validity of the certification process.” The president of the ACA’s own Council on Chiropractic Pediatrics, Elise Hewitt, DC, DICCP, explains: “After ACA had lengthy discussions with both ICA and ICCP leaders, these organizations decided to continue their membership requirement. In rescinding our recognition of the ICCP Board, we have acted to prioritize public safety.”  The release concludes with a note that “aside from this issue, the ACA Council on Chiropractic Pediatrics and the ICA Pediatrics Council have had a successful five-year alliance, including collaboration on joint conferences.” More detail on the decision is here

Comment: Seem a pretty simply thing to clean up. But given the depth of the fighting between the two organizations on various fronts, the present outcome is not surprising. I contacted Hewitt for further comment. She responded via email: “You’re so right in your comment about this being an easy thing to clean up! It’s really just an issue of professional evolution for the pediatrics board. The ICCP started out as a small board for one organization and has since grown into a profession-wide certification board. Now the ICCP simply has to allow its policies to evolve as well in order to be able to retain autonomy in the certification process. Limiting certification solely to members of the ICA Pediatrics Council unnecessarily limits those who can attain certification. Ideally, the ICCP certification should be available to all chiropractors who wish to specialize in chiropractic pediatrics.”