John Weeks’ September 2012 Integrator Round-up covering news updates on Education

Milestone: Ornish program credited for allowing first CME-approved conference to teach MDs to do yoga

“I’ve had the three previous CME applications that covered the topic of yoga approved by the American Academy of Family Physicians. They didn’t previously approve non-medically trained presenters. Last year they specifically wrote that the approval was for ‘presenting the evidence that yoga is effective, but not approved to teach the practice itself.’ This year I included non-medically trained yoga teachers/therapists, and I included specific wording in the needs assessment/statement of purpose, and the course objectives, that participants would be learning yoga tools and breathing techniques for wellness and stress reduction.”

These are the words of integrative clinician and Satkirin Khalsa, MD, the director of Albuquerque Integrated HealthMedicine. She wrote them to Integrator adviser and integrative center consultant Glenn Sabin, of Fon Therapeutics about her course at the Mountain Pose Medicine and Yoga Festival. Khalsa credits the program of Dean Ornish, MD and particularly its Medicare coverage, for the CME credit approval: “I know of no other CME course that’s been accredited by a national organization like the AAFP, approving yoga teachers to teach for CME. Based on the Ornish program, and the stress reduction/yoga ‘pillar’ that is now approved by Medicare. Physician wellness CME courses are a new concept.” Khalsa submitted these as CME programs for Provider Wellness. Sabin’s blog post on the topic is here.

Comment: First, good for Khalsa, good for health, and thanks Glenn. The emergent provider wellness theme recalled to mind a self-care point colleagues in the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care recently made. Reviewing some widely referenced competencies for interprofessional care developed by medical doctors, nurses, pharmacists and others from within the biomedical model, they saw self-care missing. To a competency field related to “Values and Ethics,” these integrative health educators added this simple line: “VE11. Demonstrate personal behaviors and self-care practices that reflect optimal health and wellness.” There is little question that providing CME credit for yoga, as for other processes for healers to heal their selves, is a quiet step in the right direction toward righting our system. Fine perseverance from Khalsa.