John Weeks April 2013 Integrator Round-up covering the topic of Integratve Healthcare Academics

University of Arizona Center considers integrative health academic program for allied health

The University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine sent a survey in mid-March to test interest in what they are styling an “Integrative Health & Lifestyle Program.” The focus will be “to teach allied health care professionals foundational integrative health.” The e-note urging recipients to take the survey state: “The objective is to build the optimal health care team for patients and promote self-care and wellness for health care providers. Additionally, we are exploring a health coaching certification component to provide the skills required for successful patient adherence to an integrative health plan.”

Comment: Interesting to see the “integrative health” language used here at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, the fount of “integrative medicine.” The Center’s new clinic in Phoenix is also styled the Integrative Health Center. 


Temple University becomes 52nd academic health center in integrative medicine consortium

The Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine announced on March 29, 2013 that Temple University’s has been accepted for membership. Judith Balk, MD from Temple’s department of OBGyn will serve as point person with the Consortium. To apply for membership, institutions must have integrative medicine activities in at least two of the three leading health professions interest areas — education, clinical, research – and support for the application at the Dean’s level or above. The Consortium now has 55 member institutions, including 52 academic health centers and 3 affiliate institutions.


Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) to offer online courses, degrees

The Maryland University of Integrative Health (formerly Tai Sophia Institute) announced on March 19, 2013 that starting in September, the institution will launch courses online as part of their academic offerings. Courses will be offered in courses on Herbal Medicine, Nutrition, Acupuncture, and Oriental Medicine initially. Others are expected to follow. In addition, beginning this autumn, some courses will be entirely or principally available online: Master of Science in Therapeutic Herbalism; Graduate Certificate in Herbal Studies; Graduate Certificate in Medical Herbalism; Master of Science in Nutrition and Integrative Health. MUIH’s present list of over 15 academic programs is here

: Interesting that while the principal MD/DO integrative medicine program in the country, the fellowship at the University of Arizona, above, is principally online, and while the 200-300 hour Helms course” in acupuncture is also similarly largely via distance learning, the distinctly licensed CAM fields have not moved in this direction. I suspect a part of the reason is the history of mainstream challenges to credibility of “mail order” “CAM” education. Early adoption would be two-steps back on hard-won steps toward acceptance. With Stanford, Harvard and others jumping into online learning with both feet, the company is now good for such a move. Expect to see more of this. 


Update: Kansas University Integrative Medicine adds pediatric components

The founder and director of the Kansas University Integrative Medicine program, functional medicine practitioner Jeanne Drisko, MD, writes that “we have new young faculty, growing research agenda, and a booming clinic practice.” One of the faculty is pediatrician Anna Esparham, MD. She notes that they are developing their pediatric integrative medicine program with an emphasis is on “treating the child as a unique individual who may be dealing with chronic problems and/or chronic illnesses.” Their clinical strategy involves “using biochemical nutritional approach, neurofeedback for psychiatric illness/traumatic brain injury, integrative nutrition implementation, IV therapies, and community alternative medicine referral.” The program now has a new Pediatric Integrative Residency Curriculum “that KU pediatrics is incorporating into “continuity clinics” that educate both faculty and residents.”

Bastyr University partners in new line of teas with Choice Organic Teas

On  March 14, 2013, Kenmore, Washington-based Bastyr University announced it has partnered with Seattle-based Choice Organic Teas to develop and launch what it characterized as “a new line of flavorful, certified organic Wellness Teas*.” It is, as the release notes, the first time Bastyr has lent its name on a consumer product. Bastyr’s senior vice president and provost Timothy C. Callahan, PhD states: “This historic partnership is one that we felt was a perfect fit. With our shared values and Seattle roots, Bastyr University has long been aware of Choice Organic Teas and was attracted to its depth of experience as a manufacturer of a trusted, popular and quality brand.” Eight blends will be formulated by a master herbalist who is a faculty member in botanical medicine and ayurvedic sciences at Bastyr. The University’s share of proceeds will support student scholarships.

Comment: Product endorsement is risky business for a heathcare purveyor or academic health center. Yet as one who knows a bit about the glass ceiling that separates significant government or philanthropic dollars from academic centers centered on the distinctly licensed integrative health disciplines, I have some comfort with the decision. A tea manufacturer is better than a supplement line. And each are certainly better than a health system to allow its president, who it already pays $1.8-million annually, to continue with consulting contracts with three pharmaceutical companies. (I reference here the Time article last month, Bitter Pill-Why Our Medical Bills Are Killing Us that scorched MD Anderson and its CEO Ronald DePinho who has that package.) Bastyr and Choice may be styled an alignment of organic interest. Then again, from the looks of the Time profile, MD Anderson’s actual mission may be fully aligned with that of the president’s outside contracts.) Credit Bastyr for giving any proceeds to the needy: students. 


Family physicians granted CMEs for watching Escape Fire; incorporating integrative medicine is among learning objectives 

The American Academy of Family Physicians likes the critical medical documentary Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Health Care. The documentary features the present plight of a primary care doctor. Also featured is the mind behind the “triple aim,” former Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services director Don Berwick, MD and integrative health and medicine leaders Andy Weil, MD and Wayne Jonas, MD. So the AAFP decided to give two Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits to physicians who watch it. On this page, the professional organization lists 10 learning objectives that the film will meet. Among such objectives as “Evaluate the necessity of, and alternatives to, invasive and costly tests, medications and procedures” is this: “Identify strategies for incorporating integrative medicine into an existing practice.”

Comment: Tipping point.