AIHM’s Mimi Guarneri, MD brings integrative medicine to Vatican forum on climate change
November 28, 2017
by John Weeks, Publisher/Editor of The Integrator Blog News and Reports Editor’s note: This analysis article is not edited and the authors are solely responsible for the content. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Integrative Practitioner. From time to time, the Vatican hosts summits in critical issues. One such momentous concern, for Pope Francis, is climate change. On November 2-4, 2017, the Vatican Pontifical Academy of Sciences hosted “Health of People, Health of Planet: Our Responsibility.” Among the participants and presenters was integrative cardiologist Mimi Guarneri, MD, the founding president of the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine. The gathering led to a declaration for which Guarneri was among the signatories. The meeting was one in a series since 2015 given Pope Francis’ prioritization of the issues of climate change and environmental degradation. Those convened ranged from scientists to policy makers and theologians and also included some elected officials and world leaders. Among the roughly 100 participating were Jeffrey Sachs, California Governor Jerry Brown, a Chilean governor, and multiple Nobel Laureates. The Miraglo Foundation, co-founded by Guarneri and Rauni Prittinen King, RN, was a co-sponsor of the gathering. At a 2015 meeting on the topic, the participants issued a statement that soberly concluded that ”only a radical change in our attitude towards Creation and towards our fellow humans, complemented by transformative technological innovations, could reverse the dangerous trends that have already been set into motion inadvertently.” The 2017 meeting was convened to focused on solutions. If the former was “To Err is Human,” this one was “Crossing the Quality Chasm.” Guarneri has an opportunity to present from her position in the chambers on the second day. (The comments begin at 6:07:10 on this link.) She spoke as a clinician sharing “systems models of delivery” of clinical and health services that are “very different from what we are currently doing.” She introduced AIHM as an organization “brought together not based on degree but on philosophy.” She described the distinctive role of a broad integrative model to health care as one that focuses on “creating health” - in contradistinction to the “ill-to-pill mentality” that dominates biomedicine. Guarneri called out, for instance, the growing knowledge of the roles of the same toxins that damage the external environment on the increasing rates of multiple chronic conditions. Guarneri also shared a quick review of some examples of successful models in medicine, in agriculture and in other environments. Subsequent to the workshop, the Vatican published the “Declaration of the Health of People, Health of Planet and Our Responsibility Climate Change, Air Pollution and Health Workshop”. The declaration includes 12 “scalable and practical solutions” that governments and other stakeholders were urged to take. Among these are two that are particularly close to Guarneri’s message:
- Forge collaboration between health and climate sciences to create a powerful alliance for sustainability, and
- Promote behavioral changes beneficial for human health and protective of the environment such as increased consumption of plant-based diets.