August 2014 John Weeks Integrator Round-Up: Academic Medicine

by John Weeks, Publisher Editor of The Integrator Blog News & Reports   Health reform stimulates U Minnesota to offer Masters in Integrative Health and Wellbeing Coaching   The June 17, 2014 announcement of from the University of Minnesota distinguished itself by starting

by John Weeks, Publisher/Editor of The Integrator Blog News & Reports

Health reform stimulates U Minnesota to offer Masters in Integrative Health and Wellbeing Coaching

The June 17, 2014 announcement of from the University of Minnesota distinguished itself by starting with a reference to federal politics: “The passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as part of healthcare reform has stimulated numerous changes in the delivery of care, including more emphasis on health promotion, lifestyle management, and team-based care.” The release noted that in “responding to these important and timely needs” they will begin a new Master of Arts in Integrative Health and Wellbeing Coaching. A local health system leader Nico Pronk, MD, heralded health coaching as having “promise as a player in changing the nature of our existing healthcare system.“ The 38-credit degree program will offer coursework in a blended format of online and in-person intensives.

Comment:  The Center has been a leader in the health coaching field for many years, via the visionary leadership of Center director Mary Jo Kreitzer, PhD, RN and of health coaching lead Karen Lawson, MD. This is an intriguing next step.  Here’s hoping that the graduates will be readily hired, as the release hopefully suggested, into “a multitude of practice settings, including hospitals, clinics, health educational facilities, community centers, senior living centers, fitness venues, corporations, schools, and private practice.” The question is certainly not one of need. Good for the U Minnesota team to respond to this call for transformation.

Without Medicare, naturopathic doctors offer residencies to 17% of graduates

A little known fact for many outside of conventional medicine is that the residencies for medical doctors and osteopathic doctors are mainly funded through a Medicare subsidy to medical education. This amounts to some $10-billion per year or $113,000 per resident per year. Naturopathic educators have prioritized a rapid increase in post-graduate educational opportunities such as residencies as a critical next step in the professional’s advance. But how can the field do this without federal subsidy? In the ND experience, the cost of such a residency is roughly $45,000 a year.

In 2005, two leading naturopathic clinicians, Portland, Oregon-based Tori Hudson, ND and Billings, Montana-based Margaret Beeson, ND chose to take this challenge on by founding the Naturopathic Education and Research Consortium (NERC). The not-for profit’s purpose would be to develop resources in a grassroots way to drive the growth in residencies. At a 4th annual “Resveritrol and Residencies” event on August 8, NERC celebrated the successes of their grassroots model. From 2 residencies in 2006, they currently have stimulated the development of 15. This is 28% of the 56 available to the 350 naturopathic graduates last year. The vast majority of the 40 others are positions in the teaching clinics of the 7 accredited North American schools. The NERC residencies are funded by a combination of corporations, grateful patients, and outlays from doctors at the clinical sites where the residents practices.

Comment: Imagine that your taxes were paying for residencies of another profession yet your own field can only provide a similar opportunity by going booth to booth to exhibitors, or making asks from grateful patient to grateful patient, to create the capital to stitch together a meaningful experience for graduates. The Hudson-Beeson team is doing pure heavy lifting here. Just $15,750,000 million annually would give all the ND graduates a chance.