Bernard Osher gift to establish new integrative center

The University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine in Miami, Florida will soon offer a comprehensive center for evidence-based, integrative medicine.

The Bernard Osher Foundation, which was founded by philanthropist Bernard Osher in 1977, recently approved a $5 million endowment gift to create the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, along with a $500,000 current-use grant. The funds are a personal donation of Osher, who currently serves as the foundation's treasurer, according to a recent press release.

Though there are Osher Centers for Integrative Medicine across the country and the world, including Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, the Miami-based center is thought to be the first of its kind in South Florida. The center will bring all integrative medicine efforts at the University of Miami Health System together under one roof, collaborating with Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center to continue developing innovative approaches to pain management and palliative care.

UM has engaged in integrative medicine for more than a quarter-century, starting with the launch of a continuing medical education program in acupuncture. In 1992, the Miller School established the Touch Research Institute (TRI) in the Department of Pediatrics with a start-up grant from Johnson & Johnson and subsequent funding from the National Institutes of Health, among other entities. The TRI was the first center devoted solely to the study of touch and its effects on various medical and psychological conditions at all stages of life.

The new center will "build the future of integrative medicine by combining the use of modern medicine with complementary therapies, and encompass multidisciplinary initiatives in education, clinical care, research, and community engagement," according to its website.