February 2015 John Weeks Integrator Round-Up
Toward Patient-Centered Federal Funding: Chiropractors Going After Participation in Federal Student Loan Repayment Program
Following lobbying from the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) has introduced H.R. 542, "The National Health Service Corps Improvement Act of 2015." According to this ACA release, the legislation would specify that chiropractors are among the designated provider types allowed to compete for student loan repayment and scholarships through federal programs ...
Toward Patient-Centered Federal Funding: Chiropractors Going After Participation in Federal Student Loan Repayment Program
Following lobbying from the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) has introduced H.R. 542, "The National Health Service Corps Improvement Act of 2015." According to this ACA release, the legislation would specify that chiropractors are among the designated provider types allowed to compete for student loan repayment and scholarships through federal programs managed by the National Health Service Corps (NHSC). Presently approved, as noted in the release, are “medical and osteopathic physicians, nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, physician assistants, dentists, registered dental hygienists, health service psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, and psychiatric nurse specialists.” ACA President Anthony Hamm, DC, FACO states: "Enacting it into law would eliminate one more disparity in federal programs relative to the chiropractic profession and our students.” The ACA plans to focus on this legislation during their lobbying during their leadership conference in the Beltway February25-28, 2015.
Comment: Federal funding of medicine includes many exclusive clubs in. One biggie is which residencies get a chunk of the billions of Medicare dollars that supports residencies. A relatively small one was federal support for developing electronic health records system- a club into which chiropractors, as included Medicare providers, got membership. Entrance to the loan-payback clique has been long sought by chiropractors as well as naturopathic doctors, and coming on the horizon, licensed acupuncturists. A concept of patient-centered federal funding, rather than guild-based, must at a certain time support patient-centered care. Actionable evidence for the ability of these fields in enhancing patient experience and lowering per-capita costs is in hand. Good luck this round.
Michael Levin: “NY Attorney General Issues Cease and Desist Order Against Retailers and Supplement Companies - Using a Screwdriver to Hammer a Nail?”
Integrator columnist and natural products expert Michael Levin sent this quick alert after the New York Attorney General’s office ordered four major retailers to stop selling six dietary supplements types on February 3, 2015. Levin shared a NY AG release sub-headed: “Mislabeled Consumer Products Pose Unacceptable Health Hazards.” Here is Levin’s alert and perspective:
Levin notes that the AG release reported as follows: “The letters [to the retailers] come as DNA testing, performed as part of an ongoing investigation by the Attorney General’s Office, allegedly shows that, overall, just 21% of the test results from store brand herbal supplements verified DNA from the plants listed on the products’ labels — with 79% coming up empty for DNA related to the labeled content or verifying contamination with other plant material. The retailer with the poorest showing for DNA matching products listed on the label was Walmart. Only 4% of the Walmart products tested showed DNA from the plants listed on the products’ labels.”
Levin writes: “At issue is the technology used to reach the conclusions behind the AG’s unprecedented actions. DNA sequencing is a powerful tool that can be used expertly on whole plants, but NOT on herbal extracts. Experts agree that the extraction process undermines the value of this technology. Experts from the American Botanical Council, a 501(c)(3) organization, provided the following helpful insights in a member advisory.
American Botanical Council perspective: “The AG’s study is not based on adequate science and its actions are thus premature. The use of DNA barcoding technology for testing of the identity of botanical dietary supplements is a useful but limited technology. DNA testing seldom is able to properly identify chemically complex herbal extracts as little or no DNA is extracted in many commercial extraction processes. Basing its actions on the basis of only one testing technology from only one laboratory, the NY AG results are preliminary and require further substantiation. Additional testing using microscopic analysis and validated chemical methods should be conducted to confirm the initial results upon which the AG is acting.”
Levin continues: “The AG’s premature and irresponsible action taken by the AG unfairly undermines consumer confidence and may cause substantial economic damages to the corporations named in particular, and to the industry in general. This is tragic. If the AG’s office keeps using screwdrivers to hammer nails, it would be well advised to heed this advice from a carpenter before taking actions it will later regret: Measure twice, cut once!”
Comment: Not surprisingly, the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) also weighed in the same day. APHA’s chief science officer supported ABC’s view: "Even after maturity, DNA testing is foreseen by the scientific community to play a complementary role to other well-established and validated techniques such as various forms of chromatography, microscopy and organolepsis," Another industry organization, the Council for Responsible Nutrition, weighed in here as did theUnited Natural Products Alliance.
However this falls, the issue foists in front of the public an issue that many know has been problematic for the herb industry: label over-statement of amounts and potencies of products. The fact that the big, cheap, Walmart came in lowest appears to add veracity. The ABC release notes that both the New York Times and the Washington Post had already splashed stories on the AGs action. The former failed to print ABC’s corrective letter. When I told Levin I would publish his note, he replied: “Thanks. This is a Big Deal. The AG acted recklessly on unproven science - we will see a lot of fallout from this - and, I suspect, lawsuits.”
Breaking News: Just before sending this off an alert from AHPA shared that Prevention had published an article in which two long-time critics of botanical product quality sided with industry’s position.
The Gift That Keeps on Giving: New Publication on Care Outcomes from the Penny George Institute
The director of research at the Integrative Health Research Center at the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing, Jeffrey Dusek, PhD, recently sent links to three recent publications from that robust, nation-leading integrative care hot-spot. They evaluate the effectiveness of integrative health and medicine on pain and anxiety in hospitalized patients. The first, in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute picked up significant media, including this in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on the value of integrative care to ease cancer pain. A second, published in the BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that cardiovascular inpatients reported statistically significant decreases in pain and anxiety following care with “adjunctive IM interventions.” The third, published here in Pain Medicine, looked at group acupuncture and found short-term pain relief for patients receiving total joint replacement. Dusek notes that more publications are expected this year, and a major economic analysis is in process. The research was supported by an ongoing R01 grant from NCCIH to Dusek and his team.
Comment: Credit the then NCCAM, now NCCIH, for living up to the strategic objectives of its 2011-2015 plan with this cross-cutting R01 grant. The work of the Penny George Institute team speaks to that plan’s elevation of both research on pain conditions and on the NCCIH objective of examining more “real world” approaches. I imagine that the very generous Georges must be pleased to see the NIH’s public investment in their vision for evidence-driven transformation of medicine to an integrative model generating such bounty.
Another Perspective on SIO Founder Cassileth’s View of the Maturation of Integrative Oncology
The founding president of the Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO), Barrie Cassileth, MS, PhD, offer a short view of the Long and Winding Road to Modern Integrative Oncology in a recent ASCO Post. The memories of Cassileth, the point person on Memorial Sloan Kettering’s integrative cancer program, regarding her initial work as an advisor in the mid-1990s to the NIH Office of Alternative Medicine, offer an unflattering look at what were then her new colleagues: “Most in the room felt that science was neither necessary nor applicable to ‘alternative’ cancer therapies. Belief in scientific research was the ‘other side.’ Their side was a multibillion-dollar industry that was beyond scientific inquiry. The SIO guidelines are a potent answer.”
Cassileth notes that she herself was suspect to those with whom she was sharing the room. She derides the original establishment of that NIH office as politically rather than scientifically motivated. Cassileth does note what to her was “their side” – the “CAM” people - ultimately had value: “It turned out that not all interventions in the catch-all ‘alternative therapies’ category were bogus. Although none was curative, many non-pharmacologic approaches were potentially helpful for symptom control.”
Comment: I recall from colleagues who served with her that Cassileth was in fact viewed as a controversial appointment. Her sharply skeptical stance landed her on “the other side” amongst the triumphant-feeling CAM-ish folks who had, in their minds, by sitting at the NIH, successfully stormed the gates of the citadel. Many did storm it believing that more alternatives to regular care would have been proven by NIH science by now. Cassileth is right about that. The era was ugly-polarized. One can still feel it in Cassileth’s writing.
I was then a person who had a decade of work with the naturopathic profession behind me. Since that tribe for the first time had a perch in a place where it thought it might get some of its questions funded and answered, finally, I’ve a more sympathetic recollection of the unruly mob. Regarding the level of interest in science, I beg to differ with Cassileth’s view. I’d been working with some represented at that table for 10 years trying to gain access to research funding. I recall how some 435 submissions shocking the administrators of NIH’s first exploratory grant program that funded 30 projects at $30,000 each. The shock I refer to was at the volume even more than by the relatively unschooled methods. Hardly an anti-science stance, however.
“Integrative oncology” is in fact an actual alternative to regular cancer treatment. The change has many dimensions. Witness this: work on the most in-depth of the SIO’s guidelines, those for breast cancer that Cassileth celebrates, was headed up by naturopathic physician Heather Greenlee, ND, PhD. She, like Suzzanna Zick, ND, PhD, who has now succeeded Greenlee as president of the organization Cassileth co-founded. Each is a member of one of those tribes for whom the locked door to the NIH was busted open by the apparently witless politicians, in Cassileth’s account, whose job was merely to respect the public interest.
It would have been nice if, perhaps as an olive branch, Cassileth had noted that this high-quality scientific work was headed by the formerly unwashed. Good on Cassileth for declaring for integrative methods and founding the organization many moons ago. A haiku-view of the present moment in Cassileth’s long and winding road might be: “A skeptic leader/Opens doors to new top dogs/Naturopathic.”
Albert Einstein College is the New Coordinating Center for the BraveNet Research Network
On January 12, 2014, the Bravewell Collaborative announced that Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University will lead the Bravewell Integrative Medicine Research Network (BraveNet). This practice-based consortium of now14 integrative medicine centers was formed by Bravewell in 2007. The project is now located at the academic base of Bravewell’s medical director Ben Kligler, MD, MPH, who also chairs the BraveNet group. The release notes that the coordinating center will also manage the network’s Patients Receiving Integrative Medicine Interventions Effectiveness Registry (PRIMIER), the first patient registry for integrative medicine. PRIMIER is one of the two “legacy projects” of the Bravewell Collaborative of philanthropists in integrative medicine.
Report Puts Economic Impact of New York Chiropractic College at $67-Million
The gorgeous campus and facilities of Seneca Falls, New York-based New York Chiropractic College in upstate New York contribute a great deal more to their community than places and fields for meetings, gatherings and sports teams. According to a recent report, NYCC, which also houses the Finger Lakes School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and other programs, has an estimated $67.6-million economic impact on the surrounding community. One factor is jobs, with direct employment at 330 and “spillover” totaling 690. The report was developed by the Center for Governmental Research (CGR), which was released by the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU).
Comment: In the release, NYCC’s president Frank Nicchi, DC, MS, notes that the “while our focus is on education, we are particularly proud of our ongoing contribution to the Finger Lakes Region, which has been our home since 1991.” Yes, and it is not a bad thing to remind a community that while the care practices may still be a step removed from full embrace, the contributions to the economic web that binds together the community are fully integrated and enjoyed by all, thank you.
Consumer Use of Complementary Health Approaches Drops in Recent NCCIH Data; Increases for Yoga, Melatonin, Probiotics, Fish-oil
Consumer use data from the newly renamed National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) finds a slight decrease among those using any complementary approach in the previous 12 months: 32.3% in 2002, 35.5% in 2007, to 33.2% in 2012. The pattern of upward trend to 2007 and then downward turn over the next five years was found repeatedly. It was most significant however among Hispanics, those with high-school education or less, and the poor and near-poor. Significant growth was seen in the use of yoga, nearly doubling since 2002 for people 18-44 and up 38% for seniors. The NIH press release speculated that this may in part be due to access. The number of yoga teachers has soared. On the natural products side, use of fish oil, prebiotics, probiotics and melatonin increased while that of Echinacea and chondroitin-glucosamine dropped. The data are from most recent complementary health questionnaire developed by NCCIH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).
Comment: The data are surprising. Due to deadlines, I cannot include commentary from the planned February 10, 2015 press-conference so haven’t the opportunity to share any insights provided there. One measure of solace for energetic integrative health advocates whose “movement” appears to be stalled is that the general health of the U.S. public continues on a downturn in the same time-period. At least the field is not seeing use dropping even while general health is on an upswing. That would be an ugly association.
Experience-Based Medicine: Share Practice App Continues to Pick-up Steam as Integrative Care Communicator for Clinicians
The open-access to practitioners Share Practice, dubbed a “free social medicine application” is increasingly capturing the attention of integrative medical doctors, naturopathic physicians and other licensed practitioners, according to this story. Developed by Bastyr University graduateAndrew Brandeis, ND and boasting and MD/ND staff, the venture is backed by $1.3-million in Silicon Valley investment. It offers a practitioner rating system for diverse therapies and products for over 2000 conditions with the top-rated made clear for each condition. The story notes that the app is able to be free to users via a business model through which industry members can to purchase data on integrative practices and product use. A New York-based medical doctor who blogs on the Share Practice site, Vani Gandhi, MD, offers this perspective on the site’s interprofessional value: “It’s very interesting to see the interaction between the MDs, NDs, nurses and students. It’s very healthy, I think. It promotes good discussion. And it’s good for patients.”
Comment: Waving the flag of “Experience-Based Medicine” at the Share Practice portal is more than a little nose-thumbing at the other EBM. A difference here is that Share Practice convenes a crowdsourced expertise rather than the pros and cons of a controlled by-invitation expert panel. Thus the app promises to offer a collective, interprofessional “clinician experience” portion of the EBM triad. Not a bad tool to inform one’s practice.
The Most Visible PR for Integrative Medicine: Advertisements from Cancer Treatment Centers of America
“What exactly is integrative care?” The last two words are bolded and green in the two-page spread in the New Yorker. Listed below, to go with conventional treatment, are chiropractic, naturopathic medicine, mind-body, acupuncture, meditation, physical therapy, spiritual support and more. A separate segment speaks to the importance of nutritional therapy. Flip the page and an eye-catching graphic wheel with ” integrative care approach” at its hub covers the upper right quarter of the page with each of these contributors as spokes of options radiating out from the patient at the middle. Upper left: “Naturopathic medicine” with the second word again bolded, in green, above a paragraph on this profession from which practitioners are deeply integrated at CTCA but regulated in only 18 states. "Team work" is similarly featured, same page. At the bottom of the page, right corner, is the logo of the advertiser: Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), with its hospitals in Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlanta, Tulsa and Phoenix called out. One Carolyn Lammersfeld, MS, RD, CSO, LD, CNSC is quoted: “Integrative clinicians work with oncologists with one goal: maintaining patient quality of life.”
Comment: A philanthropic foundation in the integrative space recently sent out a query to a few others seeking input on the potential of a multi-year, multi-media, collective effort to brand integrative medicine for the public. Until that happens – if it does - what we have is CTCA educating the public on its own. Integrator adviser Glenn Sabin of FON Consulting has written about the phenomenon: “CTCA: 800 Pound Marketing Gorilla.” I was taking a break from work when I encountered the New Yorker ad. At the very bottom of the second page is CTCA’s byline:Care that never quits. A nice characteristic that separates the CTCA campaign from even a 5 year effort by a consortium of philanthropists: this is for-profit marketing that never quits.
Home Depot Founder Gives $14-Million Gift to Jefferson’s Myra Brind Center for Integrative Medicine
In what may be the most significant single charitable investment in integrative medicine, Home Depot's Bernie Marcus has given a $14-million grant to the Thomas Jefferson University integrative medicine program. Marcus explains: “The Marcus Foundation chose Jefferson for this grant because of our shared vision for the future of medicine. Jefferson is at the forefront of innovating integrative medicine – a transformation I want to be part of.” The 14,000 square foot Marcus Integrative Health of the Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine will be the “first satellite clinic” of the Center, which was founded by philanthropist Ira Brind in the name of his spouse. Daniel Monte, MD, the medical director IM, points attention to one part of the Marcus package, “new PET-MR imaging that will be a major differentiator.”
Comment: Marcus’ decision sets a new bar for philanthropy in integrative medicine, surpassing the one-time $10-million grant from Christy and John Mack to fuel the Duke program. Great for Jefferson and the people of Philadelphia. Great also to see Marcus’ outspoken personal commitment.
Two More Children’s Hospitals Announce Integrative Programs: Cleveland Clinic and U Minnesota
The January Integrator Round-up featured a short piece on Seattle’s Children’s’ Hospital boasting its new inpatient acupuncture program. Since then, two major pediatrics centers have published releases about major expansions of their integrative services for children. One is an expansion of an already robust Cleveland Clinic integrative medicine program to now include the associatedChildren’s Hospital. The other is the opening of doors at the 10,000 square foot Integrative Medicine Center at Minneapolis Children’s Hospital following a reportedly $1.5-$2.0-million donation from Aveda founder Horst Rechelbacher.
Comment: It is an interesting irony that in the early “CAM” years, concern over protecting children from “unproven” therapies created even slower adoption in mainstream medicine of integrative care’s high-touch, non-pharmacologic treatments. It’s good corrective movement for more kids to be getting these, at worst, even if they don’t work, I feel better treatments.
City of Asheville Continues to Promote Itself as Destination for Integrative Care
The Asheville, North Carolina Mountain Express has run a 5-article series in a wellness supplement that celebrates the city’s embrace of integrative medicine. The series “reports the results of our wellness survey, which underscore the broad support for integrative care in the Asheville medical community, as well as the wide range of complementary therapies utilized by integrative providers.”
Comment: A few years ago the Asheville, North Carolina Chamber of Commerce began promoting the city as an integrative care mecca. This series waters and fertilizes the image.
FON Consulting Publishes Updated Lists of 2015 Integrative Conferences
On January 1, 2015, integrative care branding and marketing aficionado Glenn Sabin re-branded his own former FON Therapeutics to FON Consulting to match his core business. He notes: “Considering our firm advises on brand names and identity, simply put, we weren’t fully ‘walking the talk’.” In the same push to his list, Sabin promoted his updates his useful resource of 2015 Integrative Health Conferences. The “FON” is from Force of Nature, and references his own long-term cancer.
Analysis of Multiple Definitions of Integrative Medicine and Health Finds Significant Differences
An analysis of eight definitions of integrative health and medicine terms finds significant commonalities and distinct variations across 11 themes. The core findings by the team of Beth Rosenthal, PhD, MBA, MPH and Anthony Lisi, DC: “The most common elements included whole person focus, evidence-informed, optimal health/wellness, and combination of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) with conventional medicine.” On the other hand: “Differences existed with respect to terms such as modality/therapy versus profession/discipline.”
The definitions examined come from such organizations as the Institute of Medicine, the Bravewell Collaborative, the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine, the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, and the Canadian IHM leadership. The article, "A Qualitative Analysis of Various Definitions of Integrative Medicine and Health," was completed via a project of the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care via a philanthropic investment from the Leo S. Guthman Fund. It was published in Topics in Integrative Health Care.
Comment: Good integration begins with the language we choose (“integrative health”? “integrative medicine”? “integrative medicine and health”? “integrative health and medicine”?) and also to the meaning we affix to our chosen terms. A key issue at stake for the field’s self-definition is the extent to which the definition projects interprofessionalism and team care, verses mere integration of modalities into one’s own practice, or to the use-as-thing/modality of another. The second issue is the prize on which we most focus our sights: “health” or “medicine.” What is your favored definition? Check out how it measures up!
While We Are at It (The M-Word): The Distinction Between “Modalities,” “Therapeutic Procedures,” and Human Beings
Colleague Pamela Snider, ND recently sent this link to a chat involving Medicare coding expert Susan McClelland on a wonk-ish question from a chiropractic pediatric group: “Is there a difference between ‘modality’ and ‘therapy’?” More specifically: “Does it have to do with attended/non- attended?” and “Do different insurance companies have different wording for them?” With reference to CPT coding language, McClelland responds that “therapeutic procedures” are always attended while modalities can be, or not. “Therapies,” McClelland write, “is a kind of general term used by many people to describe all physical medicine procedures -- modalities, therapeutic procedures, acupuncture, and sometimes, even [chiropractic manipulative therapy].”
Comment: This is a guide to proper integrative English. One additional guide to propriety is here by way of its absence. McClelland never suggests that a chiropractor is either a modality, or a therapy. These professionals are of course much more than that. Never mind for now that Medicare treats chiropractors as less-than-professionals by refusing still to pay for their independent evaluation and management. The result: the practitioner is equated to the modality. It is shocking how often the historical-cultural diminishing, de-humanizing, and objectifying of chiropractors, massage therapists, and acupuncturists with the “M-word” or the “T-word” has left members of these professions using the same belittling language on themselves. Listen for it. Correct it. Thanks Dr. Snider.
Consortium of Integrative Medicine Academics Changes Name from CAHCIM to ACCIMH and Takes on New Partners for 2016 Congress
The former Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine (CAHCIM) has announced a name change to Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health (ACCIMH). Meantime, the re-fashioned integrative medicine organization with 64 medical school members has also chosen to rename its main conference to International Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health (ICIMH). “Research” was dropped as the May 18-20, 2014 iteration will have four tracks: research, education, clinical and policy. ACCIHM has an external organization partner for each of these tracks, as reflected in the Program Committee. For research, ACCIMH continues its historic link with the International Society for Complementary Medicine Research (ISCMR). For education, ACCIMH has reconnected with its 2012 partner on a separate education Congress, the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care (ACCAHC). For, clinical and policy, ACCIMH has new partners in the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM) and Integrative Healthcare Policy Consortium (IHPC), respectively.
Comment: Sounding out the Consortium’s new acronym appears to trade in one lower-chakra body part for another: CAHCIM to ACCIMH. I can’t think of the minutiae of these acronymic differences between these organizations without recalling my father’s unkind line about lawyers: … the kind of people who like to separate fly-shit from pepper. What, most distant observers may ask, is the difference between these organizations? Short of answering that, one must at least sort them. ACCAHC, an organization that also has roughly 60 acronymed members, has gathered these in a document called ACCAHCronyms to help one through the trees. Credit ACCIMH for reaching out and connecting to new partners for the 2016 event. This too marks a transition for this academic entity. This Congress promises to be terrific and geographic proof that we are all in this (alphabet) soup together. Be there! (Alignment of interest note: all of the above.)
Don’t Want to Be Part of Any Club That Would Have Me Department: Chiropractic Students See Themselves as Mainstream not CAM
A new survey entitled Chiropractic Identity, Role and Future: A Survey of North American Chiropractic Students has found that 69% think chiropractors should be considered “mainstream health care practitioners.” Just 25% said “complementary and alternative health providers.” However, the overall findings, “may seem to be contradictory” according to the conclusion of the author team, led by Jordan A Gliedt, DC and Cheryl Hawk, DC, PhD. They conclude: “The majority of students would like to see an emphasis on correction of vertebral subluxation, while a larger percent found it is important to learn about evidence-based practice. These two key points may seem contradictory, suggesting cognitive dissonance.”
Comments: The data on chiropractic identification as CAM compare to a 1999 survey of chiropractic doctors which found that 47% considered chiropractic “alternative” and 49% “a legitimate medical practice.” A 2008 survey, also of chiropractors, found the 70% rejected the CAM identity. In an e-dialogue with Hawk, an author on all three studies who is also a colleague in the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care (ACCAHC), she off-handedly noted: “If it were up to the students and practicing DCs, I guess we would not be members of ACCAHC!” Yet thirteen of 16 chiropractic colleges are Individual College Membersand three national chiropractic organizations are Organizational Members. To which I replied: “It's a good point - that reminds me of the Groucho Marx line that I don’t want to part of any club that would accept me as a member. Our collective desires to raise ourselves from outsider status make us kick a distance from those who, by values-base interests, we are actually closest. Thus the poor in the U.S. vote against the poor.” Yet here are these organization and institutional leaders bucking the data.
Fact is, no-one loves the CAM ghetto. The political and organizational challenge is captured in this “value” that ACCAHC added in 2012 when it excised the reference to “CAM” in the rest of its mission, vision and values: ”We value explicit inclusion of ‘complementary and alternative medicine’ therapies and licensed or nationally certified practitioners, ‘integrative health’ and ‘integrative practitioners’ in governmental and private healthcare policy dialogues, reports and recommendations until such time as these distinct disciplines and practices that are used by significant subsets of the population are routinely included as part of the interprofessional communities of medical and healthcare professions.” ACCAHC has proved and another “CAM”-intensive collaboration, IHPC, has proved, that there is great power in this collaboration of still mainly outsiders.
Tom Newmark Elected Board Chair at the American Botanical Council
The remarkable and diverse cadre of botanical, industry and integrative health leaders who constitute the Board of Trustees at the American Botanical Council (ABC) has elected a new president, Tom Newmark. Newmark is an attorney who later became employed by his client, New Chapter, and ultimately served as its CEO and chair. According to the release, the co-owner of the biodynamic organic herb farm and eco-tourism Finca Luna Nueva in Costa Rica, also co-founded and chaired the nonprofit Semillas Sagradas (Sacred Seeds). This is presently “an international network of 16 botanical sanctuaries that preserve traditional and medicinal plants and the knowledge surrounding their important uses” that is presently administered by United Plant Savers. He is also chair of the Greenpeace Fund, the charitable arm of the activist environmental organization. Newmark succeeds author, photographer, and botanist Steven Foster, who served ABC as president since 2008.
Comment: As a fan of ABC since it was a gleam in the eye of herb cowboy Mark Blumenthalnearly 30 years ago, as a present adviser, as a former trustee -- and as a former resident of Costa Rica -- I am excited to imagine the ideas, energy and connectivity Newmark will bring the organization. What a rich set of life accomplishments!
Richard Miller Named Acting Executive VP of American Chiropractic Association
Long-time American Chiropractic Association (ACA) lobbyist Richard Miller has been named interim director of the association. According to the ACA, Miller has been on Capitol Hill for decades, serving as chief of staff to a U.S. Senator and an agency head in the Reagan administration. Miller’s predecessor is not referenced, but was known to have been a short-timer with just two years of service.
Comment: Those close to Section 2706, Non-Discrimination in Health Care will be interested in Miller’s long involvement in that work. Here is the release: “Miller also led the creation of the Patients’ Access to Responsible Care Alliance (PARCA), a coalition of organizations that represent the interests of millions of patients and non-MD healthcare providers. A central aim of PARCA was to pass a provider non-discrimination amendment to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. This particular goal was achieved in 2010 when Section 2706 was included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that was signed into law by President Obama.”
Standard Process Selects Ibrahim Abou-Nemeh, PhD as New Director of Research and Development
One of the most significant players in the dietary supplement space, Standard Process, has taken a new executive director of research and development, Ibrahim Abou-Nemeh, PhD. The release noted that a strength of Abou-Nemeh is his “extensive experience in new technology platforms related to nutraceuticals, food, lipids, Ag-micronutrients and functional ingredients.” The release boasts his “20 years of global experience in scientific research, strategic technology planning and new product development” as background.
Comment: Abou-Nemeh replaces David Barnes, PhD, a former University of Wisconsin nutrition researcher who had a personal interest in the value of the broader integrative health and medicine movement. Abou-Nemeh, a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Ghent, would appear to be a newbie to the supplement industry. He brings Standard Process an industrial background that includes publishing “27 technical peer-reviewed articles and receiv(ing) 19 industrial patents.” Interesting choice.