IHPC-promoted Integrative Health Congressional Caucus kicks off with pain briefing for staffers
March 20, 2018
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. "What’s Missing from Medicine. Health.” So read the banner headline for a packed, standing room only Congressional Briefing on Thursday, March 15, 2018 in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC. This was not a one-shot deal. The gathering celebrated the founding meeting of a new Integrative Health and Wellness Congressional Caucus. The mission: “Amidst Opioid Crisis: New Caucus Will Focus on Integrative Health Solutions.” The Caucus is expected to serve as a non-partisan educational forum for legislators to learn from experts on best practices and new research while also identifying policy opportunities to bring integrative health solutions to the American people. The session was organized by the Integrative Health Policy Consortium (IHPC) at the request of the Caucus’ founding co-chairs, Colorado representatives Jared Polis (D) and Mike Coffman (R). IHPC is calling for all interested parties to make calls to the members of Congress to get them involved. (Alignment of interest note: I serve on the IHPC board.) The kick-off event highlighted integrative pain contributions from multiple policy leaders and practitioners. Attending were Congressional staff members representing a bipartisan group of members of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate from Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas and Utah. Also in attendance were representatives from the US Department of Defense, the US Department of Veterans Affairs, the US Air Force Medical Service and representatives of over 30 organizations including patient-advocacy groups, lobbying firms and integrative practice professional organizations and institutions. Polis and Coffman led off with statements about the timeliness of the caucus. IHPC chair Len Wisneski, MD then introduced the panel of speakers (the photo above shows L-R Coffman, Polis and Wisneski):
- Margaret Chesney, PhD, a member of the National Academy of Medicine who is a former chair of the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health (“the Consortium”)
- Former US Army Surgeon General Eric Schoomaker, MD, PhD, (RET) Lt. Gen, US Army
- Ben Kilgler, MD, MPH, the director of the Veterans’ Administration Integrative Health Coordinating Council, himself a past chair of the Consortium;
- A panel of practitioner representatives on the solutions from their own fields - Bill Reddy, LAc (acupuncture); Gerald Clum, DC (chiropractic) and Emily Telfair, ND (naturopathic medicine). Kligler adding a voice on team care strategies.