Integrative Medicine’s $30-Million Philanthropic Jump-Start
May 26, 2016
The Bravewell Collaborative Strategic Investments Transform Medicineby John Weeks, Publisher/Editor of The Integrator Blog News and Reports The cover quote on The Bravewell Story, a new book documenting a driving force in the history of integrative medicine, features presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton: “The Bravewell Collaborative’s role in establishing a new way to think about health and medicine and shining a light on all the possibilities therein is an example of what philanthropy is capable of accomplishing at its very best.” The quote speaks to the access and clout of the group that came together to promote a concept that was only coined in the mid-1990s: “integrative medicine.” Compared to “alternative” and “holistic,” “integrative” had a relatively unchallenging consonance with the dominant school of medicine. Popularized by author Andrew Weil, MD at his University of Arizona base, the movement began to gather steam. It took off a few years later when a group of mostly female philanthropists propelled its movement across North America and, in some cases, around the world. The Bravewell Story, authored by long-time Bravewell director and media consultant Bonnie Horrigan, documents a series of profoundly impactful strategic investments. These flowed from a continuously fluctuating group in the decade and a half leading to the Bravewell Collaborative’s recent sun-setting. Led by psychologist Penny George (pictured right) and Christy Mack, the group:
- Invested millions to convene in 1999-2001 and continue to back the Integrative Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health. They supported the core-competencies in integrative medicine that were published in the esteemed Academic Medicine.
- Developed the Bravewell Fellowship Program which brilliantly established the Fellowship in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona as the standard of education for medical delivery organization leadership in the emerging field. The fellowship facilitated the uptake of integrative fellows across North America.
- Raised $4-million to sponsor the Bill Moyers-hosted PBS special “The New Medicine.”
- Conceived and pooled $445,000 to back the 2009 Institute of Medicine Summit on Integrative Medicine and the Health of the Public which created the largest and most diverse meeting in IOM history.
- Invested in a practice-based research network, the Bravewell Clinical Network, BraveNet, and a major outcomes project, PRIMIER, to help make the scientific case for integrative medicine outcomes.
- Set the stage for a proliferation of stronger and more confident guidance of new programs through the $1.4-million Bravewell Leadership in Integrative Healthcare program at Duke University.