September 2014 John Weeks Integrator Round-Up

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


Is any other organization or group also considering “a big honking lawsuit” on Section 2706?

Query: The Integrator was recently approached by the executive director of a strong, state-level professional organization that is considering taking to the courts to force just administration of Section 2706 of the Affordable Care Act, Non Discrimination in Health Care. The leader was querying whether other organizations were exploring legal strategies. At this time in which the US Appropriations Committee is, for the second time, asking US Health and Human Services to abide by the intent of Congress, the timing might be right. If your organization has a non-frivolous interest in this, or you are an individual with, or connected to, the means to support what will certainly be a costly engagement, please contact me: [email protected] and I will connect you to the party that made the inquiry. I previously wrote about this strategy here at the Huffington Post.


Applying a Health Lens to Decision-Making in Non-Health Sectors: in-laying “health performance measures”

This is the intriguing title of a new report (93 pages): Applying a Health Lens to Decision-Making in Non-Health Sectors. The document is a workshop summary from the Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Population Health Improvement. The report begins: “Health is influenced by a wide range of factors, many of which fall outside the healthcare delivery sector.” Demographics, race, education, poverty and family structure are among factors in the mix. The U.S. is noted as being slower to “intersectoral engagement for health” than most Western nations. Some best practices are emerging here and are reported. Leaders from federal agencies related to environment, military, transportation and housing offer reports on action underway. One useful direction discussed: built in “health performance measures” throughout the system. The speaker from the US Department of Transportation noted that they have no such requirements yet, to consider the health outcomes of their actions.

Comment: As a non-practitioner whose first connection to these fields was an attraction to the idea of practitioners who saw their core responsibility as empowering patients to better care for themselves, the elements of health creation – in and out of direct patient care - have continued as a core interest. The humbling reality for all healthcare practitioners is that clinical medicine is viewed as being as low as 10% of the contributing factors most responsible for the health of people. This report is aligned with the mission of the National Prevention, Public Health and Health Promotion Council created under the Affordable Care Act. The goal of the Council, as stimulated by work from the Samueli Institute, is specifically to get all of the agencies with a hand in health outcomes to the same table to think and work toward health from a whole system perspective. While a start, this is proving to be as yet a somewhat remedial step toward what more progressive nations are already doing in whole system health practice. The IOM report does include some bright lights including the Department of Defense’s Operation Livewell. Ultimately we need to health notes as a requirement attachment to policy and action in the way that responsible governing in the 1970s started required that fiscal notes begin to be attached.

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Samueli, IONS, Chopra and MIRAGLO team to create collaborative think tank to forward Biofield Science Research

On September 13-14, 2014, a group of 40-45 energy scientists will gather in San Diego to explore the frontier called Biofield Science Research. The gathering is backed by a powerful collaboration of Samueli Institute, Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS), MIRAGLO Foundation, and the Chopra Foundation. Eight commissioned papers will be presented. According to Shamini Jain, PhD, an organizer of the meeting, “the term ‘Biofield’ refers to the field of energy and information (thought to currently be comprised of both measureable and as yet unmeasured aspects of energy) that connects organisms and is involved in the bioregulation and self-organization of living systems.”  The group sees this as a critical area of study in “understanding salutogenesis (the mechanisms of healing).” The group is expected to formulate a collaborative strategic plan that includes a research agenda and dissemination strategy to forward the field.

Comment: Great to see this collaboration between this set of organizations, each led by powerful individuals in the integrative health and medicine space. If they can find a way to consensus on next steps, they may create the engine for research that many thought would be part of the agenda of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine agenda, but did not make that agency’s strategic plans.

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Business News 

GreenSurance takes a strange membership strategy to build health plan for “alternative medicine”

Over recent months the Integrator has been contacted regarding a business that is seeking to build “community membership for the first 100% alternative medicine coop.”  The business is a “patent-pending” GreenSurance.  The pitch begins: “How does the sound of a health plan that covers 100% of natural, holistic and alternative care especially in serious illness seem to you?” The appeal is to those who oppose the sick care model and think “outside the box of mainstream medicine.”  Now the twist: “GreenSurance is NOT an insurance company.” Rather it is apparently, in its first phase at least, a grass-roots movement to foment change. Membership costs $100.00 a year or $10 a month, which is described as a way to “open the insurance vault to change.”

Phase 1 as described on the site appears to merely be the development of a power base.  Phase 2 is basically the offering of a discount plan for up to 30% off all participating providers in the GreenSurance network. Finally, Phase 3 introduces the ideal of the health plan noted above: “My Green Insurance Part B Critical Illness Catastrophic Care Plan - Qualified Members receive 100% Coverage** via Network Providers.” The asterisks are significant. The 100% coverage is “up to the policy limit.” In addition, the “full coverage” appears to be limited to those who can prove “critical illness and 24 months or less life expectancy.” The website’s page on participating providers tells them that they can manage their reimbursement rate by the level of their donation to GreenSurance. The blog site has two posts: one on GMOs, the other on fluoride. The founder is cancer survivor and insurance professional Kari Gray.

Comment: The first encounter with GreenSurance looks like an attempt to create a new health plan. A colleague who has been an accomplished professional in business and policy told me about it.  I was intrigued: we need to spend creative energy coming up with new reimbursement models. Yet the closer one looks in, the less seems to be here. Many health plans offer discount networks. Nothing new there. People with health savings accounts can already get some pre-tax quasi coverage for many alternatives to regular care – as long as it is for clearly for a medical condition. The asterisk reminds me of the very flimsy first  response of Blue Cross to the Washington State insurance mandate in 1996 when they essentially offered (nearly) 100% coverage … up to $500 total for chiropractic, massage, acupuncture and naturopathic services. This is one odd mishmash. I wonder if I should even be writing about it.


Class action lawsuit filed against Whole Foods to stop sale of homeopathic medicines

A $5-million class action lawsuit has been filed against Whole Foods that is meant to push the natural foods retail giant to end sales of homeopathic products. According to this Law360 article, the complaint states that “consumers unwittingly spend millions of dollars annually on products ‘that are worthless.’” Whole Foods “unfairly, deceptively and unjustly enriches itself on the backs of consumers in order to turn a corporate profit.” The products at issue include Cough Ease for Kids, Cough Ease, Flu Ease and Arnica Montana 30C. The plaintiffs are four Whole Foods shoppers who live in Florida and New York who allegedly bought the Arnica Montana 30C to help with pains related to a bruise. The layers argue: "Whole Foods is not only taking advantage of consumers' desire for natural medicine, but also deceiving consumers into believing that Whole Foods' products are effective, regulated drugs that are held to the same standards as true medical drugs and non-homeopathic OTC drugs." The case is Mario Herazo et al. v. Whole Foods Market Inc.

Comment: This lawsuit comes after the German company Heel stopped doing business in the United States due to a threatened legal action. Homeopathy aficionado Dana Ullman, MPH, CCH, shares that virtually all of the large homeopathic companies “have been sued by these and other greedy lawyers who hope that the companies will settle with them for a million or so.”  He says some have successfully found strategies to get out of these suits. One large giant apparently settled, which likely spread blood in the water. A group of homeopathic interests is beginning to meet to see if some organized response is in order.


Emerging integrated practice department: CVS officially ends sales of cigarettes in all of its stores 

On the day that the pharmacy chain CVS officially ended sales of cigarettes in its 7,700 stores, the American Public Health Association sent a release listing other efforts to do the right thing and follow suit. Target and Wegmans have "removed tobacco from their shelves." Twenty-seven state attorney generals have sent letters to pharmacies in their states asking them to follow suit. APHA has a petition up at to "stop selling tobacco products in pharmacies and clinics." CVS anticipates losing $2-billion in annual revenues through their decision to stop selling cigs.

Comment: Duh is of course a first response. Think of doctors in movies in the 1950s, as in real life then, examining patients with ashes dangling from their cigarettes. The level of non-integration of a life that allows sales of cancer sticks in places nominally devoted to health is profound. (I speak as a person who kept an Obama-habit for much of my first 25 years in these fields.) So, instead of shrugging finally, let's honor big time these more thoughtful leaders of the medical industry who are trying to embrace what participation in a system of health creation might look like. When Berwick said the turn toward health will "be more radical" than anything the industry has yet engaged, I suspect that re-shaping business models and parting with non–aligned billions is part of the anguish Berwick has imagined. This is a great if long overdue step. I am signatory number 5,161 on the AHPA petition. AHPA is shooting for 14,840.


American Botanical Council reports herbal sales up 7.9% in 2013

According to a September 3, 2013 release from the American Botanical Council (ABC), sales of herbal dietary supplements in the United States increased by 7.9% in 2013. Sales reached a total estimated figure of six billion dollars for the first time. These statistics are in a new report published in the current issue of ABC’s HerbalGram. The top-selling herbs of 2013 “in the mainstream multi-outlet channel” were, as ABC reported: horehound (Marrubium vulgare), a key ingredient in throat drops; yohimbe (Pausinystalia johimbe), used in numerous athletic performance and sexual enhancement products; cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon), popular primarily for its claimed benefit of helping to prevent urinary tract infections; black cohosh (Actaea racemosa), a popular aide to manage menopausal symptoms; and senna (Senna alexandrina), used as a stimulant laxative. Says ABC executive director Mark Blumenthal: “Consumers continue to express strong demand for a wide variety of herbs, phytomedicines, and other plant-based ingredients for their many health benefits.”

Comment: Consumers are rather loudly stating: “Damn the naysaying academic research, full speed ahead!” Notable is the prominence of mouth-drops (horehound) and laxatives (senna) as major sellers.

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Academic Health 

Arizona Center awarded $1.7 million HRSA grant to develop integrative medicine in primary care

The Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine has emerged from a competitive grant and is entering a cooperative agreement with the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) to develop a Center for Integrative Medicine in Primary Care (CIMPC). The grant's reach includes not only advancing integrative health but also helping to eliminate disparities and supporting development of health communities. The total grant is for $1,700,000 and spans a 3-year period.

Comment: Congratulations to Patricia Lebensohn, MD, Victoria Maizes, MD, and the rest of the Arizona team! This is a great project that is smack in the Arizona Center wheelhouse. I was aware of the application as the Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care with which I am associated was asked by Maizes to support aspects of the grant. A particular area was inter-professionalism. I was pleased to see the Center reach out, especially as this has not always been its strength. Particularly compelling in their commitment to an interprofessional approach was the non-token decision to include ACCAHC chair Elizabeth Goldblatt, PhD, MPA/HA on the investigator team. I anticipate this grant with create significant public value.


Massage educators and institutions collaborate for major Educational Congress, July 2015, Minneapolis

An article in Massage Today describes what appears to be a significant collaboration across multiple massage organizations to create a major massage Education Congress in Minneapolis in mid-2015. The driving force is the Alliance of Massage Therapy Educators (AFTME). They note that their members complain of too many meetings and thus too much expense. They first partnered with the Commission on Massage Therapy Accreditation (COMTA), Department of Education-recognized accrediting body creating by the massage community. Eight other organizations are listed as participating. AFTME and COMTA have urged as many of the organizations as possible to co-locate their board meetings with the Congress to increase the draw. Meetings are expected to take place throughout the July 21-28 period with the heart of the Congress July 23-25.

Comment: This is a remarkable development, especially for the relatively new-on-the-scene Alliance. Here's hoping it's a tremendous success.


Parker Serves: remarkable community program at a chiropractic university

When Brian McAulay, DC, PhD, assumed the presidency of Parker University in Dallas, Texas, he instituted a program called "Parker Serves." It’s a one-day commitment that he chose to hold the third Friday of each September. Parker's website says that the day "offers individuals committed to creating a culture of service the opportunity to donate their time and passion for service to deserving organizations throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth community and around the world." The ambitions of the program do not end there. Parker Serves is part of "an effort to inspire thousands of volunteer projects across the world." McAulay and the rest of the University's staff are expected to participate. They also call on their graduates and the school’s broader network to choose the day to give of their time and energy for a worthy cause. The site lists multiple opportunities in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, from outdoor clean up, to tutoring to clothing sorting at good will, and more.

Comment: There are ways in which those in health care can have a belief that the very act of engaging their own work and professions is a sufficient level of giving to their communities. (Oddly, reports on the culture of Silicon Valley say that many there believe that the nature of the work they do is a significant enough gift to the universe.) Programs like that initiated by McAulay at Parker may be particularly valuable given the growing importance in all in clinical medicine to be aware of the very limited role clinical services play in human health relative to social, economic and cultural factors.


NYCC, SCUHS, and Logan recognized by the Chronicle of Higher Education as “Great Places to Work For”

The Chronicle of Higher Education, the leading publication in academia, annually lists the “Great Colleges to Work For.” The 2014 list honors three institutions that are principally in the integrative health and medicine space. These are: Missouri’s Logan University, a primarily chiropractic institution; Southern California University, which has programs in chiropractic, acupuncture and Oriental medicine, massage therapy, and more; and New York Chiropractic College, which is also a multi-program institution, including the Finger Lakes School of Acupuncture. For NYCC, this is a sixth consecutive year to achieve this distinction and the fifth in a row to be selected to the more elite Honor Roll. NYCC has been recognized at this level for 5 straight years. The NYCC release is here.

Comment: These are remarkable distinctions that reflect well not only on the nature of each of these institutions, but also more broadly on the fields with which they work.  Congratulations, and thanks, to each.


Huntington College of Health Sciences offers Doctor of Health Science in Integrative Healthcare

After the August 2014 Integrator Round-up posting noted the new health coaching program at the University of Minnesota, a note came in from Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, provost, chief academic officer and co-owner at Huntington College of Health Sciences (HSHS): “I wanted to let (you) know that Huntington College of Health Sciences now offers a Doctor of Health Science in Integrative Healthcare.” Bruno notes that HCHS is an accredited, professional doctorate program that is “designed to provide healthcare professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to take an integrative approach to patient care through the application of principles associated with functional medicine, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), and other integrative healthcare topics.

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Integrative Practice

Interprofessionalism: teaching acupuncturists to work with doctors regarding brain chemistry

Christian Nix is one of the few players in our fields who is devoting a significant amount of professional work to directly getting down the chops that will stimulate quality relationships between a distinct integrative practice field and regular medical doctors. In Nix’ case, this is acupuncture, in which he is educated and licensed. In his recent article for Acupuncture Today, A Guide for Talking to Doctors about Acupuncture and Brain Chemistry, he lays out a communication strategy that he believes will make the value of acupuncture a slam dunk.

Nix notes that the most significant issues confronting medical doctors are related to pain, stress, anxiety and depression. He notes that literature on acupuncture supports roles in alleviating each. In a chart, Nix, and his co-author, Paul Raford, MD, MPH, cross-walk biomedical jargon with AOM jargon (“elevated blood pressure (liver depression qi stagnation”). They recommend never using AOM jargon unless the MD introduces it, and even in such a case, to immediately refer to the biomedical parallel. An example on language he suggests: “Few physicians you will encounter will likely be unaware that acupuncture gets its pain-relieving affects via ‘endogenous opiate release.’ Use that phrase.” Similarly: “The concept of the allostatic load is perhaps less elegant than pattern discrimination; but it is a useful and empowering concept to know about and especially to employ in your conversations with physicians.”

Comment: This is fun stuff, and at the center of the game of optimal integration. Take a look at the Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice developed by the “Big 6” regular professions and published in 2011. Nix’ work speaks to the heart of it. Stubbornness in asserting one’s own paradigm and language – perfect in expression as a practitioner may think it is – is akin to landing in New York and demanding that the best strategy for integration is Swahili. We need more people focusing on these integrative health language arts.


What Wayne Jonas shared with Grantmakers in Health in a March 2014 plenary address on “Giving Healing a Voice”

The Samueli Foundation, which funds the Samueli Institute for which Wayne Jonas, MDs, serves as CEO, has worked to raise the visibility of integrative health and healing among the Grantmakers in Health (GiH) for a good part of the last decade. In March 2014, the Foundation scored a coup when Jonas presented a keynote entitled “Giving Healing a Voice” at the GiH annual meeting. In the talk, Jonas sought to move his audience between “a healthcare system that focuses on healing and a medical system that focuses on cure.” He defines “healing” as “the process of recovery, repair and a return to wholeness.”  He lays out the horrors of our present system via the 2013 Institute of Medicine report from Steven Wolf, MD, Short Lives, Poorer Health.

Well into the talk, Jonas introduces the concept of “salutogenesis” and states bluntly: “We need a healthcare system that focuses on salutogenesis and frames a profession and industry around that and not just around pathogenesis.” In his view we are “swimming in a soup of healing potential – but we have to bring it forward. We have to name it. We have to measure and value it. We have to invest time and resources in it.” His prescriptive elements turned to two powerful projects in which the Samueli Institute had a lead: Total Force Fitness in the military and Optimal Healing Environments.

Comment:  Terrific that Jonas, with the Samueli Foundation’s support, is bringing this vision and agenda to these possible change-makers. Yet I was surprised that nowhere does he reference Don Berwick’s call for a system focused on health creation or note a similar perspective from an innovation leader at Mayo Clinic. These might have lent some associated power to the movement Jonas promotes. It was also notable that Jonas made no explicit mention of integrative health, integrative medicine, complementary and alternative practices or providers. Curious. Perhaps politically he might have not wanted to sully the presentation by any links to the untouchables from the “CAM” world. Yet that 55 medical schools have programs nominally devoted to a system the focuses on optimal health and healing also might have anchored his call to action on salutogenesis. The movement associated with integrative health and medicine is not in any way referenced as potentially a part of what may be useful in moving the agenda. All that said, it is terrific to have this group focused on the idea of a “system that focuses on salutogenesis and frames a profession and industry around that.” Why didn’t he come to me for speech-writing advice!


From Google Alerts: Links to Integrative Medicine in Health Systems, Communities and Internationally

This typically monthly Integrator feature is a quick capture of highlights from the multitude of links that flow in daily via Google Alerts for "integrative medicine," "complementary and alternative medicine" and "alternative medicine." Here are 8 selections related to hospitals and medical organizations and integrative medicine, 3 from alternative and integrative medicine in community non-system practices, and 7 developments from around the world for August 2014.

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Data on acupuncture profession from the 2013 Job Task Analysis of the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

The Executive Summary Descriptive Demographic and Clinical Practice Profile (from the) NCCAOM 2013 Job Analysis (JTA) again provides a useful portrait of that profession. At least every five years, the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) engages a JTA through an elaborate interview process of members of the profession. Just 23% of the roughly 1500 practitioners who participated (70% female) spent 30 or more hours per week in direct patient care. Nearly half (48.8%) work less than 20 directly with patients. Just over one-third indicated that their limited schedules are due to not enough new or returning patients while a slightly higher percent (38%) said the time limits was based on personal choice.  Nearly 6 in 10 work as solo practitioners, with 3% indicating “hospital settings” and 6.5% in integrative medical practices. Of those in some form of group practice that includes non-acupuncturists, 18.4% said they were employees. The median first office call charge was $95 with 9.7% charging over $150. Median follow-up visit was found to cost $70. The practices thus described netted a median before taxes income of $52,000. The NCCAOM concluded that, as compared to the parallel 2008 survey, the types of practice settings appear to be diversifying with income is slowly climbing.

Comment: Most of the data I report here are not essential to a certification commission’s mandate in performing the JTA. NCCAOM has chosen to add these questions for multiple reasons. One is to inform the profession and its diplomats with practice data not available elsewhere. The data are also valuable as part of NCCAOM’s campaign to gain formal status for the profession with the US Department of Labor. (See Application to Bureau of Labor Statistics Submitted.) Credit the NCCAOM and its CEO, Kory Ward-Cook, PhD, CAE, for forward thinking action on both fronts.


AIHM offers certification in integrative health for executives and administrators

The emerging Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM) has announced that it is offering its "first course and certification in integrative health for executives."  Entitled a Certification in Integrative Health Administration (CIHA), the program will be held as a post-conference on October 30-31, in San Diego, as part of the AIHM annual continuing education meeting: Science and Connection: A New Era of Integrative Health and Medicine. According to the release, the certification program is "designed for healthcare executives including CEOs, CFOs, CMOs, clinicians, and professionals in marketing, strategic planning, nurse management, as well as supervisors and directors." Lead developer is author and former hospital executive Nick Jacobs, FACHE. Jacobs was one of the early adopters among hospital executives of an integrative and healing healthcare model. Fee for the course is $1500, with discounts for those attending the whole conference.

Comment: There is definitely a role for a course like this. I am reminded of the early days of hospital integration in the late 1990s when I had the opportunity to co-present at an American Hospital Association meeting with Phyllis Biedess, a former Samaritan Healthplan executive.  Biedess was intimately involved in that organization's huge investment in the 10,000 square foot Arizona Center for Health and Healing that ultimately collapsed and was turned into a call center. Biedess used a very apt phrase to explain the multiple challenges in creating optimal integrative care. Everything, she said, is "one-off." Phone and reception, answering a myriad new questions, billing, staffing, use of space, specialty relations, referrals, scheduling, data and outcomes gathering. The list does not end there. Without attention to all of these "one-off" changes, an integrative initiative is unlikely to cement itself in the institution. The AIHM certification program takes on some of what Biedess early-on described. (Disclosure: I am on the board of AIHM.)


National Consortium Gathering Endorses Job Task Analysis for Health/Wellness Coaches

Presently over 50,000 individuals claim to be "health and wellness coaches," though without clear standards defining what the title means. In an August 28, 2014 release, the executive board of the National Consortium for Credentialing Health and Wellness Coaches (NCCHWC) announced that NCCHWC "along with leaders from a variety of health care, medical, nursing and health promotion organizations met in Minnesota to start the process of drafting new training and education standards for the emerging profession of health and wellness coaches."

The group of professionals represented 20 leading organizations in the health coach space including Duke, Mayo, University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, a Harvard Medical School teaching affiliate, the American Holistic Nurses Certification Corporation, California Institute of Integral Studies, and the International Coach Federation. Among action steps, the group: endorsed a Job Task Analysis that delineates 21 tasks performed by health and wellness coaches; agreed to the need for national certification; recognized that "options for 'grandfathering'" should be opened. They add: "The development of professional standards by recognized and experienced experts, working within the field, is a milestone event, and a crucial step for the advancement and legitimization of any discipline--one that has been overdue for health and wellness coaching."

Comment: I am continuously surprised that this group, the work of which began in late September 2010, has not attracted significant philanthropy to pick up and boost this largely labor of love. Instead, work proceeds in the apparently nearly all-volunteer way that typifis the self-maturation and standard-setting processes of the other integrative health and medicine disciplines. Perhaps the health coaches will be stronger for their blood, sweat and tears.


IAYT is taking steps to develop a certification program for yoga therapists 

In a September 2, 2014 release, the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) announced that it “has embarked on a multi-year project to develop a process for certifying individual yoga therapists.” The organization adds that “developing this process is a big step for the field of yoga therapy, and it's important to take the time to do this right.” The goal is to “develop a certification process that is internationally recognized and respected—not only by yoga therapy practitioners and educators steeped in the yoga tradition, but also by practitioners from other healthcare fields with whom yoga therapists work in partnership.” The present task is gathering the resources and the right, diverse set of people to guide the process. The IAYT has established new certification pages on the IAYT website to keep interested parties aware and to help them prepare for the process.

Comment: IAYT, which commenced a similarly measured and ultimately successful 8 years ago to develop its school standards and accreditation processes, has proved itself a master of process and inclusion. (Note that this work with Yoga therapist certification is distinct from the “certification light” that the Yoga Alliance grants yoga teachers.) I have no doubt that IAYT will emerge from this process with this additional cornerstone of professional emergence solid as a, well, cornerstone. At that point the IAYT will be powerfully, if atypically, positioned as a single organization with accreditation and certification under the same roof with its presently robust professional and research activities. Professions split these off from professional associations as they mature. It will be interesting to see if IAYT and the distinct Yoga therapy field will choose adhere to this non-normal path.


Institute of Integrative Health moves into health and wellness offerings for its Maryland community

The Institute for Integrative Health (TIIH) has announced a broad series of Health and Wellness Workshops that are available to members of the surrounding Maryland community. These include such topics as healthy cooking, yoga as medicine, and “getting smart about dietary supplements.” The initiative is part of TIIH’s 'Building Healthy Communities' program that also includes the Institute’s “Mission Thrive” and “Green Road Project.” These are seated in the TIIH portfolio amidst earlier TIIH initiatives areas called “Pursue Bold Ideas,” “Convene Forums,” “Train Professionals” and “Advance Research Methods.” The Institute for Integrative Health was founded by Brian Berman, MD and Sue Berman.

Comment: I hadn’t looked in on the TIIH site for some time. This expansion into healthy communities appears to be an ever-larger part of the TIIH portfolio.


American Holistic Medical Association offers live streaming of historic (sold-out) conference to students and practitioners of all types, September 18-21

“The American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA) is not your grandfather’s MD-dominant organization anymore: NDs, DCs, LAcs, LMTs, CNMs, RNs, NPs, PAs, health coaches, energy workers and students comprise a growing segment of members, and greater than a third of registrants for the AHMA conference are non-MDs.”  This is Steve Cadwell, AHMA’S energetic executive director. He wrote to promote live-streaming of the organization’s historic September 18-21, 2014 conference, which is sold-out for onsite attendance. Cadwell adds that the theme celebrates AHMA’s commitment to an interprofessional approach to health and medicine: Connection & Collaboration: Innovations in Patient Centered Care. A list of speakers and topics is here. Click here for a conference brochure. AHMA recently added access via live video-streaming. Registration is roughly half that for live attendance at the Minneapolis event. Full conference is $279 for practitioners and just $45 for students.

Comment: I am sorry to miss this conference. It promises to be not only compelling from the prospective of the content but also emotionally powerful as the last for the organization. AHMA was founded in 1978 as the home for the new scores of medical doctors who found themselves happily identified with the then news field o “holistic medicine.” AHMA has decided to merge into the new Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (see above). Good for AIHM that this robust, already interprofessional membership, will be rolled in as AIHM’s base.

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IFM hiring a new director of medical education; Susan Samueli Center seeks director

The Institute for Functional Medicine is seeking to hire a new director of medical education. The individual “is responsible for the development, management, supervision, and coordination of all education and curricular activities for The Institute for Functional Medicine. The Director must hold a Doctorate in Medicine (MD or DO).” Contact IFM.  Meantime, the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine in Orange County is seeking a new director. Preference is for “a board certified physician with an interest in integrative medicine who has an active and funded research program, administrative and fundraising experience.” The application is online here.

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Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO selected as AANP Physician of the Year

At their August 2014 annual conference in Phoenix, Arizona, the American Associations of Naturopathic Physicians selected Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO as Naturopathic Physician of the Year. Alschuler, a writer, presenter and organization leader, has been a profoundly impactful member of that profession. An exceptional communicator, Alschuler has for years represented her profession in multiple public environments where she was likely the first naturopathic doctor through the door. She is co-author of The Definitive Guide to Cancer and co-founded and remains as vice president of the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians, a robust specialty for the field. She is a past president of the AANP.

Additional notes: At the same AANP function: Emily Telfair, ND was awarded the President’s Award, for her leadership of a successful licensing effort in Maryland; botanical medicine expert Eric Yarnell, ND as presented the “Vis Award,” for manifesting and advancing the core spirit of naturopathic medicine in his work; Oregon Association of Naturopathic Physicians executive director Laura Culberson Farr the Champion of Naturopathic Medicine Award (to a non-ND who has contributed to the profession); and Mountain Peak Naturals, owned by Jim Massey, ND and Karen Massey, received the 2014 Corporation of the Year Award.


Early University of Washington integrative medicine leader Nassim Assefi, MD curator of stage content at TEDMED

A medical doctor at the University of Washington who helped organized early interest in integrative medicine there, Nassim Assefi, MD, has been hired as curator and director of stage content at TEDMED. Assefi is a second generation Iranian-American. She is a novelist and a TED Global Fellow, who has traveled to over 50 countries. She likes to call herself a “thrillionaire.” TEDMED is the burgeoning franchise owner by billionaire Jay Walker that from time to time features someone from the integrative medicine arena. This year Assefi had a hand in bringing in acupuncturists and placebo expert Ted Kaptchuk, OMD.

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