AIHM Announces 2023 Award Recipients


On Saturday evening, the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM) announced its 2023 award recipients at its conference, Building Bridges to Whole Health, in San Diego, California. The awards recognize interprofessional collaborators who have worked to advance integrative medicine to benefit healthcare, humanity, and the planet. The honorees included the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA), the National Association to Advance Black Births (NAABB), and Brad Jacobs, MD, MPH, ABOIM.

Visionary Award

Yvette Miller, MD, ABIHM, Co-Chair of the AIHM Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Committee, presented the night's first award to the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA). The association’s acupuncture protocol originated in the 1960s and 70s as an alternative therapy for drug addiction in the wake of widespread heroin and crack cocaine issues in New York’s South Bronx neighborhoods, Miller explained. Today, NADA continues to spread its acupuncture protocols with a mission to make healthcare more people-centered, holistic, and accessible to the most vulnerable and underserved communities.

NADA was honored with the AIHM “Visionary Award,” which recognizes the thought leaders of integrative medicine driving the industry forward. Ken Carter, MD, President of NADA, accepted the award.

“My heart is so full,” he said. “This is the first time I’ve ever felt at home in a professional setting. I've presented in many places and worked in many different institutions and healthcare systems, and it’s almost always a fight. It’s nice to have a community where you can be yourself and say what needs to be said without having to watch your words.”

Change Maker Award

The second award went to the National Association to Advance Black Births (NAABB), which received the Change Maker Award. Jean Davis, PhD, PA, Co-Chair of the BIPOC Committee presented the award, explaining that it honors those who have accomplished broad change, laws, or consciousness shifts to strengthen and promote whole-person medicine.

The mission of NAABB is to combat the effects of structural racism within maternal and infant health, aiming to improve black birth outcomes, Davis explained. The organization focuses on advocacy, research, educational programs, activism, and policy change.

NAABB board member Ravae Sinclair, JD, PBD(IPP), CLC, accepted the award. “I am here with a lot of gratitude in my heart,” she said. “We have decided to focus on black women because we are the ones who are dying. Our babies are dying. Our families are struggling, and people still aren't listening…We are focused on training black women to take care of black women, and we are supporting Black midwives who, by the way, are in a system that needs to be decolonized.”

Lee Lipsenthal Heart and Lifetime Achievement Award

The final award went to Brad Jacobs, MD, MPH, ABOIM, who received the Lee Lipsenthal Heart and Lifetime Achievement Award, a tribute to Lee Lipsenthal, MD, a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine and physician wellness.

According to Mimi Guarneri, MD, FACC, ABOIM, President of AIHM, who presented the award, Jacobs is a recognized leader in integrative and lifestyle medicine. He is the Co-Founder of The Open Mind Collective, which conducts research and provides health services for veterans and first responders using psychedelic medication. He also established BlueWave Medicine, an integrative community-based medical practice that offers comprehensive and technologically enabled healthcare.

Jacobs has also served in various roles, including as the past Chairman of the Board for AIHM, Endowed Professor and founding Medical Director for the University of California (UC) San Francisco OSHA Center for Integrative Medicine, and Senior Medical Director of Revolution Health Networks.

“I’m so humbled to be here,” said Jacobs. “People assume they're going to live to 80, and that has not been my assumption for myself. I look at my life a little differently and take risks that maybe most people aren't willing to take. But I hope you all are willing to take risks. It’s so well worth it.”

Editor's note: This article is part of our live coverage of the 2023 Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine Conference. Click here for a list of full coverage.