[Originally sent to Integrator readers via email September 20, 2020] Hello Friends & Colleagues: On Monday, September 14, I entered my 70th year. I’ve spent 37 of them deeply enmeshed, full-time plus – as many of you also have been – in advancing whole person, integrative health. It’s been a wild, fascinating, ever-changing – and never changing enough! – ride. The best part has always been the people I have been honored to discover in my writing and other work, to have as colleagues and to befriend, and the mission we work together to advance. In short – you!
When the news hit the dominant medical industry in January 1993 that 33% of adult Americans used some “unconventional medicine” and spent $13.7-billion annually out of their pockets, most of the medical industry’s stakeholders were startled awake. A huge cultural-medical phenomenon had been obscured by their prejudice. The awakening was all the more effective because the data that grabbed them was from the inner sanctum. The research hailed from Harvard University. The results were published in the top-cited New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). The Harvard brand was then affixed to high profile conferences that sanctified and kick-started the integrative era. While the first leaders have moved in powerful new directions, 27 years later, the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital is being led by director Peter Wayne, PhD and a new generation that substantially grew up inside the institution. Returning to Harvard seemed a good way to cap the series of 6 portraits of integrative academic health centers – from the shock waves via peer-reviewed journal to anticipated next-gen directions.
“Modeling interprofessional education and care has been the mantra for both organizations for years.” These words from Bill Meeker, DC, MPH capture the core sentiment on the remarkable news of a merger in the making of the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health (ACIH aka “The Collaborative) and the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM aka “The Academy”). Meeker, whose term as president of AIHM begins January 1, 2021, until recently served on both boards. The core of the former consists of academic, accreditation, and certification leaders of the 5 licensed integrative health professions: chiropractic, East Asian medicine, naturopathic medicine, massage therapy and direct entry/certified professional midwifery. Participation in AIHM is about 65% medical doctors transitioning their practices toward integrative models, with the others from a range of disciplines. The combined ACIH-AIHM organization is anticipated to become a robust environment for these newer parts of the healthcare workforce to engage with integrative doctors and power up the abilities of their combined force in change agency.