In a recent presentation at a National Academy of Medicine workshop,, Tracy Gaudet, MD, the founding director of the Veterans Administration’s Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation, described how radically her team is approaching their work to create health in the veterans they serve.
If one views “integrative health and medicine” as an organic movement, then its shape consists of the stories documenting its milestones and the work of its pioneers. Only the telling of these stories are less likely to be around a fire than around the modern substitute: the web. This article offers three slices of achievement. It involves multiple streams among those that flow together to support an integrative future: a milestone in academic medicine in the dominant school, for naturopathic medicine, and a changing of the guard for direct entry (homebirth) midwifery.
Beth Frates, MD recalls her first effort, ten years ago, to give students at Harvard Medical School more grounding in lifestyle medicine: “I met with my Dean and explained how I would bring [the material] to them. He was all enthusiastic. He told me he loved what I was doing. Then he said: ‘We can’t possibly do this right now.’” Frates’ excitement cycled high then hit the cellar.
In 2000, under a Congressional mandate requiring the Veteran’s Administration to open its doors to chiropractors, a committee of principally VA medical staff and chiropractors was convened to guide the introduction. “What happened,” recalled Reed Phillips, DC, MSCM, PhD, “was that over time when we all saw that we each had the patients’ interests in mind, horns retracted on all sides.”