The Integrator Blog News & Reports annually marks the winter solstice with a Top 10 for Policy and Action in Integrative Health and Medicine. In the selection of the Top 10, the accent is on the affirmative – as the jazz-man sings. Thus, the Coming of the Light focuses on individuals and organizations in the field making positive contributions to shift the medical industry toward a system that focuses on creating health. Less positive things sometimes make the list. Who would have guessed that 2020 might have some of these! Integrator articles are now published at johnweeks-integrator.com/posts with content going back to 2006 at the original Integrator site. Prior Top 10 lists, a sort of Cliff Notes of the movement’s history, are linked at the bottom of this column. Below are the Top 10 for 2020. Happy Solstice!
The murder of George Floyd, and its clearly non-anomalous nature, tooth-picked open the eyes of many white people to the depths of racism, of systematic intrusion of bigotry, and built in barriers to the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness for vast sets of people of color in the U.S. population. One place the need for re-education in places high and low was evident in the commitment to “deepening my understanding of systemic racism” from Bill Gates. He was explaining his choice for the book at the top of list of 2020 reading: The New Jim Crow. Multiple integrative health and medicine organizations responded to Floyd’s murder with their own statements of solidarity, and of commitment. I reported these just 10 days after Floyd’s death on June 7 (8 organizations) then a second set on June 28 (13 more). As my own commitment, I closed the latter with a promise to check in with these organizations 6 months later to see how they have acted on their commitments. Here is the report-back to the community.
Caught up in a movement, one likes to assign causality to explain advances. A pressure applied in one place brings movement in the other. The set of collaborating entities manage to get to a policy table and push something positive through. A story begins to accumulate. Yet a close reading finds also influences of what that ancients might have called fate. The New Age may associate these with intention. I enjoy thinking of these as serendipity. I have accumulated a few favorites for the integrative health and medicine field. They begin with the circumstance of my own connection. None is more striking than that which I encountered in a new publication on the influential Wilk vs. the AMA trial that muzzled the AMA’s worst bigotry toward non-pharma approaches. It turns out that L Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, may be credited with opening the integrative era.
In late September, the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM) sent out a notice to its list to celebrate the 80th birthday of perhaps its most honored male elder, Bill Manahan, MD. Manahan’s story dates back to a founding membership meeting of a predecessor to the AIHM, the American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA), 40 years ago. One of Manahan’s most powerful areas of impact is an AIHM priority: sewing interprofessional respect. He’s worked to pry open the MD guild – which proved necessary even in the MDs’ “holistic” form. Manahan has been a mentor to countless practitioners and other functionaries in the holistic health and integrative medicine movement, including me. I thought his birthday was a good excuse to re-connect and explore a couple pieces of his rich history in the field – specifically the inter-professional work and the remarkable Minnesota group he has managed for 40 years.