“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.
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 Integrator Top 10 list ten years ago honored the work of what is now the University of Arizona Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine. I apologized then for the oversight in not honoring their leadership earlier. In truth, I might have done so virtually every year. The simple fact of the matter is that, while one might cringe at any part of a collaborative movement being characterized as the “epicenter” – as University of Arizona’s president characterized the Center recently – the Center has clearly earned the title if what we are talking about is the expansion of “integrative” in academic medicine. Through its 1855 Fellows, through its Integrative Medicine in Residency partners in 99 medical schools, through graduates promoting the integrative paradigm and practice in dozens of nations, and via government-funded projects involving multiple integrative professions, the Center founded by Andrew Weil, MD in 1994 is the gift that keeps on giving. I reached Weil and the Center’s long-time executive director Victoria Maizes, MD, to take a look at the program, its accomplishments, challenges, and what’s ahead.
“Integrative light.” The term began to be used in the late 1990s by some community-based holistic, integrative, functional, and naturopathic medicine practitioners to discount and dismiss actions in the then emerging field of academic integrative medicine. I was reminded of this knee jerk tendency toward disparagement recently when a past president of the American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA) sent an email query asking for names of any medical schools that “really support integrative medicine and have legit programs.” The question fell within days of receiving an annual report from one such center born in that period 23 years ago, now the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago’s downtown. It struck me that it might be useful to examine the myriad ways that at least one such entity is at work to shift medicine toward a healthier model.