[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!
“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 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.
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.