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.
The project began as 15 minute DVD that was to be an in-office tool to help explain developmental movement and the work of dance movement therapists (DMTs). Perhaps because the need for resources about this part of the ascending interest in creative arts therapy was so great, the short film mushroomed into 30 taped interviews. This wealth of demonstrations, case studies and dialogues were then shaped by the project director/producer, Hana Kamea Kemble, RCC, BC-DMT into the 3-part The Moving Child documentary. With both trauma and creative arts gaining higher profile, at the NIH National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and elsewhere, the timing appears to be particularly strong for this well-produced documentary to launch DMTs and therapeutic movement as a presence in multiple healthcare contexts.
“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.