A conventional oncology clinician or a typical patient deciding whether to step out of the box and try a “complementary” treatment got a strong message from multiple major media outlets the past three weeks. A New York Times subheading was representative: “People who used herbs, acupuncture and other complementary treatments tended to die earlier than those who didn’t.”
The media had a feeding frenzy when a data-mining report from Yale researchers published in JAMA Oncology suggested a causal relationship between use of “complementary medicine” and shortened life span among cancer patients. A New York Times subheading was representative: “People who used herbs, acupuncture and other complementary treatments tended to die earlier than those who didn’t.”
In 2012, at the first CPM Symposium, I was invited to speak on the interprofessional work of the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Care (the Collaborative). The Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) were celebrating a new era of collaboration with other childbirth professionals. It seemed a good time to feature the Collaborative, of which two of their affiliates were members.
The US medical industry has a motivation problem when it comes to the central role of food in health. Kale does not emit a flock of attractive sales people to detail doctor offices. Organics lack the financial clout to fund JAMA. Brown rice gets failure grades on inviting doctors to conferences in tropical zones. Fruits and vegetables seem to have missed out entirely on the whole marketing side of competing with the pharma-device predilections of the $3.3-trillion medical industry.