On September 26, 2018, Harvard Medical School announced to its faculty that it is “reassessing” the School’s mission statement. An invitation to comment and provide feedback on a draft of a new mission was sent by microbiology and immunology professor Peter Howley, MD. Howley leads a committee for Medical School Dean George Daley, MD, PhD that is wrestling with a transformational theme that most unifies the diverse parties in the movement for integrative health and medicine. Harvard is bellying up toward reckoning with the need to shift the medical industry toward a system for creating health.
The movement from the wild-west of “alternative” medical practices into mainstream respect and inclusion is typically a process of standard-setting, self-regulation, and then governmental action. Two principals in the Osher Collaborative for Integrative Medicine recently asked whether – with the chaotic and rapid expansion of the field — its time for integrative medical doctors, in particular, to consider additional, proactive steps.
If one views “integrative health and medicine” as an organic movement, then its shape consists of the stories documenting its milestones and the work of its pioneers. Only the telling of these stories are less likely to be around a fire than around the modern substitute: the web. This article offers three slices of achievement. It involves multiple streams among those that flow together to support an integrative future: a milestone in academic medicine in the dominant school, for naturopathic medicine, and a changing of the guard for direct entry (homebirth) midwifery.