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.
After publishing on challenges the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) is presenting to the integrative and functional medicine continuing medical education (CME) providers, I sent links to Graham McMahon, MD, MMSc, the organization’s president and CEO to request an interview. Multiple integrative CME providers with decades delivering integrative CME have lost or are facing potential loss of recognition. They have shared serious questions of transparency and intent on ACCME’s part. Some efforts to connect with ACCME have been rebuffed. Is integrative medicine being targeted? In my request for an interview, I provided McMahon some background on concerns. McMahon responded immediately, and affirmatively. We spoke for over 30 minutes via zoom on February 5, 2020. His responses included a surprising assertion that he believes the present ACCME is aligned with integrative medicine principles and practices. He committed to open dialogue in ACCME’s move “from cop to coach.” He underscored that the new proposed language is yet open for comment. I assembled our exchange in the following interview format and sought his edits and written replies to additional questions, then secured his approval prior to publication.
The recent global activity featured in the Integrator Blog News and Reports and re-posted by ISCMR, an international society of researchers in traditional, complementary, alternative and integrative medicine and health, has shown an unmistakable pattern: multiple governments are acting to remove recognition of homeopathy and certain of other complementary and integrative practice deemed “psuedo-scientific.” It’s not the only pattern. There hjave been recent positive governmental steps in Switzerland, India, the US and elsewhere. Still, the regulatory integrative ectomies in Spain, France, the UK, Australia, Canada – and here in the USA – are worth a collective heads up.
In July 2018, the Integrator published a series of articles challenging a JAMA Oncology study and stunning headlines that those using complementary therapies in cancer treatment die quicker. The integrative oncology community condemned the paper – though oddly falling short of calling for retraction. (In the Integrator series, I urged retraction.) After 7 months and 193,000 downloads of this story, the JAMA Oncology finally published letters from researchers in 4 nations that led an Medscape article on the reaction to quote a scientist claiming the five letters “completely destroy(ed) the pseudoscience article.” Why is it not retracted? One wonders when the integrative oncology community will demand respect.