The past 20 years witnessed the expansion of a new type of institution in academic health care – and specifically in integrative health and medicine: multidisciplinary universities with professional degrees in multiple natural health fields. Variously denominated as universities of “natural health sciences” or “health sciences” or “integrative health” or merely as “university,” these 7 institutions were each founded as single purpose colleges to educate chiropractors, naturopathic doctors or acupuncturists. They expanded to include other disciplines, degrees and certifications. Many have played important roles in the integrative health movement. All sit at the intersection of two fields in turmoil: health care and higher education. I interviewed the presidents of each to access their vantage points. This overview is a first in a two-part series.
An alert went out two weeks ago to a set of policy-oriented integrative health and medicine types. The Trump administration had published a report – “Reforming America’s Healthcare System Through Choice and Competition.” The email suggested that there was support here for the non-discrimination in healthcare provision of the Affordable Healthcare Act (a.k.a. “Obamacare”). Was this actually a dovetailing support of the Trump administration with the healthcare policy of his predecessor? I took a look and then connected a lobbyist who was on the ground when the Obama administration’s Section 2706: Non-Discrimination in Health Care was being drafted. The findings on the Trump study were mixed.
In 2000, under a Congressional mandate requiring the Veteran’s Administration to open its doors to chiropractors, a committee of principally VA medical staff and chiropractors was convened to guide the introduction. “What happened,” recalled Reed Phillips, DC, MSCM, PhD, “was that over time when we all saw that we each had the patients’ interests in mind, horns retracted on all sides.”